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Friday, June 23, 2006

Multifaith Stacks: A New Book for the Information Professionals

Print, online and handouts abound that deal with sacred presence in secular environment, or vice-versa. And the list includes themes such as, God at the reference desk, religious questions at the reference desk, a liturgy for the faithful Librarian, a faith-based Website: Stack C: The Sacred and the Secular, etc. I myself have been contributing, in humble ways at: The Multifaith Information Gateway, with focus on diversity in the workplace, religious accommodation in the public sphere, Knowledge management for religious and spiritual domains, etc. Nevertheless, these bits and bytes are scattered (or dispersed using Bradford's lingo) in the deep end of the Web. Let me admit my own ignorance: there is not one book on the concept of evidenced-based sacred-cum-secular librarianship.*** But, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

I just read information about a new book. I think it inspires the communities of best practices, or those who are involved in information handling, in today's Multifaith, Multicultural, Multilingual, Multiracial and Pluralistic age. A sample from all-of-the-above areas is summarized in the following book:

Sacred Stacks: The Higher Purpose of Libraries and Librarianship, BY NANCY KALIKOW MAXWELL (American Library Association, 2006).
Drawing from history, sociology, and philosophy, Sacred Stacks voices the importance of the library profession and libraries as community institutions in a secular time. Though secular institutions, libraries can be the setting for a spiritual vacation.
1 Libraries as sacred, secular institutions 1
2 Librarians perform sacred functions 20
3 Librarians and libraries organize chaos 38
4 Librarians and libraries bestow immortality 48
5 Librarians and libraries uplift individuals and society 61
6 Libraries provide sacred, secular space 77
7 Librarians and libraries promote community 94
8 Librarians and libraries transmit culture to future generations 113
9 Implications of libraries as sacred, secular institutions 125

I am simply lost, and let you yourself see the subject heading for this book in LC are:
Libraries -- Aims and objectives.
Libraries and society.
Library science -- Philosophy.

Whereas, other cataloguers do not feel comfortable with this concept of minimal level cataloging. Ranganathan's faceted scheme would be handy, if one is looking. In addition, my cataloging inspiration is from Sanford (aka Sandy) Berman, another master of content visualization. And using his approach which he called alternative cataloging, I think, we need at least five more headings. While Sandy would go an extra mile, if there is none in the LCSH, incidentally, in our case LC does have all the five. A search for any item dealing with sacred-cum-secular in the Multifaith Library's catalog will get you these and much more. More around Sandy's inspired content in available from my visual catalog Webliography

P.S. Thanks to Anna for information about this book. I wish to share her comment about the book:
While I do not agree with everything in this book, I did find this brief nine chapter, 156 page book a balm for my soul and my book spines.

on the same shelf:

*** Because of this total dearth of anthologies, I took up a book writing project. My new book, due for release this year is about Cyber Worship in Multifaith Perspective. See secular librarianship,   Atheist Librarian   Communist Librarian   THEOLOGICAL LIBRARIANSHIP


Anonymous said...

It is humbling--and most gratifying--for me to see how the book is resonating with other librarians. I always knew I was not the only one to see a higher purpose in our profession. Now I know others share that sentiment. Thanks for letting me know what is being said on your and other blogs. Best regards,

Nancy Kalikow Maxwell

Ceca said...

I just stumbled on your blog as a result of a Google search. I'm in the process of applying to grad school to get my MS/MLS in LIS and have been thinking of how I can combine my passion for fostering Interfaith Dialogue and Library Science. Thank you for posting this !

Mohamed Taher said...

Thanks for communicating your interest.
Send an email to my address and we can interact on the potential of this field.
Do you have a Blog? I couldn't reach your blog to respond directly to this concern; the profile is not activated, in case you have one.
Best wishes and prayers for your grand success.

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