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Inside Annoyed Librarian

I Heart Library Manifestos

You didn’t really think I was leaving, did you?

I’ve already written about one of the best things about being a librarian – the fact that librarians don’t have to do much of the hard work of the library. That’s what we have parasupport workers for. This frees us real librarians up for the challenging intellectual work of librarianship. For example, there’s all those great articles published in library journals. If librarians had to do the hard grunt work of libraries, they wouldn’t be able to write up all those magnificent case studies and how-we-dunit-good articles they do now. Those things take some serious thinking! They also wouldn’t have time to write manifestos, and some librarians seem to love manifestos.

You might remember a couple of years ago when the other AL published the Librarian’s 2.0 Manifesto. If that was the sort of clever, thoughtful, affirmative gobbledygook you like, then you’ll love the new Darien Statements on the Library and Librarians. When I read these, after a kind reader sent them on, I almost got goosebumps. Statements like these are like milk and honey to the Annoyed Librarian. Also, this is the sort of intelligent, creative work that couldn’t go on if librarians had to do library work, because apparently three librarians spent a whole day together crafting these. No doubt that’s because they think they have something important to say, and that we should all bow before their collective greatness. I can’t wait for the inspirational poster!

So we can all be inspired by them, I wanted to quote and comment upon a few of the "Darien Statements." I guess we should begin with the first statement, on the purpose of the library. "The purpose of the Library is to preserve the integrity of civilization." Wow! Now that’s a good purpose! All librarians probably think that, though, so it’s nothing too special. Some librarians want to preserve the integrity of civilization by playing videogames. Others want to make sure there’s a steady diet of trashy fiction. As one library blog puts it, "it’s all good," which is nice, because it relieves us of the necessity of making thoughtful distinctions among things which are good and things which suck.

But back to the "Statements." You can tell they’re important because of the way they capitalize library. It’s always "the Library." Librarians are "human and ephemeral" (except for the Annoyed Librarian, who is neither), but the "Library" is different. Have you noticed that in all manifestos actual human beings always recede in importance before abstract ideas? You librarians are "ephemeral," but these statements are eternal.

This little manifesto also seems to suffer from the same blindness as the ALA in assuming the "Library" is the public "Library." Do you ever notice that? For example, "We have faith that the citizens of our communities will continue to fulfill their civic responsibility by preserving the Library." Is it the "civic responsibility" of your university or law firm to preserve your library? Obviously not. One can have "civic" responsibilities only in a city, by definition. And if you don’t understand what I’m talking about, then you really shouldn’t be writing manifestos or anything else.

The LIBRARY (why don’t we just capitalize the whole darn word because it’s so important!) has roles. One of my favorites is: "Inspires and perpetuates hope." How exactly the LIBRARY is supposed to do this, I have no idea, but it sure does sound good.

My favorite part of any manifesto is when the creators of said manifesto start telling me what I have to do to be a "good" librarian, i.e., the sort of librarian they value. For example, if I’m a librarian, I "must" "Promote openness, kindness, and transparency among libraries and users." What does this mean, though? How am I supposed to promote kindness among libraries, for example? Does that even make sense? Or among users? Should I wander the library stacks and upbraid any users who aren’t being kind to each other? Maybe to promote kindness among users, I could put some smiley face stickers everywhere. After all, no one can be unkind if they have a smiley face sticker attached to their forehead.

What about this one: "Be willing and have the expertise to make frequent radical changes." Let’s examine this sentence. "Radical" means going to the root, the most basic and foundational thing. "Frequent" means, well…frequent. Can anyone really make frequent, radical changes? Not that I want to challenge these delightful statements. I just wonder if the person writing that can have given any thought whatsoever to the actual meaning of the sentence. This would mean having a willingness to change absolutely everything we do possibly every day. In real life, this would basically mean chaos. Every day we could all show up at the LIBRARY and change all of our procedures. Wouldn’t that be fun! You might think I’m willfully misreading this statement, but consider it in the context of another statement: "librarians must commit to a culture of continuous operational change." What else can this mean but that we show up every day and start doing things differently? Try to imagine what this would actually be like in practice and you can laugh at the Darien Stalemates with me.

