Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Stirrers and Shakers

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 ...
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PhD: the New Job Requirement?

Before I begin, I want to make a comment about olives. Olives crave gin, because it's only in a solution of gin, vermouth, and a bit of cold water from shaken ice that olives really come into their own. The secret to success in librarianship is a good martini, and perhaps some Billie Holiday. Now, back "on task." Someone forwarded me parts of a listserv conversation last week about academic libraries beginning to require PhDs for all librarian jobs and not just directorships. Some already do for directorships, especially some of the smaller libraries, because if you're going to run a library it's absolutely crucial that you've spent a few years writing a tedious dissertation on Hitler's haberdasher or the novels of Wordsworth. Now, by PhDs, I think we're talking about PhDs in real subjects. Unless one is the subject specialist for LIS in one's library, a PhD in LIS is not the thing. This of course makes perfect sense for subject specialists. As someone in the discussion ...
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Distance Education, or Distance From Education?

I'm just full of questions today. For some reason, lately I've been hearing or reading more about so-called distance education. One of the perks of working in academe, I fear. There's no doubt the trend is increasing, especially with the growing popularity of the for-profit online universities (or perhaps "universities" would be better). Supposedly the separation of higher education from face to face contact is a good thing. Students don't have to waste all that time hanging around college campuses. The classes are available anywhere with an Internet connection, which would include everywhere in America except parts of Appalachia or somewhere like that, and hillbillies don't go to college anyway. When I look around at these distance education programs, they don't tend to be in any serious academic subjects, though. Look at someplace like Walden University. They have programs in "education" or "nursing," not physics or economics. They do offer degrees ...
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Thanks for Your Support!

My goodness, I think one thing we can take from the comments this week is that a lot of academic librarians take themselves very seriously indeed. Obviously this is the highest form of librarianship, or I wouldn't be doing it (that should go without saying, I know), but let's just loosen our hair a bit and quit pretending that everything would collapse if we didn't show up for a few days. Why is this? Well, for the most part it's because we're not the ones getting things gone, at least not those daily things that need doing: opening buildings, staffing desks, processing books. This differs by library, certainly, but in a lot of academic libraries, especially somewhat larger ones, we have a group even lower on the academic food chain than we are to do all that work. I'm never sure what to call these people, since every library seems to have a different name for them. At my library, I just call them by their first names, and I'm not even sure what their official designation is. The ...
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Academic Librarians: "Please Love Us!"

I always suspect that those people who become public librarians are the sort of people who have wanted to be librarians since they were children frolicking in their public libraries, the ones who found a home in the library they couldn't find elsewhere. Likewise, I suspect that a lot of the people who become academic librarians are often the people who were picked last on the playground. That would explain their inferiority complexes and their desperate desire to be liked. This is something of a sweeping generalization, I realize, but as we're all aware by now, sweeping generalizations are the stuff the Annoyed Librarian is made of. As I mentioned in the last post, I was at ACRL, attended a number of sessions, talked to a lot of librarians, had some dinners and drinks, and generally hung out and had a good time. At ALA, I pal around with librarians of all types, but obviously at ACRL I was surrounded by other academic librarians, and occasionally found myself thinking of them as an ...
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Scaling a Cast Buzz in Seattle

I just flew back from Seattle, and boy are my arms tired. (Hey, I’m here all week!) But seriously, folks, I just returned from the ACRL conference. ACRL is where we academic librarians go to hang out and talk amongst ourselves about how much better it is to be an academic librarian than any other kind. We eat a lot of great food, drink a lot of great booze, and praise the liberal atheist God we all almost believe in that we don’t have to traffic with the tweens and the riff-raff like the public librarians do. Sometimes we even go to programs. Seattle was great, by the way. The weather was sort of up and down, but it’s much more of a real city than the last conference city I was in. It’s on a coast for one thing. Great cities need water, which is why Chicago qualifies. Water isn’t enough, though, which is why Buffalo doesn’t. It’s also got great seafood, and some excellent bars. I’d give you a detailed breakdown, but my alter ego was a ...
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