Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Audiovisual Librarianship: A Video Essay

Last summer I created a somewhat freewheeling curriculum for an independent study exploring audiovisual librarianship in public libraries. Like a lot of schools, Dominican's GSLIS program simply isn't able to fully cover the many diverse areas of librarianship worthy of study. (I wonder how distance learning, once it moves past its fumbling introductory stage-, might be able to alter this?) Sadly, for me at least, one of the areas chronically absent in course offerings is the giddy untapped potential that is audiovisual librarianship. Sure, there's a paragraph here and there, maybe even a chapter devoted in the introductory text for collection management, but for the most part the bibliocentric focus of LIS programs holds tight to the reigns. I like to think that's changing, with more schools beginning to offer courses, or seminars (or testing the waters with occasional special guest lectures) on gaming, virtual worlds and digital content creation and how they hold all sorts of promise for public libraries.

In any case, I did a cursory literature review, spending some really glorious sumer days in late May and early June, cicadas vibrating merrily away, reading and thinking about audiovisual librarianship in public libraries past, current and future.

Then I headed out to interview audiovisual librarians in person. I was incredibly lucky to find 6 amazing audiovisual librarians (in Northbrook, Skokie, Naperville, Chicago and Cleveland respectively), each dedicated and fully engaged in their profession, to meet with me and answer my questions. While on video. And I learned valuable lessons about room sound. I'll tell you about them later.

Here's what they had to say:

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