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Visiting luminary ...

SLIS @ SJSU is holding its "Third Annual ISI Samuel Lazerow Memorial Lecture at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17, 2004, in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, Room 225-257."

"Our speaker will be John Berry III, editor-in-chief of Library Journal.� Mr. Berry�s topic will be 'Can Librarians Fix Democracy?'� This lecture is hosted by SLIS and sponsored by Thomson ISI." (quoted from the library director's email announcement)

This should be cool. And so far as I know, this is open to the public. However, one thing nags me. Lots of library schools have Lazerow lectures (thank you, Thomson ISI). And looking at the various topics and speakers, and knowing what kind of information ISI specializes in ... I would venture to say that the Lazerow lecture is meant to issues of science and technology as they affect libraries and information centers to libsci students. Which fits with the last two lecturers at SJSU: Rick Luce, the library director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (that was an awesome talk) and a retired vice president of General Motors (who didn't actually know that much about the library but talked a lot about hydrogen fuel cells).

It's not that I don't care about that Mr. Berry has to say about libraries and democracy -- I do very much. But gosh, he must talk about that just about everywhere, yes? What can I ask him that would be ... different? Any topics I should bring to the table? How can the conversational envelope be pushed? Or, if you were there, what would YOU want to ask him? I'll give attributions ...


After Mr. Berry gets done telling you, as he certainly will, that John Ashcroft "ridiculed" or "attacked" librarians as a group, you could ask him, for Jack Stephens 1) why Ashcroft has never been quoted directly in the publication that he edits insulting librarians, and 2) why both of the articles that have appeared in Library Journal reporting Ashcroft's remarks have made clear that he was referring to a particular private organization--the American Library Association?

I will write down your question and will ask it, although I expect him to say that since ALA is a membership organization, the members of the organization can and should feel affronted if the organization as a whole is denigrated, a la teachers feeling insulted that the Secretary of Education Rod Paige called the National Association of Teachers "a terrorist organization."

Or he could have something more interesting to say. We'll see.

I forgot to thank you.

Berry is in black-and-white in no uncertain terms that Ashcroft "ridiculed" or "attacked" librarians.

Thanks again.