Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Take Two

My goodness there are some thick librarians out there, and that’s saying something. Some of the respondents to my last post were so earnest and misguided that I decided to address the topic again.

The oddest ones are the commenters who declare, "That’s not funny!" Funny is always in the eye of the beholder, so I take those comments with a grain of salt. Less than a grain, actually. I break the grain into sodium and chloride, and take them with just the chloride. A lot of people just don’t have a sense of humor, and then again I’m not always trying to be funny. This is the Annoyed Librarian, not the Comical Librarian. If you want the comical librarian, go read some of the blogs of my critics.

Then there are the oh so earnest respondents who thought I was somehow making light of library closures in Philadelphia. "Oh, you’re so mean!" Check out this comment, caps and all:

"Your ATTEMPT at humor is NOT amusing. You COULD potentially be the Annoyed FORMER Librarian. Ponder that. Food stamps are NOT accepted for martini fixings, either."

Good grief. Actually, I probably could buy some olives with food stamps, but would have to resort to rolling drunks to pay for the gin and vermouth. That’s why every day I thank God for a little thing I like to call tenure.

Whether humorous or not, the object of my satire was obviously not apparent to anyone. I wasn’t making fun of the Philadelphia libraries or their closings. Here’s a statement of support for you: The Annoyed Librarian says libraries are good and should not be closed. Philadelphia needs their libraries, especially in tough economic times. Libraries are necessary for the maintenance of a free and educated citizenry. Etc. Etc.

No, I was satirizing Top…Library…Bloggers. I won’t bother to name any of these, because every time I point out a ridiculous posting by some silly blogger, I’m accused by people with a poor grasp of English of being an "anonymous" blogger personally attacking these people. And then they get theirwiddle feewings hurt and start moaning.

Let us just say there’s a whole discourse in the bibliotek blogosphere devoted to criticising libraries and pointing out how they need to change to become more "relevant" or whatever. These are the bloggers who say libraries need to adapt or they’ll disappear. And what do they need to do? They should blog more! They need more "Library 2.0" stuff! They need more video games! They need to develop into fun-loving, game-playing Internet cafes! They need to remove those "no cell phone" signs!

I mean, honestly, this discourse is a load of drivel. When the crunch comes, and in Philadelphia it seems to be coming, these librarians who blather on about all this stuff and go give keynote motivational speeches and think librarians all need to learn to play Guitar Hero have absolutely nothing to offer.

Imagine going to the mayor of Philadelphia arguing about why libraries are necessary using the mindset of some of these librarians. "But Mayor, these libraries provide valuable places for teens to play video games, and they all have blogs and stuff. Library 2.0 is a living reality in these libraries. They need to be saved!" How compelling would these arguments be? I’m thinking, not very.

This whole discourse about what libraries need to be doing and how they should change has no persuasive power when hard times come. We need arguments that show libraries are necessary for the republic and librarianship is a serious profession where the leading voices in the field aren’t telling us the problem with libraries is that they aren’t frivolous enough. Library 2.0, video games, and dance parties aren’t going to save anything or persuade anyone that libraries are worth saving. The purpose of public libraries isn’t just to get more people through the door by any means necessary. Libraries have a grander purpose that seems to be ignored most of the time. If libraries become identified as Internet cafes or video-game rental stores, no one’s going to bother to fight to save them because they won’t think they’re worth saving.

There, is that humorless and earnest enough for you?

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Comments

  1. I Finally Get It!!!! says:

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!


    HOO! HOO! HOO! HOO!


    HEEE! HEEEE! HEEEEEEEE!


    I like it when you are funny.

  2. Emily says:

    I got it the first time. Do I get a prize? And I agree- I didn’t go to school to work in a video store/internet cafe.

  3. Sally says:

    I think it’s enough of a statement about the profession, AL, that you had to even explain yourself.

  4. Tracy Lord says:

    Wow, there are some real morons out there. I got your point the first time, too, AL. Although this second take was so beautifully worded – good job! (I couldn’t agree with you more, btw).

  5. austeniteshero says:

    “We need arguments that show libraries are necessary for the republic and librarianship is a serious profession where the leading voices in the field aren’t telling us the problem with libraries is that they aren’t frivolous enough.”

    Ah, the money quote. I might have to steal that. Very well said.

  6. soren faust says:

    AL, this post sounds like your older posts. In other words, it was refreshing to read. You have to admit that there’s nothing like stupidity and adversity to spur on the writing of a good post.

    I agree with your take on the Philadelphia situation, becoming an arcade is not doing anyone any favors, including the kids. The library needs to maintain an identity that sets it apart from other entities otherwise it becomes redundant. On the other hand, the library needs to work within a set of parameters that are set by cultural changes, but on within the context of the library’s charter. I know that know amount of gaming activities would have saved those Philly libraries. It’s the economy. It may be advantageous for the Philly system to close down some of the smaller branches and replace them with larger anchor branches strategically placed to assist several communities at a time. This may just be an economic reality beyond the control of those who think it OUGHT NOT to happen.

