Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Two cultures

Yesterday I mentioned the professional debate that is going on around Tim Coates's views on where public libraries are going wrong. I then mentioned that Robert Gent of Derbyshire libraries had joined this debate in the pages of the Gazette.

On the 3rd May I mentioned Sheila Webber's discussion of the "Two cultures" in librarianship - the split between those who communicate via the web and those who rely on traditional methods. The Coates debate illustrates this point.

Robert was using the traditional media to reply to Tim Coates. That is not to say that Robert is a "web sceptic" but his audience for this piece would be those librarians who use print journals to keep themselves informed of professional issues.

Another local librarian is also very active in this debate. Pete Smith is Curriculum Learning Resource Specialist at Rotherham College of Arts and Technology. He has a personal blog where he discusses professional issues including the views of Mr Coates. Pete has made a number of postings on this issue on the CILIP Communities website in the Advocacy thread. He has also posted comments on Tim Coates own blog, often taking issue with Tim's assertions. Finally he has just posted a comment on Sintoblog. Pete is clearly part of the "webbed" community.

Sheila was asking if these are two separate communities and if they are growing together or growing apart? I suspect that the major fault line is between those librarians who are interested in discussing professional issues and those who are not. However, the division between "webbed" and "web-sceptics" is real and people in both camps should think about making more links.


Pete Smith said...

It may be that the division is between those who see doing their job as advocacy enough, and those who see a need to directly engage critics, wherever they publish.
Of course, I could also be an egomaniac ;)

Pete said...

PS I'm a CLRS at the College; one of five.

Sheila Webber said...

There are probably various dimensions: Webbed vs. Sceptic; Professionally engaged vs. Not; Proactive critic vs. Focusing on own area (etc. etc.) ... plus egomaniac vs ridiculously-inhibited-from-expressing-ones-opinion, of course