Friday, December 12, 2008

Odds and Ends

A short post today, really just a few observations and a few recommendations. One recent discovery is a site called Slow Leadership. I encourage any of you who are involved in management, aspire to be a manager or work in a supervisory capacity to subscribe. Their ‘credo’ can be summed up in these words from the Buddha:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But if, after observation and analysis, you find that anything agrees with reason, and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

We have also added several link to the library's home page under the heading "Why Are Libraries Important?" These were mentioned in a Twitter posting last week. I hope to add to and refresh these links on a frequent basis. Ironically, even as the importance of libraries is validated by the increases in patronage, circulation, computer use and diversity of services expected, funding has become problematic for many libraries, including well respected systems such as Philadelphia's. For many of those people hardest hit by the convulsions in the economy and most in need of the resources to address their predicament the library remains an essential resource. I thought that the recent NBC Nightly News segment on libraries made that very clear.

On an unrelated subject, I have been reading Michael Kammen's
American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change in the 20th Century. While it is not a book about libraries, there are some interesting references to books and reading, and specifically the popularity of murder mysteries, self-help books, and books about health, during the Second World War. Those are three of the genres most popular among our patrons now. I would guess that these choices might be reactions to stress and uncertainty, the allure of escapism in mysteries, and the search for solutions to large and complex problems in health and self help. It might also help explain the dominance of nonfiction titles over all other material types except video feature films in our circulation figures.

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