Library Juice 6:9, April 17, 2003


1. The looting and burning of Iraq's National Library
2. Links
3. The role of the ALA Web Site Advisory Committee
4. Reaction to Lib. Juice editorial on SLA "branding" name change
5. Obit: Seymour Lubetzky
6. Letter to the Editor of The Nation, published Nov. 7, 1912

Quote for the week:

"Thus in an age of specialization, of social fragmentation, the library,
like the communication system of which it is a part, can become a great
cohesive force at a time when social cohesion is most vital. But unlike
the mass media of communication it need not be an instrument for the
achievement of conformity. It is, and should remain, the stronghold of
individualism. Whereas the mass media, the newspaper, radio, television,
are declaratory, the library is interrogative. To the library men come
seeking truth, each in his own way for his own ends. In the library
the patron is not told what to think or when to think it, but in his search
each must discover for himself the thoughts and opinions of others and
try to understand them, to appreciate them for what they are, even though
he may not share them. The library, then, must be a force for understanding,
for cohesion, in a world of antagonisms, conflict, and specialization, but
it must be a unifying, not a homogenizing force. The social role of the
library is a very complex role and the responsibilities which society,
often quite unwittingly, has placed upon it are very heavy. Certainly
there is no one library form that can achieve them all; there must be many
types of libraries to assume so varied a burden. But there is a unity in
the library process as an agent of communication. In the character of that
unity lies the key to the dilemma which the library faces today."

- Jesse Shera, _The Foundations of Education for Librarianship_, (1972:
John Wiley and Sons), p. 108. (This is a really great book, by the way.)

Homepage of the week: Step Schmitt


1. The looting and burning of Iraq's National Library

Articles, statements, press releases, compilations, etc.:

New York Times, April 16

Robert Fisk in the April 15 Independent

Oliver Burkeman in the April 15 Guardian,3604,936943,00.html

H-MUSEUM: Iraq - The cradle of civilization at risk

The 2003 Iraq War & Archaeology

ICOM Press Release: Looting of the Iraqi Cultural Heritage

The threat to world heritage in Iraq (independent site from Oxford)

Archaeological Institute of America: Open Declaration on Cultural Heritage
at Risk in Iraq


IFLA announcement


Statement from Tom Twiss, of SRRT's International Responsibilities Task
Force, to the GODORT list:

The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the
Event of Armed Conflict
( recognizes the
obligation of an occupying power "to prohibit, prevent and, if
necessary, put a stop to any form of theft, pillage or misappropriation
of, and any acts of vandalism directed against, cultural property."
Unfortunately, the U.S, has never ratified this convention. But even
Colin Powell seems to recognize the U.S. has responsibilities in this
regard, promising the U.S, would "recover that which has been taken and
also participate in restoring that which has been
broken"( He
doesn't explain how you restore unique, priceless treasures that have
been burned or smashed to smithereens.

As far as librarians are concerned, it seems that IFLA is already
involved ( ALA as an
organization should also play a leading role in this. Perhaps GODORT
could endorse a resolution deploring the destruction of cultural
resources in the current war, and offering ALA assistance? Besides
that, there is an idea floating around on the ALA Council list and the
SRRTAC-L list, actually proposed a few weeks ago, for a fundraiser at
ALA on behalf of Iraqi libraries.


Tom Twiss
Government Information Librarian
G-22 Hillman Library
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

E-mail: ttwiss[at]
Phone: (412) 648-7730
FAX: (412) 648-7733


Message from Dan Mitchel, originally sent to a law librarians' list

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 09:34:34 -0700

Subject: Iraq National Library--anybody want to help rebuild?

A national library (and a national museum) have been completely destroyed.
Imagine in your mind if this were to be the Library of Congress and the
Smithsonian, only seven or eight hundred years older. This is not a
nation's loss, it is humanity's loss.

Now the available option is: can we help rebuild it?

If memory serves, the Code of Hamurabi is the oldest known law collection
of humanity.

So do law librarians feel anything at all about losing their most senior

I feel a need to rebuild.

