I read the paper this morning and found out we had a Presidential election yesterday. Somebody should have told me about it, though where I live – like in most of the country – it doesn’t really matter how I vote. Browsing the bibliotek blogosphere, I get the impression that a lot of librarians were supporting Obama. I seem to recall an email on an ALA listserv where ALA President Jim Rettig said, "You may not use ALA listservs to campaign for political candidates or the ALA may lose its tax-exempt status. So definitely do NOT send messages like, ‘Please vote for that outstanding Presidential candidate Barack Obama.’ No matter how fine a candidate he might be, and no matter that Palin woman may have once tried to ban a library book and thus stands against all our intellectual freedom propaganda, you definitely cannot endorse any candidates in this space." Or something like that. Now that Obama has won and McCain received a serious ass-kicking, the librarians are celebrating.
The question I always ask myself about every issue in life is, but what about the libraries? Before you rejoice too much, you should think about all the good things that have happened because for the past eight years we’ve had a librarian sleeping with the President so we didn’t have to. Just look at this quote from the White House’s Laura Bush: Librarian and Teacher page:
"As a former public school teacher and librarian, Mrs. Bush has a special place in her heart for books and libraries. She knows that a love of books — of holding a book, turning its pages, looking at its pictures, and losing oneself in its fascinating stories — goes hand-in-hand with a love of learning.
She also knows that having parents, teachers, librarians and members of the community who care enough to make libraries a priority is one of the most important steps in helping to maintain high-quality library services."
Doesn’t that just warm the cockles of your heart? Do you think that sassy Michelle Obama is going to have a special place in her heart for libraries? She might, but it won’t be as special as Laura Bush’s special place, because, well, because it just can’t be.
"More than half of all librarians are projected to retire by 2019. The administration has proposed an initiative to recruit, train and support a new generation of librarians. The President’s budget for FY 2004 requests $20 million for this initiative to help offset the national shortage."
Then there’s another whole page on Recruitment and Education of Librarians for the 21st Century. In Laura Bush the ALA had an advocate who was actually thick enough to swallow wholesale their propaganda about the librarian shortage, and support the Federal government wasting gobs of money on librarian recruitment, including that absurd $600,000 IMLS grant to recruit librarians by supporting a bunch of LIS PhD students who aren’t even going to become librarians!
To believe that heavy recruitment of librarians was a good idea when there were usually librarian job shortages all round is an idea so stupid only a librarian would believe it. Do you think Michelle Obama with her degrees from Princeton and Harvard (where, I should point out, they don’t even have library schools!) is going to be dumb enough to believe the ALA propaganda on the so-called librarian shortage? Fat chance. Cindy McCain might have been, though, because she only went to USC.
So I hope all you librarians out there who voted for Obama are happy with yourselves. When generous IMLS grants for absolutely unnecessary library PhD students start drying up and the First Lady no longer has a warm heart and a soft brain over ALA propaganda, you’ll all be sorry you voted for smart people instead of people who believe the ALA.