Some of you already know that I don’t much care for manifestos–not because they’re challenging or uncomfortable, but because they typically oversimplify, make black-and-white out of the gray that is real life, polarize situations, and in other ways substitute absolutes for nuance.
I’m joining with others in recommending that you go read Laura Cohen’s “A Librarian’s 2.0 Manifesto” at her (worthwhile, recommended) blog Library 2.0: An Academic’s Perspective. The blog suffers from the SixApart printability problem in spaces (it won’t even print out properly in IE, apparently because the banner’s too wide)–but that’s minor.
Why do I recommend this despite my distaste for manifestos? Because, to my mind, this isn’t a manifesto: It’s a credo. And I love good credos.
The difference? Cohen isn’t making a series of flat statements, Truths that we Must All Recognize (or Be Part of the Problem).
Instead, she’s making a series of personal affirmations: “I will…”
By doing so, she invites others to consider similar courses–but does not imply that those courses are the only reasonable ones to take.
Credos invite elaboration, discussion, nuance: They encourage evolutionary change. They allow us to say, “I see what you’re saying, and my own course may be different; let’s discuss those differences.” They’re humanistic.
Laura Cohen calls it a manifesto. She wrote it; that’s her privilege. She did a great job of writing it. If you haven’t already read it, do–no matter what sort of library or library-related operation you work in.