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The bravery of librarians

20 May 2013 2 Comments

Two things caught my attentions over the past few days. The first was the text of a Graduation Address from Dorothea Salo to the graduating students of the Library and Information Sciences Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The second was a keynote from Chris Bourg, whose blog is entitled “Feral Librarian”, gave at The Acquisitions Institute.

Both focus on how the value of libraries and the value of those who defend the needs of all to access information are impossible to completely measure. Both offer a prescription of action and courage, in Dorothea Salo’s case the twin messages that librarians “aim to misbehave” and that “we’ve got each others back”, in Chris Bourg’s text quoting Henry Rollins also speaking to librarians “What you do is the definition of good. It’s very noble and you are very brave.”

What struck me was the question of how well we are helping these people. We seek to make scientific information free, for it flow easily to those who need it. What can we do to create a world where we need to rely less on the bravery of librarians and therefore benefit so much more from it?

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