The off-site storage policy of New York Public Library has stirred much public debate, and rightly so. I feel honored to live in a city that cares about its public library. I wont repeat the debate and will only say briefly that I personally have no problem with off-site storage. From what I tested, the turn-around time is pretty good and I feel the books are accessible. What I do take issue with is that all the books stored off-site do not circulate. To invoke the cliché, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? In other words, why can’t off-site books circulate, and why are so many book in-library use only? Once a book is delivered, why can’t I check it out? For example, Zygmunt Bauman is a contemporary socialist that has published widely on themes on post-modernism, modernity, liquid societies. He published 57 books and countless articles. Many of his popular books are available on Amazon but at NYPL, only two of the books circulate, and the others are all either off-site or in-library use only. Why don’t these books circulate? These are not books one can read at the library, these are not reference books; these are books you have to have by your side as you read them.
Another example: The Full Catastrophe, a book by David Carkeet, is a academic funny mystery novel with a linguistic twist. It’s fiction, it’s a novel, it’s mystery, it’s summer on-a-rainy-day upstate kind a book. What is it stored off-site and does listen? NYPL are you listening?
I’ll be giving the keynote address at the GL15 conference this winter in Bratislava (Slovakia) this Dec.
Hope to see you there.
First we are told that the conference theme is “Educational Entrepreneurship,” well within the scope of the ALISE audience. Then comes a more detailed description of topics of interest, which include
“original contributions including reports of research, theory, pedagogy, best practices,
think pieces, and critical essays […] Potential topics […] include but are not limited to:
Program revision; Curricular innovation; Program delivery; Innovative service learning
initiatives; High impact practices; Novel pedagogical approaches; Approaches to research.
So far this makes perfect sense to me, and as a library educator these topics are of interest. Then, again quite typically, comes the following:
Submissions should be original papers that have not been previously published. There are no
restrictions on research methodology. Alternative perspectives on educational entrepreneurship
in library and information science are welcomed and encouraged.
It is that first sentence of the section above that gives me reason to pause: submissions not previously published. ALISE does not publish conference proceedings—not on the conference website, as a monographic series, or as part of a journal. The conference program includes only extended abstracts, and papers “are eligible for consideration for the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science (JELIS) ‘best papers’ conference issue.”
It seems to me that in the spirit of Library and Information Science, papers should be made available as open-access publications on the conference website. Given that they are not, why does it matter whether they have been previously published? As a conference attendee I don’t mind if a paper has been published elsewhere. But as someone who is considering submitting a paper to the ALISE conference, I have little motivation to submit a previously unpublished paper that will not be disseminated beyond the score of people in the session.
As an information professional I support practices that allow for as much open access and as little gatekeeping of submissions as possible, and educate my students in that spirit. I would like my professional association to also share and act on such values.
On Thursday April 11, 2013, the government documents special interest group (GoDig) of METRO (The Metropolitan New York Library Council) held our spring meeting at the newly opened (May 2012) New York City visitors center.
But first, who we are: GoDig is a group of librarians who work in various libraries throughout the New York metropolitan area, and who in some way or another deal with government documents.
We include librarians from Brooklyn College, from New York Law School, from NYU, from SIBL, from Brooklyn Public Library, from Columbia, from SUNY Maritime, from City College, from Lehman College, from St. John’s University and from many others.
We are law librarians and data librarians and business librarians and public librarians and academic librarians. Two of us are currently members of the Depository Library Council (with my term ending in June).
We hold meetings twice a year. Usually we have an educational program followed by a business meeting in which we exchange news from our institutions and have a Q&A.
Last week we held our spring meeting at the New York City visitors center. The visitors center on Chamber street opened in May 2012 and is most known for its online photo gallery of 870,000 digitized photos is housed in a beautiful Beaux Arts marble building.
The meeting began with a lively 1:30h. discussion lead by a panel of 6, with active audience participation, about the challenges and best practices of working with government documents. We addressed issues such as demonstrating worth, tracking usage statistics, digitizing on demand, working with faculty, cataloging and weeding, and many more.
An outreach librarian from GPO participated via Skype.
After the program, we went on a behind the scenes tour of the NYC Visitors Center. We saw some fascinating artifacts in the exhibit, including the 9/11 flag, and the city “body book” (recording the bodies that passed through the city, listing in the volume we saw, Abraham Lincoln. Cause of death: Pistol shot) and then visited the photo conservation lab where microfilms are still made and which has its own darkroom, the paper conservation lab and the digitization lab where 870,000 photos were digitized.
Some pictures of the tour are available at our LibGuide
(see under File Repository tab).
We are now seeking suggestion for the fall program.
