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Rationality

April 8, 2010

Rationality is very important, but that doesn’t mean that everything we do in life or in the library is rational. I could write a long introduction but I think Seth Godin does a much better job than I could, so my rational decision is just to get to the rest of the information for this post. Allons-y!

First, check out Seth Godin’s post, Are you rational?. Godin nicely examines the difference between rationality and irrationality and that irrationality shouldn’t have the negative connotation that we’ve associated with it. If for no other reason, read it to figure out the context for my favorite sentence from this post: “If you need to hate on Copernicus in order to have more faith, something is seriously wrong.”

In one area of the library where we really should be rational is how we deal (or not deal) with library vendors. The Librarian in Black wrote a fantastic post against unethical library vendors. I hope the vendors are listening along with the rest of the library world so we can finally make progress on figuring out how to create a sustainable model for vendor relations–in my library’s case it is especially relevant to our database subscriptions. I know my library has had to make difficult decisions regarding database cuts because of our dismal budget and the fact that the vendors have priced their products out of our reach; this is a shame not only for our users but also for the vendors because they are losing business. In such a no-win situation, it is time to change the way business is conducted so everyone can benefit.

Do you like statistics to back up your rational decisions? Statistics are fun, confusing, and wonderful all at the same time. This video, State of the the Internet, is full of statistics about the Internet, especially social media. It is a good reminder of how hyperconnected much of the world is and how important it is for those of us who work in libraries to keep up with where our users are and what they are using online–not to mention keeping abreast of what they expect of the library in this changing Internet landscape.

And no, I didn’t forget that the iPad launched and this “magical” piece of technology is creating buzz all over the blogosphere this week. The iPad is a huge success in terms of sales and I think it will be very interesting to see how it will be used by librarians and how it will be deployed in libraries. If you want a nice FAQ about the iPad, check out Walter Mossberg’s The answers to your questions about the iPad and his review of the iPad. For a different take on the iPad, check out Lifehacker’s self-proclaimed rant from January, The Problem with the Apple iPad.

Finally, we end with this lovely interview with Neil Gaiman, the Honorary Chair of National Library Week (National Library Week runs from April 11th to April 17th this year). This is a great interview; Gaiman mentions Doctor Who and uses the word “hullabaloo,” so how could one possibly not enjoy this?

Have a fantastic week and don’t forget to read (and give your favorite librarian a hug [or cookies or at least say "thank you for being awesome"] during National Library Week).

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