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These days, I'm the director of the American Library Association' s Office for Intellectual Freedom. I'm also executive director and secretary of the Freedom to Read Foundation. See "About Me" for contact information.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Librarians still talking to ourselves

This latest Library Journal piece on ebooks and libraries (Too Many ebook Cooks) is another mark of the mounting dissatisfaction in the field. On the other hand, this brilliant piece by Librarian In Black is way funnier.

But back to LJ's Francine Fialkoff's piece. First, I don't want to claim all the credit for the Douglas County Libraries model. Monique Sendze was the system architect. Rochelle Logan and her team (Sharon Nemechek, Deb Margeson, and Julie Halverstadt key among them these days) are doing the really hard work of system process and workflow redesign. My board's willingness to invest money to solve big problems was and is impressive.

Second, it happens that I sit on one of the ALA committees (Digital Content Working Group) that Ms. Failkoff takes to task for not having turned around either Big Six attitudes about selling to libraries, or the public's general lack of awareness about the issues. And there is certainly a lot of work to be done.

We might agree that just putting a committee together, or a new organization under whatever banner, doesn't by itself solve anything. "ALA" isn't an independent entity with its own mind and power; it's us, it's librarians. It doesn't so much matter where we meet, or even what we say -- unless and until all of that turns into action. But as Monique, Rochelle, and I travel around we are starting to see some real stirrings of such action out there. Next up, apparently: Texas!

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