librarians as navigators, librarians as cartographers, (librarians as Frankensteins?)


The title of this post I borrowed from a reader comment left on an article written by Char Booth entitled Librarians as __________: Shapeshifting at the periphery. I appreciate this article for the words used to draw a map of the many places librarians show up and the many masks we wear while doing our jobs as, teachers, liaisons, researchers, mediators, super heroes, “plumbers”. Thanks Char! Excerpt:

We have always been professional chameleons, using different tools to play different roles for different patrons in different organizations in different states and so on, ad infinitum. The more we recommend to each other that we become the someone elses we see fit, the more we risk missing that the deceptively prescriptive identity/utility question is being answered descriptively. Our new reality is like our old reality, only a little more adaptive and a lot more self-reflexive (or vice versa, you tell me). Librarian as ________ analogies are useful in exploring our response to a critically transformative time in the trajectory of our profession, but their function as metaphor should not be overlooked lest we creep too far from our own (rather amazing) archetype. Despite the ways we might recast ourselves as individuals, our collective identity can and should still revolve around a solid practical and conceptual core of “humor, verve, and grace,” to borrow a phrase from Cory Doctorow. Under shifting shapes, librarians remain the singularly knowledgeable, radically neutral, and openly accessible mavens of the information world.


Librarians and Human Rights- A Seminar


The “Courses” page of Kathleen de la Peña McCook’s website includes a list of human rights organizations, primary sources for human rights issues, professional organizations committed to diversity and outreach, and readings and resources including:

Kirkpatrick, A. (2007). Truth and Youth: the First Victims of War – Military Mis-information and the Responsibility of Libraries. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.

Lewis, A. (2008). Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian. Duluth: Library Juice Press.

McCook, K.,

(2007). ” Librarians as Advocates for the Human Rights of
Immigrants. Progressive Librarian v. 29, Summer:
p. 51-4.

(2004). “Public Libraries and People in Jail.” Reference and
User Services Quarterly
v. 43: p. 26-30.

(Wikipedia says) Kathleen de la Peña McCook is Distinguished University Professor at the University of South Florida, active in the Tampa Bay area, having participated in the Community Action Board of Hillsborough County, and in an Asset Mapping for Youth Development community initiative. McCook is a community activist, a senator for the United Faculty of Florida Union, and a past member of the Coordinating Committee of the Progressive Librarians Guild. She now serves on the editorial board of the journal, Progressive Librarian.