Archive for September, 2008

The Impetus
September 27, 2008

The “party line”:

A central ethos of libraries since their nascence has been empowerment through information.  This mission has currently grown to global lengths, and addressing these issues is now a task on an enormous, international scale.  Yet, computers, the Internet, technology, and the digital divide are just a handful of areas in the larger issue of what I feel is the duty of libraries in this so-called global age.  With significantly more potential than ever to disseminate information, skill sets, technology, and empowerment through knowledge and awareness, this task is also more difficult than ever.  This blog aims to delve deeply into the ideological as well as the pragmatic issues that libraries must now address in order to remain relevant, active, and purposeful.

The mission, then, of this blog, is multi-faceted.  As an instrument of my studies in the Information School at the University of Washington, this will serve as a forum for my thoughts as I progress through my present independent study, entitled “The International Power Structure of Information and the Duty of Global Libraries,” and on into my thesis, which I am assuming will lay claim to similar intellectual territory.

But the motivations for this blog are more than merely academic.  Though I have serious misgivings with the implications of the term “globalization” (just as I shrink from the label “global libraries”), I feel deeply that there is truly a duty for those of us who are globally minded and have found themselves in the field of libraries and information science.  This duty, in my opinion, is to play a key role in what has become the “way things are”—for libraries, forever a fulcrum of community, must more wholly recognize that our present community is a global one.

My intention here is for this to be fairly informal (the true nature of a blog, no?), a place in which a discourse can arise organically, without pretension.  I also want this discussion to derive from vast and varied sources, ideas, theories, events, and thinkers, for—as my misgiving about labels evidences above—the issues here are a part of a universal fabric that involves everything from war to global development, community activism to bureaucracy, postcolonialism to genocide, politics to poverty initiatives.  In other words, I would be thrilled, though not surprised, to find the Gates Foundation mentioned alongside William T. Vollmann.

In other words, I feel that now, more than ever, everything is interconnected…