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Gaming with the Very Special Librarians

"Language most shows a man," wrote Ben Jonson. "Speak that I may see thee." If for "man" we substitute "librarian" (or perhaps "guybrarian") and for "speak" we substitute "write," then we arrive at the subject of today’s post. Oh, and maybe for "thee" we should substitute "you," for those uncomfortable with archaic diction. I have a feeling such diction makes the gamey librarians uncomfortable, and they don’t need anything else to make them uncomfortable. They already have the Annoyed Librarian.

What an exciting time it is to be a librarian! How lucky we all are! What great fun we all have! What wonderful opportunities we all have! How exciting it is to be us!

Do any of us really get excited by all the supposedly excited librarians around us? Or do we just wonder what meds they’re on? This false enthusiasm just comes off sounding stupid (and perhaps even more stupid if it’s not false), as if the person was talking to a child or had the intellectual capacity of a child. In librarianship, you can never be sure which one you’re dealing with. I’m willing to give those YALSA folks the benefit of the doubt, because they spend their days around kids, whom they euphemize as "young adults." Everyone else in ALA has no excuse, unless the ALA has started hiring grade-schoolers to write their propaganda. (Come to think of it, that would explain a lot.)

Some very enthusiastic (!) librarians have come to my attention recently. A kind reader forwarded me an email from ALATechSource. I really should subscribe to all these silly ALA lists, but I just don’t have the stomach for it. Thus, as always, I rely upon the kindness of strangers. Those ALATechSource folks are very excited!

"Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium        

DON’T MISS THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY
REGISTER TODAY!"

Wow! All caps and an exclamation point. At this point you’re probably trembling with excitement. I know I am! But wait, there’s more! There always is from the gamey librarians.

"FREE!
All attendees will receive a copy of the April 2008 Library Technology Reports
"Gaming and Libraries: Broadening the Intersections" by Jenny Levine!
Plus chances to win great prizes!"

Wow! Three exclamation points in three sentences! They need to stop making me so excited, because someone might want to use this seat next. Nothing against Jenny Levine, but does the chance or receiving a free copy of a "library technology report" really warrant the exclamation point? Is the report that exciting?

On the other hand, there are great prizes! I love great prizes! What kind will they have? Paddle balls, maybe? Everyone loves paddle balls! Or super bouncy balls! Or squirt guns! Or whoopee cushions! Or bubbles to blow, blow, blow! Yay! The FUN (!) never stops with the gamey librarians, and if you don’t want to miss any of this fun, just….
        

"Click here to learn more and to register.        
Hurry-time is running out!" 

This is exciting! It makes one wonder if they’re announcing a professional conference to other professionals, though. If so, what sort of professionals are these? Professional children? They sound like a bunch of second-graders inviting their friends over for a birthday party. How are we supposed to take people seriously when they write like this?

This promotion reminded me of something, though, an old Onion article: Clinton Deploys Very Special Forces to Iraq. "Clinton said the objective of the mission, dubbed Operation Great Job!, is twofold: to keep pressure on Saddam Hussein to permit the return of U.N. weapons inspectors, and to provide America’s very special forces with a positive, rewarding, esteem-building experience." (Read the whole article and see if it doesn’t remind you of the feel-good propaganda emanating from the ALA.) This is the line that I especially remembered: "’Colonel Gene [Diering] says that if we take out the communications tower in Al Basrah, we can have a pizza party," Pvt. Josh Paretsky of Dallas said. ‘Pizza party! Pizza party! Pizza party!’"

Appropriately altered: "If we go to the gamey conference, we’ll win great prizes." said librarian Josh Paretsky of Dallas. "Great prizes! Great prizes! Great prizes!"

Language most shows a librarian; write that I may see you. We all know that there is a category of librarians called "special librarians." Perhaps we should consider these gamey librarians Very Special Librarians indeed.

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Comments

  1. bluebelle says:

    I’M FIRST!!! WHERE’S MY GREAT GAMING PRIZE?

  2. Kat says:

    Bluebelle…I nominate you for the Ralph Wiggum Award…

    AL, you have to remember a couple minro things. First, this job is an easy Job. As such, you will have many people in this career track who are of below average intelligence. So it strikes me as no great surprise that the key to attracting attendees to a convention is to address collegues as if they are second graders.