  7. hotlanta says:

    Rehashing old posts is the best you can do? Couldn’t you have just said this in a comment on the original post? How about some original material? I guess the AL cheerleaders are happy so that’s all that matters.

  8. soren faust says:

    hotlanta, weren’t you dis’d by Flavor Flav?

  9. Miss Sunshine says:

    You people are so mean.

  10. carptrash says:

    “libraries need to adapt or they’ll disappear”
    Social Darwinism at its finest. But, is it wrong, as the creationists claim, or not?

    “librarianship is a serious profession”
    Damn, just as I had my “Comic Librarian” persona all revved up for a new day you spring this on me.

  11. Phillip Elliott says:

    When I call it a profession, you say it is just a trade. When I call it a trade you call it a profession.

  12. James says:

    As a soon-to-be MLIS holder, I’m glad others in the field still have my dedication to the seriousness and usefulness of librarianship.

  13. gershbec says:

    At the Shanachie presentation at Internet Librarian (which I walked out of around the time they showed a video of a library professor / blogger playing spin the bottle with his students) a librarian from Kansas was asked his opinion about the future of gaming in libraries, and replied that there are still libraries that can only offer ancient computers to their patrons, much less offer Wiis. I was not involved at all in the gaming track, but I did enjoy that little bit of reality. Personally, I feel lucky to work in a community where the patrons would probably be insulted if we offered gaming.

  14. MLIS Student says:

    As a soon-to-be MLIS holder, I wish I wasn’t so lazy and studied more for the GRE and applied to PhD programs, or went to law school.

  15. Elisa says:

    Doesn’t Philly have a city residency requirement for its public librarians? That sucks for them.

  16. Guybrarian says:

    As a soon-to-be MLIS holder, I wish I wasn’t a soon-to-be MLIS holder. Like most librarians, I didn’t have any other options.

  17. Dances With Books says:

    I think your last paragraph AL says it all. But, unfortunately most of the “profession” would would rather turn libraries into arcades than into actual places that would serve the citizenry, especially in these economic times. So, what else is new?

  18. Chip says:

    I say we return libraries back to the days when only the Monks were allowed in the stacks and the manuscripts were handwritten.


    Gutenberg ruined our profession.

  19. English Major says:

    By definition, all manuscripts are handwritten.

  20. Chip says:

    “By definition, all manuscripts are handwritten.”

    I miss the days too when monks/librarians took a vow of silence.

  21. jmo, mls says:

    *I know that know amount of gaming activities would have saved those Philly libraries. It’s the economy.*

    No, it’s not. It’s the fault of the corrupt fools who hold the purse-strings. I lived in PA years ago when the economy was much, much better and even then the libraries were woefully underfunded. The State didn’t care and nor did the counties/cities. If you recall, Philadelphia was much more concerned about whether or not “Rocky”–A fictional character in a sham of an imitation of art–would be returned to the steps of the Art Museum. In Pittsburgh, more concern was heaped upon building a new stadium for the gawd-awful Pirates or the Penguins than much else. There was a blizzard one year and a bunch of fools got stuck on I-81 FOR A WHOLE NIGHT because the “authorities” couldn’t figure out when to send out the plows or the National Guard.

    The old saying states that people end up with the government they deserve. In PA, you deserve to be stuck with Nutter, Murtha, Rendell et al.

  22. Mithrandir says:

    jmo, mis is corect in that the government in PA sucks..really sucks…at all levels…

  23. choo choo train says:

    Great. A blog post about an earlier blog post. It was weak the first time so it definitely doesn’t deserve to get recycled. Maybe you can hire someone to come up with ideas.

  24. effinglibrarian says:

    good post and good discussion. LJ won when they hired you, babe. can I call you babe?

  25. Guess What? says:

    It doesn’t matter what state or country you are in, the Government sucks.

  26. Howevah says:

    You would have to agree that this blog post is much funnier than the previous blog post.

  27. publibchik says:

    The comments are funny, the post is lame.

  28. Carrot Top says:

    “The comments are funny, the post is lame.”

    I think this comment is lame. Where are the yucks? I demand to be amused.

  29. Brent says:

    I went to a public high school and still managed to understand your previous post. Gold star for me!

  30. Joe Friday says:

    “I went to a public high school and still managed to understand your previous post. Gold star for me!

    You slipped through the cracks. Please return your diploma and report for remedial training.

    That is all

  31. um says:

    um

  32. bob says:

    Sodium or Chloride on their own would both kill you.

  33. soren faust says:

    Philadelphia may suck, but Psychedelphia does not.

  34. Jack says:

    Keep blogging…don’t worry about the critics!

  35. Mr. Kat says:

    Al, I agree full heartedly with you. We’re not upset about the existence of libraries; we’re disturbed about how they are being run. We’re disturbed about the loss of professionalism of the field. And we’re certainly disturbed by how few librarian politicos seem to be doing anything to reinforce the value of this field. Yes, these organizations are doing things, but to an outsider this field starts appearing trivial when they see the things being done are conferences with titles like “Getting to the Library with a Twitter.”