Daniel Mitchel, reference librarian, Sacramento, CA
"Mitchel, Dan" <dmitchel[at]>

2. Links


Get your war on - page twenty-three


Marginal Librarian 10:2

[ Rob Rao ]


Librarians Use Shredder to Show Opposition to New F.B.I. Powers

[ Jenna Freedman ]


EEI21 - MEMPHIS - 2003

[ Les Pourciau ]

Where Did All the Books Go? [Syllabus]

[ Library Link of the Day - ]


National Women's History Project

[ Scout Report ]


Town ordinance penalizes officials who cooperate with Patriot Act

[ Jenna Freedman ]


ALA Site blocked by Google's Filter

This fact is included in the following two articles about Google's "safesearch"

[ Karen Schneider ]


Tattered Cover title finally revealed
(It's a book about calligraphy!),1413,36%257E53%257E1328590,00.html

[ Karen Schneider ]


the poetry of donald rumsfeld

[ found surfing ]


Get Ready for Patriot II

[ Rebekah Kilzer ]


Preserve Library Funding! (In Ohio)

[ Cathy Norman ]


Public Libraries and Intellectual Freedom (revisited)

[ Don Wood ]


How Not to Redesign a Website - by Marylaine Block

[ ]

3. The role of the ALA Web Site Advisory Committee

The following is a URL to the web page for the ALA Web Site Advisory
Committee on the new ALA website. The committee was charged to advise ALA
in the development of the new site, respresenting the interests of the

This impossibly long URL serves to exhibit just one problem with the
redesign of the site, which has been much commented on in angry listserv
discussions. Obviously, librarians like to provide usable URL's via email
or over the phone. The URL's on the new site are not well suited to the
needs of librarians.

I will not go into a critique of the new site point by point - I'll just
mention at the outset that users are finding numerous problems with it, and
are asking the question, "Why wasn't this site tested before it went live?"

I was appointed by Mitch Freedman to be the chair of the Web Site Advisory
Committee, so some degree of responsibility seems to devolve upon me. For
that reason I feel that I should report on the experience of the committee.

Fred Stielow was the committee chair before me. He first alerted me to the
difficulty the committee faced in terms of getting a fair hearing from ALA staff.
His feeling was that the website redesign process was a staff-driven affair
and that the committee's recommendations were often ignored. He expressed
this view to the committee's listserv in March of 2002, when the basic
design concept was "signed off" on and the design firm, Active Matter,
entered into contract.

The first set of design proofs from Active Matter, representing the
essential structure of the site, were approved (by ALA staff) in May of
2002. All input or comments from the committee were required by then (with
minor adjustments possible later). But it wasn't until the midwinter
meeting in 2003 that the committee was actually able to preview the site -
and then only in limited PowerPoint form. And even then, the site had only
incorporated some of the committee's recommendations. (The committee was
never made aware of the extremely lengthy URL's of the new site, and thus
wasn't able to comment on them.)

Among the committee's concerns, dating back to mid-2002 (with Fred Stielow
as Chair), that were never fully addressed were: the orientation of the site
to the general public rather than members; more than lip service to
accessibility issues; treating site users as customers rather than
constituents; and concern that the project not be rushed and the need for
a timeline with clear stages. Another concern which emerged later, during
my term as chair, was the need for usability testing. This recommendation
was somewhat resisted, because Active Matter does their own design work and
presented the committee and staff with design options according to our
suggestions, but did not open up the design process beyond that. The idea
of usability testing further down the road was accepted non-commitally.

Active Matter, I should note, is a web design firm specializing in large
associations, non-profits, and government sites. They boast in their
marketing literature that they can "maximize non-dues revenue." To the
extent that non-dues revenues are maximized, the influence of members in
an association is minimized. Maximizing non-dues revenue has been a
priority of ALA staff for some time, because of the cost of many of ALA's
activities (admittedly popular with members).

I don't want to bash ALA staff here unfairly. I have good working
relationships with a number of ALA staff members and find them very helpful
in assisting with the work of ALA, which is the work of the members. But I
think it is possible to diagnose a problem affecting the staff of the
organization, which is that ALA staff seem to regard themselves as ALA
itself, and see the membership as something of an adjunct, or as a body of
customers whom it is important to please. The fact of the matter, which is
in some danger of being lost, is that ALA members constitute ALA, and ALA
staff are there to assist the members in ALA's work. This is an important
thing to remember when thinking about many problems which crop up in ALA.

