About

I was born in Poland. I studied Polish literature in Poland (University of Warsaw) and librarianship in Australia (Monash University ). I live in Melbourne.

 

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Comments people wrote about the author:

Indeed, the idea of a public library as primarily a centre for education rather than entertainment must be resurrected, according to Miroslaw Kruk in “Death of the Public Library.” Even if the entertainment factor brings more people to libraries, the habit of visiting libraries exclusively for escapism can be harmful. Kruk criticizes the Baltimore Public Library (and others), known for the “give ‘em what they want” philosophy, for making their already disadvantaged (i.e., socially and economically)users even more disadvantaged by giving them “the childlike happiness of the illusory and sanitized world created by advertisers and opportunistic writers and publishers.” He reiterates the point that the survival of democracy depends on the political and social engagement of well-informed citizens and argues that libraries have a role to play in the creation and maintenance of a civil society. ………………………………………………….. Kruk incidentally mentions Ortega y Gasset’s concept of “mass man” with his homogenous tastes, interests, and intellectual qualities, who never doubts or questions, takes everything for granted, and never understands or appreciates the efforts of exceptional individuals—often those who go against the grain—without whom progress and civilization is impossible. Again, one is reminded of Orwell’s 1984 and the unquestioning acceptance by Party members of the official version of reality. Picture hordes of smug, indistinguishable “mass” humans blanketing the planet. This vision just might be the future if we don’t take steps to reduce the mass thinking (or non-thinking) that global media culture promotes. …………………………………………………. [In the universal library], all books are totally useless to the reader, which leaves librarians in a state of suicidal despair. “The library of total inclusiveness would contain materials blatantly untrue, false or distorted – intentionally or unintentionally misrepresenting reality, in which case, the universal library could be defined as small islands of meaning surrounded by vast oceans of meaninglessness.” (Miroslav Kruk, The Internet and the Revival of the Myth of the Universal Library, The Australian Library Journal, 1999) ………………………………………………. Malgré, ou peut-être grâce à la congestion des information, tout livre est complètement inutile au lecteur, ce qui laisse les bibliothécaires dans un état de désespoir suicidaire. « La bibliothèque qui contient le tout serait dotée de matériel franchement erroné, faux ou déformé – dénaturant réalité volotairement ou non, et dans ce cas, la bibliothèque universelle pourrait être définie comme des îlots de définition entourés de vastes océans de non-sens. » (ibid) ………………………. Kruk (2002), in a less-than-flattering view of postmodernism, says: For post-modernists, grand questions about the nature of reality and our place in the universe are pointless. There is no Truth; there are only provisional statements that are neither valid nor invalid. Distinctions between good and evil, beautiful and ugly and true and false are not discernible any more. There are no good books and no bad books. No one has the authority to make such judgments. Consequently, there is no canon. No group of people can claim that they know what reality is. We apparently create meaning and do not discover it. Post-modernist librarians do not pay much attention to collection development. Books are to be read here and now because they will soon be superseded by new books. Books resemble newspapers in their ephemerality and unimportance. Reading is not a serious engagement and does not lead to the discovery of truth. It is rather like a distraction Despite his critique, Kruk’s analysis seems to illustrate postmodernist themes very well. Lastly, the “primary concern of librarians is how to serve truth and not their political masters nor the multitude.” (Kruk, 2002, para. 17)

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