…if I ever said “No public library should consider this” to any suggested new service or tool.
…if I ever said “What a stupid idea for a book” to anybody considering writing one.
…if I ever said “Nobody would want to…” to any legal and moral suggestion.
Why so apologetic?
Well, in the last week I’ve had:
- One person respond to a request for comments on how libraries are using social networks, as research toward a book on the subject, by at least indirectly attacking the notion of publishing a book on the topic.
- Another person–and, unlike the first case, I’m acquainted with and respect this other person–respond to a request for examples of a new service public libraries could offer (I don’t know that any do, but my next book will be making such a service easy and desirable, I believe) with an initial response (until the concept was explained a little more) that this is not something public libraries, except possibly the very largest, should be considering.
In neither case was I asking for a critique of the idea; in both cases, I was asking for specific assistance or information.
So, if I’ve done the same thing or similar, I apologize.
I do not apologize for…
…criticizing claims that Every Library or Every Librarian should do, or know, X (with very rare exceptions).
…criticizing assertions that we’ll all be doing X (again, with very rare exceptions, breathing, eating and dieing being chief among them).
…criticizing books or blog posts or comments for being simplistic or badly argued.
Nor do I expect to be free of such criticisms.
When I wrote my first book in the library field, MARC for Library Use, the first publisher to which it was submitted basically didn’t think it was of any use unless I turned it into a cataloging workbook.
I took it to another publisher–who also wasn’t certain, but took a chance. The result? Certainly the most important book I wrote for a very long time, and also the best-selling book I wrote prior to co-writing Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness & Reality. And I’ll assert that the book was directly useful to thousands of people.
So, y’know, I’m not abandoning either project. In one case, I continue to believe it’s a book that will help nearly every public library strengthen its community ties. In the other, I believe it will be a revealing, helpful and timely book when it’s published.