The Welcoming Labyrinth: What We Gain and Lose as Libraries Change is by Robert Zaretsky, a professor of world cultures and literatures in the department of modern and classical languages and the Honors College at the University of Houston. His post appears in the Chronicle of Higher Education and in it he notes the changes in research libraries as they face economic realities with strategies like patron driven acquisitions, focusing on new formats like streaming video, and replacing book stacks with common study areas. While the author sees these changes as “a step in our evolving relationship with the printed word,” he also laments missing “the pursuit of losing oneself in the welcoming labyrinth of books, in search of one title but waylaid by others? It is in these chance encounters, untouched by algorithm-driven search engines, that we sometimes find a little more of our own selves.”
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.