As I read Courtney Young's President's Message in American Libraries (that prompted me to join) I was struck by the idea that including diverse viewpoints is the foundation of intellectual freedom. Certainly both are essential to human dignity, but when it comes to healthy organizations, whether small or a whole democracy, diversity is the check against error. Sometimes people think diversity and intellectual freedom are mutually exclusive when they are actually complementary.
So glad you can join us! I hope many others do join us, post here, and discuss these very important topics. I do think the idea of heuristics (what you'd called "check against error") is fundamental. However, I am very taken with another perspective or definition of heuristics: experience-based problem solving. Having said this, heuristics are also the basis of psychological shortcuts, such as stereotypes. When such ingrained "common sense understandings" clash, we often come up with ideas such as "diversity and intellectual freedom are mutually exclusive." Challenging these ingrained stereotypes and rules of thumb (also heuristically formed) within an organization can be very difficult, mostly because it requires some deep introspection, both individually as members and collectively as an organization.
What can we do (or what do we already do) to foster this time of reflection within our library organizations? How can we foster this type of introspection here?
I couldn't agree more.
Everything from collection development to information literacy can be enhanced by inclusion.
For instance, there has been practically NO work done on colonialism's impact on information, knowledge and education in libraries. This is because there have not been enough various viewpoints included and because of the virtual indoctrination into W. culture's White-supremacy values via non-critical education.
Information diffusion in the hip-hop community via Rap, Art and Dance
Biases in historical information about indigenous people's in the so-called Americas
Non-hierarchical leadership structures taken from other cultures
Innovation in ways we cannot imagine
are all benefits of including others whose views, needs and contributions have been marginalized.
These subjects and more are almost completely neglected because of the lack of available viewpoints in our profession and in Education in general.
Reading the following article, I was reminded about this thread: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2015/01/opinion/charlie-hebdo-opinion/
The larger context and why I had thought of this thread is that the predominant narrative is that the Charlie Hebdo tragedy is primarily about freedom of expression, a tenet of intellectual freedom. Second to this narrative is the growing unrest trained at Muslim immigrants in France (i.e., a stand-in for diversity, if you will). If we take the dominant narrative uncritically, we can see how a reasonable person can (and does) conclude that diversity and intellectual freedom are mutually exclusive.
I had all of this in mind when I read David Lankes' piece in Library Journal (linked above). I was really struck by the perspective that libraries can help its communities weave their own narratives regarding the crisis-level events that may be happening around them. It made me wonder if it was possible to do something similar, for when events may be happening from a distance, but we still have a strong investment in?
Wikis and blogs that are set up for this purpose could come into play when things 'happen.'
I would actually start them up now and begin telling the story from THAT perspective NOW.
I love the idea!
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