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information, design, architecture; information design + architecture

Reader-haters

For some reason, it’s recently been a veritable jamboree of people trying to find out what kind of regressive freak they are talking to; what deep need is it within my soul that has led me, young and cardiganed in only the sexxxiest manner, to call myself a “librarian.”

I’ve committed to the career with money and time now, and it’s only tangentially related to the last education I had full-time, so maybe it’s only fair that I have to recite endlessly that I got in to it because “I’m interested in information, and how people use information.”

Which has taught me something strange and surprising about some of the people I talk to about this: they hate books. I don’t know why they hate books, but the above smells like comradeship in book-burning they yearn for, apparently, and so out it comes. It’s all online now, isn’t it? Bob Molyneux has something interesting to say about the library’s failings in the digital age, and the easiness with which it as a professional space can host conversations about “information” without ever having had the smarts to be Google, but the most interesting thing about it is the “library function” he talks about.

To “maintain the memory of the human species” is a wonderful goal, and to believe in it doesn’t make people anti-book. What I dislike is the hypercathextic attachment to cataloguing practises that insists on nailing books to shelves. That’s all. That’s also, weirdly, what most people think of librarians as, but apparently my attempt to jump their weird mind-fences only makes things more confusing.

I don’t hate books, I just think sometimes people are ridiculously precious about books. I don’t hate trainers, either, but can we all agree that people who collect them mint are probably not using their trainers to their full advantage?

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Filed under: classification systems, Information use, ,

One Response

  1. Andytizer says:

    Hah I loved how you called them mind-fences. It’s so easy for people to be really close minded when it comes to information. I was trying to explain to a seminar group the benefits of RSS readers the other day and I got so much group resistance it was as if I was telling them to euthanise their grannies.

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