Excerpt from
“Archives of Library Research from The Molesworth Institute”
by Norman D. Stevens, The Hawthorn Press, 1985

Introduction: Disjunctive Librarianship

   Recent years have seen a considerable stir created by those who advocate what has come to be called alternative librarianship. Those advocates are an active group seeking to bring about a change in the way in which we, as librarians, think and act. Unfortunately those visionaries are no more inclined to treat librarianship with the levity that it so often deserves than are the more traditional members of the profession. Indeed alternative librarians often take themselves far more seriously than do regular librarians. They may write what sometimes passes for humor but behind it there always lurks an element of deadly seriousness. Their humor is designed as satire intended to help bring about change.

Unfortunately just as the alternative librarians seem to have pre-empted other aspects of librarianship so they seem, sometimes, to have pre-empted library humor. Fortunately there is another group of librarians who, while a much smaller minority, do offer a real alternative. We are committed, at least with some part of our mind, to what really is an alternative to the hide-bound traditions of the library profession. Our view can best be characterized as representing disjunctive librarianship. We find the library world, like the real world, impossible to understand on a rational basis. We turn then to the outer reaches of our mind and treat librarianship with the irrationality that it deserves.