Despite carefully reading the historical sections, I am not equipped with the ammunition needed to advocate for scarce funding. His description of the modern library is too general to accurately convey its societal significance (“many broad-based services have emerged”). (Rubin, 2008, pp. 8, 9). His discussion of early public librarians focuses on their low wage due to limited funding; this does little to fortify advocates’ arguments for more funding. (Rubin, 2008, p. 9).
Although enlightening, the values section also falls short. While “Intellectual Freedom”, “Service and the Public Good”, “Education” and “Preservation” are worthy tenets, how is the American Library Association (ALA) ensuring that they are upheld by all librarians? (Rubin, 2008, pp. 11-13). Does the ALA maintain a profession driven by these values with a comprehensive program of certification, continuing education and ongoing assessment?
I require more detail stripped of any temporal trappings. Card catalog, e-books and ubiquitous internet access aside, what value does the library and librarian provide our society? What are the core competencies of the library institution? What are the core competencies of the librarian? What value does our society place on these competencies? Admittedly societal value will be challenging to assess, but we need to make a worthy attempt to preserve libraries for future generations.
Rubin, R. (2008). Stepping back and looking forward: Reflections on the foundations of libraries and librarianship. In K. Haycock & B. E. Sheldon (Eds.), The portable MLIS: Insights from the experts (pp. 3-14). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.