I realize this is the sort of profound intellectual work we librarians should be doing once we’re freed of the daily grind of library work, but sometimes I’m just slightly skeptical of manifestos. How-we-dunit-good articles might be boring and pointless, but they’re at least usually unpretentious. If we’re going to go beyond the mundane, we should aim to ground our statements in some kind of coherent philosophy of librarianship. Librarians cannot possibly engage in "frequent radical changes" or "continuous operational change." Those phrases are just meaningless gibberish, which only serve to make ridiculous whatever value there might be in the grand and possibly even inspiring statement that the purpose of the LIBRARY is to "preserve the integrity of civilization." Nobody ever preserved the integrity of civilization by making "frequent radical changes." Ever.

We’re also told that we have to "accept risk and uncertainty as key properties of the profession." Huh. How effective will we librarians be if two of our key properties are risk and uncertainty? This sounds as ridiculous as "frequent radical change." How about we show up and face the risk and uncertainty that we’ll be fired? Oh, and next day we’ll be rehired. Then fired again. Then rehired. Then required to mop out the restrooms. Then required to sit quietly underneath the reference desk and eat Oreos. That all seems risky and uncertain in a frequently radical way. "Oh no," you say (and you are such a devil’s advocate today!), "it can’t mean that!" Well, I hate to break it to you, but it can. Because if one really has to make "continuous operational change" in a situation of risk and uncertainty, then there are no limits. Try everything!

After all, we’re supposed to "Hire the best people and let them do their job; remove staff who cannot or will not." Remove staff who cannot or will not do their job! I could live with that if the "job" weren’t to make frequent radical operational changes. That’s not a job; that’s just hell. I’m sure the pontificaters of the "Darien Statements" would agree if they actually lived through frequent radical operational changes instead of holing up in their offices creating manifestos.

And I haven’t even addressed the underlying incoherence of this manifesto. So, the purpose of the LIBRARY is to preserve the integrity of civilization. Yet, we’re also told to "uphold service to the user as our most valuable directive." Are these two things necessarily compatible at all? Does "service to the user" necessarily preserve the integrity of civilization? What services to what users? What exactly does the "integrity of civilization" even mean? Look at all the undefined buzzwords populating this document. Civilization. Radical. Change. Etc. It’s just a series of disconnected statements that are supposed to inspire action in thoughtless people who aren’t allowed to step back and question the overall incoherence or the meaningless specifics of the document. We’ve got manifesto by committee, devoid of argument, and if we don’t like it, then we’re the problem. Because if you point out that the emperor has no brain, you’re just not on the feel-good library team, baby, and come the library revolution you’ll be the first against the wall.

To be a good librarian, I’m also supposed to "Choose wisely what to stop doing." Perhaps the wisest choice would be to stop reading manifestos.

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Comments

  1. Hero says:

    Remove staff who are unable or unwilling to do the job? I take it these Darien folks have never heard of unions. /sarcasm

  2. Dr. Pepper says:

    quote: “Hire the best people and let them do their job;”

    Should those people have an MLIS too? LOL

  3. Texas Librarian says:

    Glad you’re still here :). If you really do decide to leave, please give your real name instead of reworking the speech from V for Vendetta (the movie).

    Obviously, no one who works at Darien has tried to deal with folks that are just counting days til retirement; you know the type, been there 30 years, but still have 5 to go and don’t plan on doing any work between now and retirement. If they could figure how to rid the library of those folks, I might be bothered to read their manifestos instead of your handy summary.

  4. ewb says:

    Aw come on, librarians get paid peanuts. At least let them feel like they can do some good if they try. They ain’t hurting anyone.

  5. TransparentLibrarian says:

    LIBRARIES foster hope in that I hope the local public library will put off buying a stack of romances and pick up a copy of a novel of genuine value that I really want to read. Also, libraries promote transparency by paying librarians so little that they starve and eventually become transparent.

  6. Skipbear says:

    It would a great day to ponder about what I can do to preserve the integrity of civilization but I’m stuck here in the library with no back-up to even cover the integrity of my lunch hour. I imagine this lovely inspirational document was crafted over a nice long lunch hour and several drinks. I’ll just eat my crackers under my desk.

