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Our Own Selves: More Meditations for Librarians

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ALA Editions
7 12"
  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author

Amid thorny and challenging issues facing librarians today—technological changes, the pressures of multitasking, budget cuts, the PATRIOT Act, hassled customers, job insecurity—there's solace in realizing others experience similar frustrations.

In Our Own Selves, bestselling author, revered librarian, and ALA President Elect, Michael Gorman creates 100 new meditations specifically addressing the issues at the heart of the library profession. Reaffirming the value of librarianship and reintroducing the joys that make it unlike any other vocation, Gorman expands and follows up on his popular first collection of meditations, Our Singular Strengths (ALA Editions, 1997).

Gorman traverses broad swathes of ground, with such intriguing essays as:

  • Living with bibliomania
  • Four centuries of information overload
  • Micromanage this!
  • The belligerent librarian
  • The allure of paper
  • The curse of PowerPoint

Each reflective essay opens with a quote and concludes with a "Resolution," all in a succinct meditation for a quick mental pick-up. The affirmations that conclude each meditation present attitudes and actions that are potent reminders: librarians are far from helpless in addressing these challenging times in their profession.

Introduction xi
Acknowledgments xiii

Reading and Books
Head, Heart, and Hand 3
The Fragile Human Record 5
Word Pictures 7
Choice of Reading 8
Another "Virtual Library 10
Living with Bibliomania 12
Alone and Never Alone 14
Living Things 16
The Power of Children's Books 18
Four Centuries of Information Overload 20

The Quincy Library Group 25
Old Library, New Museum 27
The Library Hotel 29
Frank's Library 31
The School Library 33
Trains and Boats and Planes 35
Ancient and Modern 37
The Southern California Library 39
The Bodleian Library 41
The Ventriloquist and the Boston Public Library 43

Colleagues in Schism 47
The Life of the Mind 49
Micromanage This! 51
L. Stanley Jast 53
The Library "Character" 55
What's in a Title? 57
Librarians in History 59
"The Amherst Tales" 61
Vartan Gregorian 63
A Good Gray Profession 65

The Absurdities of Censorship 69
Culture, High and Low 71
The Limits of Intellectual Freedom? 73
Patriotic Acts? 75
The Bibliosphere 77
Rules of Conduct 79
Looking Backward, Living Forward 81
The Greater Good 83
Data Protection 85
Civil Rights 87

Library Services
Many Tongues 91
Libraries Unplugged? 93
The Cataloguer 95
The Belligerent Librarian 97
Storehouse of the Human Record 99
Information Commons 101
The Human Factor 103
What Is a Librarian? 105
The Lapsed Cataloguer 107
The Death of the Reference Book 109

Then and Now
Through the Years 113
1086 and All That 115
Libraries and the Internet 117
A Library Quarterly 119
Another Library Quarterly 122
Educating Librarians 125
The Beginning of the Global Village 127
On the Burning of Books 129
The Core of Our Profession 131
Bastille Day 133

The Allure of Paper 137
The Dangerous Enticements of Predictions 139
The Quest for Authenticity 141
The Changing Freshman 143
Unitask Me . . . Please! 145
The Never-Fading Image 147
What Is a Document? 149
Books of Photographs 151
Filters 153
Information Technology 155

Fund-Raising 159
Maps 161
Doing a Lot 163
The Curse of PowerPoint 165
A Virtual Alexandria? 167
Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral 169
The Little Engine That Sometimes Couldn't 171
Black Swans 173
No Child Left Unhurried 175
Avert the Boots! 177

The Eightfold Path
The Fourth Noble Truth 181
Right View and Right Understanding 183
Right-Directed Thought 185
Right Speech 187
Right Action 189
Right Livelihood 191
Right Effort 193
Proper Mindfulness 195
Right Concentration 197
The Golden Rule 199

This and That
Serendipity-doo-dah 203
Bright, Shiny, and Evanescent 205
Blogs 207
Beyond the Boundaries 209
Singing the Library 211
Rocks of Ages 213
The People's Information 215
Music Librarians 218
Hispanic, Latino, Chicano? 220
Retirement 223

Michael Gorman

Michael Gorman, dean of libraries at California State University at Fresno, has worked in libraries for some four decades on two continents. He is coauthor with Walt Carwford of the best-selling Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness, and Reality (ALA Editions, 1995). A shaper of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, he has won numerous awards and honors, including the Melvil Dewey Medal.