I point this out because the bad experience we have had with the new
website design is a good example of the danger of staff-driven processes
which don't sufficiently involve the membership or its representatives. If
the Web Site Advisory Committee had been afforded better information and
had been more empowered throughout the process, the semi-disaster of the
new site could have been avoided. It might have taken an additional year
to reach the launch date, but the resulting site would probably have been
better than another year of work can make the existing site, based on the
design by Active Matter.

I think we should take this experience as an opportunity to re-examine the
relationship between ALA staff and membership groups, and to raise
questions about how ALA functions and is governed in terms of staff-driven
versus member-driven processes.

- Rory Litwin, 2002-2003 ALA Web Site Advisory Committee Chair

4. Reaction to Lib. Juice editorial on SLA "branding" name change

In the last issue I began an item on the proposed SLA name change with
the following editorial comments:


I say, let them drop the world "library" from their name. We all
benefit when a spade is called a spade. I know that many of their
members work in government libraries, in news libraries, and in
non-profit institutions, where they really do manage libraries that
deserve to be called such, or at least struggle to; libraries that bear
an actual relationship to the concept that motivates us, guides us, and
provides us with a model to bring to other fields in society. But most
of them are corporate servants, who want an association that is actively,
resolutely pro-capitalist - hence the leadership role of the "Association
Branding Task Force." Their "information centers" really aren't
libraries by another name - they are in actuality something different with
which its best if we aren't associated by any claim of their being represented
by a "library association." Let them disassociate themselves from us
out of "embarrassment."

So, leave us free, SLA, to preserve culture and protect democracy and
rational discourse without our intentions being confused by your oxymoronic
"corporate libraries."

Have a pleasant brand.



These comments generated heated discussion and some anger among special
librarians, some of whom were understandably offended. I now think that
my comments were too provocative, and I should have held in check my disgust,
however well-founded, with the idea of an "Association Branding Task Force."
I have several corporate librarians as acquaintances and can't fault them
as individuals for their choice of employment. Many factors go into a
person's decision about where to work. Also, profit oriented organizations
vary considerably in their behavior in the social context.

The following is a selection of some of the discussion generated by my
comments, with some responses from me to one Stephen Abram.


From Eli Edwards ...

Dear Rory,

Thanks for including information about the SLA branding issue in Library
Juice. And while I can appreciate your sentiments below to some degree,
I think it may be a bit too soon to give up the ghost.

First of all, changing the name may not be as easy as it sounds. There
are two votes: one to choose between "SLA" and "Information
Professionals International", determined by a simple majority. The
other vote is to actually change the name from "Special Libraries
Association" and that requires a 2/3s yes vote in order to pass.
Whether 2/3s of the attendees at the Conference will want to change the
name is an interesting question.

In addition, as you mention below, there are many librarians who are
part of "the Association" who are proud to call themselves librarians
and want to retain the "Libraries" as an explicit core of the

Finally, and personally, I feel it will be a serious error to re-brand
SLA into "Information Professionals International". I have nothing
against those who don't see themselves as librarians, and I applaud the
Association's efforts to be seen as an international association. But
to change "Special Libraries Association" to something that has no
reference to libraries or librarians has major negative connotations for
librarianship. The Branding Task Force has said the following in
regards to the current name:

"A) The name "Special Libraries Association, Inc." is irredeemably
broken and cannot be repaired without excessive effort and dollars in
building new meaning into the brand (and there is no guarantee that it
would work or that we have a long enough window of opportunity to make
the resuscitation succeed). After two years of thinking on this issue,
the Task Force is resolute that this is the case."

I disagree with this as a point of fact, and I find fault with the
implications of the above statement regarding the use of "libraries" to
describe the association. I will admit to being a new and relatively
uninformed member of SLA, who only has a basic grasp of the troubles the
Association is going through. But I think the concept of libraries can
grow and expand in its competencies while anchoring its practitioners in
the core values we proudly associate with librarianship.