    This is not to say that there are not some really brilliant librarians out there. Most of them are directors and many more are ingenious at their ability to show how little intellect they actually do have – these latter librarians are the Slufing Off Librarians who are simply cruising toward retirement while not doing much. It takes talent to stay employed while doing nothing, afterall!!!

    So what does language tell you about the commentors, AL?? :D

  3. brad says:

    People who exist in the extreme can be annoying. Those rah-rah librarians are indeed annoying but so are the disgruntled, grouchy librarians who insist on belittling colleagues, especially in an anonymous online format.

  4. AL says:

    I assume you’re not referring to me, since I’m not belittling my colleagues and this isn’t an anonymous online format, but a pseudonymous online format.

  5. Dances With Books says:

    If they behave like second graders, they deserve to be belittled (to put it mildly). As for the Tech Report for a prize, not much of an incentive. I can just get it on one of our databases. They are going to have to do better than that to get my attention. But hey, whatever rocks their world I suppose. I am going back to work.

  6. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    Whats worse then a 2.0 Librarian? Its a Gammer Librarian. At least 2.0 people attempt to use technology in a constructive fashion. I have no problem using games to bring kids into the library but it should be tied directly into a bait and switch program where learning not gaming is the focus. If we spent the time teaching research skills instead of thumb skills the children might grow up to be functional adults. heck they might even get into library school.

  7. Jeff says:

    AL – A point hast thee and thou doust not suck!

  8. soren faust says:

    Perhaps, Sarah Palin would like to go hunting gamey librarians.

    Dedicated to librarydude.

  9. Brent says:

    Kudos to AL for choosing a good title to the post.

  10. Happily Anonymous says:

    I’d love some prizes! But at the other end of the scale I know of a conference currently being planned which they are actually planning to have NO internet access, despite it being available at the conference centre they have booked. No internet access, even for presenters? In 2009? At a school library conference no less, in an age where both schools and librarians are very focused on the role of technology in education?

  11. 8 bit says:

    Hahaha, I just had a mental image of Sarah Palin playing a doctored version of the Nintendo classic “Duck Hunt”, with little librarian heads photoshopped onto the ducks flying around the screen.

  12. One of those gamey librarians says:

    Yes, extremes are annoying, especially when one tries to be something you are not. A grandmother with pearl earrings or a clean-cut middle-management type has no business trying to be “hip” or “2.0″ or whatever the phrase is.

    With that being said, the one point that I disagree with AL on–all the time–is the “gamey librarians.” Video games can be a valuable platform for learning, if not facts then concepts. It’s difficult to play most modern games (that is games–not these software toys bloating the market) without some element of critical thinking and skills at problem-solving. Granted, the idea of a balanced diet–it doesn’t hurt to read a book every now and then, and a good book with some depth and complexity at that–is one that teachers and librarians should hold onto, but it doesn’t hurt to play video games. I’ve been playing games for twenty years, and I think I turned out alright.

  13. One of those gamey librarians says:

    Of course, it’s because I have been playing games for twenty years that I don’t come across as fake and insincere, as overly enthusiastic and terribly misguided in my excitement, when I talk about the role of video games in the library. It’s also why I actually know what I’m talking about, unlike so many of these “new media” types who just hopped on the bandwagon when they saw their circulation stats go down.

    Also, why bait and switch? Why not cross promote, or mix up your programming and services?

  14. LibraryGirl says:

    I have no issue with gaming in libraries as long as it is not the only form of program offered and other programs and books are promoted to attendees. But I’m a children’s librarian and getting those preteens in is hard sometimes. We have had success with gaming programs getting us a captive audience so we can encourage other forms of library use. Then of course I use craft programs the same way. Come make a beaded bracelet…and by the end they know how to search the catalogue for beading books.

    As for the promotion for the conference…I think it is worse that what I normally use for second graders.

  15. branmuffin says:

    Gaming is very important for librarians. I spend half of my day in my cubicle playing Tetris and Space Invaders online. I keep a spreadsheet open in case anyone walks by and then I click on it real quick.

  16. jmo, mls says:

    Didn’t someone at GSLIS UT-Austin just land some big grant for a project that would archive MUD games?

    And they say that government doesn’t have enough of my money. It is to laugh.

  17. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    One of those Gamey librarians, I too will come out of the closet and admit to gaming for almost 30 years now. This includes published rpg articles. I have word my latest on Second Life and RPGs is due out next month.

