Association of College & Research Libraries

Letters to the editor

Bruce Weaver, DeVry Columbus Libraiy

Lone Ranger is not dead

I take friendly umbrage at your killing off the Lone Ranger in the library sector of the intellectual community (“The Lone Ranger is dead,” by Betsy Wilson, C&RL News, September 2000).

Success demands collaboration? Collaboration is what put McDonald’s between you and the local cuisine. Collaboration is what put your HMO between you and your doctor. Collaboration has put the Disney version between your child and significant literature. Collaboration is what reduces writers and scholars to the role of “content providers.” Collaboration is what puts corporate values ahead of their effect on individuals.

There may be problems that require collaboration (read politics) for their solution, but unless there is an individual to have the problem, it may be pretty destructive to claim that there is one. Think of how the church can collaborate on the problem of idolatry among the natives.

OCLC may have required collaboration, but the books it helps you find that are worth reading after a few years in the catalog are hardly ever collaborative works. The books worth reading after 50 years in the catalog, the books that are worth their shelf space in other than an archival sense , are the ones written by solitary individuals.

Literature, art, and, to a large extent, scholarship itself are created or conducted in existential solitude. A library that forgets the primacy of the individual in its endeavors deserves to be merged quietly into the corporate knowledge base.—Tony Wilson, Highline Community College, Des Moines, Iowa,


I was pleased to see “The Lone Ranger is dead” essay in C&RL News and look forward to future installments. I’m trying to develop a more collaborative view of the world here at the DeViy Columbus Library, and it’s great to know I'll have food for thought for the upcoming year!

Your quotation regarding “ambiguity” was especially pleasing. As I read it, I looked to my whiteboard, one-third of which had recently been covered with an all-caps “AMBIGUITY,” and then to the wall above the whiteboard where a smaller, more decorative version of “Ambiguity!” now resides.

I’ve now fulfilled a mission of which I’d been unaware: seeing a bit of the world as you do.

Thanks for making my day!

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