But by distancing ourselves from these terms, we risk a self-fulfilling
prophecy of feeding the perception that "librarianship," as opposed to
"information management" is too old, too static and too insular to
attract talented, innovative people. If there is a growing perception
that the word "libraries" is considered by some to be tainted,
overloaded with stereotypes and assumptions that make it undesirable for
attracting those who deal with information
management/architecture/systems, wouldn't it be more inclusive to
educate and break down those stereotypes?

I'm sure that the proponents of the name change to IPI would and do
proclaim strenuously and sincerely that they mean no slight to the
library community. But for the Association to disassociate itself from
"libraries" is a major injury to the community. How can we claim to
uphold the values of librarianship when we turn our backs on its very
name? I think that if the name is changed to IPI, the change will
further marginalize and stereotype librarians and strain relations
between the various library associations. That's the very last thing
that libraries and librarians of all types need in the current
political, social and cultural environment.



[SRRTAC-L:10609] egads - SLA
Date: Sun, 06 Apr 2003 11:50:10 +1000
From: fiona.bradley[at] (Fiona Bradley)
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]>
Reply to: srrtac-l[at]

I just read through the latest Juice with the story about the SLA's name
change. I think I'm going to throw up. I went to their website and am
currently reading through the pros and cons of changing the name and I
happened upon this paragraph:

"There is a significant group who want a more traditional choice. These
largely pool in the academic, non-profit or over 55 segments. "

Snort. I work in a government news library, and I'm well and truly under
55. And since when does age matter in regard to opinion, anyway? Have
these people read the literature warning special libraries not to go to
far in becoming 'resources' and 'centres' since they'll just get replaced
by Lexis-Nexis? The library I work for is officially called the "Radio
Resource Centre", a name that no-one likes and everyone just calls us the
library anyway. That's what we are.

"Information Professionals International"??? Ok, since when was it
decided that librarians are once and for all information professionals?
Most librarians have a very flimsy grasp (myself included I freely admit)
of cognitive studies and behavioural disciplines dealing with how people
use information. This isn't about some survey of 5 library 'customers'
asking them how they use the catalogue. There are a few researchers in
librarianship that have a firm grasp, like Brenda Dervin, but they are
largely few and far between. Information professionals are, IMHO,
cognitive scientists. To call ourselves that is an insult to the
true professionals I think.

And furthermore, how can they call themselves Information Professionals
when no-one is willing to tackle the fundamental assumptions of
information seeking behaviour in the workplace! The near to complete
absence of literature exploring these issues (save for a few about
Internet inforrmation behaviour and behaviour of geologists) says it
all. And as for workplace information literacy? Forget it, it's not there.

This sort of thing makes me more and more anxious to get out of specials
and into academic. Rory is right in that most librarians in this field
are in profit making organisations and such. I agree and furthermore I
believe that a lot of what the almost no longer SLA is proposing is in
fact the antithesis of what librarianship is truly about.



RE: [sla-dlmd] To my fellow 'corporate slaves' in SLA
Date: Tue, 08 Apr 2003 09:05:54 -0400
From: "Feltes, Carol Ann" <carol_feltes[at]>
To: "'Library Management Division'" <sla-dlmd[at]>
Cc: "'rory[at]'" <rory[at]>

Thank you, David Hook. I have been a corporate librarian - a REAL librarian
- for 25 years, and am proud of the skill and value I have brought to my
organizations. And I have met so many wonderful, talented, dedicated
"corporate" librarians. Corporate librarians, because of the nature of the
organizations for which they work, have more difficulty participating in
meetings, activities, and training, where they can network and mingle with
librarians from other areas of our profession. This can sometimes create an
unwarranted impression that corporate librarians are aloof, or do not place
themselves among others in the profession. We must all make an effort to be
inclusive, to not be hasty to judge colleagues, and to foster unity within
the profession. I think your comments help. Amen.

Carol Feltes

-----Original Message-----
From: David Hook [mailto:DHOOK[at]]
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2003 8:56 AM
To: Library Management Division
Subject: [sla-dlmd] To my fellow 'corporate slaves' in SLA

I never like to see negative press written about librarians, but it annoys
me particularly when it comes from someone inside the profession.

