We started in John’s office in Darien last Friday and have worked in New York, in Arlington Virginia and in Washington DC. We worked on whiteboards, using cameras, recording on an iPhone, on trains, in tapas restaurants, under cherry blossom, via skype, using etherpad, seeking inspiration from minifigs, during conference sessions and even under an ironing board at 2am in the morning.
We worked on “the Thing” until it finally became the “Darien Statements on the Library and Librarians” . It’s our attempt to articulate what the Library is, the role of librarians and what librarians need to do to preserve the Library.
We don’t mention books or buildings once. This wasn’t deliberate. We aimed to make it sound like we were stating the obvious that every librarian knows, without sounding trite.
When we were writing it, I thought of stories of librarians practicing librarianship beyond the day-to-day running of a library. How were these things still librarianship ? Alia Muhammud Baker, the Librarian of Basra who smuggled priceless manuscripts into private homes during bombing in Iraq. The protests by Australian librarians against internet filtering. The New Zealand Librarians and their attempts to influence their government to stop section 92A of their copyright act. The American Library Association’s stand on banning books. ? What were they doing that was so essential to our purpose that they made sure that we will have content to work with in the future ? Why, besides keeping librarians employed, were what they were doing valuable?
A big thank you from the three of us to all the librarians who have been publicly writing and thinking about the future of libraries. We hope we channeled your thoughts with respect.
Cindi also has eloquently posted her thoughts about the process and about openess, On Writing the Darien Statements .