Monday, March 07, 2005

Free Range Librarian: Gorman, On Reflection

Free Range Librarian: Gorman, On Reflection

Inside LibraryLand, some are finally learning what I have said for years: the most significant role of the ALA president is to make us look good to the outside world. (ALA, pretty much like Washington, is run by the permanent government of its hired bureacracy. For the record, I think ALA got lucky with Keith Fiels, whose job I do not envy.)

So how do we look right now? I'm not sure what effect Gorman was aiming for (nor do I buy the "satire" excuse), but belittling bloggers and making insupportable comments about Google didn't make bloggers look bad; instead, it made ALA look like the backward organization many of us secretly worry it is, a mausoleum of 19th-century librarianship, and it did it at a time when popular pundits with free pots of ink could respond, and respond, and respond.

-K. G. Schneider

Schneider's reflection seems right on target. I don't think the general public will continue to talk about Gorman's statement, but it did create an impression that librarians might be among those "left behind."