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Some useful lists of principles

I was reviewing Sirsi’s Reading Rooms (Specialized Rooms that are part of our Enterprise Portal Solution -EPS for short – that help folks select books to read by genre) the other day and it made me remember the Reader’s Bill of Rights create by Daniel Pennac. If you don’t know them, here they are:
The Reader’s Bill of Rights
1. The right not to read.
2. The right to skip pages.
3. The right to not finish.
4. The right to reread.
5. The right to read anything.
6. The right to escapism.
7. The right to read anywhere.
8. The right to browse.
9. The right to read out loud.
10.The right to not defend your tastes.
Some people find these controversial. Amazing! It doesn’t include my favourite – the right to highlight, dog ear and annotate your own books.
I find these principles a nice adjunct to Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library
1. Books are for use.
2. Every reader his or her book.
3. Every book its reader.
4. Save the time of the reader.
5. The Library is a growing organism.
It’s a good idea that we remind ourselves of these basic principles of library service. We build user focused services. We build user focused websites. Some, but not all of our users are readers. I find Walt Crawford’s and Michael Gorman’s 5 additional or updated laws useful too:
1. Libraries serve humanity.
2. Respect all forms by which knowledge is communicated.
3. Use technology intelligently to enhance service.
4. Protect free access to knowledge.
5. Honor the past and create the future.
A French paper, by Alireza Noruzi poses the question, “Does the web save the time of the user?” and adds this little list:
1. Web resources are for use.
2. Every user his or her web resource.
3. Every web resource its user.
4. Save the time of the user.
5. The Web is a growing organism.
Sounds familiar. Now we just need to noodle long and had on the essential goal – making our new and revamped virtual services align with our basic service mandates to serve the user and reader. Ask ourselves the hadr question – are the needs of users and readers the same? It’s not an easy question. We’re not anywhere near done yet. It will be a great and exciting journey. As we continue to let a thousand flowers bloom, we will find just the right ones to discover the library of the future.

Posted on: July 29, 2005, 9:02 pm Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Mark Beatty said

    Stephen, we met at the CO Collaborative VR conference. I have a half funny, but more than half truthful added/amended set of rules. These are based on years of delivering all kinds of internet training to librarians and patrons, combined with that grounding in Ranganathan et al while in Library School and the reality of the online search world.
    1) Patrons just want stuff
    2) Give it to them
    3) Now

  2. Thomasina Paine said

    As are many libraries, the one where I work is part of a major institution. I became aware that we spend so much time advocating for our patrons, but what about the librarians?
    1. Our email is restricted even censored (what library would actually read patrons emails?);
    2. We have no freedom of speech regarding work issues, corporate issues, or institutional issues;
    3. The sharing of ideas is dangerous, it is a case of cya, watch your back, and document, document document.
    I think it is quite ironic, and shocking, and probably nothing can be done about it.