And Now For Something Completely Different
by Josh Rimmer, Senior Editor
For my first blog post of the year, I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of writing the obligatory advice piece; maybe create a list of web resources or grind my gears to rehash an older topic and attempt a new spin. I want to do something “fresh”, and I am writing an appeal to INALJ’s readers and viewers. I am asking for your help in locating librarians who “are doing something completely different” in their practice and service within our profession.
I want to tread away from the norm, away from the “traditional” role of the librarian in the library, be it public, or academic. I want to spotlight librarians who have a unique vision and passion for library service. To borrow a line from JP, I want to highlight the librarians who you think “are making it happen” for the profession.
Okay, so why the focus on service? Well, scrolling through pages of text and commentary, I came across the work of librarian Michael Gorman. In 1995, Gorman expanded upon S.R Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science. Gorman’s Five New Laws targeted the changing social and cultural spheres of public life and intermingled in all of this, is technological change. I am not going dive into a heavy explanation and examination of Gorman’s laws, but I was able to locate a document by Gorman that summarizes his tenets nicely. I do implore INALJ’s readers to give this document, at the very least, a cursory glance and I encourage those interested to do a more in-depth study.
I was, however, touched by two of Gorman’s ideas, libraries serving humanity; honoring the past and create the future. For some reason, the German word “Geist” came to mind, and I couldn’t help to think about “the spirit of service” in contemporary librarianship. How librarians are modifying their roles and modes of service to meet the needs of their users and their social sphere – okay pal, sociology class is over. No better example comes to mind, than the libraries that popped up during the Occupy Movement. Another example would be of an individual, independent of any affiliation, creating a little free library. Or the changing nature of outreach for correctional librarians who balance information access with imposed restrictions on inmates.
I am not looking for lofty idealism here, but simply people with a unique passion for service and willing to adapt “librarianship” to fit their community sphere. However, I do need your help to make this idea and journey into service librarianship possible. If you or anyone you know –sounds like America’s Most Wanted- want to acknowledge an individual performing exemplary service in a unique setting. Please feel free to send me an email to my firstname.lastname@example.org email address. I want to share your stories with INALJ’s readers, to inspire and highlight the efforts of librarians who are making an effort to forge a future for librarianship.
Thank you all for your continued patronage to INALJ!