What do we do and why do we do it?

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A presentation given at the 2012 Oregon Virtual Reference Summit.

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  • 1.What do we do andwhy do we do it?Presented by Emily Fordforder@pdx.edu

2. "Give the people what they want is abrittle and shallow civic philosophy."Pariser (2011) 3. I Went into the Maverick Barby Gary Snyder"I went into the Maverick BarIn Farmington, New Mexico.And drank double shots of bourbon backed with beer.My long hair was tucked up under a capId left the earring in the car..." 4. "The purpose of the Library is topreserve the integrity of civilization..."Blyberg, Trainor, & Greenhill (2009) 5. ...librarians and others concernedwith the freedom to read askedthemselves about the effects onlibrary policy and practices of theinvestigations of national and stateun-American activities committees,state education committees, andthe widely publicized book-centered conflicts which havetaken place in California since theend of World War II.Fiske (1959) 6. "Contrasted to science, it [libraryscience] necessarily consists ofjudgements of value that translatea vision of the world into the socialengagement that follows from it."Cossette (1979) 7. "The future of the web is aboutpersonalization...now the web is about me."Yahoo! Vice President Tapan Bhat (cited by Pariser) 8. March 24, 2012 11:30amYahoo! News New York Times Front Page 9. Ombudsman = ? 10. Credits Leeder, K. (2010) My Maverick Bar: A Search for Identity and the "Real Work" of Librarianship http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2010/my-maverick-bar-a-search-for-identity-and-the-real-work-of-librarianship/ Snyder, G. (1974) Turtle Island http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/901204 Booth, C. (2010) Librarians as __________: Shapeshifting at the Periphery http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2010/librarians-as-__________-shapeshifting-at-the-periphery/ Blyberg, Trainor, & Greenhill. (2009) The Darien Statements on the Library and Librarians http://www.blyberg.net/2009/04/03/the-darien-statements-on-the-library-and-librarians/ Fiske, M. (1959) Book Selection and Censorship: A Study of School and Public Libraries in California http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/710681 See also: Collier, E. (2010) The Fiske Report. http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2010/the-fiske-report/ Cossette, A. (1979) Humanism and Libraries: An Essay on the Philosophy of Librarianship http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/449283795 Pariser, E. (2011) The Filter Bubble http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/682892628 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/topgold/5883898308/ TED Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html Librarian Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kingstonlibrary/4540133650/ 11. What do we do andwhy do we do it?Presented by Emily Fordforder@pdx.eduPlease bear with me for five minutes while I tellyou whats on my mind.Ive been struggling with librarianships identity. For me this is not a new struggle. Identity tropes have been permeating our profession for quite some time. They have been aided and abetted by technological change, disintermediation of information, the sudden and hip popularity of earning a Master of Library Science, and the myth of the graying of the profession. 12. "Give the people what they want is a brittle and shallow civic philosophy." Pariser (2011)Personalization on the net poses the same problemFiske identified in her report. As library workers ourprofessional conundrum lies in this scary placebetween an un-articulated philosophy of praxis andthese ethical issues surrounding information.Information is now tainted by automated personalrelevance. Worse, relevance algorithms can mirrorsocial problems such as classism, racism, sexism,and other injustices. 13. I Went into the Maverick Barby Gary Snyder"I went into the Maverick BarIn Farmington, New Mexico.And drank double shots of bourbon backed with beer.My long hair was tucked up under a capId left the earring in the car..."In 2010 my friend and colleague from In theLibrary with the Lead Pipe, Kim Leeder, wrotean article called: My Maverick Bar: A Searchfor Identity and the Real Work ofLibrarianship. A month later, Char Boothauthored Librarians as __________:Shapeshifting at the periphery in the samejournal. 