    Now my problem Gamey Librarian is the comment “Granted, the idea of a balanced diet–it doesn’t hurt to read a book every now and then, and a good book with some depth and complexity at that” I some how feel that people should read a lot and play a deep game every now and then. There is a big difference there.

    As for the advertising issue I think Al did a good job on that.

  18. TwoQatz says:

    We had an interview a while back with a rah-rah type. She left me totally exhausted – her enthusiasm was really quite a turnoff. It couldn’t mask her shortcomings for the position for which she was applying. We hired a calm steady guy instead and he’s winning friends left, right and center.

  19. One of those gamey librarians says:

    Post Postmodern Librarian,

    Please don’t take that statement of mine you quoted literally. By all means, everybody should read every day. I do. I also play video games every day. Sometimes, the book I’m reading enthralls me so that I put of my gaming time. Sometimes, the game it feels better to play a game and actually do something active (albeit in a virtual environment) than to be a passive audience to a book.

    There’s room for all, really. Even those annoying cheerleaders; I just rather they cheer far away from me.

  20. One of those gamey librarians says:

    Sorry for all those grammatical errors in my previous post; I was in a bit of a hurry, seeing that I’m supposed to be “working.”

  21. Paige Turner says:

    Oh. :(
    I thought, by the title, this post would be about a group of librarians from special libraries who ran around in World of Warcraft, making their guild members check out shields and swords, organizing raids, fairly distributing loot afteward, cataloging the loot, the experience and anything else gained, and having a special-librarian rallying cry. I envisioned a long diatribe taken directly from the chat log and maybe some Annoyed commentary in the margins.

    But! This was good, too! And here’s one more exclamation point, just for kicks: !

  22. dramallamaorama says:

    Stop beating the dead horse already. We get it “brad”, you don’t like AL. But there are those of use who do. Ya’ll have made your voices heard. No go away and let those of us who actually enjoy her column read in peace.

  23. anonymous says:

    re: but does the chance or receiving a free copy of a “library technology report” really warrant the exclamation point? Is the report that exciting? <<

    No. But it’s that expensive if you buy at cover price.

  24. patron-ized says:

    Wow. [Uttered flatly, followed by a period.] You librarians are even more rude in print than in person. No wonder the relevance of libraries and the librarians that tout them is waning. It is also not surprising that infomercial marketing tactics are needed to attract interest in anything done in your field. Replace ”

  25. patron-ized says:

    Preceding messaged truncated for unknown reasons, trying again…

    Wow. [Uttered flatly, followed by a period.] You librarians are even more rude in print than in person. No wonder the relevance of libraries and the librarians that tout them is waning. It is also not surprising that infomercial marketing tactics are needed to attract interest in anything done in your field. Replace “language” with “attitude” and “speak” with “act” in your Ben Johnson quote and you’ll have a clue as to why taxpayers can find no exclamation points in their feelings about libraries.

  26. Mr.Kat says:

    First a Customer Service Announcement.

    LJ has difficulty understangin Quotes. It also has difficulty with HTML such as br. Third, if it takes longer then a minute or so to compose your post, LJ’s letter authorization will time out. As such, the page will reload and everything after the first quote symbol or first opening braket will disappear.

    The solution to this problem is simple. First, your eally do have to proffread your posts here!! Second, You must either compose your comment in an outside editor and then paste it here, or you must copy your entire post before you post it in the event LJ loses it in cyberspace.

    P.S. If you use an outside Editor, I should warn you about MS Word problems with quotes and apostrophes. Both characters are nto so universally recognized; the solution is to write in MS word, so you can take advantage of the real time spelling/grammar check and then trasfer the post into Textpad – you can download it for free, anduse it for free so long as you like clicking ont eh popup that asks if you want to register once every couple of days. when you open the program. its not bad, and Textpad actually has a number of very powerful features for doing things like editing HTML code. Once you have the post in Textpad, use the Replace funtion; copy the black blocks into the function, replace them with the keyed in equivalent, and you will have a post free of character failure. Cut and paste that into LJ, hit post, scroll downa nd check your post, then paste it again and hit post if it doesn’t appear, and you should be good to go. Your posts will no longer suffer the great “Cut!!” I hope. Good Luck!!