    And you are absolutely right: Crisis is NOT the time to start looking for solutions to our problems. We should be banking our credits up early for positive public reinforcement, doing everything we can to save as much public merit as we can before any crisis ever comes up. Unfortunately, nobody wants to listen to nay-sayers when times are good. And they especially don’t want to listen to the nay-sayers when times become bad. And once times become bad, politicians will only remember the good parts and chop off the rest without a second thought.

    This situation best resembles a house. For along time, this house was cared for and nurtured, and thus it has stood for a very long time. In the past couple of generations, however, the people who live in it have changed mentalities, from one of personal responsibility and proud ownership to one of complacent apathy and temporary tenancy. There are some people working hard to maintain the integrity of individual rooms, and thus they only see their little corner, which indeed might be perfectly fine. But overall, the roof leaks, there are termites in the walls, the mortar needs repointing, and the windows really do need to be replaced with something double pane and modern. I suppose you can slap some paint on the walls and linoleum on the floor, a little ceiling tile on a false ceiling, wash the window, and claim everything is just peachy. Regardless, if somebody is saying the roof needs to be fixed, then you had BETTER FIX THE ROOF!! One big seasonal drenching and your peach might be the next place to be CLOSED!

    AL, I have tried to enjoy the humor of your satire; unfortunately, it’s simply not funny anymore. For you see, there is a point at which satire is quite funny. Indeed, when it can be easily dismissed, it can be roaring hilarious. But this Library joke is becoming about as bad as Sarah Palin by week three post nomination. At this point, the jokes have been said, and while they were funny at first, once it is time to get back down to business, these jokes sting and smart like the whips elder switches and a broken hornet’s nest. The longer the joke continues, the thinner the humor grows.

    The purpose of making the joke in the first place was to expose the problems for what they are in a light manner, so that we can all enjoy a quick chuckle before we set down and professionally tackle the challenges that are present to illicit the joke in the first place. We are not befouled with “perfect” jokes, so we can dismiss the idea that libraries greatest challenge today is one of perfection. Indeed, the jokes are of a number of things that are honestly NOT FUNNY once you step back and try to get a handle on the situation.

    I read a really good article in the editorial page of the local paper today about Kristallnacht and how events like this MUST remain in the conscience of the public through constant discussion; I will have to go retrieve the paper now because the author quoted some beautiful words by Elie Wiesel about this very idea. I don’t have the paper right now, but the gist goes something like this: If we don’t talk about these terrible things, and keep talking about them, these things will disappear from the public conscience. Once important issues disappear from the public conscience, it becomes possible for terrible ills to occur. In the case of humanity, another holocaust; or in the case of the library, another lost profession. And if we lose the profession, after all, might it very well be as if we simply took life itself away from the librarians?

  36. Mr. Kat says:

    P.S.: Addressing two Comments…

    Phillip Elliott commented:
    When I call it a profession, you say it is just a trade. When I call it a trade you call it a profession.

    I love this phrase, but I think you need to reverse the wording: When I call it a trade you call it a profession; When I call it a profession, you say it is a trade.

    The story to justify this? The story of every aspiring library aide who wants to become a librarians! When we don’t have the degree [MLS], they tell us the Trade degrees are worthless. But then once we get the Professional degree, the uppity ups then tell us in no specific terms that this job is nothing more then a trade – as measured by the number of Jobs that Suck and by the weakness of the present Case For Professional Librarians. The never ending saga of being an “Outsider!”

    bob commented:
    Sodium or Chloride on their own would both kill you.

    Here’s a great paradox of sorts: Sodium and Chlodire ions are indeed toxic to the human digestive and respiratory systems. However, without Sodium and Chloride ions [and Potassium ions], your nervous system would cease to function and again you would die. But we don’t die because the digestive system can handle simple salts, and thus you are saved by an internal chemical exchange process!

  37. RL says:

    Oh yes, I got it too! I’m not stupid! I can’t believe it that other people didn’t get it, but I did! I told myself, “YES! It is satire and sarcasm!” That is exactly what I told myself! “Look at me, I got it!”

    Good God.

  38. Mr. Kat says:

    RL…Does that stand for “Revolted Librarian,” whereas “Good God” could be expanded to “Good God I’m surrounded by idiots?”

    We’d all go home but unfortunately our villages are all missing. And at the rate Philadelphia is setting precedent, a village near you may disappear soon too!!! ALAS! And they will no doubt flock to your village!!! How Revolting!!!! ;)

  39. RL says:

    Mr. Kat –

    I was thinking more like sycophants. Or sheep. But how appropriate to use “flock”.

  40. writeous says:

    Have you ever stopped to think that closing some library branches is a good thing? No doubt there is bloating in this field and the public libraries are a good place to start trimming some of the fat. It’s tough at first but we’ll all be better off in the long run.

  41. carptrash says:

    “By definition, all manuscripts are handwritten.”

