Good to be back on the grid. My unexepected time away gave me a chance to gather some more threads together and plan for a post-liberation effort — in other words, once we reach January 20, the new President joins the new Congress, what happens next?
Well, just a few days after the swearing-in ceremony on the Hill, we are going into a season of library association meetings — ALA in Denver, ACRL in Seatlle, and the Federal Depository Library council in Tampa — in four short months. If these aren’t opportunities to discuss and debate and organize about the future of government information services and civic engagement, then what are we doing with our time?
In the meantime, in a brief response to Jim Jacobs thoughtful piece in response to my koan “Can there be librarians without libraries” — don’t confuse the lack of control over information with the inability to do anything positive or proactive about how public information is distributed through a democratic society. My ideal of librarians and their institutions in this changed environment does not suggest either of Jim’s arguments that we will become travel agents or proto-business managers with responsibilities to manage the content management rights for a specific set of users.
My argument lies less with what we will be doing in a digital world, and more with the notion that this library activity will not spring from possession (which is the same as control in Jim’s argument I think), and more from mediation, context and praxis. Why is this? Even though Jim argues otherwise, the digital production and distribution of information/knowledge has upset the traditional relationships formed and exploited by librarians, users, and producers of information. Just check out the recent stories about publishers, bookstores, and other cultural institutions that aggregate (i.e. possess) information on behalf of their communities.
But more on this in subsequent posts along that road to liberation and beyond.
I missed you all and can’t wait to get back into the thick of things.