The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #57: Libraries

General Introduction
–  On professors and assistants
–  Prairie dogs
–  What’s on the blog?
–  More on Chris Gehrz, pietism, and education
–  The Christian Humanist Forum—coming soon!

Our Experience with Libraries
–  Sexy librarians
–  Arcane and hierarchical
–  A children’s endeavor?
–  Emmanuel’s claim to fame

Material Conditions
–  Disposable wealth
–  Political stability
–  Libraries in the ancient world
–  Getting away from wars

Benjamin Franklin
–  What Franklin didn’t do
–  The Junto
–  Public and private libraries
–  Franklin the inventor and booklender

Famous Libraries
–  The Library at Qumran
–  The New York Public Library
–  The Library of Congress
–  The Beast’s library
–  Wearmouth-Jarrow Library

Behind the Counter
–  Library Science
–  Nathan Gilmour, library carpenter
–  Gathering a breadth of interests
–  Contact with the public
–  The best story

Computers and the Library
–  The changing face of libraries
–  How Amazon.com killed the library
–  The role of public programs
–  Are libraries for children?
–  Library book sales

Virtual Libraries
–  The online database and the education bubble
–  The death of the academic journal
–  The internet and the small college
–  A hymn to JSTOR
–  The CCEL
–  Microfiche

5 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #57: Libraries

  1. Hey, guys: Just wanted to drop you a note and say how much I appreciate your podcast. I ran across toward the end of the spring semester and have been looking forward to the fall so I could listen in on your conversations more often. They frequently reminds me of some of my favorite post-class conversations from seminary and graduate school. I’m a former minister who is now teaching speech and communication at a community college, and you are hitting the sweet spot where my interests converge. (And, by the way–your Richard Weaver trilogy is my favorite thing you’ve done so far. Lots of fun.) Thanks for trucking along with the podcast!

  2. Enjoyed this episode greatly. As a recent library school grad and an employee at an academic library, I think you hit on most of the major issues facing libraries today. I want to add a couple of points.

    First, major props to Michial for using LC classification at home.

    Second, I have one thing to add to the discussion related to the ways the Internet has changed libraries. The move to digital collections (of e-books or databases of journals) is much more than a simple format change (i.e. clay tablets to parchment or scrolls to the codex) Digital collections are a fundamental shift from collecting content to licensing content. At least for now, purchasing a book and purchasing an e-book are governed very differently. With a physical book, a library can loan it out to as many people as it likes and at the end of the book’s useful life, sell it the much-loved library book sale. Not so with e-books. Rights of re-sale and loan do not apply. Publishers maintain very strict control (ownership) over the text. Indeed, Harper-Collins recently caused an uproar by limiting e-book circulations to 20 loans per e-copy, thus necessitating the library to purchase a new e-copy after a short time. I think Nathan was getting around to this point with the discussion of the future of academic journals. The push (and at my library it is a big push) towards open access publishing reflects the unsustainable trend in academic publishing towards higher licensing fees (even as many journals discontinue the costly practice of publishing physical copies). Not that the move to digital collections is all bad – you all highlighted some of the strengths. But this move changes the fundamental model of library operation in a way that other technology advances haven’t.

    On a related note, I am pretty sure that Crown’s policy of loaning out Kindles is a violation of Amazon’s user agreement. Of course, I fully support violating stupid user agreements (like Amazon’s) but I don’t know if such a model could fly under the radar of Amazon’s lawyers for very long if it gained widespread use. Indeed, I’ve heard of public libraries trying similar schemes only to receive cease and desist letters from Amazon. Here’s hoping Crown’s librarians can quietly continue!

    One final comment – I’ve probably listened to ⅔ of the Christian Humanist podcasts while multitasking at my library’s microfilm machine. Like Will Farrell’s character in Austin Powers, microfilm/fiche simply will not die quietly. I am constantly amazed at the heavy use our machines still get and the amount of new material we receive on microfilm.

    Cheers!

  3. Thanks, Matthew! Very interesting information.

    I won’t tell Amazon if you don’t. I wonder if there is some sort of special license for situations like this one.

  4. I enjoyed this episode fellas.

    I gotta tell you 9/8/11 was a special day here in San Diego, because the whole county lost its power. It was somewhere around 2-3 million people powerless.

    I happened to be in our public library restroom when that happened. The homeless guy in one of the stalls is yelling at me to turn the lights back on. What could I do? Luckily, as I walk into the main library area I learn they do have a generator and it’s hooked up to the AC…the AC for crying out loud!

    As the clerk explains to the uproar of the mob that we’re experiencing a power outtage, one innocently asks “can you turn the power back on?”

    The public library does bring some of the most interesting people together. Other benefits to the public library, you can check out CDs or DVDs. Then you can do things with them like “watch” them. *wink wink* *nudge nudge* *know what I mean, know what I mean*

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