    I’m wondering whose definition you are using? Or are you one of the 12 people in America (me too) who get to make up words or re-define them at will? eeek

  42. English Major says:

    The word manuscript is derived from the Latin manu scriptus, literally “written by hand.”

  43. george the librarian says:

    It would be nice to think that any librarian could have found that information.

  44. Roy G. Biv says:

    And that’s a wrap! Thank you all for participating in this week’s Annoyed Librarian post. All guests get to stay at the lovely W – Loft Hotel. Thank you and good night…

  45. Miner 49er says:

    “Sodium or Chloride on their own would both kill you.”

    Together they can kill you too. When I worked in the salt mines (and yes I really did) you had to be careful that large chunks did not fall off the back and brain you.

    One of the biggest chemical killers, ever, is dihydrogen oxide. It kills people in everyone of its forms. I think it should be banned.

  46. publiclibrarEwoman says:

    Why do you always attack gaming in libraries as if it is the root of all that is evil in libraries today? I agree that it should not be the main focus of libraries. However, does it really hurt anything if a library owns a Wii and has a gaming night once or twice a week for some teens who would otherwise not be caught dead in the library? Ultimately, the idea is not only to get them in the library’s doors, but also to show them the other resources the library has to offer: books on topics that they may actually find interesting, magazines they may actually enjoy, music, movies, and other teen programming such as art and craft workshops, author visits, poetry contests, etc. From what I have read, the libraries that do have gaming programs for their teens see their performance statistics– such as circulation of teen books and attendance at other types of teen programs– rise as well. It sounds to me as if these libraries in Philadelphia would have been shut down regardless of how much or how little gaming, blogging, and library 2.0 features they offered. Perhaps they were not evaluating themselves well enough in order to be able to provide annual performance reports that were convincing in terms of showing their value. That problem has nothing to do with gaming and blogging, however. Rather, the vast number of libraries that I know of have this same problem. We are terrible at demonstrating our own worth by showing convincing, well-presented evidence.

  47. Former Teen says:

    Teen Books?!?
    Have you looked at what is offered as “teen books”?

    Watered down romance novels, watered down historical romances, crappy science fiction, and comic books — oops — graphic novels (heave).

    If we were worth our salt as librarians, we would have a book burning and toss all this junk into it, followed by the wii, xBox, DDR, and all that other junk.

    Then we could sit the kids down and force them to read Beowulf, the Iliad, and all of the other classics.

    Teens that refused or failed the compulsory test after would be given a spatula, apron, paper hat and sent to the nearest McDonald’s for re-education.

  48. yoyoyo says:

    Gaming is used in many academic disciplines as a way of getting students interested in learning. It’s funny to hear all these highbrow librarians dismissing it because it’s some kind of lower-level activity. Come on librarians, don’t be so narrow-minded.

  49. Matt says:

    Hate to disagree with the Former Teen (hard to believe you were one) but there is some great teen science fiction and fantasy available. And yes, there are also terrible books available but just like adults, it’s o.k. to slum once in a while and read something not so educational. Now you can all flame me and tell me how it’s not once in a while. However, I have a daughter, and in watching her I see otherwise. (BTW, Beowulf is not that great taken in and of itself. It’s value comes in learning about the time period in which it was written and the evolution of language.)

  50. soren faust says:

    Former Teen, authoritarianism is not a viable alternative.

  51. Alaska Hottie says:

    I think she was being sarcastic.

  52. Greg Brady says:

    What happened to the first sentence in this post? It looks like it got cut off. Not that it matters…

  53. Farewell says:

    I just realized that no one wants my snarky comments. Have fun with the rest of your blogging and commenting.

  54. carptrash says:

    “The word manuscript is derived from the Latin manu scriptus, literally “written by hand.”

    Okay, so that’s where it starts in 1597

    “It would be nice to think that any librarian could have found that information.”

    I’m sure they can. I did, but I also quickly and easily discovered that this definition was augmented by all sorts of other stuff that did not have to be handwritten. “It would be nice to think that any librarian could have found that information.” eeeeeek

  55. carptrash says:

    Oh yes, former teen:
    How are you formatting your paragraphs? This is on a “need-to-know” basis and I need to know. Before I get into an argument with you about your posting, while we are still friends. eeeeek

  56. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone considered a really really good audit of Philadelphia’s finances? I find it hard to believe that there isn’t some other area where excess waste can be trimmed and used to keep the libraries open.

  57. Auntie Nanuuq says:

    I agree with Take Two.

    I resent that the library collection is being weeded down to nothing by people who only know Library 2.0 and nothing about important tomes of knowledge.

    I am not here to spend 2-3 hours a week providing babysitting for minors in guise of “Teen Programming”. These kids are not reading, they are playing at the indoor after school playground.

    We are about literacy and reading…hence the term Library!

    And what is Philadelphia doing with their tax revenue? Have they considered cutting the discretionary funds that are allotted to each council member or their per diem?

    Hmmm…libraries are an important source of free information and literacy!

    Shame on Philadelphia…and Right On AL!

