Monday, December 19, 2005

Out of the loop

Wow! I've been buried in deadlines recently, and am just starting to get caught up on email lists and the biblioblogsphere. Have I been missing out!

On Web4Lib, there was a ruckus recently about activism, copyright, and free expression. It at times descended into obscenities and name-calling, but also raised a number of thought-provoking questions about the information landscape and the maintenance of relevant and professional forums for discussion about issues that librarians should care about.

The Shifted Librarian, Jenny Levine, with a reasonable concern about the lack of comping registration fees for invited speakers at library conferences, sparked a rousing debate about conference economics, the value of institutional support for professional development, and a librarian's responsibility to give back to the profession.

I'm taking all of this as a reminder to step back from the inevitible daily emergencies and petty disagreements to think about the larger issues: why I'm a librarian in the first place, how I can contribute to our shared mission, and what our users really need in this day and age. I'm going to take some time over the next few weeks, as I have some time off (in between all the writing I have been putting off!), to reflect on these issues and re-focus my work. I hope everyone out there has a similar opportunity.

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