Alchemical Thoughts

So, a librarian in every house?

Posted on: May 15, 2008

Wayne Bivens-Tatum had a interesting suggestion in his post "Everyone Needs a Librarian." In many ways, he outlines the role that I think instruction librarians (and librarians in general) should be playing in their academic libraries and campuses at large. I have to admit I fall a bit on the cynical camp; I have come to believe that over time, while persons can be intelligent, people as a whole are skittish, paranoid, and just plain stupid. If you need any more evidence, just look at the guy they elected to run the country (not once, but twice). The point is that I am not sure that even with librarians helping people see better evidence and thus be better informed, that people would go on to make better decisions. I would like to think so; it is a big reason for why I do what I do, but I have my doubts. And I am so waiting for someone to prove me wrong when it comes to what I have come to believe about people. Because it's not like the evidence is not there. Sure, people may need some help finding it, and that is where we come in, but at the end of the day, if they refuse to believe it and act on it, instead choosing to keep embracing their stupidity, well, there is no amount of librarians who are going to fix that. As a wise man once said, "you can't fix stupid." Does this sound mean? Of course it does. But I am betting a lot of people will not even notice. And there lies the problem.

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May 2008
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