Monthly Archives: September 2012

Admitting My Biases

In my first post, I mentioned the role my worldview plays in developing a philosophy of librarianship. So I thought to myself, I should actually talk a bit about my worldview. And I’m going to. I am essentially going to lay out some of my biases for you. Admission of bias might make some librarians nervous, and this is something that I’m sure I will address at some point in the future. Suffice it to say, I don’t feel that way. I have two people and their books to thank for that, Thomas S. Kuhn and The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and George M. Marsden and The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship. Kuhn reinforced the idea that bias is inescapable, while Marsden identified the benefits of bias for scholarship.

With that background established, you’re about to learn a bit more about me. My worldview at its base is Christian and Lutheran more specifically. More than being an American, more than dating a Canadian, more than my rather unique political views, more than pretty much anything I can think of right now, this is the foundation of the way I think about everything. And I think admitting that has helped me a lot. It established facts for me that other people really struggle with, facts that play an important role in librarianship. Let’s look at just a couple: God is all about relationships. If I had to boil theology down to one short sentence, that would be it. Hence, it is pretty easy for me to see relationships as key to librarianship too, because God isn’t in one silo while librarianship is in another (unlike so many resources). Here’s another: absolute truth exists. If you’ve followed discussions surrounding R. D. Lankes’ The Atlas of New Librarianship (see Lane Wilkinson’s blog, Sense and Reference, for some of my favorite stuff), you’ll know why this is significant.

OK, I said just a couple, but here’s one more. And it’s going to show my historical training. Historians think about change over time, and they usually look at that trajectory through a lens. Either things get worse over time, they get better, or things stay the same. That’s putting it simply, but you get the idea. My Lutheran background has actually led me to the latter conclusion. Things stay the same. Do you see what this could mean for librarianship?

There is obviously a lot to unpack here, but that’s the beauty of a blog, right? I’ll get around to it in the future.









Introducing Myself

Not too long ago, over at In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Emily Ford talked about the need for a philosophy of librarianship. As she acknowledged, pursuing this foundation for the profession is an old endeavor, and plenty of people are actively trying to answer the questions involved right now. For a while, I’ve been developing my own take on a philosophy of librarianship, but doing so purely as a natural outgrowth of trying to understand my own role and how it fits with my worldview. I have a long ways to go before I can confidently say that I hold in my hands THE philosophy of librarianship. Honestly, I doubt I’ll ever be able to say that. But if I ever can, dialogue will be the catalyst.

I chose the title of this blog because it is a very good shorthand for what I think the foundation of librarianship is, as well as the reason I can be a librarian and have it fit so well with my worldview. As I write here in the future, I’ll try to explain what I mean by that shorthand. But the main point right now, the reason why it makes sense to start a blog, is the dialogue. My ideas will develop best as I engage with other people. Blogs are good discussion starters. At least that’s what I see in the other blogs I follow.

I’ll leave you with that for now. I have plenty of notions to explore with you, but this is the kind of broad topic that can overwhelm. So I’m hoping to explore it in small chunks.