In this month's Library Juice, the editor comments about SLA's proposed name
change (and believe it or not, I'm not actually going to comment on the name
change issue this time). As an outsider, the editor is for the name change
because he/she feels that most of SLA are "corporate slaves", that corporate
libraries "really aren't libraries" (in fact he/she calls the term
'corporate library' 'oxymoronic') and that the rest of the library world
would be better off not associating themselves with SLA. The editorial can
be viewed here:

Now, take with a grain of salt the fact that Library Juice is highly
political and the editor's extreme political leanings are well, sometimes
pretty extreme, but is creating a division among the profession a
constructive thing? Is there a widespread elitist view out there that those
librarians working in the public and academic spheres are somehow better
than corporate librarians because their employers don't turn a profit? Are
their clients more important than our clients? I wonder if public
librarians who feel this way refuse to help members of the small business
community, or if academic librarians give preferential treatment to
philosophy students over MBA students. If this viewpoint does exist out
there, are we doing anything to fix it ? Should we be doing anything to fix
it? It's bad enough that we have perception problems coming from outside
the profession, but from inside as well?

If you would like to voice your opinion to the editor (I've already sent my
comments), send email to rory[at]


Dave Hook, P.Eng, MISt
MD Robotics Ltd.
Phn: (905) 790-2800 x4108
Fax: (905) 790-4423
Email: 'dhook' at ''


Letter to the Library Juice Editor
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 10:09:56 -0400
From: "Stephen Abram" <sabram[at]>
To: <rory[at]>
Cc: "SLA LMD (E-mail)" <sla-dlmd[at]>, "SLA Toronto (E-mail)"
<sla-ctor[at]>, "Bill Fisher (E-mail)" <fisher[at]>,
"Carol Ginsburg (E-mail)" <clgmls[at]>, "Cindy Romaine (E-mail)"
<cindy.romaine[at]>, "David Stern (E-mail)" <david.e.stern[at]>,
"Holly Bussey (E-mail)" <hbussey[at]>, "Lynn Smith (E-mail)"
<LYNN[at]>, "Neil Infield" <n.infield[at]>


I'm a long time subscriber to Library Juice. I admire it for its point
of view and the level of debate that it covers in our profession.

That said, your recent editorial about special librarians was not worthy
of you or your publication.

In my volunteer roles and travels as an elected member of the executives
for the Ontario Library Association, Canadian Library Association and
Special Libraries Association I have often promoted the concept that
all librarians are in this professional boat together. I served on
inter-association task force on the image of the librarian and
information professional and I learned a great deal about many
sectors of librarianship and the emerging new practice areas, changes
to traditional practice and how we might need to explore our responses
to these changes. I also saw that our users and publics don't make the
fine differentiations that we make on type of library practice, sector
or education. Our professional image and value rises and falls together.
The value and images of librarians in all sectors are tied together.
It's impossible to point to one sector of librarianship and say "Your
side of the boat is sinking!"

Your recent editorial - where an entire sector of our profession, special
librarianship, was stereotyped and their behaviours and motivations
generalized and denigrated - was pretty fundamentally offensive. In my
country, publishing this sort of argument can be deemed unlawful hate with
respect to religions, genders, ethnicity or race. Most of us try to aspire
to this higher standard for all of our dealing with various sectors,
industries and professions. Across SLA in particular, the discussion lists
are bubbling with anger at being slammed by such a prejudiced, bigoted and
puerile editorial. I don't think you deserve this for your body of work but
for this particular piece their opinions are pretty on point. No one likes
to be the target of unfair comment, let alone uninformed and negative
generalizations and attacks.

As chair of the task force on the branding initiative at the Special Libraries
Association, I wanted to inform you that our task force recommendation was to
give our members a choice and a vote on this issue. The vote is between two
names and keeping the current name. There are arguments and reasons for
every option. However, this naming issue has been floating about SLA for
over 20 years. We felt, after three years of research and discussion, that
it was time for the members to decide. I doubt you're against this
democratic method as required by our association's constitutional framework
despite your characterization of our association as undemocratic!

We also felt that the association was ready for a period of informed debate
leading to a vote. So far, with few exceptions, the debate within the
association has been thoughtful, informed and eloquent. Members have sought
to understand and decide how to vote. Their passion for their profession
and their association is clear. Your contribution has likely served to be
a divisive tract that serves only to create disharmony and misinformation
in our entire profession. You say you promote 'rational discourse'. This
editorial does not show any evidence that this is true. That is regrettable.



