Michael Gorman is the president-elect of the ALA – The American Library Association.
I read with great amusement his denunciation of bloggers. Clearly, he is a sage of great stature.
My personal favorite was this sentence:
At least two of the blog excerpts sent to me (each written under pseudonyms) come from self-proclaimed “conservatives,” which I find odd because many of the others come from people who call me a Luddite and are, presumably, technology-obsessed progressives.
What I find so amusing about it is this notion that Mr. Gorman believes that bloggers represent a particular type of person, or perhaps a particular viewpoint. I might just as well say:
I was astonished to read a book by Karl Marx, and one by Paulo Freire, also a Marxist, because another book that I read was by Ayn Rand, who is a radical capitalist!
I mean, come on, Mr. Gorman, how can you so completely miss the entire point of blogging. Blogging is not intended to be a replacement for books, for the media, or for libraries. And, of course, blogging does *NOT* represent a particular viewpoint, perspective, age, ethnicity, political persuasion, or anything else. In fact, what makes blogging so compelling is *specifically* that it comes from a diverse set of perspectives. I’m sick of the press, because they represent a particular spin on reality, which gets fed to them by AP. Bloggers, on the other hand, present just as biased and incomplete a picture of events, but, because there are thousands of them, there’s a better chance that I can get a rounded idea of what is acutally going on.
I’m also not quite sure why you bother to mention that they were written under pseudonyms, as though that was relevant. Have you heard of Mark Twain? Lewis Carroll? Boz? The list goes on.
Your article, Mr. Gorman, makes it abundantly clear that you are trying to dismiss something of which you are almost completely ignorant. By reading a few excerpts from a few carefully-selected blogs, you’re missing the entire point of blogging, yet you claim to speak about it as an expert.
Revenge of the Blog People? There’s no such thing as “blog people,” and they don’t want revenge. There are just ordinary people who wish to have a voice. You, of all people, should understand the value of giving a voice to people. Surely the purpose of a library is to allow people to be exposed to ideas.
So a few people called you a luddite. So what? The reality is that the vast majority of bloggers either haven’t heard of you, or don’t care if you’re a luddite. Libraries have become irrelevant to them because of the Internet. You may not like that, but it’s a truth that we all have to deal with. The question is not how to get them back into the library, but how we’re going to get these folks reading scholarly works, within this new reality. If you’re not part of the solution, then the ALA becomes part of the problem.