14. "The purpose of the Library is to preserve the integrity of civilization..." Blyberg, Trainor, & Greenhill (2009)In 2009, John Blyberg, Cindi Trainor, andKathryn Greenhill composed and endorsed theThe Darien Statements on the Library andLibrarians.These are all recent examples of librarianssearching for the meaning of what we do.These questions become especially importantin times when libraries, library funding, andaccess to information are called into question.When have they not? 15. ...librarians and others concerned with the freedom to read asked themselves about the effects on library policy and practices of the investigations of national and state un-American activities committees, state education committees, and the widely publicized book- centered conflicts which have taken place in California since the end of World War II. Fiske (1959)But our introspections didnt begin in the early21st century. In 1959 Marjorie Fiske completeda study titled: Book Selection and Censorship:A Study of School and Public Libraries inCalifornia. The study revealed that librarianswere struggling with questions of quality ordemand when it came to collecting materials. 16. "Contrasted to science, it [library science] necessarily consists of judgements of value that translate a vision of the world into the social engagement that follows from it." Cossette (1979)Twenty years later, in 1979 a Canadianstudent named Andre Cossette authored theessay Humanism and libraries: an essay onthe philosophy of librarianship. In it he asksquestions pertaining to library sciencesphilosophical underpinnings. Today we stillgrapple with these questions. Library workersdo not have one unifying philosophy.Last month at OLA, we discussed this bookand questions of library philosophy. At onepoint we concluded that Librarians arefacilitating for everyone the lifelong 17. "The future of the web is aboutpersonalization...now the web is about me."Yahoo! Vice President Tapan Bhat (cited by Pariser)Eli Pariser, one of the co-founders ofMoveon.org, wrote a book entitled: The FilterBubble. Many of you may have heard of it orread it. Pariser discusses the inherent tensionbetween disintermediated informationproduction and delivery, and the internetpersonalization craze. In short, internetpersonalization is creating filter bubbles inwhich we exist, where no one truth is the samefor any individual. In a previous era, contentwas delivered to us by humans who haveethical values, such as a newspaper editors(or librarians). 18. March 24, 2012 11:30amYahoo! NewsNew York Times Front PageToday, we see information that has beendeemed most relevant because peoplewithin our networks, who have similarprofiles to us, have clicked on that link.Relevance is no longer based on curation orinformations impact on social and civic life.The social and monetary capital of a click-through is driving what we see.As information consumers our worldviews are being shaped by the systematically and algorithmically filtered information we see. Our filter bubbles illustrate and further enable our social and political choices. Our 19. Ombudsman = ?Despite Parisers provocative arguments, he identifies some crucial needy spaces that present opportunities for librarians. He points to the need for information curators. Furthermore, he argues appointing an independent ombudsman and giving the world more insight into how the powerful filtering algorithms work would be an important first step [to help the common good]. 20. CreditsLeeder, K. (2010) My Maverick Bar: A Search for Identity and the "Real Work" of Librarianshiphttp://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2010/my-maverick-bar-a-search-for-identity-and-the-real-work-of-librarianship/Snyder, G. (1974) Turtle Islandhttp://www.worldcat.org/oclc/901204Booth, C. (2010) Librarians as __________: Shapeshifting at the Peripheryhttp://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2010/librarians-as-__________-shapeshifting-at-the-periphery/Blyberg, Trainor, & Greenhill. (2009) The Darien Statements on the Library and Librarianshttp://www.blyberg.net/2009/04/03/the-darien-statements-on-the-library-and-librarians/Fiske, M. (1959) Book Selection and Censorship: A Study of School and Public Libraries in Californiahttp://www.worldcat.org/oclc/710681See also: Collier, E. (2010) The Fiske Report.http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2010/the-fiske-report/Cossette, A. (1979) Humanism and Libraries: An Essay on the Philosophy of Librarianshiphttp://www.worldcat.org/oclc/449283795Pariser, E. (2011) The Filter Bubblehttp://www.worldcat.org/oclc/682892628Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/topgold/5883898308/TED Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.htmlLibrarian Photo:http://www.flickr.com/photos/kingstonlibrary/4540133650/So, my dear colleagues, I dont have any solutions to these problems of philosophical praxis, identity, and the ethical dilemmas we face. Im simply asking you to engage in these questions and these navel-gazing exercises with me. What do we do? And why do we do it?Thank you