Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Postmodern Librarian

While much has been written about Web 2.0, not much has been mentioned about postmodernism in librarianship. Is there a connection? Mark Stover thinks so. In The Reference Librarian as Non-Expert: A Postmodern Approach to Expertise, Stover believes that:
the stance of the reference librarian as non-expert will move the profession of librarianship away from the technocrat/expert model and back towards its earlier mission of service and human-centred values.
In proposing that there is an analogy between the new postmodern theories of psychotherapy and the ways that librarians work with patrons seeking information, Stover argues that knowledge, culture, technology, and cognitive-behaviour all play a role in the new fabric of postmodern librarianship. Everything gets broken down and hierarchies are flattened. In my experience working in libraries, things are moving, albeit slowly. With globalization and Web 2.0, are the foundations being laid for this new way of managing libraries?


Dean Giustini said...

The critical piece for me in this paper is 'stance' or posture and how any new positionality for librarians and discourses associated with academic librarianship 2.0 take into account psychoanalytical theories. These theories focus on the impact of previous trauma and power dynamics in the stance/posture of librarians; from a learner's perspective, these can be damaging to learning.

Librarians need to reposition their approach to the consultation and interview process, learn to be more collaborative and empower those who seek our assistance.


Anonymous said...

Is it relevant to wonder out loud if we actually in the post-post modern world?

Allan said...

Hi guys,

Thanks for your comments. I think it's important to challenge the status quo of how librarians conduct their trade; that's why I believe it's important that we take an unconventional views such as postmodernism and librarianship.

This blog entry is actually a prelude to an article that I'm brewing up called "From Spivak to Spivak: The New Global Librarian." It deals with my two passions: History and Web 2.0. More to come in the following weeks.