AkLA 2014: Brooke Gladstone

After Thursday preconferences and tours are over, it is tradition for Alaska Library Association (AkLA) Conferences to officially start with a Thursday night welcoming reception. The AkLA 2014 Conference upheld this tradition well, with a set of appetizers good enough for a full dinner and a wonderful talk from Brooke Gladstone, host of NPR’s On the Media.

Ms. Gladstone’s talk was wide ranging but repeatedly touched on her 2011 graphic non-fiction media book:

Gladstone, Brooke, Josh Neufeld, Randy Jones, and Susann Jones. 2011. The influencing machine: Brooke Gladstone on the media. New York: W.W. Norton.

She also talked up librarians as navigators and credibility detectors which was well received by her audience of librarians. She was a remarkably energetic speaker for someone who told us she had already made over a dozen appearances that week. She was also funny, informative and generous in her Q&A time.

My favorite part of her talk was when she said (PARAPHRASING HERE):

I don’t like reading most books on media criticism because too many fall into three categories:

  1. Books that savage one political party or the other under the guise of “media criticism/literacy”

  2. Books that cry out “Oh God, Oh God, we’re all going to turn into Stone Age savages and die!”

  3. Books that serenely assure us we have just entered the digital utopia.

I’ve put her book on hold, as have several others in the Joint Library Catalog system that stretches from Juneau to Kodiak (UAA). If you have a chance to hear Ms. Gladstone speak, you ought to take it.

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