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?