collaboration, diversity, and metaphors of reading (in LIS)

Just finished reading two articles from JELIS and one from Library Trends:

1) "Finding that Special Someone:  Interdisciplinary Collaboration in an Academic Context" by Gunawardena, Weber, and (my wonderful colleague and ALISE Youth Services co-chair with me this year) Denise Agosto.  This exploration and literature review of models of collaboration is a good thought piece, with real highlights in the two tables.  The material here comes from several disciplines, and these authors synthesize it well.  The first table compares three kinds of connections along a spectrum:  coordination, cooperation, and collaboration, looking at how issues like authority and rewards vary along this spectrum.  True collaboration requires deep sharing, of authority and rewards, in mutually beneficial actions.  Table two lists types of research:  multidisciplinary, cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and trans-disciplinary, having to do with how the methods and perspectives of two or more disciplines come into play in a project.  This article won't tell you whether or not to collaborate, but it will suggest issues to consider if you do.  [Fall, October 2010, 51:4, 210]

2)  "Diversity and LIS Education:  Inclusion and the Age of Information" by Paul T. Jaeger (fellow New College alum) and Bertot is a call to action, with two specific exemplar program suggestions, for building diversity into the LIS curriculum.  The most significant point I read here was on p. 169, where they point out that diversity approaches have typically focused on the *people* (students, faculty) rather than on the content of the *curriculum*.  "...[E]ducational initiatives have focused on trying to increase the presence of underrepresented, disadvantaged, and underserved groups without changing the curriculum to better reflect the needs of these groups or to prepare all librarians to be culturally competent." (169)  This is true, and this is exactly what our school is working on at this very moment.  It's a strong and important call to arms, and one that I hope will be met.  I wished slightly that the authors had brought out more of the pressing intellectual reasons for including diversity in the curriculum, and I also think about the ways that Critical Race Theory poses significant challenges to "business as usual" in any academic context.  [summer, July 2011, v52 n3]

And the one from LT, by one of my all-time favorite LIS researchers and writers:

"Reader on Top:  Public Libraries, Pleasure Reading, and Models of Reading" by Catherine Sheldrick Ross.  What I love about Ross' work is that she's always seeing the underlying metaphors that guide the work of libraries and librarians.  Here she calls them "competing metaphors" (633) used to describe the reading experience.  From various fields, she identifies the following orientations to reading, each of which suggests a particular set of configurations of the "power of the text, the role of the reader, and the effect on the reader of what is read." They are:
  • "Reading with a Purpose" (the argument for public libraries as educational, popular from the 19th century to at least the 1930s, but still relevant today)
  • "Only the Best" (text-centered, related to children's reading in the 20th century, and eschewing series books)
  • "The Great Debate" (in education, between "code-emphasis" decoding skills and whole-language "meaning-emphasis" and implying competing research methodologies:  experiments vs. ethnographic observation)
  • The Reader as Dupe (from cultural studies, "An odd feature of this model is the way it silences the class whose interests it claims to promote." (p. 647))
  • The Reader as Poacher (from Michael de Certeau's The Practice of Everyday Life, emphasizing that "readers take back a degree of power from texts by finding nooks and crannies of resistance" (p. 648))
  • Blueprints for Living (from Oprah and many other who look to reading as personally transformative of the "mind and heart," "books as a source of models for living, examples to follow, or rules to live by" (p. 649))
  • The Reader as Game Player (from books like Johnson's recent Everything Bad is Good for You, which emphasizes that popular culture, from movies to games, is a "cognitive workout" involving complex codes that require practice to "play" effectively, and puts the reader entirely in charge)
With three citations and possibly a project idea emerging from this article, I feel both excited and mildly exhausted after reading it!  Like the best academic writing, this utterly stimulated my researcher brain with nearly every paragraph.  Oodles of notes to follow up on, and still one more article in this issue of Library Trends to read!  [this one:  Library Trends, issue title "Pleasurable Pursuits:  Leisure and LIS Research, editors Crystal Fulton and Ruth Vondracek, 57: 4, Spring 2009]

[p. 635 also has a list of "trashy" romances that might be worth reading on vacation.  hee hee.]

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