Questions for Discussion on Monday October 16 2006
“The Ugly Side of Librarianship: Segregation in Library Services from 1900-1950," by Klaus Musmann:
1. Why is it that immigrants were a more attractive group to advance than African-Americans? Was it because librarians had immigrant ancestors, whereas they weren't black? What are some other reasons for this difference in treatment?
2. How were services to African-Americans compromised by political policy (separate but equal)? How likely were competent librarians to end up in an African-American library?
3. Reflect upon the role of librarian as teacher. Do you think the treatment of African-American patrons would have differed if this aspect of librarianship had been recognized/conceived of earlier? If so, do you thing it would have made the situation better or worse?
4. What do you think was the core issue allowing segregation and the marginilization of African-Americans in libraries to continue? Was it a reluctance on the part of whites to educate and provide resources for the education of African-Americans? An inability on the part of African-Americans to lobby for rights in the library when there were other, more pressing, issues elsewhere? The social climate/racism? Or was it something else?
5. Are there groups that are still being treated in the way African-Americans were? What about, for example, the homeless? Are their library needs largely ignored because, for one, they lack a residence (which is usually required for a library card)? Are minorities still being marginilized?
"Information Technology and the De-Skilling of Librarians" -- Roma Harris
1. What are the advantages to having a paraprofessional handle cataloging? Are there advantages?
2. Why do you think women have traditionally taken over a position like cataloging? What draws men in the field to the administrative and technical aspects of the career?
3. What are the consequences to viewing the field of librarianship as so divided? Do we risk fracturing and compartmentalizing the profession by doing this? Should we, rather, seek to build understanding, rather than saying that one group is being harmed by the actions of another group?
"Librarians and party girls: Cultural studies and the meaning of the librarian" -- Marie L. Radford and Gary P. Radford
In light of Levy’s Scrolling Forward do you notice any parallels between his Whitman/Dewey framework and this article. Could “party girls” be seen as a Whitman style personality, taking life as it comes and celebrating all aspects of it? Conversely, are all librarians necessarily Dewey clones, obsessed with order and time management?
What implications does this stereotype of librarians as frumpy, unapproachable, prudes have on our profession? Is there anyway to alleviate this stereotype in popular culture? What is the best strategy to accomplish this?
How do male librarians fit into this stereotype? How does popular culture view the male librarian?
Looking at the websites discussed in this article, librarians seem to appreciate humor. What does this characteristic say about how librarians view their own profession? How do librarians see themselves? How do they define themselves and their profession?