Late last semester, I did a workshop called “Caring for Your Online Presence” for a group of students in the School of Information and Library Science here in Chapel Hill. I suggested that they all sign up for Twitter because, to quote myself, “Librarians go hard on Twitter.” After yesterday, that laugh line has a whole new meaning for me.
After all the excitement yesterday, I wanted to share a few developments.
The piece Patricia and I posted yesterday has brought over 20,000 visitors to my site as of this morning. Yesterday morning I had exactly one subscriber to my blog so the other 19,999 was y’all getting the word out. Thanks!
As a result of the massive response to the post, there are statements out from ALA, American LIbraries and Gale/Cengage. I’m happy to see that a dialog has opened up and I hope that it will be productive and positive.
I’m so happy that this episode has sparked a broader conversation about the relationships between libraries, scholars and vendors. Each of us have important roles to play in the research process. I hope we can also agree that there are some kinds of engagement are inappropriate and everyone suffers when that happens. With Midwinter, MLA and AHA getting started this week, I think there will be lots of opportunities to have important conversations with each other.
Finally, and most importantly, I want to say that the reason Patricia and I felt like we could say something is because we knew that our local and virtual communities would back us up. I hope that others saw the massive, overwhelming outpouring of support and feel encouraged to speak up if something – anything – doesn’t seem right. The issues that Patricia and I wanted to raise were specific to our experiences but I for one drew strength from years of watching librarians ask critical and difficult questions about librarianship. Calls to engage a broad range of social justice issues in libraries have been deeply inspiring and I hope that yesterday demonstrated how much work we can do together.
I was thrilled to see so many librarians in positions of power show support. This sends an important message to the profession. Even more than that, I was moved by how many people in less secure positions also spoke out. So a special thanks to the students and early career folks. I’m really looking forward to working with all of you for a long time.