[OPE-L] Whither libraries?

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Fri Feb 24 2006 - 12:27:49 EST

Jerry wrote:

But, please do not forget that urban areas
internationally are often under fiscal distress and attempting to cut
city budgets.  In that context, I think they will increasingly target
libraries for closure.

Yes, well it's a funny thing how they talk about the "knowledge economy" and
the "information age" and then shut down libraries which are needed by
people who don't have all the gizmo's of the sophisticated classes. But my
experience is that librarians are generally quite skilled at the politics of
information, and demonstrating the need for libraries. There have been
attempts by neoliberal more market fanatics to promote profit-making and
profit-driven libraries, but really they haven't been all that successful -
one reason is that marketisation of information generates a lot of
"nonsensical hot air" that is easily demolished by people practically "in
the know" about the realities of information management. Often people think
trading in access rights to information is great, until they have to fork
out big themselves, to get it. Then they start yelling that information
ought to be freely or cheaply available, or that there should be more
competition to drive down prices. The final problem is really that human
knowledge is lodged in human minds, and as long as people are legally free
to dispense it as they will, you can only get at it through socially
relating (which involves acknowledging that a person has rights), or through
robbery (in which case anything goes, this would increase uncertainty,
rather than reduce it).

But really Jerry, I'm sorry but I have to take a break from OPE-L, however
intellectually stimulating, as I have too many things to do, and people get
pissed off because you make them wait. The interesting question about the TP
is, why do people persist for so long in an error? Pedagogically, I think
what we need is a "layman's guide to the transformation problem".  I'm
usually inclined to think that people (including myself) persist very long
in an error, because what appears as an error does contain a real truth
somewhere, which is not acknowledged. It's maybe a bit analogous to the
tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon, where you know the answer, but you just cannot
seem to get it out of the memory banks. It could of course be a hoax or a
ruse, but it could be for real.  And so people somehow sense this, and so
they can cling to something, an idea, even when they know themselves there's
something wrong with it, or that it's officially discredited and so on.
Like, "you can try to bamboozle me all you like, but I stick with it
anyway." So I feel a bit the same way as Ian Wright, you have this perfectly
valid content, but you have to creatively reframe the puzzle, the Rubik's
cube if you like, so it gets solved. The main fault I personally have is
typically that I try to tackle too many things at once, maybe
over-enthusiastically like a kid in a toy store - which maybe yields
interesting rapping artistry, but doesn't truly crack the problem, and ends
up being dis-orienting. I hope to return to the subject in future, when I
have a few pressing tasks out of the way...



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