Friday, March 29, 2013

Author Info: Peter R. Young

Peter R. Young is a major figure in the librarianship world (perhaps the SLIS students already knew about him).  He retired in 2010 from his position as Chief of the Asian Division at the US Library of Congress, where he had served for 2 years (a press release from October 2008 announced his appointment to that position).  Currently, he is a consultant and a senior advisor for collections and technology at the Library of Congress.  Before he served as Chief of the Asian Division, he headed the National Agricultural Library for 6 years (2002-2008).  In 1996, when he wrote the article we read, he was the Executive Director of the US National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, which is “an independent federal agency advising the president and Congress on library and information services and policies” (from “Library of Congress Announces New Asian Division Chief”).  Basically, he’s held quite a few important positions in the librarianship world in the last twenty years.

As you all probably found out from reading, he graduated from Columbia University’s library school in 1968, prior to the “digital revolution” /advent of postmodern librarianship, or whatever term we may use for the shift he identifies.  However, based on his past work experiences, I think I can begin to see how he made up for what he missed in library school in the 60s.  I mean, he had to be in the know—back in 1996, he wrote “guests at postmodern birthday parties watch and comment on the videos shot and shown during the course of the party” (114)!  I went to a birthday party in 1996, and nobody had a camera or made comments on videos, but that’s certainly what happens in 2013. 

Besides working at several public and academic libraries, Young has served as a film-library specialist for the US Army; he received awards for heading a special library in Chu Chi, Vietnam; he helped work on the Library of Congress’s MARC program in the mid 80s (MARC stands for MAchine Readable Cataloging); he directed Faxon Academic Information Services for Faxon, Inc. and founded the Faxon Institute for Advanced Studies in Scholarly and Scientific Communications, where he “organized a program for the Society of Scholarly Information on Knowledge for Sale which reviewed the impact of digital technology on research publishing and academic libraries” (from Young’s LinkedIn profile); he served as president of the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) from 1989-90. 

Most of his positions he held for about 2 years; the longest position on his LinkedIn profile he held for 7 years (which was the Executive Director position he held in 1996).  Basically, Peter R. Young has seen libraries and librarianship from many angles. 

Library of Congress Reading Room

By the way, the Library of Congress would like to inform you that the US Library of Congress “is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people” (from the press release cited earlier).

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