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Some Assumptions about Libraries

I always enjoy reading Barbara Fister’s Library Babel Fish blog over at Inside Higher Ed. She always has insightful, thoughtful ideas and reflections about libraries that come from front-line experience as a college librarian. This is why we list her in our blogroll even though she rarely writes about government information. Her column yesterday had some of her assumptions about the purpose and nature of academic libraries, which I recommend to you.

  • Some Assumptions about Libraries, by Barbara Fister, Inside Higher Ed (Jan 2, 2014).

    …Libraries enable sharing and should help build and fund infrastructures for sharing while resisting every effort to disable it, whether those efforts are encoded in copyright law, business models, or academic cultures…. When we traded ownership for greater and more convenient access, we inadvertently supported withholding knowledge in order to fund the current system, one that institutionalizes inequity.

    …Libraries are not, or at least should not be, engines of productivity. If anything, they should slow people down and seduce them with the unexpected, the irrelevant, the odd and the unexplainable.

    …Libraries are for the common good. Period. This is what sets us apart from other popular institutions that provide information. When we wish our libraries could be more like Google and Amazon, we are doing it wrong. Google and Amazon have two things they want from you: your money and your life.

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