Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Kim Family

I am a newshound. I used to work in the library of our City newspapers and I am total sucker for breaking news. Today I am home without the toddler and my tv is on constantly so I might catch any update on the news about James and Kati Kim. Do you know this story? The case of a family of four sheltering in their car on a high mountain roadside for 9 days? Dad set out on foot to get help two days ago. Mother and daughters were rescued yesterday. Today, thoughts fall to whether Dad will qualify for the euphemistic recovery or if the fates will deliver him as well with a rescue.

My heart goes out. As parents of two similarly small children p-man and I have been thinking about the family since the story broke. Not that we can fully identify with these bright, healthy and brave individuals. We won't venture out for a road trip after Oct 1. cause the roads scare us to shit. I remember fondly all those crazy road trips to Alberta in December my Dad stuck to; I now know how it ate up my Mom. FUCK DAD!

My mind also goes out today. Today I am busy with my contract material. The task I have is to write an information services course for teacher-librarians. At the core of the content is helping students learn to properly select information sources from the diverse number of options typical in life these days. Us librarians are usually pretty modest about what we are doing there but today it ain't just about making sure the youngins' are wise to the myth of the Velcro forest. Today I am thinking of how this story informs me to educate teachers and kids that our diversity of information is not just problematic but risky. Even if there is no truth to the rumour/urban myth that the Kims' internet driving directions were behind their misfortune its logic is an object lesson for my class. A horrifying example of how information choices unmediated by the human mind might be our undoing, as individuals, and en masse.

In library school I made a lot of efforts to align myself with the 'medium is the message' crowd. I tried to sex up my profession with a good dose of IT skills. I bought into all the HTML and XML and PERL hype and this has served me well to get interesting work. But in my interesting work the persistent issue for the vocation ain't the medium -- cue the resignation -- instead we must attend to good old-fashioned content delivery needs. Doing as much is a social justice issue for me(do you think it qualifies, Mad?) A bigger issue than print or web... bigger even than the digital divide (who knew). Here's hoping for a future inclusive of such a diversity of information, freely available, as to ensure we always have what we need to know to advance both our knowledge and our security. And, with thanks to the universe of librarians who have come before me with just those ideals in mind.

Needless to say... Our prayers today for James and family, too. ... you can send the family your thoughts at this link.


Blogger Granny said...

Went over and signed their guestbook.


4:43 p.m.  
Blogger jen said...

i've been following their story as well...and simply can't imagine...

i so hope it ends well.

and wow..yes, of course...(as Mad's soon to be other half) it counts!

Thank you!

6:44 p.m.  
Blogger Mad Hatter said...

Oh Mo-Wo, does this ever count! I work with education students in a province that has the highest illiteracy rate in Canada. Time and again, students find their way to me looking for Robert Munsch and Dr. Suess. You see, they have never read any other children's books and they think this must be all/the best there is. These young people will be teachers within 2 years. As a librarian I take information literacy dead seriously. How do I take these students that I will see for all of 5 minutes if I am lucky and give them tools to filter the noise and expand the relevance of their search. It seems a simple thing as I write about it BUT SO MUCH DEPENDS UPON IT.

So yes, yes, the professional ethic at the core of librarianship is without a doubt an issue of social justice.

7:37 p.m.  
Blogger carrie said...

This story unfolded through news updates for me too - not just because it was a local story, but a "human" one. I cannot imagine the fear that must've gripped Mr. Kim as he left his hungry family to hike 16 miles only to perish himself. It angered me when I learned that this road should've been gated off, but the lock was broken and the gate open due to valdalism. This happened before, to a middle-aged man, he survived 2 months in his truck before dying on the same damn road. It shouldn't have happened, plain and simple and I feel so badly for those little girls and their mother.


8:41 p.m.  

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