Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week 1 Reflections

Hey, colleagues!

By way of introduction, I've been the director of Reddick Public Library District in Ottawa, IL, for almost 2 years. I was a classroom teacher and a school librarian for a LOT of years prior to migrating to public librarianship. This is my second-to-last semester in the SLIS program. This class (and the UW-M program overall) answer the "why" questions about librarianship. The "hows" are addressed in my day-to-day duties, which I truly enjoy (most days)!

What a diverse array of reading we have for this first week! I must admit that I'm a pretty "concrete" kind of thinker so I'm somewhat intimidated by the theoretical bases for information policy development. However, I fully concur with Fallis' opinion that information ethics should be required study for future information professionals. The questions/ethical dilemmas he posed at the beginning of his paper (e.g., internet filters, patron smells, Holocaust denial) have all arisen in my professional career. I like when the research supports real life!

That John Stuart Mill was a forward thinker; I bet he started some great arguments at dinner parties in 1869! Because I needed some "help" navigating his writing, I googled for a little assistance. Perhaps this link, On Liberty: Chapter 2, might be useful for you, too.

In order to synthesize this week's readings, I think one overarching theme is that the library must continue to be the "guardian" of freedom of thought. The result of diverse opinion, fallibility of thought, and discussion is a positive societal good. I hope others will add other themes to the class blog.

Finally, Puttnam's presentation from 1996 has relevance 15 years later. His belief that the boundaries are muddy between entertainment and news is truer than ever. His assertion that information professionals must craft policy to assist users in transferring the resources available from the virtual world to the real world is more urgent as library resources move beyond the physical building.


  1. Congratulations to Kathy for kicking us off in our discussion. Welcome! I think you have done a good job trying to create cohesion in these readings. Also, as you stated, we will be doing a lot of reading and discussing of these very real-world issues, and we will use the ideals and theoretical standpoints put forward in reading like Mill to form the basis for our standpoints.

    Good job.

  2. "That John Stuart Mill was a forward thinker; I bet he started some great arguments at dinner parties in 1869!" I always appreciate how Kathy can make me laugh out loud while also making me think!

  3. I, too, was impressed by Mills' progressive ideas. I was especially interested by his ideas regarding opinions: everyone's is valid, and the more one studies and discusses the facts behind their opinion, the wiser the person becomes. In fact, he argues, that is the only way wise people get that way. I agree. His approach to religion was objective as well, and he really thinks that both believers and non-believers need to approach each other's ideas with diligence and caution. Like you said, I would have loved to sit next to this man at a party. He's have listened with an open ear. If this article is the basis for future class discussion, I think we're in very good hands.