It seems to have been awards season here in in the Greater Libraryland Area and I missed it. That’s just like me, really. Instead of keeping up with who are the hottest, coolest, hippest, most earnest and involved members of our profession, I do other things. At the moment, those "other things" include listening to some Bartok string quartets while arguing with Chip about whether a Negroni should be served on the rocks with a splash of soda or straight up andsodaless. Chip is very American, which explains his predilection for straight up Negronis. To be honest, Chip’s starting to slip a bit. Last week he made me a Manhattan with bourbon, even though there was a bottle of Old Portrero rye clearly sitting on top of the drinks cabinet. I try not to be hard on the poor dear because he’s so devoted to me, but it defeats the purpose of having a Library Journal Personal Bartender if I have to supervise every little thing. Honestly.
Anyway, back to awards season. As you all no doubt know, LJ hands out a boatload of awards every year to the Library Journal Movers & Shakers. Surprisingly, I’ve never made it into the august ranks of LJ Movers & Shakers (at least under my nom de plume "Annoyed Librarian"). This surprises me first because it’s obvious that the AL has shaken and moved more people that all the other Movers & Shakers combined. I’m also surprised because the M & S award isn’t exactly . . . um . . . exclusive, now is it? I mean, seriously, 51 librarians this year? LJ isn’t exactly trying to narrow the field, now are they. The great thing is that we get a huge, long list of "Library Leaders Creating the 2.0 Library of the Future." Apparently, the LJ people don’t realize that the 2.0 library issoooo 2007. I’m just hoping that with the gobs of money and all the perks LJ plies me with I don’t become so establishment to forget stuff like that! So the Library Journal, which some of you have heard of because they host this blog, gives out twopointopian awards to all and sundry. Wait. I don’t think that came out right. I mean, congratulations to all the LJ Movers & Shakers for 2009! Yayy!
If you thought the Movers & Shakers group was a bit large and nonexclusive, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Those dozen or so of you who haven’t managed to become a Mover or, indeed, a Shaker over the years have a new opportunity. Now comes along the Shovers and Makers, which is about as non-exclusive as you can get, because anyone and everyone can become one. Shovers and Makers (or S&M) was created by some librarians from the so-called Library Society of the World who, I’m reliably informed, really hate the Annoyed Librarian. (Of course some of the previous Movers and Shakers really hate the AL, too, but that’s old news.) I read about the S&M librarians in the library magazine of record, so I know they must be important. Eventually, they’ll probably make it into American Libraries as well, which would demonstrably prove how boring and utterly mainstream they are. LJ had this to say about S&M: "Shovers and Makers was meant to be ‘a little inspiring and a little absurd,’ but we’ve found that those who have put themselves forth are certainly more of the former than the latter." That LJ is so diplomatic!
The difference between the two is that we can hardly blame the Movers & Shakers for being winners. After all, other people usually nominate them. The S&M librarians nominate themselves, which means even the AL could be an S&M, if the AL was a joiner, which she’s not. Though if the S&M award came with some money, I might join. Keep that in mind for next year! I took a look at some of the librarians who’ve given themselves the coveted S&M award. Since I actually know a number of them, I’m not going to name names. Some of them definitely got into the spirit of the thing, but some of them are just so earnest, despite the attempt at satire. This is the problem with the whole Library Society of the World concept in general, though. LSW and the S&M are too much the product of earnest satire, if such a genre is even possible. It also exemplifies even more than LJ the desire to make everyone a winner. Yay! We’re all above average in this cozy hamlet we call librarianship. We can all have awards!
I’d start my own award, only I’d be too lazy to go through all the nominations and choose winners. That, and I don’t think I could stomach seeing yet another library award. This profession is self-congratulatory enough if you ask me; I think it starts with handing out an MLS to anyone with a pulse and a tuition payment. Mine would be similar to these, but based upon the classic dichotomy of martini drinkers – stirrers versus shakers. Some people think the classic dichotomy is between gin and vodka, but that’s impossible, because if it’s made with vodka it’s a "vodkatini." Then there’s the classic dichotomy of olive or twist, I suppose. Or the vermouth conundrum with the people who think that "dry" refers to no vermouth instead of French vermouth. But I digress. Where were we? Oh yes.
Stirrers are self-righteous purists who get so lost in metaphorical language that they think gin really can be "bruised." Shakers are self-righteous radicals who want icy perfection tout de suite and aren’t afraid to raise some purist hackles to get it. The idea would be to find one stirrer or shaker per year. I don’t shove, and I certainly don’t move. I rarely stir, and, thanks to Chip, I don’t even have to shake anymore. Since if I started the award I’d be the only one even remotely qualified to win, this would exclude even me, and absolutely nobody would win. That’s the sort of exclusive award we need more of in librarianship.