Was that a conversation Mr. Gorman?

Because if that is what you wanted you could have gotten it off to a better start. A lot has been said since Gormangate, as it is being called, broke the evening of 24 Feb according to my aggregator. [I guess I’ll leave that sentence ambiguous as according to my aggregator the story broke then AND there has been a lot said. Since it is true on both counts I like the construction, otherwise I don’t as it is ambiguous. No wonder some philosophers (and linguists) go ga-ga over ambiguity.]

I’m not sure what I have to say even at this point. The ‘scandal’ was an enlightening process for me though. And I must say I was let down on many sides of the equation—there were also some eloquent voices saying important things. I’m going to handle my thoughts on this by reconstructing some of the commentaries as I (mostly) read them and commenting on a few of them hopefully only lightly. I’m not sure if there is any value for others in this, but it will help me continue formulating my thoughts on the whole thing.

This post was composed over the period 5 – 9 March.

Well, it seems that KGS at Free Range Librarian began and hopefully ended the whole thing for me. I just went to Bloglines to get her 1st post on it and there is a new post linking to a roundup on LISNews.com. Blake did something similar to what I’m up to, but for different purposes and I don’t know what order he put his links in.

24 Feb 8 PM-ish Check Bloglines and Karen at FRL has this: Gorman on Bloggers.

“Nice. Really nice. Good use of the ALA presidential bully pulpit:
excoriating ad hominem attacks wrapped in academic overspeak. No
citations, of course. (Who actually called him an idiot?)”

Nice immediate response. Fairly summarizes Gorman’s position;
makes a moral, but not moralistic, judgement; names one of the biggest
academic reasons to dismiss his argument; asks a good historical
question of the ‘data.’ I don’t always agree with Karen, but I was
pleased with this immediate response. I imagine she wanted to say
more; just maybe not in print.

Jessamyn is always an early stop. Hers is the 1st blog that I started reading. blog people say “ugh” to Michael Gorman or possibly here as she is re-doing some things over at Librarian.net.
By the way, my initial impression is that I like the current re-design,
but not your post headings font. It is hard to read. Otherwise,
looking good.

Of course, I’ve now read Gorman’s LJ Backtalk piece.

Steven Cohen at Library Stuff Revenge of the Blog People?

“Mr. Gorman: I take offense to your overgeneralizations and prejudices
against me and my blogging colleagues.”

Takes offense, but makes the effort to also reach out on a deeply personal level.

“One last note. One of the main reasons why I
completed my library school degree (I took a class, but wasn’t sure if
I truly wanted to be a librarian) was the assignment of your book,
Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness, and Reality, which was co-written by
Walt Crawford (someone who I am proud to call my mentor). I just wanted
to take this opportunity to thank you for writing that book. It has had
a vast impact on my work as a librarian.”

Some nice comments at Steven’s post.

25 Feb

Excellent post by Michael Stephens at Tame the Web An Open (yet personal) letter to Michael Gorman.

“Overall, it just makes me sad that ALA has yet to get a
grip on what’s happening in libraries: Blogs – yes. RSS feeds – yes.
Instant Messaging as a tool to reach users – yes. Wikis – yes. And
finally, online/real world communities of practice — in this case:
groups of librarians working together with the common goal of meeting
user needs and meeting our users on their turf, not ours —
interacting, learning and generating knowledge – yes.”

Jessamyn strolls in with “blog people” respond or possibly here.
Nice comment by Roy Tennant whom I’m not always in agreement with. As
usual, Jessamyn has shown other pieces of the conversation that I may
well not have found otherwise. Thanks!

Meredith at Information Wants To Be Free writes a responsive piece: Michael Gorman and “Revenge of the Blog People”

26 Feb

Steven Cohen on The Top 40. Nice comments by Steven Bell and Walt Crawford.

27 Feb

Dorothea at Caveat Lector had been out applying for a job but is back Blogging nonetheless.

Oh yes, Seth “Finkelstein and the Student Librarian are spinning a mighty thin thread”
I don’t buy it—she’s called Gorman on some things but nothing that could elicit this response. Besides, she can string sentences together in a linear fashion.

“We also missed an opportunity, a “teachable moment,” for which shame on
us. We had a chance to bring the ALA President into the library
blogsphere, and we squandered it. If we’d even just laughed it off and
gone about our business, we’d have made Gorman look pretty small; as it
is, we look (dare I say it) hysterical.”