  58. Former Teen says:

    Ancient Chinese HTML secrets

    < br > for line break
    < b > for bold
    < hr > to put in a nifty line

    Stuff I larnt in the school of hard html knocks.

  59. Former Teen says:

    Sorry, I meant to put in the part that you leave out the space between the < and the > and the thing.

    otherwise, if you leave in the space, you will get < br > etc.

    But you knew that because you are a smart librarian and know that you have a book somewhere that will tell you that.

  60. publiclibrarEwoman says:

    In response to Auntie Nanuuq and many of the other posters on here:

    What, exactly, is a “tome of knowledge”? Which works of writing should be included in that category, and which should not? In my opinion, there are no books that fit that description. Let me explain…

    A lot of AL’s posts, as well as the posts in response to them, have been nagging me for some reason. I have been thinking quite a bit about why I am so bothered by some of these discussions. The conclusion to which I have come is this: All of us are really alluding to questions such as: “What is knowledge?” “What is wisdom?” “What is information?” Also, how are all of these things different, and how do libraries play a role in providing some or all of these things to their patrons?

    The job of a library is not to provide “knowledge tomes” or to provide patrons with knowledge. Rather, we provide what I will call “information tomes.” It is up to the patron to process the information into knowledge and perhaps even into wisdom. No one can do that for the patron. Books do not contain knowledge, in my opinion. They contain information which, when patrons interact with it and integrate it into their lives, may transform into knowledge. Someone can read all of the books in existence and still not gain knowledge from them if they do not interact with them in a way which investigates, interprets, and integrates the information on the pages. Knowledge resides in human minds, not on written pages.

    Assuming someone does transform some of the information from their reading into knowledge, it is still an even further leap to transform knowledge into wisdom. Wisdom comes over time, through testing and integrating a lot of that knowledge in a community setting.

    Librarians often have too lofty an idea of what we are doing–much as professors and teachers often have too lofty an idea of their roles. We are important, yes. But why are we important? Not because we provide people with knowledge, but rather because we provide them with information– the building blocks which they can choose to turn into knowledge and wisdom. I just wish we would stop acting so lofty and realize that ultimately, it is not up to us whether people gain knowledge.

  61. librarydude says:

    That last comment reminded me so much of library school – YAWN.

  62. Mr. Kat says:

    When we become the people who provide Information as opposed to being the people who provide knowledge, we lose all additional value we may add by prcticing librarianship.

    Not all information leads to knowledge; Librarians provide a service by identifying those volumes which lead to greater knowledge, or when put together in a collection lead to a greater knowledge on a particula subject that could not be gained by the individual pieces in isolation. The individual pieces alone, however, still provide more knowledge capability then a cheap graphic

    But librarians have become uncomfortable with making judgement calls, so now librarians no longer do their value-adding service for the public.

    And thus, The Professional Librarian is no longer necessary; we can replace them with Trade Librarians with ease.

  63. carptrash says:

    Gee Posteen:
    You rock. Or swing, or something.

    Yes, I think we have “School of hard html knocks for Dummies”, but some idiot checked it out.

    Meanwhile, Annoyed, have you considered getting the folks at LJ to spring for a “Preview” option so I can see if this really works? Or are they having budget cuts too? eeeeeek

  64. jmo, mls says:

    *“The word manuscript is derived from the Latin manu scriptus, literally “written by hand.” Okay, so that’s where it starts in 1597…blahblahblah*

    I love it when words are bastardized into some mush that is far from their original meaning by simple assent of the unwashed and uneducated rabble. And, hey, you don’t HAVE to spell it or pronounce it like that, either. Duh! Get with the times, Grandpa, everybody’s doing everything wrong now, and it’s all right! Yes, we can!(x1000000)

  65. Former Teen says:

    whhys do we needs a preview

    we are liberians and don’t make mistakes.

  66. carptrash says:

    “Has anyone considered a really really good audit of Philadelphia’s finances?
    Well I assume (keeping in mind that the two root words of “assume” are “ass” and “me”) that this is done every year and that who and what and where and why cuts are made is determined mostly by folks who have bigger fish in their corners than the libraries do. The Park system, Trash Collection and the annual X-mas party, for example.

    Meanwhile I enjoyed Ewoman’s reflective answer and found that the librarydude’s response reminded me of the callow students in Library School. Or, it would have, had I ever gone to library school. I have discovered that folks get bored – as he seemed to be – because they are boring. One fish’s opinion. eek

  67. AL says:

    Just a comment on the comment function. If you put any html tags in your comments, please make sure you close the tag. You might notice every once in a while that all the comments suddenly appear in bold. It’s because someone in a post wanted boldface but forgot to close the tag. Yet another thing to annoy me, but I don’t think I can get a blog post out of it.

    Someone asked: “Why do you always attack gaming in libraries as if it is the root of all that is evil in libraries today?”

    I don’t. I make fun of people who consider gaming the root of all salvation for libraries today. Besides, the gamey librarians are all so perky. I hate perky.

