Brewster Kahle for Librarian of Congress!

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He actually does seem like a pretty good candidate, but how is it that the head of the Library of Congress isn’t required to be (or at least have been) a librarian?


The internet archive is great and I’m glad it’s there, but huge sections of it are a giant unorganized mess.

Sorry I don’t see the qualifications other than people like his ideals and politics.


Considering it’s a political appointment, you’re right! No qualis needed other than being in good standing with the appointer(s).

I got to hear Andrea Sáenz the First Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Public Library system give a talk at SXSWEdu.

They are doing some crazy innovative stuff and she seemed pretty awesome. I’d feel pretty great about her. I don’t know much about Brian Bannon the Commissioner, but they seem to be doing good work. Any actual Chicago folks have an opinion about their Libraries?

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Because the job has actually little to do with being a librarian in the traditional sense. It is really more of a bureaucratic position dealing with copyright issues and the like. Which, true, doesn’t explain why the job normally goes to scholars (the outgoing librarian is a former history professor) rather than someone with a background in copyright issues.


It’s true that the head of the LOC isn’t going to be fielding reference questions or managing archives (print, digital or otherwise), but his or her staff will. This person will, among many other things, be a spokesperson for librarianship in all its forms. Is it all that bad that I’d like someone who has had at least some working experience in a library to take up that mantle? Shouldn’t the head of the LOC have a sense of the different ways people interact with information and the roles that libraries play in their communities? The LOC is about a lot more than just copyright.



The Librarian of Congress doesn’t go around keeping the stacks in order.

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The Internet Archive is a library.


Of course not. I never implied that shelving books was one of the Librarian of Congress’s duties. However, as a librarian, if someone is going to be speaking for me, I’d like that person to have had some first-hand experience in my field.

Again, I’m not criticizing this particular candidate, just the idea that the Librarian of Congress isn’t actually required to have ANY experience actually working in ANY kind of library.


Most librarians don’t shelve books, these days.

One of the biggest criticisms of the outgoing LoC is that he didn’t understand how the general public interacts with information via modern technology. Someone with real world library experience would have a useful perspective on this. Yes, we need a copyright advocate, but we also need an advocate for access to information, organization of information, and information literacy.

Also, as a librarian, I agree with Slartibartfast that it would be nice to have the figurehead for my profession actually have some connection to my profession.


That’s too bad. Shelving books seems like the best job in a library.

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