“Like it or not, Gorman is representative of the
attitudes of a large band of librarians. It’s not even his election to
the ALA presidency that demonstrates that… one needn’t go further than
one or two of the ALA’s own listservs, or the nearest library school,
to figure it out. I think that, rather than any library-blog
clannishness, is why the reactions got so heated—but that doesn’t
excuse us, not in the slightest. We could have made things better. I
think we’ve made them worse.”

Excellent response as usual from Dorothea.

28 Feb

KGS gives a lengthier response with Gorman, On Reflection.

ALA non-response: “How suited he was for this task should have been discussed far more
extensively before he was elected. For those of you calling for his
“recall,” give it up. You don’t get mulligans in elections for not
paying attention the first time around.”

Thanks Karen for the “mulligan” comment. Let me jump in here with a
thought I had on this resignation business. As I don’t personally know
anyone making these claims, of which I saw a few, I don’t know what you
do in other areas of your life. But those of you calling for Gorman’s
resignation, impeachment, or whatever, had best be out in the streets
every day calling for the resignation or impeachment of our president
and most of his cabinet and staff!

Oooh no, Mr. Gorman made librarians look bad! He’s got
to go! Please, before I swoon, just take him away. We can’t have such
dinosaurs reflecting back out of the mirror of librarianship; what will
people think of us?

Give me a break! You want to talk about damaging
representatives—and I don’t care what your politics are—you have got to
admit that George W. and the gang are far damaging, in any sense of
that word, to our reputation and image.

Greg at Open Stacks Are You a Blog Person? makes a Blogperson button.

Steven links to a PubSub feed of responses for a larger picture at Blog People and the Fallout.

4 Mar

Jenny at The Shifted Librarian had been out sick but returns with Moving Past GormanGate.

“…I don’t really have anything to add that is more
complex or eloquent than what has already been written. I don’t think
Gorman should resign, but I do worry that he has alienated a large
contingent of people who could have helped both him and ALA in general.
My biggest fear, though, is that he doesn’t even realize this (kind of
like another president we all know), which doesn’t bode well for the
coming year.”

“However, I’m not writing this to re-hash the debate. Instead, I think
it’s time to move past GormanGate and look to the future, let bygones
be bygones, and maybe even make a little money. You see, I think we’ll
probably see many more Gorman editorials as he becomes the official
President of ALA. Therefore, I think we should kill two birds with one
stone and start a pool to guess what his next topic will be. This will
allow us to prepare for the worst, while also providing financial gain
for the correct prognosticators.”

I agree with her that he has alienated the very same folks who could
have helped him and that he probably doesn’t realize it (yet). He is
about to visit a few library schools and may just get an earful or two
though. On the other hand, starting a betting pool on how soon he will
embarrass us again is not “let[ting] bygones be bygones.”

Dorothea on Reacting responsibly.

“So I’ve been rereading things and rethinking things,
pondering the best riposte. A few comments here and there about the
library blogsphere have pointed fingers at whoever it was that set
Gorman off. Me, among others, if Seth Finkelstein is right and this Caveat Lector post is what was forwarded to Gorman by a friend of his.”

I don’t think it was Dorothea that set Gorman off, although if he
has read that piece it may not have sat well. But, come on, this guy
has been a “leader” for a while, I would hope his skin is a little
thicker than that. I do think it had more to do with his Google
piece. I used to think a little differently than Dorothea does about
Gorman’s digital views having also read some of his sustained pieces.
But maybe the time for generosity is past.

I’d like to thank the bloggers that I read daily for much of this
information. I am pleased that most of the reasonable voices, despite
which side of the flap they fall on, are the ones I normally read.
This will be interesting in a year or two to see who I am still
reading. Or if Jenny is right, and she is, then I’ll get to take a
look at my sources for the next library-land flap even sooner. I’m
just not placing any bets. Also, I’d like to thank Mr. Gorman for
helping me revise my opinion of him. I was a little more generous
before. I look back at what I wrote in my portfolio as part of my Revolting Librarians Redux entry for my 1st library science class:

Michael Gorman, President-Elect of ALA, is bothered more
by librarians’
reaction to the image issue than the image itself. “Why do we
masochistically collect even mildly derogatory remarks, and worse,
write about them? … We should turn from these responses and take a
healthy pride in what we do and a large dose of pity for those who
stereotype any group—including librarians (Gorman 103).” Our Singular Strengths: Meditations for Librarians.

May I suggest that you go back and do some sustained reading of your own writings Mr. Gorman. You failed on both counts.