  68. ןɐ says:

    I find the MLIS students bemoaning their degrees to be very disheartening. I feel like librarians have a lot to offer, and the fact that so many of us are frivolous doesn’t change that fact.

    I did not go to library school because I had no other options. I could have done many different things. Was laziness a factor? Maybe; I’ll admit that the not-to-terribly challenging 2 year program was fairly appealing. Regardless of that, librarians aren’t – or at least do not have to be – the bottom of the barrel.

    From my experience, you can get a good education anywhere in any program and you can also get a crap education anywhere in any program. If your education sucks, blame yourself.

  69. Deb says:

    I’ve been doing this for 25 years and have noted the rapid rise of the sourpuss librarian. God(dess) knows, without a sense of humor in this game you will burn out right quick.

  70. Deb says:

    I’ve been doing this for 25 years and have noted the rapid rise of the sourpuss librarian. God(dess) knows, without a sense of humor in this game you will burn out right quick.

  71. carptrash says:

    “but I don’t think I can get a blog post out of it.”
    There is a pretty good chance that by the time I’ve tried out every possible html option you will have more than enough to get a blog out of it. Could (fingers crossed) be yet another 2 parter? eeek

  72. yoyoyo says:

    What’s with all the “eeek”? It’s annoying.

  73. carptrash says:

    Sorry.
    This is the annoying librarian after all.
    But perhaps after I know you better . . . . . . . . . …..
    eeeeeeek

  74. AL says:

    “annoying librarian.” Clever. Haven’t heard that one before. [Yawn.] And I just go in and edit out the annoying html, so it doesn’t matter much.

  75. carptrash says:

    Well I hate to think that I’m keeping you up, but if that is going to be the case then I’d rather it was because of something I intentially did rather than by some randon, sloppy htmling.

    Meanwhile if there was an edit function or a preview one I could deal with my own mess ups.

    But now I have to get prepared for tomorrow at the library. The Head is off, the Fox has been left in charge of the chicken coop and the recent demise of Mitch Mitchell, while not aknowledged in many ligraries will result in an All-Day-Jimi Hendrix-Event. at ours.
    eeeeek

  76. Library Cynic says:

    “I don’t have the paper right now, but the gist goes something like this: If we don’t talk about these terrible things, and keep talking about them, these things will disappear from the public conscience. Once important issues disappear from the public conscience, it becomes possible for terrible ills to occur. In the case of humanity, another holocaust; or in the case of the library, another lost profession. And if we lose the profession, after all, might it very well be as if we simply took life itself away from the librarians?”

    I have to agree. ALA doesn’t inspire me as it once did with its “Perky” bull. What gets me is how they seem to have things Arse backwards regarding any Federal support. It’s funding for library schools for more diploma milling.
    The funding needs to come to libraries, for more PROFESSIONAL staff, and improvement of facilities. The answer seems to be to close libraries. Instead of seriously questioning what path the field is on, or discussing the situation
    in a balanced manner, we have a pep rally. Heaven help you if you rock the boat.
    I’ve seen many a sourpuss librarian kicked upstairs to do further damage. You can usually tell by the number of high level jobs they’ve had at DIFFERENT libraries. They get their jobs via politics and are more political than professional. I can recall one saying , “I AM the regional library”, and then turn up elsewhere later. There needs to be a library program geared more towards library management. The field has failed miserably here.

  77. cookies says:

    Is the constant “eeeeek” a result of hanging around kids all day or do you have some desire to draw attention to yourself. It’s not cute, it’s annoying.

  78. Da Cat says:

    eeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkkk

  79. On Wii says:

    This was bound to happen.

    The AL starts off all great guns on the LJ, but then bogs down to a couple of lame posts a week because there really isn’t that much to be annoyed about.

  80. librarydude says:

    I agree, except for the part about the great guns. I never saw those.

  81. soren faust says:

    I thought you were the AL’s biggest fan, dude. Honestly, though, the greatest strength of the AL is how angry and offended other librarians become in her presence. She’s the only one who had enough sense to loose a gadfly into the mix of all the self-appointed, self-important, humorless, not to mention, boring, librarian blogs clogging the Internet and for that, I hope to see the AL stick around as long as she continues to raise ire and spark debates.

  82. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    In reply to the argument about knowledge vs. information and who decides what is better. Well here is some news for you Librarians do. This is why are field is library and information science.

    We study what makes a source simply information and what makes it knowledge. Thats why you took all those reference and collection development classes. You learn what makes a good material. This is why we have tons of professional publications like

    Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library
    The Readers’ Advisory to Genre Fiction

    If you must be digital there is now the online version of the Guide to Reference Sources.

    And lots more.

    Most of these works are done by professionals to help patrons meet their knowledge needs, not just for the fun of it. It is this work that makes us professionals separating us from book store and Internet cafe clerks.

    This was true long before computers and IT programs came out. If I am wrong why are we not known as Library and Computer Scientist. Knowing what knowledge is and guiding patrons to knowledge is the value we add to society. Until we understand this we will lose the battle of relevance. For those of you who say patrons see this as irrelevant you forget that in the past people respected librarians and trusted them. How would you trust someone who is just signing you up for computers or playing with an X-Box?

