Review of Our Singular Strengths, by Michael Gorman


Our Singular Strengths:  Meditations for Librarians, by Michael Gorman

American Library Association, Chicago, 1998.  196 pages.

ISBN: 0-8389-0724-5

Here’s a great book for a new librarian, excited about beginning a profession and a calling — in fact, for someone like me!

Michael Gorman, with forty years’ experience working in libraries, tells us about these meditations:  “My aim is to present a topic, thought, or story that encapsulates some aspect of libraries and learning as an aid to understanding or reassessment.  Beyond that I wish to provide aid and comfort to my colleagues in this profession that is often besieged — financially, psychologically, and in many other ways.”

His introduction summarizes nicely the beliefs expressed in this book:

“I believe passionately in libraries — in their social and cultural value, their redemptive power, and their centrality to learning and civilization.  I believe in the intelligent use of technology to enhance the services and programs of libraries and to enable us to fulfill our historic mission.  I believe in real, not virtual, libraries.  I believe in our core values of service, intellectual freedom, and the right of all to equal and full library services.  I believe that reading is a vital component of human progress and that we do no more important things than giving the habit of reading to children and encouraging ever-increasing literacy in adults.  I believe in public service and the public good and in the profession of librarianship, which has made so many contributions to both.  I believe that all libraries and librarians share a common purpose and that solidarity and mutual assistance should be among our guiding professional lights.  If this book, in expressing these beliefs, can make some contribution to librarianship and individual library lives, it will have been well worth the writing.”

Here are more quotations I thought worth collecting:

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