Librarians Are Really Smart

Every time I talk to one, that’s what I think.

And here is more evidence–thoughtful and thought provoking. Brief, too. It’s like the anti-me.

On one of my lists, one populated by writing instructors, discussion recently focused on whether teaching argument was all it was cracked up to be. Shouldn’t we concentrate more on helping students master inquiry? Though being able to understand the academic meaning of the word “argument” and to gain skill in marshaling evidence effectively in writing is important, too often students early in their career as apprentice writers have a hard time escaping the popular notion that argument means persuasion by any means. But then, inquiry is also often misconstrued as a matter of finding sources that will act as a ventriloquist for their preconceived prejudices rather than expecting evidence to lead them to conclusions. (Perhaps I’m overly sensitive to this winner-take-all attitude during a cantankerous election season.)

On another list, one for librarians involved in instruction programs, a parallel issue bubbled up when one member wondered whether librarians found it troubling that a popular database that provides a selection of sources on topics neatly arranged in “pro” and “con” binaries contains articles about global warming that she finds spurious and patently false.