[Videolib] visual literacy (was Nothing about videos in ALA's State of Libraries report?)

Andrea Slonosky (Andrea.Slonosky@liu.edu)
Tue, 24 Apr 2007 11:09:15 -0400

I agree with Steve that many librarians are not very visually literate,
and it is going to be a real problem as we move forward with new
technologies. The lack of visual literacy in libraries is evident at
every level: OPAC/Web interface design, libraries physical layouts and
signage, the presentation of handouts and announcement, never mind the
stubborn persistence of the concept that academic media collections are
esoteric luxuries , and that professors/teachers who use media in the
classroom are somehow slacking off, as are the nursing/physical
therapy/dance/counseling/business/ceramics/etc etc students who need to
SEE how something is done, as well as listen to a lecture.

The visual literacy issue is an important one. A colleague and I have
just submitted a virtual poster (Where Form becomes Function) to ACRL,
as part of Eye to I: Visual Literacy Meets Information Literacy
sponsored by ACRL's Instruction & Arts Sections. Our poster discusses
the process of extrapolating keywords from a film, and how different
ways of thinking about a film (or photo, painting, etc.) can lead to
different research paths.

Working on this was fascinating, as it was very difficult at times for
my colleague (an Instruction Librarian) and me to adequately explain
topics that were obvious to one or the other. I don't teach much, and my
colleague, while an excellent teacher, with a former life as a
performing arts librarian, hasn't much background in film language or
history or visual arts in general, and the process of getting some very
abstract concepts down on 'paper' was quite involved, for both of us.

I also agree that librarians don't need to be told more about their
inadequacies. I do think that we should probably start spreading our
gospel a bit more actively - perhaps by having regional discussion
groups that would include media and instruction librarians, or media and
collection development librarians and so on.

Andrea Slonosky
Media Librarian/Assistant Professor
Brooklyn Campus Library
Long Island University

Andrea.Slonosky@liu.edu
(718) 488-1311

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-videolib@lists.berkeley.edu
[mailto:owner-videolib@lists.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of Steve Fesenmaier
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 10:12 AM
To: videolib@lists.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] Nothing about videos in ALA's State of Libraries
report?

I wrote my own MLS thesis on "Film Selection Policies in Public
Libraries"
in 1979. One of the main conclusions was that few selection policies
showed
an awareness of film history. Years latter I had a letter published in
American Libraries about a library film critic blasting one of my fav
films,
"WR: Mysteries of an Organism" by Dusan Makavejev. An editor at
McFarland
asked me to write a book on the visual illiteracy of librarians. I told
him
that librarians needed to watch more films, especially important classic
and
new ones, not read a book about their faults. At one time the National
Video Resources ( now called ReNew) person, Sally Mason, tried to help

librarians become more visually literate. I don't know who is promoting
visual literacy in our profession any more other than this listserv and
related groups at ALA.

If anyone would like to read my 50 page work on film selection policies,

write me directly at - fesenms@wvlc.lib.wv.us. Steve Fesenmaier

VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of
issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic
control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in
libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve
as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel
of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video
producers and distributors.

VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and distributors.