  27. Mr. Kat says:

    A book is a Passive Adventure???PUH-LEASE!!!! If you think a book is passive, it only means your imagination is Kaput. Dead. Completely rooted out and replaced with digital quacking ducks, and you’re all out of bullets…and they just won’t fly away! Damn Ducks!! Come out and laugh at me already, Dog!!!!!

  28. branmuffin says:

    After the fourth exclamation point, the effect was lost.

  29. 8 bit says:

    Mr. Kat- You may be interested to know the following bit of trivia, courtesy of the Wikipedia (which we must all remember is not a valid credible resource, but in the case of Duck Hunt, why doubt it?)

    “The dog companion in the main duck hunting section has become one the most hated characters in gaming history. Taking the top spot on Screwattack.com’s top 10 D-bags, stating that ‘What kind of companion laughs at you every time you fail?’ The character is so hated that multiple flash games have been made with the sole purpose of destroying the dog.”

  30. soren faust says:

    patron-ized, I liked your truncated comment better.

    Your kind of Taxpayers don’t like the library because they are not curious and reading is something they do only when they have to, like following the instructions on a TV dinner. My taxpayers will laugh at yours. Come on down one day and check it out.

  31. brad says:

    I guess it’s impossible for you to post a comment without adding an insult. Belittling others is not a good way to overcome your own insecurities.

  32. soren faust says:

    brad, “belittling others is not a good way to overcome your own insecurities” is an insult. What gives?

  33. penn girl says:

    That’s not an insult. He’s just making an observation that many of us have witnessed.

  34. soren faust says:

    “to overcome your own insecurities” is an assumption and a statement made to “belittle” the belittler. I count that as an insult. He could have simply said, belittling others is not appropriate for this venue or not a nice way to treat others.

  35. patron-ized says:

    soren faust, that is the exact attitude that helps librarians get by — the idea that those who might question the general condescending attitude of sneering, elitist librarians must be stupid, or at best, illiterate — but those words means the same thing, right?

  36. soren faust says:

    patron-ized, I’m assuming you are not a librarian, perhaps I’m wrong. Still, you made a sweeping generalization about “you librarians” apparently based on some kind of experience, comments from one of many library blogs (maybe personal experience in a library, too).

    Your mistake is that you made a universal statement regarding librarians as a whole, more or less, condescending and certainly condemnatory. You contrasted them with that empty-of-all-empty designations, “the taxpayer” as if all taxpayers are like you, united in their distaste for libraries and so-called elitist librarians, and then concluded that all librarians are irrelevant based on this imaginary homogenous group of taxpayers. Your argument is a straw man and couldn’t be further from the mark.

    As a public librarian along with my colleagues, we assist numerous people everyday—gladly—in finding whatever it is they’re looking for, as long as it’s legal. We enjoy what we do—particularly helping others and the patrons seem to be appreciative, which is evidenced by our high reference statistics. Granted, there are cranky librarians, as there are cranky people in every industry/institution, but your invective against librarians, in general, is based on false reasoning and therefore baseless.

  37. Rumpdaddy says:

    You work in a public library? Yikes!

  38. soren faust says:

    Yes, I do fatrumpdaddy. And may god help us all! :)

  39. Mr.Kat says:

    8-bit, I did not know the extent to which the dog has become infamous, but I have played some of those flash games a few years ago. I have always felt the laughing is appropriate; the game would not be the same without it!! If the dog came out and said “Oh well, that’s OK, we’ll get ‘im next time!” and other PC bullsh** like that, I’d probably want to shoot him a lot sooner too!!!

  40. patron-ized says:

    Let’s just say I am interested in libraries, and to a lesser degree, librarians.

    I have observed a trend over the years of librarians becoming increasingly homogeneous in their ideas about the world in general. Public libraries are generally publicly funded institutions, but there seems to be a growing disdain in the collective “tone of voice” coming from librarians regarding the public they serve. That is, selective disdain for those whose views are not aligned with their own. Librarians as metaphor for the left in general, shout from rooftops about diversity and intellectual freedom, but that freedom exists in very narrow yet widely accepted bounds and the definition of “intellectual” is also fast and loose. Librarians, as “guardians of information” have an inflated view of their purpose and I have personally witnessed abuses of power. These observations are my own and I of course realize they are general and cannot possibly speak to the condition of each librarian individually. However, seeking a broad spectrum view of libraries and librarians, I have found nothing to contradict the truth of the observable trend. Here is a tiny exhibit of the kind of attitude, speaking generally, I have observed. That attitude I would describe as “holier than thou” or “exasperated by ignorance”, ignorance being anything stupid anyone else does. Perhaps it is naive to think a patron could enter a library, transact their business and not be blogged about, with utter disdain, by the public servant that assisted or observed them.