  7. BricksMortar says:

    “been there 30 years, but still have 5 to go and don’t plan on doing any work between now and retirement.” Let’s not forget the little snots with newly minted degrees who think they’re too good to do certain types of library work. “Me? Weed? I think not!” says our youngest. He be a thinker! not a doer.

  8. the.effing.librarian says:

    I think we should agree with every premise, except in place of “frequent” and “constant” we should just say we’ll do it on “April 2.” Since April Fool’s Day is a day to shake things up with practical jokes and fun times, the day after April 1 should be for getting the work done.

    I can agree to do pretty much anything, if it’s limited to one 8-hour work day.

  9. nolajazz says:

    Personally, I like the whole “radical & frequent change” thing. Anyone remember the shock and awe that occurred in the library community when Marshall Shore abandoned Dewey?

  10. Disillusioned Librarian says:

    Have you read the comments on Blyberg’s blog? This manifesto is the bestest thing ever.

  11. TwoQatz says:

    “Adopt technology that keeps data open and free, abandon technology that does not.” Hmmm … I just don’t think this will fly in an academic library. That which is free doesn’t always measure up to that which costs $$$.

    The whole thing kinda got my gag reflex going. Lighten up, Darien. You’ll live longer.

  12. Dr. Pepper says:

    LOL @BricksMortar. I know those snots you speak of. “Hey Joe, this needs cataloging, can you help out?” — “Actually I cannot, I am not a cataloguer, I will just do this google book stuff”.

  13. sidney says:

    If they do make a poster of this, I hope it has a little kitten on it.

  14. BricksMortar says:

    Dr. Pepper, I’m so pleased at least one other person knows a snot or two! Two years of experience isn’t a lot when it comes to work in an academic setting. And for such a techno-whiz, our snot can’t figure out Facebook.

  15. Dr. Pepper says:

    LOL – My favorite expression is “it’s all in the cloud”, however these snots don’t know what stuff like that means :-)…

  16. Unchained Librarian says:

    Thanks for speaking truth!! I am disappointed by the shallowness of the principles [not capitalized] and lack of real information or inspiration that such a document deserves.

  17. A says:

    Transparent Librarian:
    Tell your local public library which books you might be interested in. If the majority of people want to read only books from the best-seller lists, then that’s what I buy even if I think those books are trash. I throw in a few romances for the folks who want that, some graphic novels, a couple of audio books,some large text books, and something for the kiddies. Oh and a little non-fiction for the few who think that’s the only thing to read.
    Guess what? Nine times out of ten, all that will be about twice what my monthly budget allows. So I go back and remove a few from my list and plan to tell people to wait six months or more for the book they want to come as inter-library loan from a nearby city.
    Good luck keeping everybody happy.

  18. SATXLibrarian says:

    Reminds me of the *enlightened* garbage we were expected to follow in the corporate world. I’m glad I don’t have to work with such starry-eyed idiots …

  19. idiots says:

    I’d like to congratulate everyone who didn’t bother to RTFA and just mouthed off (yes, AL included).

    Where is the snark for the Taiga Statements, AL? Or were they negative enough that you couldn’t agree more?

    PS to Dr. Pepper (sic) — it’s spelled: Dr Pepper

  20. InfoSciPhi says:

    I honestly feel sorry for you AL. You are much more a part of the problem than of the solution.

  21. AL says:

    Feel sorry for yourself, InfoSciPhi, because if you take this stuff seriously you need the pity more than I do. What exactly is THE problem? You speak as if there’s one overarching PROBLEM, and apparently the solution is to write up meaningless verbiage and cheer about how inspirational it is. THE problem. THE solution. Two sides. Us and Them. Good grief. How’s this for a problem? A bunch of librarians do their Stuart Smalley impression and anyone who’s too smart and critical to go along is somehow bad. No problems in librarianship get solved by manifestos and daily affirmations, and the librarians who think things like this are worthwhile are unlikely to be the librarians clever enough to solve any real problems.

  22. AL says:

    Oh, and Taiga comes later in the week. Stay tuned.

