Friday, July 13, 2012

In the aftermath of Foundations this summer

Now that the Foundations course ended, I have some time to explore library and information science and look for new books.  Two contain a series of articles examining the digital world we find ourselves in. How do we conceive of the library in a digital world? Penny Dale, Jill Beard and Matt Holland edited University Libraries and Digital Learning Environments (London: Ashgate, 2011) which prods the reader to examine the library through the eyes of a digital learner. Where do social media, e-learning, digital repositories, and digital collections fit within our hallowed walls? How do we serve the e-learner and distance student with our varied resources? Are reference interviews still effective when helping virtual students? These questions and more are tackled by the practitioners who contributed to this volume of essays.

From Lending to Learning: The Development and Extension of Public Libraries (Chandos Information Professional Series) First (1st) Edition by Ronan O'Beirne, (Chandos Information Professional Series, October 2010) takes on the changing role of public libraries and addresses the question of serving the remote patron, providing outreach to community members, and engaging diverse populations. Read about this challenge and ask yourself, how can I bring in a new group of users over the next few months?

Censorship and Intellectual Freedom were the most popular topics of the semester. Discussion was hot and heavy as you explored the difference between censorship and collection development and the need to build balanced, neutral collections. Based upon the discussion and the curiosity about why certain books are banned or contentious, I’ve changed an assignment for next time which will encourage students to tackle this topic head on. In the meantime, you might read this new compilation of articles edited by Valerie Nye and Kathy Barco, True Stories of Censorship Battles in America's Libraries (Chicago: ALA, 2012).  This slim volume contains essays about censorship in the library instigated by librarians, parents, and organizational bodies alike. “The most important lesson we hear repeated in these essays is a call for each library to have a collection development policy and a materials consideration policy before a challenge occurs”[xix]. What’s in your collection that could be challenged? This slim volume contains examples of how librarians dealt with censorship.

Finally, several people asked for books or articles about the history of cataloging & classification. I asked a few catalogers who agreed the subject seems to be a seldom studied field. When I teach my Rare Book Librarianship course, I’m likely to come across some more articles.  I did find three studies. Martin D. Joachim edited Historical Aspects of Cataloging and Classification. (simultaneously published in the journal Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 35 no. 1 and 2 (2002) and 35 no. 3 and  4 (2003)) Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press, Inc. 2003. The entire volume is available as a journal through KentLink (EBSCOhost). You’ll need your VPN to access the articles. Quite a number looked interesting, including one on the history of classification for government documents.

The second publication that looked interesting and discussed the history of cataloguing is by Mary Piggott A Topography of Cataloguing showing the most important landmarks, communications, and perilous places. London: The Library Association, 1988. I didn’t find any particular article that struck my fancy, but if you like theoretical articles, this one is for you.

The third book I found about the history of cataloging is by Donald J. Lehnus Milestones in Cataloging: Famous Catalogers and Their Writings 1835-1969. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc 1974. While this one is older, the articles focus on the theory and development of cataloging in its first 125 years. I might use the first two chapters in an advanced seminar on catalogs and cataloging, otherwise, I’d leave this one for those who are curious about the evolution of the field and terminology.

The world of books beckons. I will continue to post as I find other titles of interest. What have you learned today?

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