    Below is a cut and paste from a library director’s blog. The infraction of said director is minor, but it deserves observation. This director’s blog is linked directly from the library’s website. I have never been to this library and would certainly never visit, seeing how they openly deride their patrons. I am not linking to the website because, I, unlike some librarians, have manners. I find this to be a good example of how NOT to blog as a marketing tool, or, how TO blog if you are a “tool” in the youthful pejorative sense:

    “This is going to be a whiny post, so just prepare yourself.
    In the past years we’ve had several calls to the library and to the town supervisor about purchasing a bike rack. Finally I broke down and spent the $300 required to get one, trying to be responsive to the community’s needs and all, then the staff and I put it together and placed it. Keep in mind that all of us are female and mostly over 40 and this thing is large and metal.
    On the very first day it was up, an adult rode their bike to the library and bypassed the lovely new bike rack to park her bike right in front on the doors. I had to remind her that we had a wonderful bike rack and could she please use it. Today I was outside and only two out of the five bikes were parked in the rack.
    People just defy logic sometimes, but I guess it’s just too much effort to properly park your bike or lock it. Contrary to popular belief, [redacted to protect the guilty] is not a crime free zone and those unlocked bicycles are going to prove to be a temptation to someone.
    With gas prices so high, used bikes are a pretty hot ticket, just so you are aware…”

    I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you, the royal YOU, will not see anything wrong with the quoted text (saving any grammatical or structural errors that may or may not exist)

  41. Forever Anon says:

    Re: “I am not linking to the website because, I, unlike some librarians, have manners.” Without a proper link, how do we even know this is real. Please cite your sources or don’t use them. As to the content of the post: I don’t see anything wrong with complaining that the bike rack seems like a waste if it’s not being used. Should the complaining be done on a blog linked directly from the library’s website? I don’t think so. If there is a problem, then the director or staff should inform patrons personally, post signs near the entrances and bike rack, post a more tactful, informational message on the library’s website.

  42. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    You know your right I ll say I do empathize with the ladies. First $300 out of a budget is bad during these days of budget cuts. Thats 10-20 books, a good video game program, a children’s reading program or a nice reference set. Just to name a few things that can be lost. Then you take the time it took to put it together there goes time to do a lot of things.

    What you do not see: is not only did she get chewed out “We need a bike rack to keep the bikes safe and the entrance clear” by people like you, if she has not already been, she will be chewed out latter, by other people just like you for “What happen to the reading program? Oh! You bought the bike rack instead, that no one uses! Thats such a waste of tax payers money.”

    As far as her attitude towards the patrons. Well go watch the movie Idiocracy. Its a wonderful commentary about the fall of this society. As public librarians/servants we gladly except the role of helping patrons, but when you see people behaving as though their were raised by wolfs, and not carrying about this behavior you get burned out.

    Do we try our best not to let it get to us. We sure do. Try to predicate what patrons will do ahead of time and compensate for it. We have training, rotations off the floor so staff can cool down, and for the professionals blogs like this so we can vent. Vent about the troubles of the field and the issues in the libraries.

    My suggestion is volunteer at a public library for more then a month see if you can handle it.

    Oh PS I just found out a patron stole a priceless handout that we can not get replaced. Now I have to do my best to get it replaced and get on the staff member who was just trying to help the patron…that you say we dont help.

  43. patron-ized says:

    A librarian worth their salt could easily identify my source and expose it to the world. Or expose it to the seven people who follow these comments. Well, to the six others, since I know the source.

    What does it mean to be “worth salt”? Damn, where is a librarian when I need one?

  44. Alaska Hottie says:

    Why would anyone in their right mind want to work in a public library?

  45. patron-ized says:

    Somewhere right now someone in a factory that makes and sells priceless, irreplaceable handouts is blogging about the rude stupidity of the person that called asking them to replace the irreplaceable and how valuable time was once again wasted by someone with obviously no nuanced understanding of what “priceless handout that we can not get replaced” actually means.

    I wonder how many librarians out there have ever frustrated a bank teller, a computer salesman or a nurse with their ill-informed seemingly ignorant questions asked while in a bank, store or doctor’s office… I’ll bet not a single one.