  23. PHN says:

    I think that the LJ is paying the AL by the word.

    Boring…..

  24. AL says:

    Don’t think. It doesn’t become you.

  25. Techserving You says:

    I just have to step in here and comment to the people referring to the ‘snots’ in their libraries. I know many many people just like that… people who had NO library work experience, and often no work experience at all, before library school, who now think they know everything and are obsessed with their ‘professional status.’ (Yes, some managed to get jobs.) And I assume that you do know the backgrounds of these snots of whom you speak. But I just got my MLIS a little less than two years ago, after a full decade of experience in libraries. And much of my experience prior to the MLIS program was more ‘in-depth’ than what I am doing now in my professional job. YET, none of the other librarians here seem to have any sense that I have ever worked in another library. I just hope that people don’t automatically assume that younger people with new degrees have no experience and therefore can’t validly choose what they want to do or how they want to do it.

  26. BricksMortar says:

    We took what we thought was the best, Techserving You. One candidate dropped out of the running and I later met this person at a conference. Boy! Did we ever miss out on a fabulous YOUNG librarian. We’re gonna have to suffer with the snot though. He is so much more *professional* than the rest of us and knows so much more and we’re just so backward. And so you’ll know – I use the term snot instead of really bad language. It’s Lent you know – gotta try to be good.

  27. HealthySceptic says:

    InfoSciPhi, nice pretty words and manifestos don’t amount to a hill of beans. After 25 years, the best folks I’ve ever worked with, professional and paraprofessional, had healthy scepticism about work and life in general. Those spouting nonsense like Darien? It doesn’t get the work done, it doesn’t help our users, but it sure does make some of the least effective people in the workplace happy. “OOOH look we did! Aren’t we special???” I don’t drink that Koolaid …

  28. Mr. Kat says:

    AL, reading this blog has been like watching a demolition derby contest in a mud arena populated by a field of little Chevy Citations, Plymouth Horizons, and Ford Escorts…and then you just had to show up in your big black Ford LTD…

    Really, I love watching contests, but when they are this onesided the bloodbath is almost too much to watch! These poor little librarians never even stood a chance!!! Stop hitting that car, please, [Ralph Wiggum cry: "he's already dead!!"] and now you’re dragging the shattered remains through the mud!! Oh the Humanity!!!!

    P.S. Hey “Idiots,” I met a real Dr. Pepper, Ph.D; He spelled his name Dr. Pepper on the course syllabus. So either you are right and he is wrong, or he is right and you are wrong. Now I know he has a PhD [even if the guy is a REAL "birdbrain" complete with pictures of birds nesting in his hair on his head!!!"] and all I know about you is that you are a bird brain too…but without a PhD. Eccentricity without a Ph.D is just “crazy person.” :D

  29. Mr. Kat says:

    Techserving You, BricksMortar, Dr. Pepper; before you dismiss these little snots completely, take a good long look and see if they might reflect either the nature of the field already [little mini Satires and they don't even know it] or if they are indeed the “change” driven at by people like AL…

    In all cases, this little snot wants to get his work done and then it’s off to home I go!! But I will surely run my mouth if you give me a soap box to stand on!!!

  30. Not-sure-why-I-went-to-library-school says:

    Went to the Darien Library homepage. The activity du jour is a Gossip Girl viewing party… So what happened to “The Library has a moral obligation to adhere to its purpose despite social, economic, environmental, or political influences?” Television? The library’s purpose is television?

  31. BricksMortar says:

    Mr. Kat, just so you’ll know, I lump a 60-year-old in the snot category. Snots, in my view, are those who have no inclination to do the work but want a paycheck. By and large I’ve found libraries to be a haven for lazy incompetents. I’ve worked public, academic and corporate, and the only place that ever turned folks out was corporate. For every great librarian/paraprofessional, there was also a snot counterpart.

  32. anon says:

    Blyberg isn’t a librarian. Perhaps he should write manifestos about pimping open source in the venues that have no standards, like libraries.

