Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Libraries and Social Responsibility: A National Conversation - more pre-reading

We hope that you are finding a few moments to read these posts. The pre readings are intended to get us thinking beyond the conventional. To start challenging assumptions and to create a foundation upon which we can start talking about the broader social context within which libraries exist. It is our hope that these ideas will give you a way to start thinking about our big question for June 2nd ?

How can libraries support community progress and contribute to society’s ability to thrive?

“When information is brushed up against information, the results are startling and effective.”

Marshall McLuhan

See you in 9 days.

Blythe, Jason, Nancy

Friday, May 21, 2010

Libraries and Social Responsibility: A National Conversation, more pre-session reading

Also from The Educated Imagination pg. 92 -93

“…I don’t see how the study of language and literature can be separated from the question of free speech, which we all know is fundamental to our society. The area of ordinary speech, as I see it, is a battleground between two forms of social speech, the speech of a mob and the speech of a free society. One stands for cliché, ready-made idea and automatic babble, and it leads us inevitably from illusion into hysteria. There can be no free speech in a mob: free speech is one thing a mob can’t stand. You notice that the people who allow their fear of Communism to become hysterical eventually get to screaming that every sane man they see is a Communist. Free speech, again, has nothing to do with grousing or saying that the country’s in a mess and that all politicians are liars and cheats, and so on and so on. Grousing never gets any further than clichés of this kind, and the sort of vague cynicism they express is the attitude of somebody who’s looking for a mob to join.

You see, freedom has nothing to do with lack of training; it can only be the product of training. You’re not free to play the piano unless you practise. Nobody is capable of free speech unless he knows how to use the language, and such knowledge is not a gift: it has to be learned and worked at. The only exceptions, and they are exceptions that prove the rule, are people who, in some crisis, show that they have a social imagination strong and mature enough to stand out against a mob. In the recent row over desegregation in New Orleans, there was one mother who gave her reasons for sending her children to an integrated school with such dignity and precision that the reporters couldn’t understand how a woman who never got past grade six learned to talk like the Declaration of Independence. Such people already have what literature tries to give. For most of us, free speech is cultivated speech, but cultivating speech is not just a skill, like playing chess. You can’t cultivate speech, beyond a certain point, unless you have something to say, and the basis of what you have to say is your vision of society…”

See you in 12 days

Blythe, Jason, Nancy

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Libraries and Social Responsibility: A National Conversation - Background Reading

As I mentioned in my previous post we will be sharing some pre-readings leading up to the conference that will provide some context for our conversation on June 2nd. The following is an excerpt from The Educated Imagination, Indiana University Press; 1964. While the excerpt is short in length it is much longer in contemplation especially when considering the role of libraries in educating the imagination?

See you 13 days.

Blythe, Jason, Nancy

Northrop Frye

1912 - 1991

Northrop Frye; internationally recognized Canadian literary critic. Frye’s writings contributed significantly to literary study after World War II. Frye is concerned with the relationship of literature to society, the role of the literary critic, and the interaction between the individual reader and whatever is being read.

The search for meaning

Let us suppose that some intelligent man has been chasing status symbols all his life and suddenly the bottom falls out of his world and he sees no reason for going on. He can’t make his solid gold Cadillac represent his success or his reputation or his sexual potency any more:

now it seems to him only absurd and a little pathetic. No psychiatrists or clergyman can do him any good, because his state of mind is neither sick nor sinful: he’s wrestling with his angel. He discovers immediately that he wants more education, and he wants it in the same way that a starving man wants food. But he wants education of a particular kind. His intelligence and emotions may quite well be in fine shape. It is his imagination that’s been starved and fed on shadows, and it’s education in that that he specifically wants and needs. - p. 150

What has happened is that he’s so far recognized only one society, the society he has to live in, the middle-class twentieth century society that he sees around him. That is, the society he does live in is identical with the one he wants to live in. So all he has to do is adjust to that society, to see how it works and find opportunities for getting ahead in it. Nothing wrong with that: it’s what we all do. But it’s not all of what we all do. He’s beginning to realize that if he recognizes no other society except the one around him, he can never be anything more than a parasite on that society. And no mentally healthy man wants to be a parasite: he wants to feel that he has some function, something to contribute to the world, something that would make the world poorer if he weren’t in it. But as soon as that notion dawns in the mind, the world we live in and the world we want to live in become different worlds. One is around us, the other is a vision inside our minds, born and fostered by the imagination, yet real enough for us to try to make the world we see conform to its

shape. This second world is the world we want to live in, but the word “want” is now appealing to something impersonal and unselfish in us. -p.150-151