  46. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    Wow, if thats the best you can do I think I made my point. And Alaska Hottie I think most public librarians ask that question at least once week. Truth be told we do get to help people make a difference in their lives.

  47. Forever Anon says:

    Re: “I wonder how many librarians out there have ever frustrated a bank teller, a computer salesman or a nurse with their ill-informed seemingly ignorant questions asked while in a bank, store or doctor’s office… I’ll bet not a single one.” I’ll be the first to admit that I do ask stupid questions or do irritating things. I’m not perfect, nor do I know everything about every profession or every business. Complaining about a frustrating situation or patron on a blog doesn’t mean that the blogger is above being a frustrating/annoying customer elsewhere. Where do you get that from? Thin air?

  48. HippieMan says:

    If y’all are so disgruntled about the library profession (especially public libraries), why not become corporatized drones in gray bidness suits counting beans for 100K? I mean, isn’t that the American dream?

    This is symptomatic of our selfish zeitgeist.

  49. Forever Anon says:

    “A librarian worth their salt could easily identify my source and expose it to the world….What does it mean to be “worth salt”? Damn, where is a librarian when I need one?” I am thoroughly surprised that you didn’t say any idiot can google it. I’m sure you had to use all your self-control not to say that. Anyway, I did find the blog and library website. Judging from the web design of the site, it looks like a webpage from 10 years ago. Those colors just blinded me. Taking my assessment of their site design and being absolutely judgmental, maybe they are behind the times not only in web design but also web etiquette. Oh, and being worth salt, why don’t you ask your local librarian…or googling it yourself?

  50. Melanchthon says:

    “Language most shows a man,” wrote Ben Jonson. “Speak that I may see thee.” If for “man” we substitute “librarian” (or perhaps “guybrarian”) and for “speak” we substitute “write,” ….
    And if for “Language” we substitute “A picture”; and for “shows” we substitute “irritates”; and for “see” we substitute “tickle” and for “thee” we substitute “elephants” …. well we’ve pretty much left Jonson in the dust, haven’t we?

  51. soren faust says:

    Hippieman, why do you deride those who work in the business sector? Is there something inherently wrong with being an accountant? If so, on what authoritative source do you base your judgement?

  52. HippieMan says:

    Nothing wrong with being an accountant. I guess… I mean, they don’t help anyone, except perhaps other crooked corportists and Masters of the Universe. At least public librarians provide a service to the public which can be quantified. You get to know your patrons by name! There is a sense of community at a public library that you don’t get working for the Man.

  53. patron-ized says:

    I think the way you feel about your profession and the patrons you serve is relevant to a discussion about a trend in prevailing “attitude”.

    If you feel intellectually superior to everyone you meet, you’ll likely “show yourself” in your interactions. Add to that the online community which has provided an interesting glimpse into the minds of the public servants in libraries. People are reading — your patrons, library advocates, voters. But the conversations about the “wolves” continue, unabated, belying a sort of self-unawareness of your own shortcomings. At any given moment, you are a wolf-child. And the sanctified blogging librarians out there would do well to know this about themselves.

    Perhaps patrons not frequenting your libraries are not ignorant-redneck-illiterates who only “read what they have to”, but folks that grew tired of being sighed at, talked down to and sneered at. Maybe its folks tired of the constant inundation with left-leaning ideas, who did the math during Banned Books Week and were astonished that there had been ONLY 9,700 books challenged since 1990 – that’s in 18 years![sorry, I was gaming] And by ALA’s own statistics there are more than 123,000 libraries in the United States! Even if you quadruple the number of challenged books, which of course you HAVE to, that’s less than one book per library in 18 years. WOW. And “challenges” are nothing more than ordinary taxpayers questioning how their tax dollars are spent…and that is what is distantly observed to be freedom in some parts of the world, where books are actually BANNED. Why don’t we have “Contested Roads” week? Taxpayers sometimes try to prevent roads from being widened — where are all the black arm bands for that? So, again, perhaps its that section of the population who are alienated by the single minded tunnel-vision and self-aggrandizement of libraries and librarians. Perhaps being a little more attuned to the community you serve and less ready to criticize it would serve some of you well.