Stephen Abram, MLS
President 2002 Ontario Library Association
President-elect 2003 Canadian Library Association
Chair, SLA Branding Task Force
Vice President, Corporate Development
Micromedia ProQuest
20 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5C 2N8

        Phone   (416) 369-2594 
        Fax     (416) 362-1699 or 362-5743 
        Toll free    1-800-387-2689 ext. 2594 
        E-mail  sabram[at] 


Re: Letter to the Library Juice Editor
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 08:08:34 -0700
From: Rory Litwin <rlitwin[at]> (
To: "Stephen Abram" <sabram[at]>
Cc: rlitwin[at]


Thank you for your email. I had no idea the reactions to my editorial
comments were so strong. I have received three other emails on this.
Yours and another were the result of discussion on SLA lists. Another was
from a library student who is an SLA member, and very intelligently
defended special librarians as a group and informed me a little better
about the name-change issue (she is against the name change). A third was
from a fellow Leftist who supported my views. If you don't object, I would
like to publish your letter in the next Library Juice, along with some
furfher, clarifying comments from me and a couple of other letters.

A little clarification right now. I feel badly about insulting special
librarians individually. I have a number of colleagues working in various
types of special libraries, and I do see myself in the same profession that
they are in. I have been a temporary worker in a corporate library (albeit
one that was about to be closed, its librarians rehired to do competitive
intelligence), and I know that the people who worked there saw themselves
as librarians, though they might not anymore.

I also understand that SLA is a diverse organization representing librarians
at different types of institutions - not all of them for-profit businesses
- and I did make this clear in my comments.

But you should understand from your past subscription that Library Juice is
intended to promote a particular concept of libraries in which the public
funding, open access, and cultural - rather than instrumental - function of
libraries are core. Public and academic libraries have as their mission the
education of the public for democracy in a way that corporate libraries do
not. (This does not imply a characterization of SLA as undemocratic, by
the way.) Most of my colleagues in public and acadmic libraries were drawn
to the profession because of this core mission and because of the role of
libraries (public and acadmic) in society. Most of us simply would not and
could not work in corporate libraries. (Could we work in other areas of
the profession served by SLA? Absolutely. But it is a question of what
ways of thinking dominate in your association.)

In the American Library Association, an "Association Branding Task Force"
wouldn't last two weeks, as middle of the road as ALA is sometimes
criticized as being. More to the point, the notion of removing the word
"Library" from the name of our association simply could not be entertained,
as the concept of Libraries and the idea of librarians as librarians is
sacred, for reasons having to do with a set of values underlying our
profession (as we see it) which is simply out of place in a for-profit

So the fact that there is a difference, if not a division, should be

While I wrote in favor of the name change, I have to admit that I would be
pleased if SLA members proved me wrong and voted to retain the word
"Libraries" in the name. It would force me to look at the Assocation and
corporate librarians in a different way.

Sincerely, Rory Litwin


RE: Letter to the Library Juice Editor
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 11:58:57 -0400
From: "Stephen Abram" <sabram[at]>
To: "Rory Litwin" <rlitwin[at]>

Feel free to use my e-mail in a coming issue.

I agree that ALA (and the other national and state/provincial 'library'
association) should not change their names. That would be pretty
inappropriate. Those organizations actually do represent libraries and
library issues. I think that their views generally support the employer
over the employee most days. However there is a big difference between
an association that is driven by institutional needs and an association
of librarians (such as SLA) that only has personal memberships and no
institutional members. At some point the association name should reflect
the librarian or, more broadly, information professionals - especially
when a significant number practice librarianship outside of the 'library'
setting. It's a shame that so many in our profession (which already sadly
has a pretty thick glass ceiling) choose to build a thick glass box around
the opportunities you can exploit as an MLS. I have had colleagues tell me
that I am no longer a librarian because I no longer work in a traditional
library. Amazing! And totally stupid. I wield some influence to bring
the librarian perspective into the product development environment and I
think that's valuable. If accountants were told they weren't accountants
when they became presidents of banks, and engineers were told they weren't
engineers anymore when they lead oil companies and doctors were told that
they couldn't be called doctor anymore as soon as they lead a research
foundation or hospital, there would be surprise and it wouldn't last long.
As Eugenie Prime (librarian at HP) says, she's always surprised at the puny
visions of some of our colleagues who don't see the wealth of opportunity
and influence they can have that is underpinned by a library education.
There will always be those dead weights in any profession. I love the old
quote "Would those who say it can't be done get out of the way of those of
us who are already doing it." It's a shame that too many in our profession
have such a narrow view of their opportunities and potential.