Monday, May 17, 2010

Libraries and Social Responsibility: A National Conversation

June 2, 2010

CLA Pre – Conference in Edmonton

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on

the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining

the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question,

I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”


A few of the questions that we will be addressing on June 2nd include:

· What is adaptive learning?

· What is progress?

· What is the function of libraries in fostering community progress?

· What does it mean for a community to survive and thrive?

We are looking forward to starting this conversation. We will send out some background reading in the next couple of days to all those who have registered for the pre-conference.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 CAPL Conference Bursary Awarded

The CAPL Bursary Committee is pleased to announce that the 2010 CAPL Conference Bursary has been awarded to Adrienne Connolly from the Montreal Children’s Library.

Adrienne graduated with her MLIS degree from McGill University in 2007 and has worked as an Archivist with the Montreal Neurological Institute, as a Branch Librarian with the Montreal Children’s Library and is currently the Executive Director/Head Librarian for the Montreal Children’s Library.

The Montreal Children’s library is an independent not-for-profit public library offering library programs and services in communities not served by the municipal library system.

The CAPL Bursary Committee is proud to provide Adrienne with the financial assistance needed to attend this year’s CLA conference in Edmonton.

Beth Hovius Receives 2010 CAPL/Brodart Outstanding Public Library Service Award

The Canadian Association of Public Libraries (CAPL) and Brodart Canada are pleased to announce Beth Hovius, Director, Public Service and Collection Development, Hamilton Public Library as the 2010 recipient of the CAPL/Brodart Outstanding Public Library Service Award. Sponsored by Brodart Canada, the award is given annually in the field of Canadian public librarianship, to a recipient for outstanding service in the field.

Beth Hovius’s contributions to librarianship have had a significant and lasting impact on a provincial, national and international level. She has been a tireless and exceptional leader and contributors to libraries.

At the provincial level, and in her role at the Hamilton Public Library, Beth provided leadership in fostering the Adult Basic Education Association (ABEA) in partnership with community service providers. This initiative resulted in one of the first integrated lifelong learning strategies in the country. Beth also served on the Board for many years after helping to create the organization. It continues to evolve and thrive.

Beth was also one of the creators of the Disability Information Service Helpline (DISH), winner of the (Ontario) Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Innovation. This unique service showcases not only the library’s information strengths, but also its values: equity as a foundational value of librarianship.

Recently, Beth’s has played a leadership role in the renovation plan of branch libraries undertaken by the Hamilton Public Library. Beth’s strong belief that libraries need to pay attention to the patron experience has resulted in renovated branch libraries that are welcoming to any age group in the community and that have become the focal point of the community.

At the national library level Beth has served as Vice-President and later President of CAPL. Under her leadership, the CAPL bursary program was revised and the development of the Library Advocacy Now! Workbook was completed. She was also selected by CLA to represent Canadian interests on the joint ALA and CLA program committee in 2003. According to Mary W. Ghikas, Senior Associate Executive Director, American Library Association, “Her expansive knowledge of Canadian libraries – including many areas is which Canadian library management and practice differ from that in the U.S. – as well as her long experience with CLA made her an outstanding spokesperson.”

At the international level Beth represented the Canadian library community on the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) Committee on Library Service to the Blind. Her papers on public libraries and partnership development to international conferences in this role were among her lasting contributions, showcasing Canadian experience and values and advancing world collaboration towards equitable information service consistent with classic library values.

Media Contact: André Gagnon,
CAPL President
(306) 777-6071

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Changes at CLA

As you know CLA is looking at making some significant structural changes.

What does this look like? What impact will these changes have for you, CAPL, our only national library association? Does any of this matter to you? If you have questions or have been looking for “space” to share your ideas with others, ask questions and hear what other members are thinking, then use this space for comments.

There isn’t much time as decisions regarding the future of our library association are being made right now.