Finding a Public Voice: Barbara Fister as a Case Study is at long last available from ALA Editions! The volume, edited by Danielle Theiss and Diane Kovacs, is a collection of essays by academic librarians that pays tribute to the thoughtful and fearless Barbara Fister. I made a humble contribution to the book in the form of a haiku and longer poem (so called) simply because I was asked and because I had to be part of any book that recognized Barbara Fister’s many contributions to our profession. Barbara—thank you for being you, and for sharing you with the rest of us via your writing.
Going from the sublime to the happily ridiculous, I must bring to your attention to a hilarious blog post that my friend and colleague Michael Hopper brought to my attention: “Image, Public Perception, and Lego Librarians” by Joe Hardenbrook at his Mr. Library Dude blog. Besides the wonderful images Mr. Hardenbrook has created, his captions are not-to-be-missed summaries of frighteningly familiar librarian personae. Can you find your Lego self there? I found mine at various stages of my career.
On a (somewhat) related note, years ago a colleague and I planned to deliver a paper entitled, “From Buns to Bytes: How Technology is Changing Librarians’ Image” at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association annual conference. Imagine our distress and embarrassment when, upon doing research for the paper, we discovered that despite the increasingly technological character of our work, our image had not altered much in the public’s perception (with the exception of comic book readers, who were cognizant of Batgirl’s morphing into computer and information whiz Oracle). [As if further proof were needed of the longevity of information on the web, I found the title of our 1998 paper with a quick Google search. It lasts forever once you put it out there.]
Since I took two days off in preparation for the whirlwind that is the beginning of our academic term, and since today seems to be one of the three truly beautiful days of the year we are allotted in the Northeast (this summer has been a trial—wanted to use a more vehement word but this is public—alternating between blast furnace heat and downpours), I sat in my backyard for a full hour, throwing a cloth frisbee into the wind for the three border collies presently in my care. The longer I threw that frisbee, the more they wanted me to throw it. I tried to convince them that today was a day of rest for us all, but they were having none of it. And so I threw. And threw. And threw. And oddly enough, it turned out to be quite restful for all of us, eventually: they are now all sacked out sprawled around the house, while I’m reflecting on the good deed of having exhausted three livewire border collies. If it were not a beautiful, restful summer day of vacation I might try to derive some inner meaning from this exercise (I mean, really! Throwing a frisbee into the wind? Imagine the potential library metaphors!) but I think there’s more literal frisbee throwing in my immediate future. It is late midsummer, after all. Take a break yourself if you get a chance; it’ll enhance your work, I promise.