Please let us know what you want for the next session. If there are any topics you’d like to discuss, an educational session you are interested in, or if you have a library you would like to visit, or if you would like to host or help with the program, please get in touch with us.
How to best tell the story? Where to begin? What in the master story speaks to one and therefore makes one speak?
In “The particulars of rapture” Avivah Zornberg identifies the main themes of the numerous narratives of the Exodus story as redemption, revelation, betrayal, and the quest for “God in our midst.” [p. 2]
I confess to reading no further than the introduction, but that alone is so rich and thought provoking, it will fuel me for a while.
I wanted to find texts that reflect these themes, whether directly and indirectly, as I prepare for retelling the Exodus story at the seder on Monday. I chose to begin with a section from James Joyce’s Ulysses, which to me represents in the first part revelation, and in the second part redemption, and I will quote in full from the above edition:AND IT WAS THE FEAST OF THE PASSOVER
“He stayed in his walk to watch a typesetter neatly distributing type. Reads it backwards first. Quickly he does it. Must require so practice that, mangiD. kcirtaP. Poor papa, with his hagadah book, reading backwards with his finger to me. Pessach. Next year in Jerusalem. Dear, O dear! All that long business about that brought us out of the land of Egypt and into the house of bondage. alleluia. Shema Israel Adomai Elohenu. No, that’s the other. Then the twelve brothers, Jacob’s sons. And then the lamb and the cat and the dog and the stick and the water and the butcher and then the angel of death kills the butcher and he kills the ox and the dog kills the cat. Sounds a bit silly till you come to look into it well. Justice it means but it’s everyone eating everyone else. That’s what life is after all. How quickly he does that job. Practice makes perfect. Seems to see with his fingers.
Mr. Bloom passed on out of the clanking noises through the gallery on to the landing, Now I am going to tram it out all the way and then catch him out perhaps. Better phone him up first. Number? Same as Citron’s house. Twentyeight. Twentyeights double four. “ [p. 118]
There are many reasons I like the above section. Aside from its direct link to the Exodus story, I am familiar with the feeling the story invokes in Bloom as he observes the typesetter and his memories carry him back to his father reading the hagadah. The boy is terrified of the narrative because it is often a cruel and terrifying narrative, with many plagues and boils and all sorts of bad punishments. And you seem to get little in return for you suffering. Not only that, but, as Bloom points out, we are sitting here around this table as a direct consequence of that story. At this point I must return to Zornberg who reminds us [p.2] that the biblical text does not stand alone, that it is open to commentaries and intertextuality and finds meaning in isolated text.
It is thanks to this tradition that I can take Joyce’s text as representing the Exodus narrative and the feeling of terror I associate with the story. But if the direct consequence of those long ago events is what brought us “into the house of bondage” then it was worth the journey and if this is what we got in return for our suffering, then we did well.
So now, to the third grand theme of the Exodus story, betrayal. For betrayal I turn to a book that was never translated into English, so I will do my best to provide the background and text. Le’mor (to say) by Ariel Halperin, is a 118 p. long poem written in verse and divided in sections. The book was printed in a limited edition in 1986 by an independent bookstore in Jerusalem, and sold only in the bookstore. The book has long been out of print and the author never published literature again. The translation is mine and quite loose
“Every Passover I would hold back my tears until the time comes and the guests gathered at our house. We would eat large flat crackers and read the hagadah. On my feet were new shoes, always red, but the socks were white […] A lump would fill my throat, my suppressed tears, I knew the moment would come and I would have to ask. […] I open my mouth but the lump is deeper. Hoooow whispers a woman whose face I can’t recall, but whose voice, full of pity and compassion, released the squeaks from my throat while people looks away in embarrassment. […] Rare as miracles were the successes […] Why must I endure this year after year […].” [section 17]
And finally, to the last of the main themes of the Exodus narrative, “God in our midst” I want to remind my few readers about a staple of the Exodus story, and that is freedom. The Israelites leave Egypt as slaves and emerge after 40 years of wondering in the desert as a people. It is a story of liberation. Liberation, we are told by Alan Watts in the chapter Psychotherapy and Liberation in the book The couch and the tree is “the transformation of consciousness, of the inner feeling of one’s own existence; and second, the release of the individual from forms of conditioning imposed upon him by social institutions. “p. 80.
In this same collection, Akihisa Kondo discusses Karen Horney and says Horney “believed that when we become disillusioned of the idealized image of ourselves that handcuffs the development of our real self, our real self has a chance to grow. […]. From the Zen point of view, this is a fine step in discerning how grievously illusory are our idea about ourselves and our lives.”
Finding “God in our midst” is taken here as finding that chance to grow. The longest journey, said Dag Hammarsköld is the journey inward, and that is where the narrative of Exodus takes me and leaves me there to find the growth that is within.