Re: Letter to the Library Juice Editor
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 12:11:21 -0700
From: Rory Litwin <rlitwin[at]> (
To: "Stephen Abram" <sabram[at]>
Cc: rlitwin[at]


You may share this response...

I agree that your association probably represents employees more than
employers, in contrast to ALA. This is something which I believe most ALA
members envy in SLA to some degree. I also agree that your association's
name should reflect what its members call themselves. If a majority of
them are called something other than librarians, let them change the name
of the association accordingly. If workers who have been given a new title
and new responsibilities still want to consider themselves librarians, then
this is a fact worth understanding in terms of its causes and implications.

I want to point out that there are two major areas of associated meaning in
the word "librarian": that of values, which are my primary concern, and
that of technique, which I believe is what you have mostly addressed. Both
are areas where the profession has been exposed to pressures and has changed.

In terms of technique, "Library" and "Librarian" as concepts can be seen to

a) The old and musty, the pre-internet, the slow, the "unchanged," or
b) Something broader, more open to change and more progressive than people
often realize

In terms of values, "Library" and "Librarian" as concepts can be seen to

a) The public sphere, open access, preservation of culture, active
protection and promotion of democracy and civil liberties
b) Something broader than that, and more open to change, potentially
welcoming of privatization and market liberalization, and centrally defined
simply by techniques and processes of information organization and
retrieval according to any values at work in an organization.

I believe that it is important as we debate this issue of the word "Library"
to distinguish between the technical and the ethical connotations of the
word. It is especially challenging to do this after such a long period in
which propaganda has connected the ideas of market liberalization and
privatization to the ideas of change, progress and technology. In reality,
there is no such necessary connection, and not necessarily an actual
connection, either. The internet revolution was the result of a
combination of government funding an an open system of scientific
information sharing in which, for the most part, intellectual property
rights were not pursued or defended. So market liberalization,
privatization and the private sphere should not be connected automatically
to the ideas of progress, change, technology, doing things in a new way,
flattened organizations, thinking outside of the box, etcetera, all of
which are excellent.

Now, the question that remains for many people who see this distinction is:
Which ideas are most strongly, or irreversably, connected to the word
"librarian," and which represent areas where the public's idea of "Library"
and "Librarian" can be changed or is changing? I have an opinion on this
question, and it is this. I believe that the idea of libraries and librarians
representing a shared, public resource, providing a service for society as a
whole, a benevolent institution, is inseparable from the words "library" and
"librarian" themselves, and cannot be replaced by a strictly instrumental
definition. I further believe that the idea of libraries as stodgy, musty
places where everything is done in the old ways by stodgy, musty people can
be overcome and is in fact passing from the scene, as a result of public
awareness of new services, public awareness that libraries can be electronic,
and public awareness of the enthusiasm of younger, stereotype-busting librarians.
At the same time, I think the public, in its disinfatuation with the internet
after the dot com bust, has reawakened to the lasting value of the printed word.
This is just my opinion, but I think you can see how it is a perspective that
would welcome SLA's dropping the word "Libraries" from its name, as well as
welcoming strong support within SLA for retaining the word "library" if it's
for a particular reason: the desire to be connected in some way to public
institutions, and to bring that connection into their own institutions
(corporations, non-profits, whatever they may be).

Rory Litwin


Date: Tue, 08 Apr 2003 12:58:04 -0500
From: "Jerry Baldwin" <jerry.baldwin[at]>
To: <rlitwin[at]>

I forgot to CC you on this:

From: Jerry Baldwin
To: sla-dlmd[at]
Date: 4/8/03 12:19PM
Subject: Re: [sla-dlmd] FW: Letter to the Library Juice Editor

At the risk of offending, something I seem to excel at even when not
intended, I feel a need to comment that one of the hallmarks of a
professional is the upholding and enforcement (i.e., "professing") of
the values of the profession regardless of the setting in which the
profession is practiced.

