Volume 28, Number 1, Spring 2006

What We're Reading

by: Susanne Bjorner, Bjorner & Associates, and member of ILEX

I don't know a single information professional who doesn't have a towering pile of stuff to read on the back of their desk or beside their bed. Or both. Books, magazines, newspaper clippings, printouts from Internet postings, and miscellaneous sticky notes all remind us of what we're going to read when we have time. Like me, you probably periodically rummage through the deluge, lament that you haven't gotten to that particular report, and then begin anew. When invited to write about what consultants and other independent librarians are reading, I accepted readily. It's my way of making sure that I really do read some of those things I've been meaning to.

This month's find is Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources , the 2005 report of 3,300 survey responses from information consumers in Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. I got a head start by attending the excellent OCLC Forum program at Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio and immediately came home and downloaded it free or you can also purchase a print copy for $19. If you look at nothing else, read the eight-page Conclusion and scan the Sample Verbatim Comments in Appendix B for ideas on how we must take the library brand--books--beyond current perceptions to secure our space in the infosphere.

Among other revelations, I find it interesting that responses worldwide generally echoed one another, and the choice of countries surveyed amplified the understanding I had gained from the book I had recently liberated from my bedside table: Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat. That left space for my daily round of Sudokus, which constantly confirm my conviction that thinking and moving around several boxes is far better than just thinking outside one.