Finished 2-9-11, rating 4/5, non-fiction, 261 pages, pub. 2010
In tight economic times, with libraries sliding farther and farther down the list of priorities, we risk the loss if their ideals, intelligence, and knowledge, not to mention their commitment to access for all-librarians consider free access to information the foundation od democracy, and they’re right. Librarians are essential players in the information revolution because they level that field. They enable those without money or education to read and learn the same things as the billionaire and the Ph.D. In prosperous libraries, they loan out laptops; in strapped ones, they dole out half hours of computer time, They are the little “d” democrats of the computer age who keep the rest of us wired.
This book pays homage to librarian hot shots, like Judith King who launched Banned Book Week, to everyday librarian bloggers. It’s all about how the role of the librarian is changing but just as important in this new digital world. Libraries themselves are changing. Johnson mentioned one library in particular that checked out laptops and GPS systems. How cool is that?
The most inspirational chapter to me was the one about the four librarians who stood up to the FBI and the Patriot Act (Relevent since today the House failed to extend it. Score one for the librarians). These librarians were bullied by the government and could have easily caved and gave them the information they wanted, but patron rights were important to them. The FBI wanted to know the name of the patron who was using a specific computer at a certain time but they did not have a warrant. I applaud these librarians who represent the best ideal of librarians. My local library now forces us to use our library card to log into internet time which makes me mad. Can there really be no privacy any more, anywhere? And the name the FBI wanted? Someone who had sent an anonymous tip that was no longer relevent. And yet they still wasted years of these librarian’s time and the court’s time.
Anyway, I also loved the behind the scenes look at the New York Public Library. It’s amazing what is there and how they face the same budget crunch as every other library. It almost seemed a little sad at how much it is changing to try to draw new patrons, but that is the future.
I worked for a year at the reference desk of a local library, so this book was preaching to the choir. I love libraries and do think they serve an important purpose in a free society. I think they are too often given cuts in poor economic times when people need their services the most. I briefly flirted with the idea of going back to school and getting a Library Science degree, but ultimately chose not to. This book has reminded me of how important a job it is and how fulfilling it can be and now I’m wondering if I shouldn’t go ahead and look into that degree. Time will tell.
A few of the chapters had me skimming a bit (I really did not care about the Second Life online game which got a lot of attention), but this is a must read for any library user.
This book was sent to me as part of the TLC book tour. Visit the other bloggers who read and reviewed this book.
Tuesday, January 25th: Reading Through Life
Thursday, January 27th: Library Queue
Monday, January 31st: 1330v
Tuesday, February 1st: One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books
Wednesday, February 2nd: Man of La Book
Monday, February 7th: Boarding in My Forties
Tuesday, February 15th: Books Like Breathing
Wednesday, February 16th: Proud Book Nerd
Friday, February 18th: A Fanatic’s Book Blog