With that in mind, it might be more evident why Rory, I, and other
professional librarians might take umbrage at what might be taken to be
an attempt by one group of professionals to distance itself from the
profession as a whole. Unfortunately, this professional concern has
been labeled "emotional" by those who favor a name change for the
association. Unlike Rory, I see nothing in the corporate environment
preventing professional librarians from working to "preserve culture and
protect democracy and rational discourse." In fact, working within the
corporation can provide a professional librarian a much more challenging
and rewarding ground to profess these values than the comparatively more
sheltered environment in academe or in public library settings. And,
unlike members of the Branding Task Force, I see nothing in either of
the proposed alternative names that will assist this cause or advance
other professional values.


"I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness
about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the
future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries."

Carl Sagan, in "Cosmos," 1980.


Jerry Baldwin, Library Director
Mn/DOT Library, M.S. 155
Minnesota Department of Transportation
395 John Ireland Boulevard
Saint Paul, MN 55155
651-297-4532, Fax: 651-297-2354


5. Obit: Seymour Lubetzky

Seymour Lubetzky
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 11:12:46 +0200 (METDST)
To: ifla-l[at]

The library world mourns the passing of Seymour Lubetzky. His was a great
mind, which focused on the problems of cataloging, changed that discipline
from a rote mastery of rules to a creative activity. He will be remembered
for his incisive critique of the 1949 A.L.A. Cataloging Rules for Author
and Title Entries, which began with the famous question "Is This Rule
Necessary?" and for the distinction he made between the Work and the Book,
a distinction that epitomizes the catalogue's objective to bring like
information together. During the late forties and fifties his thinking
dominated Anglo-American cataloguing and during the sixties it came to
dominate cataloguing worldwide. And it influences us still, in that the
philosophy and methodologies he introduced transcend their period and will
be forever part of the intellectual foundation of cataloguing.

Lubetzky died on April the 5th, shortly before his 105th birthday. His
mind remained active. Just prior to his death he was pondering the
relationship between the book and life.

A memorial service will be held at the Hillside Memorial Park Chapel, 6001
Centinella Ave. on Sunday, April 13 at 2 pm.

Letters and cards of condolence can be sent to:

The Lubetzkys
c/o David Lubetzky
1250 H Street NW, Suite #901
Washington, D.C. 20005


6. Letter to the Editor of The Nation, published Nov. 7, 1912

Sir: In a volume published last year, entitled "Facts for Freshmen
Concerning the University of Illinois," there occurs, in the chapter on
Library Science, the following sentence: "There is a saying that 'the
librarian who reads is dead,' which means that the up-to-date librarian
is too busy to find time to read books; he must know what is in them
without reading them." Aside from the fact that the saying is wrongly
quoted and wrongly applied, whoever penned the above sentence is
preaching a false philosophy.

There is a tendency, I know, among librarians who regard themselves as
"up to date" to deprecate, consciously or not, the fundamentals of
librarianship, and to suppose that a librarian must be an administrator
and nothing else. Let it be said once for all that no one is a true
librarian who is not a lover and student of books. That he must be an
administrator besides is another matter - he must be both. If he is
not a student and lover of books he will never be able to find out
"what is in books without reading them."

There is a legend about Justin Winsor that he could get the meat out of
a book merely by glancing at the title page, preface, and index, and
dipping into the text here and there. Therefore, so runs the popular
application, this trick is the first that the tyro should learn. When,
however, Justin Winsor learned the trick, he had behind him a lifetime
as a student of books.

"The librarian who reads is lost," wrote Mark Pattison in his life of
Issac Casaubon, that is: the librarian who reads, and reads, and does
nothing more, is lost as far as a real understanding of his function
goes. The saying has been repeated again and again since that day, in
decrying the old-fashioned librarian, who regards himself as a watchdog
of the books in his charge. The saying speaks the truth - as far as it
goes. But when it is used for the purpose of demonstrating that
librarians do not need to know anything but methods and technique, then
it is made to preach a false philosophy.

Aksel G. S. Josephson
Chicago, October 28, 1912

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