Monday, August 25, 2014

On Librarianship, Community Relations, and Temporality

At the International Federation of Library Associations World Library and Information Congress, this slide caught my eye.
I responded with
I understand the teleology behind Lor's graphic here. Librarianship is a critical profession, and I believe that information and knowledge can be emancipatory. However, when I'm giving directions to the restroom, or showing someone how to navigate our sadistic printing process, my end goals are not social justice.

To that end, it may be useful to think of Lor's terms as temporal variables, as seen below.

And another time, snapshot 3, may look different. In a meeting with campus stakeholders, for example, I would continue to use the language of social justice, as it fits with the mission of my place of work, but I would also use more "return on investment," and talk about our service to and participation in our community, perhaps labeled "clientele" here. That is, at different times, in different situations, we relate to our communities differently, and we should be strategic about those relations.

Lor's presentation was based off a paper, which is available here as a pdf. His discussion of the graphic above starts on page 6, and is based off his experiences with libraries in South Africa. It's an interesting read.


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