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My last public comment on check-in Rick Anderson 11 Aug 2004 14:58 UTC


I honestly did not intend for the check-in argument to turn into yet
another long-winded public argument, and I apologize for taking up so
much bandwidth; I enjoy discussing these issues and have a hard time
letting comments go by without responding.  Since we seem to be at a
momentary lull, I'm going to offer this last general thought in
summation, and then I'll be done:

Over the last ten years, the information world has changed in
fundamental, radical ways.  It seems to me that as a profession, we have
responded by changing in tentative, superficial ways.  (In the
literature, we refer to this as "Championing core values in a time of
change.")  At our best, we're trying to make sure that important babies
aren't thrown out with the bathwater of obsolete practices -- but often
I fear that what we're really doing is trying to maintain what Max has
insightfully referred to as an acceptable level of professional comfort.

I think there are only two possible outcomes for us as librarians.

1.  We will finally overcome our professional inertia and take a hard,
critical look at the some of the most fundamental assumptions we have
about libraries, library patrons and the nature of research and
information seeking,


2.  We will find ourselves quickly and thoroughly marginalized as our
patrons take advantage of new and better ways to get the information
they need.

It's worth noting, I think, that for the most part our patrons would be
equally happy with either outcome.  The professional status of
librarians is not (and should not be) of much interest to them.  As a
librarian, my fear is that we may already be a good distance down the
road to the second scenario.  I think that if we step back and take a
look at the broader issues facing us right now as a profession, we'll
see that check-in is a much less consequential issue than it might seem
to us in our capacity as serialists.

I'll be more than happy to discuss the check-in issue further with
anyone who wishes to contact me off-list, but my guess is that the
patience of most listmembers for that topic has grown fairly thin by
this point.  If further questions or comments are posted to the list,
I'll respond to the poster off-list.

Rick Anderson
Dir. of Resource Acquisition
University of Nevada, Reno Libraries
(775) 784-6500 x273