Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Marian the Cybrarian

A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education by an English professor, mounts a stirring defense of librarians and libraries--even claiming that the library profession has never been so vital and valuable as now when it is facing budget cuts.

The article begins with personal observations including the "beer test": "They are among the most likeable people you'll find at any college. They have the intellectual curiosity of academics without the aloofness and attitude often displayed by professors."

The book moves on to summarize a recent book spelling out the case for libarians in the future:

Marilyn Johnson. This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All (HarperCollins, 2010).

Much of the review is given over to the response of the director of the Harvard Library to an unnamed scientist who suggested that Harvard deal with its budget problems by dumping the contents of the Widener Library in the Charles River. The response, exhibiting "balance" and "control" reviews a number of issues familiar to the library community. Of unexpected prominence is the suggestion for faculty and even student researchers to post their finding directly online--with the aid of librarians--and thus circumvent the time-consuming and exclusive avenue of journal publishing. The full article can be found here:

Benton, Thomas H. "Marian the Cybrarian." Chronicle of Higher Education May 20, 2010.


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