    It is the job the only mission I would say of any professional librarian to earn the trust of their patrons.

    Oh sorry for any HTML errors I haven hand coded this much in years.

  83. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    Ahh I am still looking at the document to find my errors!

  84. librarydude says:

    Don’t worry about it. Nobody read it anyway.

  85. Board says:

    People actually read still?

    Wow.

  86. Mr. Kat says:

    Post Post Modern, I read it, and I understood it completley! I’m taking the liberty of rewriting your post here because it deserves a second breath!


    We do our work as professionals to help patrons meet their knowledge needs. It is this work that makes us professionals, separating us from trades such as book storekeepers and Internet cafe clerks. We study what makes a source simply information and what makes it knowledge; we learn what makes material good. That’s why we take all those reference and collection development classes. Our service adds value to society by knowing what knowledge is and by guiding patrons to that knowledge. Our patrons respect and trust librarians to make these value judgments because our work makes their work more efficient and their lives better. This is the only mission any professional librarian has: earn the trust and respect of our patrons through effective information management.

    How would you trust a librarian who is just signing you up for computers?

    How can you respect a librarian who is just signing you up to play with an X-Box?

    But in this day and age, we are taught that no one ethic is right; there is no way we can judge what is right or wrong anymore. This is the far left approach to information: we must get all of it, and at any time, and give it to our patrons without a second thought. We only wish we were not physicaly limited by walls or containers, and long for the day where the Stacks are virtual colelcitons.

    P.S. We’re not Computer Scientists because honestly, we couldn’t hack the coursework!

  87. fidlde says:

    libraries as entertainment centers will fail

    libraries as education centers may survive

  88. cookies says:

    “libraries as entertainment centers will fail libraries as education centers may survive”

    That sounds nice but it’s too bad all of the evidence shows just the opposite is happening.

  89. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    The ideas of materials is irrelevant to its qualification as knowledge. That is to say we are taught to judge material not on its ideas but on specific criteria such as: Length, does the material actually say what it says it says, is it clearly written, does it have work cited pages or an introduction, does it have a table of contents, indexes, glossaries, does it include special features likes pictures, graphs, photos, maps, etc. Though not all of this works for fiction you still have criteria to judge the book. Mainly is it what it says it, is it clearly written, does it leave an impression.

    How do we know the subject? Well academic libraries require you to have the second masters as an area of expertise. School librarians spend hours debating this and most are X-teachers. Special librarians should know the existing collection and know who they are collecting for. Public librarians are broad based and need to know a little of everything but most importantly know their patrons.

    Regardless of whether we are talking print, audio, video or digital these criteria and others can be used without touching any bit of the ethical value of the work.
    If we are not doing this then we might as well close the libraries because we shouldnt be paid.

  90. carptrash says:

    cookies commented:
    Is the constant “eeeeek” a result of hanging around kids all day or do you have some desire to draw attention to yourself. It’s not cute, it’s annoying.

    My suggesting is “Get over it or die p*ssed off.” If you allow me any control over how you feel it probably will not be very good for you. Or me, for that matter. eeek

  91. Library Betty says:

    AL –

    Your need to do a follow-up post, just displays how many limited folks have entered the profession — or maybe where already here.

    Libraries are costly institutions — that need to have solid justification. If all that public librarians are excited about is games and blogs — well they should prepare to be eliminated. Games may work to entertain the teens, but aren’t the reason their parents pay their taxes.

    Response to your first post shows the disconnect these librarians have with the reality of the institutions they serve. I’m a corporate librarian and know that I won’t have a budget next year if my collection and services don’t meet the needs of the folks controlling the budget. Sure we have some 2.0 tools, we coach people on them, but we just see them as tools — not a way of life.

    Please show where gaming in libraries leads to an educated citizenery. If they are a tool which helps your library meet that goal, then go for it. Otherwise, if the public library is a babysitting service — then make that case to your taxpayers and change course.

    AL — keep posting and keep up the satire, it’s good watching the limited 2.0 types get all outraged. Questioning their thought-leadership is hard on the hipsters.

  92. Mr. Kat says:

    PPML, your definition of “Knowledge” is part of the reason the ivory tower is in such state of discord with the public and indeed decaying from the inside out!

    All these things you mention are in part nothing more than fluff that academicians use to hide their otherwise poorly analyzed case that leads to a false position or falsly portray great discovery in what is otherwise a shallow reflection. These are facades – and in the era of 2.0, our public is starting to care more for the quality of the idea itself [or the quality of the picture ont eh cover] then the actual layout of the material itself.

    BettyLou…It’s quite obvious you’re a corporate librarian!!!

  93. anonymous says:

    re: I resent that the library collection is being weeded down to nothing by people who only know Library 2.0 and nothing about important tomes of knowledge.<<

    Important tomes of knowledge are freely available on the Internet. You aren’t seriously suggesting libraries should spend valuable collection funds on them?

