Summer Thinking

Although classes began yesterday, it still feels very much like summer vacation in the library. Now there’s time to catch up on the projects and conversations, the books and plans that we don’t have as much time for during the regular semesters, when our main function is helping students and other researchers use the library and its resources.

This summer of 2013, my first in Eunice, I’m involved in community gardening (including an article for the 2013 Community Greening Review called “A Tale of Two Gardens,” about the International Community Garden in San Antonio and the still-unnamed LSUE project). As well as having received a site from the City of Eunice (Thanks, Mayor Moody), we may get two large raised brick beds on campus. Since I moved into a shady area last month, I hope to get a small bed open to the sun for vegetables and herbs and flowers. More importantly, people who have no gardens at all, or no knowledge, or no physical ability, will be able to join others in learning how rewarding a place in the sun can be. 

Serendipity: one of the garden committee members is now the branch manager of the local public library, and she discovered an enclosed garden behind her building.That one won’t be visible or accessible as the other community sites are, but it’s still part of the burgeoning Imperial Eunice garden project.

And I’m working on my collaboration with the local high school to provide library database access for dual-enrollment students.  This project is leading me in two ways–into the jargon-laden professional world of educational assessment, library-and-information-science, and computerized intellectual resources, but also into new and old books–yes, Information-Bearing-Entities, “artifacts,” old-fashioned monographs with a beginning, a structure, and an ending–books like Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society, Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows,  Edward O. Wilson’s Consilience, and The Atlas of New Librarianship by R. David Landes. As an academic library, LeDoux is balancing its meager budget resources against changing information technology and the cultural pressure to do things quickly. “Give us one-click access,” cry our patrons, and “Make it cheap,” insist our funders. But academic  research is not a fast activity. Alas…

IN writing about the nobility of librarianship, David Landes asserts that “As the web explodes, the world economy stumbles, the newspaper industry implodes, the media landscape fragments, and societies around the world face social unrest, librarians have not only an opportunity but an obligation to find their center and the means to continue a centuries-long mission to use knowledge to better understand the past, make a better today, and invent an ideal future” (2).

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