Monday, October 23, 2006

Discussion questions from group 5

Article 1
-On page 17 of "Consensus and Contradiction" the authors criticize wide-
spread library policy of using circulation numbers to measure success
by saying, "just as many lawyers will tell you that their objective is
to see justice done, whereas they are actually out to win cases, so
many librarians will tell you that education is their objective, when
they are busy trying to increase circulation." (pp.17) What are other
ways to measure success in the library? Do you think there is a
different objective that institutions should focus on?

-What are our current values towards different types of reading
materials? Is it, “As long as kids are reading, it doesn’t much matter
what”, or is it more prescriptive?

Article 2
-Gorman says on page 10 that the “true literacy” of the population is
declining. What is “true literacy,” and what is “functional literacy”?

-Is there any sense in libraries (or the ALA) coming up with a general
approach to new technology, or are the circumstances too varied?

Article 3
-The author asks the reader how the superficiality of the Internet can
be improved. Does this mean that librarians should encourage patrons to
visit sites only seen as serious? Is it censorship to promote some
websites over others?

Article 4
-Why Thomas Jefferson would love Napster
Do you agree with the author that today’s copyright laws go too far?
Should libraries uphold the law, regardless of whether we believe it
is just, or should we advocate for change? Should the ALA even take a
stance on this issue?

(posted by Greg from an email sent by group 5)

3 Comments:

At 9:18 AM, Blogger mjbrunelle said...

Re: Article 2-True Literacy vs. Functional Literacy

The term "functional literacy" suggests an ability on the part of a reader to only retain basic informational content from a text without really engaging with it to extract deeper meaning. "True literacy", on the other hand, might correspond to the "deep reading" concept that Levy talks about in "Scrolling Forward".

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger Von Burkhardt said...

One difficult thing about libraries is that they are publicly funded. Actual numbers have to be given to local board members, politicians, and other decision makers who make different calls on what funding and how much support to give the library. Circulation numbers are a big part of this. I suppose other studies could be implemented periodically such as patron satisfaction surveys or the like but circ. numbers are so easy to access with all the new technology that they are a big part of what librarians show to those in charge.

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger casey t. said...

If libraries could generate a count of how many people enter their building they could get a better idea of how the library is being used. Perhaps people come to the library only to use the internet or read the local paper or just to browse current periodicals. If these patrons don't check materials out you are losing out on a whole group of library users in your figures. This would give a better representation to government officials about the number of patrons.

 

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