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Indybay Feature

East Bay | Education & Student Activism

View other events for the week of 12/17/2013
Oakland Public Library extinction
Date Tuesday December 17
Time 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Location Details
City of Oakland, Council meeting

Special Life Enrichment Committee

Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, California 94612

Sgt. Mark Dunakin Room - 1st Floor
Event Type Other
agenda: https://oakland.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=276573&GUID=DE505E20-8F09-4130-8690-B088549529ED

3. Subject: Service Contract Award For New Models Of Library Service
From: Oakland Public Library
Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Awarding A Professional Services Contract In The Amount Not To Exceed $150,000 (One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars) To Group 4 Architecture Research & Planning To Assist With The Development Of New Models Of Service For The Oakland Public Library

report: https://oakland.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=2746384&GUID=EAAF5479-A082-4A8F-A423-92A2A8429656

Some reasons why you should be concerned:

- The contract goes to a drafting business. Almost no technicians read these days. Draftspeople overwhelmingly fit into that statement. One thing they are good at is using the Skinner Box for drafting purposes. I can only imagine the dystopian world draftspeople would create for libraries.

- This is a solution in search of a problem. Children (today that would be 3 to 30 year olds) almost never read. And if they do, it is via a personal surveillance device. It is becoming harder and harder to find more recent "books" in paper editions. Use the library's website to try and find all but the mind-numbing, mass-media pablum. You'll be disappointed. I can assure you, the goal of this "Development of New Models" will push further use of personal surveillance devices. Did you know the "book" on your PSD can be deleted and "updated" whenever the web-o-sphere commanders want? They chose the most obvious - Orwell's "1984" - back in 2009 to do just that. The cows responded with a resounding "moooo" so the creatures in charge decided the chattle don't care/matter.

Read this report. Understand it. Get involved. The cattle's representatives on the council committee will not understand what this means. It's in their typical moooo-forming language. They can pass it and feel good. The cattle will not understand.

"Succumb to the dumb! We are all DEVO" ... not ?
Added to the calendar on Sunday Dec 15th, 2013 10:08 PM
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Comments  (Hide Comments)

by A librarian
Tuesday Dec 17th, 2013 6:22 PM
I have worked at the Oakland Public and at other public libraries in the Bay Area. I have also worked at libraries where Group 4 has made management-directed changes to facilities and service models.

There are plenty of good reasons to be suspicious of an agenda to introduce "New Models of Service". It is also undoubtedly correct that these changes are made with a minimum of public input and that management does not want public input.

But what this posting says about the public – many of whom, I would like to point out, are working class - are not appropriate.

"Children (today that would be 3 to 30 year olds) almost never read. And if they do, it is via a personal surveillance device. It is becoming harder and harder to find more recent "books" in paper editions. Use the library's website to try and find all but the mind-numbing, mass-media pablum. "

There are many children and young adults in Oakland who would beg to differ. You could just visit the Children's or Teen’s Room at the Main Library on a weekday and see how many of them are there, reading. And not everything they read is “mind-numbing, mass-media pablum”. Unless you consider graphic novels to be pablum. Did you enjoy “V for Vendetta”?
(Actually I thought V for Vendetta was not very good. In my opinion it glorifies individualistic acts since the hero doesn’t act collectively. But after all, it’s a graphic novel and for a graphic novel it was quite exceptional. Anyway, some people think it’s great).

This statement disrespectful to the kids and shows a real lack of confidence in the community.

I personally think that a lot of mass market literature is horrible, boring stuff. But it’s central to the library’s mission that people are given access to the information and reading material they want. If somebody wants to read the latest James Patterson book (who I personally think is trash) it is not up to me to make a value judgment about it.

It’s true that many people don’t read. I used to work at a community college and some of the students had never read a book from cover to cover in their lives. But even if they’re reading “mind-numbing, mass-media pablum”, you know, at least they’re reading. And it can lead to unexpected places. Time and time again exceptional writers and organizers develop out of reading “mind-numbing, mass-media pablum”. Hell, often they don’t even give it up after they become famous.

If I go about condemning what the majority of patrons are reading, or think of the public as “cattle”, the next time it comes around the stuff that goes will be the stuff you love. The Communist Manifesto, the Conquest of Bread and the Wretched of the Earth will be the books to go. All the titles on the book shields. I’ve seen it happen.

I think it’s a good thing that somebody is bringing up Group 4, they’re certainly elitists. But I hope the original poster will reconsider their position.