Category Archives: Advocacy

Physical…Digital…It’s All Important

The Internet Archive is well known for its achievement in digitizing large amounts of content and providing free access online. This past weekend, David Streitfeld wrote an article for the New York Times about the Internet Archive entitled, “In a Flood Tide of Digital Data, an Ark Full of Books.” The article, however, did not focus on the Archive’s 15 plus years of contributions to digital collections. Instead, it highlighted digital librarian and founder Brewster Kahle‘s physical collection of books — which he hopes one day reaches 10 million.

Check out The Librarian (1947), which can be found via the Internet Archive.

Internet Archive is also hiring! Check out their job postings.

We Are Librarians Nominated for 2012 Fascination Awards

We’re proud to announce that we’re nominated in the Librarian Blog category for the 2012 Fascination Awards! According to the editorial team:

The Most Fascinating Blog Awards are an annual collection of the web’s most inspirational and thought-provoking blogs. To be nominated for the award, your blog must:

  • Inspire your audience
  • Encourage discussion through comment posting
  • Contain genuinely fascinating content

Blogs are nominated by our editorial team and are voted on by our readers.

We’re so honored to be considered! If you have enjoyed reading We Are Librarians since our launch in August 2011, would you be so kind as to vote for us? The voting will continue to March 6 at 11:59 P.M (EST).

2012 Fascination Awards – Librarian Blogs

Libraries and COPPA

Social media researcher Danah Boyd has a question for librarians regarding the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)Why are some libraries choosing to restrict children’s access to public information?

We understand that abiding by CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) is required to retain federal funding & discounts, but why COPPA? Boyd says:

I don’t know how popular online library access is with under-13s, but it depresses me to no end that libraries aren’t going out of their way to welcome children to their communities. I think it’s super important that children are free to be accessing library information, with or without their parent’s permission. What they can get through their public library is so much richer, so much better curated, so much better contextualized than generic online information. Why aren’t libraries actively inviting and encouraging children to join them? Why aren’t they targeting young people directly?

Seems like a broad overstatement, but is it true? I’m sure there are librarians out there who have a better grasp on this topic than us, so please go comment on her post. The discussion is lively and librarians need to join in!

Are Librarians Encouraging Public Libraries to Abide by COPPA? | Danah Boyd


Librarians as Entrepreneurs

While researching open access journals, we stumbled across this early 2011 paper published in Collaborative Librarianship by Mary Scanlon and Michael Crumpton. In “Re-conceiving entrepreneurship for libraries: Collaboration and the anatomy of a conference” they describe the process of organizing a conference to “celebrate entrepreneurism within the field of librarianship”.

What excited us about this paper was not simply the fact that library staff from two different institutions were able to come together to successfully organize a well-received conference. More important to us was the notion of librarians as entrepreneurs. As they note in the paper’s introduction, entrepreneurism is celebrated—and compensated—in America for more than simply creating useful products and services. It is the entrepreneur’s socially responsible spirit of promoting a better society by creating new opportunities and resources for its citizens. In this way, librarians are very much entrepreneurial in nature. Recognizing and nurturing this spirit is helpful for librarians as well as the public at large. The perception that librarians can be about more than books might push the profession toward more innovative uses and development of resources. Anything less and librarians are not fulfilling their mission of being socially responsible shepherds—not gatekeepers—of knowledge. Hopefully, with two meetings of the Conference for Entrepreneurial Librarians held so far, librarians and the public will further embrace the profession’s propensity for social good.

Read the full paper here, and perhaps we’ll see you at next year’s conference!

Beyond Books

Monday’s Guardian article “Beyond Books: What It Takes To Be a 21st Century Librarian” announces to a worldwide audience what librarians have been talking about for years within the field. The authors Emma Cragg and Katie Birkwood are both academic librarians and wrote an amazing article on what is happening in the field of librarianship and how to achieve it as a career. While it describes the fact that we are not all about books anymore, it does not really go into detail about what we do in our modern careers as alternative librarians — information architects, digital asset managers, etc. What it does strongly highlight is a librarian’s role with the public and working with people. It is all about the community we serve whether that community is a neighborhood or RSS feed.

Socializing Big Data

Last week, the 2012 Digital Life Design Conference  brought together experts in digital media to inspire conversation and discuss the state of the art practices that are redefining the way leading companies run their businesses. Diane Brady, Heidi Messer, Stefan Olander, and Dave Goldberg presented Socializing Big Data, which pushed the idea of streamlining, aggregating, and analyzing data in order to better serve customer preferences. It not only enhances user experience online, but allows companies to control their market and be progressive in how their creative teams target their audience. Late last year, Reid Hoffman similarly predicted that start-ups and websites would be looking to innovate the way we use and manipulate data to better the digital environment.

(via DLD)

Thought SOPA & PIPA were bad? Learn about ACTA.

Behind closed doors, a multinational committee whose members cannot be held accountable by voters (such as members of the Senate and House of Representatives) has been developing a vague agreement that could potentially infringe on your trade, copyright, and intellectual property rights.

ACTA’s reach is wider and more open to abuse than SOPA & PIPA, and it should be getting much more attention than the “internet killers” shelved earlier this month. Zach Whittaker of ZDNet explains what ACTA covers:

Initially it was thought that ACTA would enable governments to effectively work together in tandem across borders to prevent counterfeit goods, like medicines and knock-off technology goods for example, from entering the market. The Act aims to protect the economy and end-consumers’ confidence.

But it is becoming increasingly clear that though the ACTA name uses the word “counterfeiting” in its title, it vastly focuses on the transfer of copyrighted materials online. The agreement will make it easier for law enforcement and ISPs (’intermediaries’) to monitor consumers, and impose new criminal sanctions on those who flout copyright and patent laws.


Sound Orwellian enough for you? Read up at ZDNet, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Wikipedia and ReadWriteWeb, among many others.