  33. Skimh says:

    LoL excellent post, thanks heaps! Oreos sound really good – maybe I can persuade our team leader to include the whole eating-under-the-reference-desk in our Professional Review & Development Plan…;-)

  34. Semi-Anarchist Librarian says:

    I wonder how Blyberg would feel if The Library decided that some of the radical change needed is getting rid of him and bringing in someone who actually covers a desk, weeds,or conducts a program during work hours instead of writing manifestos? How does The LIbrary decide who to get rid of? Do they hold a vote?

  35. Techserving You says:

    Mr. Kat – unfortunately, the little ‘snots’ of whom I speak are NOT the change…. they’re the worst of both worlds! They would fully, fully embrace these Darien statements, and even prior to ever holding a library job, have a strong argument with anyone who does not think those statements mean anything. They’re brand new to the field and know very little, yet think they know it all, and horror of horrors, embrace this kind of meaningless crap.

  36. BricksMortar says:

    I rather think, Techserving You, that the snots are those strange creatures I met in library school who had never worked in a library. They actually believed a lot of the idealistic crap we had served us. “There are no stupid questions!” Gotta disagree with that. I’ve had a couple in my 20-odd years as a professional liberrian. “It’s a calling!” Nah … it’s a job that can be enjoyable. If it were a calling, there wouldn’t be so many snots and incompetents. I like to think if one is “called” to a profession, one will happily plunge into all the hard dirty work associated with their calling. Kinda like my rector who joyfully feeds the homeless here – now that’s a calling!

  37. Dr. Pepper says:

    LOL @ idiots. I am not THAT Dr Pepper. I AM Dr. Pepper and I will spell it how I want. :p

  38. Dr. Pepper says:

    @ Mr Kat – I have to say the snots that I know are the types of people of that know nothing of traditional librarianship and nothing of new trends. They are the buzzword-laden people that can pull the wool over the eyes of some naive people and convince them that they know what they are talking about. They remind me of the song: “Business As Usual” by Devo Spice (comedy song)

  39. Vegans For Meat says:

    We’re also told that we have to “accept risk and uncertainty as key properties of the profession.” Huh. How effective will we librarians be if two of our key properties are risk and uncertainty? This sounds as ridiculous as “frequent radical change.”

    Yeah, and I’m sure these same authors are also riding the populist wave against the financiers who also accepted uncertainty and risk as their key principles of operation by using other people’s money to invest.

  40. CUA says:

    In a previous lifetime, AL was the spokesman for the buggy whip manufacturers of Amerika. Glad to see AL can carry on in the same manner.

  41. Dan Quayle says:

    Isn’t it spelled “manifestoes”?

  42. dork says:

    Dan Quayle, haha! Where have ya been? How do you spell potato again?

  43. Hippieman says:

    AL is like the Glenn Beck of librarianship.

  44. Hippieman says:

    All this right wing populism makes me laugh. If it weren’t for unions, you’d have NO bennies and/or vacation time whatsoever. Children would still be working in coal mines. Yeah, those terrible, terrible unions ruining the country.

  45. Mr. Kat says:

    And thanks to your unions, Hippieman, American Businesses are simply shipping the jobs elsewhere. You think you’re worth a whole lot? Well, you might be a Stellar Worker but you WON’tT BE WORKING HERE!!!

    All while the American Auto makers struggle to get out from under the UAW by subsequenlty exporting more of their own manufacturing lines…haha.

    Anyone else notice that that the Success of the Unions is directly proportional to the Decline in the CPI?

    I live in a Right to Work state; if you think the wages are too low at one job, YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORK THERE!!!

  46. Pu says:

    Here’s a puzzle for you Demented Dariens who are taking a break from preserving the integrity of civilization:

    Extract your manifesto from the warm, safe place in which you keep it; change all of the LIBRARY variants to XXXX; and try to find anyone outside your august circle who can come close to guessing what you are talking about. It not only is totally wack for describing a library; it is totally wack for describing ANYthing.

  47. AlwaysWanted2B says:

    As my secretary would say about the Darien librarians – they have been drinking the Kool-aid.