  94. anonymous says:

    re: Please show where gaming in libraries leads to an educated citizenery.<< Straw man. Many public libraries incorporate social and recreational benefit in their mission statements. Many loan everything from cake pans and chess sets to mp3 players and Kindle readers. And electronic games. Because the communities they serve support that and fund them. Who are you to tell other communities what to do? It’s not Carnegie’s library system anymore.

  95. bluegrass gerl says:

    Post Modern Librarian said: “Well academic libraries require you to have the second masters as an area of expertise.”

    This is not true. The vast majority of academic librarians do not have a second masters degree (nor do they need one).

  96. bejeezuz says:

    All I can say is… I had a feeling I had made a big mistake on the first day of library school. I have noticed over the years that I am treated much worse by the public once specialization went out the window at my large once-known-as-the-research branch. And it’s because they have figured out that the people staffing the desk no longer have backgrounds in the areas where they sit, and are not supported by management to continue professional development. As a result, everyone suffers. Hooray, the new library!

  97. soren faust says:

    beejeezuz, my public library is now on the same track. The old departments such as Business Science and Technology are being slowly being reduced to general departments with “generalists” manning them. Further proof that a librarian really only needs an undergraduate BA or BS to do the job and the MLS degree is the biggest lie. In some ways, it really does feel like we’ve been swindled.

  98. carptrash says:

    Just as I was about to toss our copy of Moby Dick out to fit four or five other books in the liberated space – some one came and checked it out. A twenty-something no less. I tried to direct her to our gaming room, but to no avail. What is the country coming to? eeeeeek

  99. Gamer says:

    I wish I had time to comment, but I just got Wrath of the Lich King and I need to level up my Death Knight.

  100. Gamer says:

    100th post.. and I’m gonna close the tag.

  101. jaradams says:

    Re: Important tomes of knowledge are freely available on the Internet. You aren’t seriously suggesting libraries should spend valuable collection funds on them? Pray tell, what important tomes are those so I can get links tothem on my webpage?

  102. Jacqueline Seewald says:

    I’m a librarian who took an early retirement so that I could write fulltime. I still see libraries as a place to find books, magazines and reference information. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think libraries have to become all things to all people or should even worry about doing so.

    Jacqueline Seewald
    THE INFERNO COLLECTION, Five Star/Gale hardcover, Wheeler large print

  103. anonymous says:

    re: Pray tell, what important tomes are those so I can get links to them on my webpage?<<

    I googled world of warcraft cheatsheet and came up with 138,000 hits. Obviously, you’re not looking hard enough.

  104. RL says:

    “Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think libraries have to become all things to all people or should even worry about doing so.”

    In short, as long as your needs are met, then don’t worry about anyone else? That may seem harsh, but I think you need to consider that we serve the whole community – not just people who think like yourself.

    No need to link to the 138,000 hits for World of Warcraft. Just use Thottbot and Wowwiki.

  105. Happily Anonymous says:

    jaradams commented:
    Re: Important tomes of knowledge are freely available on the Internet. You aren’t seriously suggesting libraries should spend valuable collection funds on them? Pray tell, what important tomes are those so I can get links to them on my webpage? Project Guttenberg baby! Just googly it and all will be revealed! You are librarians right, so research already :)
    Also, I have a perfectly good BPsych and chose to study to become a librarian cause I thought it was interesting and valuable. Really. Truly. I don’t regret it. I’m even thinking of doing some research (heaven knows we could do with some decent library research – don’t even get me started).

  106. Mr. Kat says:

    Now for some reason I read that last comment in the voice of Miss Cleo…hehehe…That was comedy!!

  107. Mr. Kat says:

    Project Guttenberg baby! Just googly it and all will be revealed! You are librarians right, so research already

    I’m not sure which is worse – a librarian ENDORSING a free online collection of books or a librarian that can’t SPELL Gutenberg.

    The basis of Project Gutenberg is Replicator Technology. For those IDIOT librarians out there, let me translate – PUTTING LIBRARIANS OUT OF WORK!

  108. Mr. Kat says:

    Sorry, mr. Anonymous duplicator – Mr. Kat fully endorses the Gutenberg project. Librarians have been putting htemselves out of work for the last 20 years, now they get what they brought upon themselves. By not doing work they could have been doing [the gutenberg project, for example] librarins have left their back doors open. Sorry boys, shows over. Librarians have about ten years left of solid career – after that the whole thing will shake down.

    I watched twilight doday – my girl dragged me to it. It’s fine as a movie, – at least as fine as anything else they put out these days [haha]. But hte point of this is how the main character gets her book and her information. does she go to a library? No. She gets on google, uses Amazon to find a local book store, goes to the book store to find a reference book, and then uses google to find mroe informaiton on ideas that are not elaborated upon in the book.

    Not a single damn moment where penny twoshoes went to the library and Nancy drewed up Mr. Encyclopedia. I hope the AL goes and sees the movie so she can post a blog on her feelings about the pulp fiction [lack of] display of the library in pop culture.