my emailed response to Library Journal…
In Michael Gorman’s screed of February 15, he suggests that the Google corporation should spend it’s money not on making books freely available worldwide — they should instead spend their money to provide more librarians for California. The fact that Gorman is a librarian in California should in no way impugn his altruism. However his inability to see these two things as mutually beneficial (more librarians and greater access to text) suggests that he is unable to think about two things at the same time. I hope he will practice this skill before launching another bigoted broadside at a target he is unable to even perceive.
I also hope he will also look up the cost of making printed and bound volumes of every book in a major University library physically available to every child in California. The cost would be, shall we say, “high.” Perhaps not as high as Michael Gorman had to be to cough up so much paranoia about “Blog People” but still, quite high.
And while Gorman’s prejudice towards the codex as the only True means of reading text is horrifyingly anachronistic, why stop at screens and digital text? Why not go straight to the source of the problem: the mechanical reproduction of text! Gutenburg’s evil spawn has completely erased the noble professions of scribe and scrivener from western societies. Monks have had to focus on making beer. Will Gorman allow these offenses to go unremarked?
And is he not aware of Project Gutenburg? The connection between this evil book digitization project and the original sin of mechanically reproduced text is plainly there for anyone to see! Google’s book digitization effort is merely another step down Gutenburg’s road of damnation, another step away from the True Handwritten Text. Maybe Gorman’s next battle against the machines who oppress us could be a rant against fonts (their cold standardization is an insult to the nuanced complexity of quill and scroll). I await his next calligraphed missive arriving via messenger pigeon….
Till then, I’ll simply acknowledge one of his previous critics who so succinctly noted: “Michael Gorman is an idiot”