    And as an unrelated aside — what I liked best about the bike-rack story was the fact that they were all middle-aged females, ergo, it was very hard for them to put the thing together and to carry it – which makes me think they all obviously hate women. “…the staff and I put it together and placed it. Keep in mind that all of us are female and mostly over 40 and this thing is large and metal.”

  54. patron-ized says:

    And when said, “where’s a librarian when you need one” I meant ‘google’. That’s what we’re talking about here, right? How rude Google is?

  55. branmuffin says:

    If the thing had been large and made out of cyberskin, I’m sure the females would have loved it.

  56. soren faust says:

    patron-ized, again you generalize about librarians. Of course there are politicized librarians with bad attitudes, there probably always has been; however, that does not justify your condemnation of an entire profession and group of professionals based on your own narrow experience.

    I simply don’t experience what you describe with my fellow colleagues: and being an employed librarian, I should say that I have a vantage point that you don’t have. I dislike politicized librarians as much as you do (I can only think of the Progressive Librarian Guild, a far left organization who are for the most part are obnoxious and a poor representation of the field of librarianship as whole). They are a small, but vocal group in contrast to the large majority of librarians who keep their politics to themselves, pay their taxes, take Banned Book Week for what it is, and go home at night to be with their families, just like all the Other Taxpayers you’re so fond of representing.

  57. ORIGINAL ANONYMOUS LIBRARIAN says:

    AL, you haven’t touched the phenomenon of checking out cake pans from public libraries. Have they had any conferences or workshops on this yet?? This blog can easily become as mentally stimulating as reading a horoscope or fortune cookie prediction. How many times can you say essentially the same thing a different way? Game libraians and 2.0 can get repetitive. Yawn…..

  58. Forever Anon says:

    Patron-ized, I agree with Soren. You make wide generalizations that can’t possibly be true of all librarians. Oh, and I’m not too sure what we’re talking about here. “And when said, “where’s a librarian when you need one” I meant ‘google’. That’s what we’re talking about here, right? How rude Google is?” I can’t tell because you keep switching between rude librarians and politically motivated librarians. The two are not necessarily the same. The only reason I brought up google is it might save you the frustration of dealing with the librarians you seem to hate so much…and might save a librarian from having to deal with you as well.

  59. patron-ized says:

    There are going to be a lot of librarians not having to deal with all the bothersome patrons eventually. Justice, thy name is Google! To the young-enough, Google=Librarian, don’t ya know. Many don’t really “get” what you do. And politicized librarians and rude librarians are often the same. The ones without an ax to grind are, in general, less arrogant and therefore, less rude.

    Out of curiousity, did everyone get paid to troll blogs today? Score!

  60. publib says:

    I got paid to play solitaire on my computer while waiting for patrons to ask me reference questions. I had two questions all day. I wonder how many patrons went to Google during that same time period.

  61. Forever Anon says:

    In my experience politicized and rude are different. Rude is often from many years of bad experiences or personal problems. Politicized…well, I haven’t experienced that as often as rude. Maybe where I’m at, no one really cares about the big picture. They’re just stuck dwelling on their own miserable existences.

  62. Mr.Kat says:

    Hippieman, if it weren;t for those accountants you precious Public librarians WOULDN’T GET PAID! Even if its just…peanuts. But those accountants are Smart!! When you say you’ll work for even nothing, they’ll take you up on your offer! and when you say the job itself, heloping hte public is reward enough, they’ll rememebr – and skip your raises too! They’re a very precise and very literal kind of folk. Further, they also understand that there are ten others out there who can do your job just as well or better, so if you don’t like it, you can quit!

    I’m personally willing to bet you have simply never worked as an accountant or in a business situation – wher eyou would understand that your labors are directly rewards, and the rewards of your labors belong almost entirely to just YOU! And the hippies call this Selfish??

    You gotta give it all away, man? Give me a break!

  63. Chik Phil A says:

    Peanuts are good, but a little too much fat content. Walnuts are better.

  64. anonymous says:

    It’s interesting that patron-ized seems to hold librarians and taxpayers as separate entities. You do know that librarians pay taxes, too, right? And that they therefore have as much personal stake in it as the people they serve?

  65. patron-ized says:

    They are taxpayers but also tax-paid so there is a distinction.

  66. Forever Anon says:

    And exactly what does that distinction have to do with your claim that every librarian is rude and politicized? Nothing. You can be rude and politically motivated regardless of where your salary comes from. Should you be held to a certain standard because you are tax-paid? Sure. The same can be said about many other professions as well. And we are held to the standard that our employer (the city) sets. We have a code of conduct and we have evaluations by superiors, just to name a few.