  48. Original Library Cynic says:

    Ah,in case you didn’t read far into the comments section after this manifesto, there were a number of the old crew of the Retro Librarian’s blogs just gushing over this, as if it actually meant something, and wasn’t another propaganda stalking horse. Incidentally, where’s Darien, or does it even really exist?
    Yeah, I can see; ” Nobody ever preserved the integrity of civilization by making “frequent radical changes.” Ever.

    We’re also told that we have to “accept risk and uncertainty as key properties of the profession.” Huh. How effective will we librarians be if two of our key properties are risk and uncertainty? This sounds as ridiculous as “frequent radical change.” How about we show up and face the risk and uncertainty that we’ll be fired? Oh, and next day we’ll be rehired. Then fired again. Then rehired.” I was just listening about how
    some folks are being “Outed” from jobs under the excuse of the current recession, when the budget isn’t in that bad a shape.It does, however, provide cover for some folks to play their little games and, possibly get by without a lawsuit, if they are sneaky enough. Judging from the tone of some of the comments here, I suspect the Retros are back here again. Right, “y’all”?

  49. Been Around says:

    Speaking of snots, a few years ago in a state that begins with W and ends with n (so does the town) I hired a very young, straight out of library school, Children’s librarian. She was awful. Given a direct order to give something priority she would never get around to them. When I asked why they were not done she would respond, “Why do you think your tasks should have priority?” Because I’m the director, You Dumbass!” Not really what I said, but what I felt like saying.

  50. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    Mr. Kat, you missed Hippieman’s point entirely. Unions brought us the benefits workers need and deserve – a decent wage, the five-day workweek, vacation benefits, etc. A wave of unionism wouldn’t hurt this country. We need to take back the workplace from the executives who earn outrageous salaries and perks while shipping our jobs elsewhere. So you’re in a right-to-work state – so am I. And if it suited them to send reference work to India, they’d do it. They speak English there, ya know? They probably can catalog and process books more cheaply too. Unions are a good thing!

  51. Dances With Books says:

    I am glad you took this head-on AL. As you point out, these are clearly people who have not done any grunt work in ages. I would have blogged about it, but since I work in a small library, I actually do a lot of grunt work. Or, as a drill sergeant would say, “I have to work for a living!”

    Thank you for saying what needs to be said.

  52. Mr. Kat says:

    Mr. Kat, you missed Hippieman’s point entirely. Unions brought us the benefits workers need and deserve – a decent wage, the five-day workweek, vacation benefits, etc. A wave of unionism wouldn’t hurt this country. We need to take back the workplace from the executives who earn outrageous salaries and perks while shipping our jobs elsewhere. So you’re in a right-to-work state – so am I. And if it suited them to send reference work to India, they’d do it. They speak English there, ya know? They probably can catalog and process books more cheaply too. Unions are a good thing!

    Oh No, I COMPLETELY got Hippieman’s remark and your comment just reinforces more of the same Party Line.

    You seem to think Corporations exist to give YOU a living. Here’s news to you – THEY DON’T!! They are Specifically in the business of making as much profit with as little capital investment as possible. A wave of Unionism would completely destroy what is left of this country because we cannot globalize Unions!! And even if we did, corporations would merely have even MORE incentive to mechanize and automate their work altogether!

    All unions do is drive up the cost of production within a labor force, making a competing labor force elsewhere lucrative. This has been the history of business forever, though, as we historically observe an earlier wave of job exportation from the Northern states to the Southern states and then West. In case you haven’t noticed, they already exported reference work to India – they’re called “Call Centers.” And they do indeed speak very good English!!

    The workers never owned the workplace in the first place, so how would we be taking it Back?? The workplace belongs to the workplace OWNER, and he has put a CEO in a position to RUN his business as profitable as humanly possible. Take a guess who will get the largest shares of the profit!! [Owner, CEO, Board Members, Stockholders, Government Taxes, Workers, and in that order!!]

    You the worker deserve only the compensation you agree to at the time you get your job. If that compensation is inadequate, you have the right to go work somewhere else. You might think it is not fair that there are people out there who actually take advantage of themselves and work at that wage, but who are you to force your ethic on another person? Where you feel exloited, they feel gratitude for what amounts to being their livelihood and they live very well off it.

