Isn’t it amazing how you can run across kindred spirits separated by time. I just ran across an article by Joan Bechtel called “Conversation, a New Paradigm for Librarianship?” written in 1986 (full citation below). It is a great read. I see a lot of crossover ideas here with our paper on Participatory Librarianship. She didn’t necessarily have the theory piece, or the tools, but she laid a very strong foundation. I wish I could find it online to point to but here’s a link to its ERIC entry.
Some great quotes:
“”Libraries, if they are true to their original and intrinsic being, seek primarily to collect people and ideas rather than books and to facilitate conversation among people rather than merely to organize, store and deliver information. TO be sure, libraries have traditionally collected the documents of human imagination and action. In doing so they have preserved the ideas and events of history and have become centers for ongoing conversations in which people speak their opinions, criticize others’, and enlarge or restrict the scope of discussion.”
“Conversation, essential to the quality of life of Homo sapiens, provides the occasion and m ode for intimate, significant, and ongoing engagement of human beings with each other in society.”
“Focusing on the enlargement of conversation in the educational environment demands that librarians ask questions about the needs of faculty and students…THe answer to such questions concerning collection development and services will necessarily come out of continuing conversations with faculty and students, both individually and in the governance structure of the college. Surely the whole range of possibilities – reference service, database searching, term paper consultations, bibliographic instruction, and, one hopes, new possibilities for services not yet envisioned – will be explored in order to bring about the widest participation in the intellectual inquiry.”
Did I mention this was written in 1986!!!!
Here is the citation:
Bechtel, Joan M. 1986. Conversation, A New Paradigm for Librarianship? College & Research Libraries 47: 219-224.