  67. yoyoyo says:

    Taxes are for suckers.

  68. HippieMan says:

    I worked for ego-driven Ivy League lawyers. Worse than CPAs, dude. Worse than an AIG corporatist on a hedge fund binge. Just as bloodless and immoral.

    Can you beat that?

  69. soren faust says:

    Garbage men are taxpaid, as well. I don’t see anyone bitching about them.

    And, as regards to Google: it’s a wonderful tool, another addition to the plethora of resources available to those seeking them. However, it doesn’t seem to help the countless students from local colleges coming into my public library because our resources beat those of these expensive institutions and the students are…well…pretty damn lost as to where to find the information they need. I’m not saying that the nature of information retrieval will never change, but the ability of information seekers may not match the technology: it seems apparent to me that people will always need some sort of assistance to find information, whatever the medium that popular at the time. Think of it, really, books were just as revolutionary historically as the Internet is today…that never discounted the need for people to assist other people in finding information.

    patron-ized, it seems to me that you’re caught up in the Pollyanna, highly naive view that the Internet will solve all the problems of the world. Please, save the Utopian thinking for the far leftists out there; you’re starting to sound like one of them.

  70. liberalgirl says:

    Yes, I used to work for Bill Clinton.

  71. HippieMan says:

    Libertarians are for suckers.

  72. patron-ized says:

    “it seems to me that you’re caught up in the Pollyanna, highly naive view that the Internet will solve all the problems of the world. Please, save the Utopian thinking for the far leftists out there; you’re starting to sound like one of them.”

    Huh? What problems?

  73. MLIS student says:

    I am a month and a half into my first semester in a highly-ranked MLIS program. It is one of the dullest experiences of my life so far. I think I will finish up the degree just for the hell of it, but after that I am going to law school.

  74. Happily Anonymous says:

    patron-ized, I don’t understand why you seem to both criticise the AL for whining and bring up the same points re banned books week etc. Also, there are multiple issues blended together in your rants.
    1. Librarians grouching in blogs- Librarians, like everyone else get stressed at work and seem to be turning to blogs as ways to vent. I would hope that people would try not to mix their explicit professional communications (eg the director’s blog linked to library page) with their more personal griping. (try to bear in mind though that in the director’s whine about the bike rack there was no identifying information, and whilst it could have been put more professionally I don’t know that I’d be terribly upset if I’d been one of the non-rack using riders.) However, I don’t think it is possible to assume that just because people whine in personal, anonymous or pseudonymous formats that they are necessarily rude or unprofessional in their work and interaction with patrons.
    2. Obnoxious Librarians – there are no doubt many of these, as librarians are people and there are plenty of obnoxious people around. I personally haven’t seen any evidence of greater levels of rudeness in librarians than elsewhere, and most librarians in my experience are in the job because they like helping people and think it is important (it certainly isn’t the money). There are wider social issues regarding increased cultural acceptance and expectation of selfishness and self-righteousness, but these are not restricted to librarians or patrons or the interactions between them.
    3.I take issue with the concept that people don’t appreciate libraries and reject librarians, but this is something which varies with populations and no doubt many factors interact even when true.

  75. soren faust says:

    patron-ized, To clarify, I was using hyperbole to get across the point that Google is not the Great Answer to all information needs.

  76. marvinteller says:

    I always use exclamation points when writing emails to my supervisors. It is super important! To make your ENTHUSIASM come across real big!

  77. marvinteller says:

    Hippeman, I bet you haven’t touched as many lives as you think you have. When your accountant saves you from going to jail…that’s public service, man.
    Aren’t you supposed to love everyone the same and want to help them follow their bliss? I am not sure if your post was a joke or for reals, man. I dunno…I guess everyone should become a public librarian…even though we are working DIRECTLY for the government and for the people who work for the Man.

  78. marvinteller says:

    Oh yeah…and librarians are SO much more superior to everyone else in the whole entire world—except for the professors half of us once wanted to be…but let’s not talk about them…they’re so narrow- minded anyway. It’s much better being a generalist, right?

  79. Mr. Kat says:

    Soren, you’re right; Google is not the Great Answer source.

    The Great Answer source is of course Wikipedia. Have you seen some of the pages lately? And the citations!!!