Monday, March 23, 2009

Library, an obsolete term?

The Debate at Rutgers: Should School Drop "Library" from Its Name?

-- Library Journal, 3/23/2009

"A distinguished alumna warns of denying history and denigrating the role of women. The school's dean argues that the revision focuses on commonalities.

Last month, the decision by faculty of Rutgers University’s School of Communication, Information and Library Studies (SCILS) to change the name of the school to the School of Communication and Information garnered significant criticism among librarians, even though library faculty at Rutgers generally supported the change.

The Executive Board of the New Jersey Library Association, for example, approved a resolution asking for the name change to be reconsidered, arguing that the deletion of the name does not clarify—as Dean Jorge Reina Schement contends—but rather obfuscates the purpose of the school."

Mary K. Chelton, professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Queens College, City University of New York, and a double alumna of Rutgers' programs, shared with LJ [excerpt below] a letter she wrote to school administrators. She warns of denying history and denigrating the role of women."

"It is even more dismaying to find that people who talk about words being social action are pretending they are not taking any, that this is just some sort of cosmetic change that will gain external resources (from whom is not stated) with nothing changing underneath this new “absent totality.” My experience with this action in other professional contexts says not to believe it.

It sounds as if the Dean really wants to say that librarians are female and poor and mostly wedded to a diminishing public sector, and SCILS wants private money and therefore has to appeal to private money biases, or to academic administrators who share these biases, all the while reaping the headcount of the MLIS students.

I find this contemptible and do not support it."


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