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Tuesday, 18 April 2006



As I remember the freshman reading list, the faculty member who recommended a book for inclusion had to ensure that the library had the book, and provide the book if it wasn't available in the stacks.

Then there was a faculty panel that selected the list that would be used. Normally it was the list of selections by the President and the Deans that was used as the framework. I never had one of my choices used.

These days I would think that you would have to be sure that selections were available from Amazon, Powell's, Barnes, etc.

I'm trying to imagine the context for the librarian's choice as well as wrestling with the concept of a political librarian.


Librarians are faculty members lots of places (including both the place I work now and the place where I got my library degree). And there's nothing in the ALA Code of Ethics that prohibits a librarian from having political convictions or participating in politics. In fact, it's encouraged. (Most librarians, however, tend to be liberals and Democratic leaners, if not actual Democrats.)

Somewhat surprisingly (to me, anyway), the Amazon/Powells/B&N thing doesn't seem to have caught on for textbooks with many students. That's virtually the only way I buy mine anymore, unless they're either out of print (in which case I hunt through abebooks.com) or limited availability. I think the last thing I actually bought from the university bookstore was a volume of Thomas Reid's works for a philosophy seminar four years ago--it was (a) brand new, (b) from an academic press, and (c) had been special ordered for us through the bookstore. As a staff member, I got a discount on it--but it would have been a bigger one if I could've bought it at B&N. (I won't use Amazon unless I have no other choice, like for French or German books, which B&N mostly doesn't carry--and Amazon has both French and German divisions.)

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