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November 2001


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"Pullen, Sharon" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 1 Nov 2001 09:42:36 -0500
text/plain (34 lines)
My evaluation of your two cents:
        And, after they turn to dust, will the information they contain,
both historical and cultural have been microfilmed or otherwise preserved?
Your private joy hardly counts as a service to the public.  You cannot call
yourself a preservationist because you have not taken any steps to preserve.
There is a great deal more to preservation than merely keeping something
until it disintegrates.
        Collectors, as you point out are about monetary value and personal
satisfaction, not the cultural heritage and certainly not the public.
        Since you seem to have formed opinions regarding librarians based on
instances with no dates and documentation with no citations, I know you will
not mind that I have formed an opinion of you based on your email.  At
least, that can be considered a "primary source".
        The open hostility expressed against the library community amazes
and mystifies me.  Most members of the public are not even aware that the
circulation desk staff are not librarians, let alone that librarians are
holders of graduate degrees.  Archivists are usually a complete mystery.
        Do you serve as a library trustee?  Are you a member of your local
library's friends group?  Are you aware that in today's technological
culture  the public library is the only source of hands-on computer
experience open to many members of the community?
        Unlike collectors and self-styled documentarians, librarians, both
public and academic serve an entire community.
        I firmly believe in the importance of preserving the past.  However,
there is a vast difference between intrinsic and informational value and an
even vaster one between what serves the public and what serves a personal
        As I type this a vast community of public servants struggles to
recover lost history and preserve current history connected to the September
11 attacks.  Will they be vilified by future generations because the manner
or media they choose to use does not suit personal preference?  I certainly
hope not.
        Sorry for the "rant", I'm a Dennis Miller fan.