    I invite you to go find and read a book called “I Can Get It for You Wholesale!” (1937), by Jerome Weidman. It has a Wonderful lesson on how magnificently unions work!

    Your socialist utopian pipedream is incompatible with Nnatural market behavior.

  53. Vegans For Meat says:

    “You the worker deserve only the compensation you agree to at the time you get your job. If that compensation is inadequate, you have the right to go work somewhere else.”

    Well said. Hence, why it’s called a labor market. Like all other markets something is bought and sold at an agreed price. Corporations also are in a market relationship with other corporations and they too experience the same set of competitive circumstances in a market economy that labor does, just on a grander scale.

  54. Yet Another Library Cynic says:

    Why does every topic on this blog devolve into polarized political ranting??

  55. GZDZ says:

    Because of the Hippies.

  56. WorkersUnite says:

    Jeez, Mr. Kat, why don’t you just leave LibraryLand and go to Wall Street? They’d love to have you there. What corporations and their owners/management really want is a return to Slave Days. Work sunup to sundown, seven days a week and be thankful for your gruel. Nah. I’ll band together with my fellow workers and tear down their house.

  57. IAG says:

    Jeez, Mr. Kat, why don’t you just leave LibraryLand and go to Wall Street? They’d love to have you there. What corporations and their owners/management really want is a return to Slave Days. Work sunup to sundown, seven days a week and be thankful for your gruel. Nah. I’ll band together with my fellow workers and tear down their house.”

    Just be careful and don’t tear down da union bosses houses. Doze guys are looking out fer da small guy. Just make sure you make you payments to the pension fund.

  58. Vegans For Meat says:

    “Nah. I’ll band together with my fellow workers and tear down their house.”

    At which point you’ll starve to death.

  59. Sarah says:

    I’m posting to see if this makes it or if I’ve been banned.

  60. CUZ says:

    “I’m posting to see if this makes it or if I’ve been banned.”

    Looks like you are still a boy in the banned.

  61. another.effing.librarian says:

    why do librarians write so many problem-identification statements, and solve so few problems? ‘how we dunit good’ articles are preferable to manifesti, but dang. why aren’t more of them applicable outside the exact institution that generated the article?

    why do some people work in the same place for 30 years?

    and when the he!! are we going to see the end of the epithet ‘front line librarian’. ineffectual tough-talk that just sounds stupid.

  62. OGL says:

    “why do librarians write so many problem-identification statements, and solve so few problems? ‘how we dunit good’ articles are preferable to manifesti, but dang. why aren’t more of them applicable outside the exact institution that generated the article? why do some people work in the same place for 30 years? and when the he!! are we going to see the end of the epithet ‘front line librarian’. ineffectual tough-talk that just sounds stupid.

    Why?

    Because they are spineless union hacks. If they had to go out there and defend themselves, they would curl up in a ball and be big balling balling babies.

  63. Mr. Kat says:

    Corporate management has long discovered that slaves are ineffective compared to workers who have a real incentive to work hard and then show back up the next day.

    If you ban together and start tearing down houses, you will be faced with a military that is extrememly well paid by the system. How well paid? First, they work roughly 35 hours a week, though rarely there are times they are at work 24-7 in the event of a war. During that war, however, it is likely they are the last company that will still be paid, well fed, and well maintained. Let us continue; they also recieve what is the equivalent of between 2 years and 6 ears of college educaiton, depending on how well they study while in the service and how much they earn via G.I. Bills. The government provides a rather nice housing allowance, enough to cover nearly 85-90% of most mortgages. Your smart servicemen will use this opportunity to invest in a house off base and then sell it when they have to move in order to capitalize on the equity. And did I mention either retirement or medical benefits?

    If you go burning down houses, you and your whole lot will quite quickly end up in the slammer or slammed into the grave.

    You have roughly twenty years from the time you are born to actively make the decisions that will guide your life for the rest of your life. It is your choice to focus and excel academically. It is also your choice to sluff off and do nothing. In either case, when you become an adult, you had best be prepared to be an adult because the training wheels come off! You HAD 20 years to PREPARE for adulthood!!

    Nobody owes you a living and you don’t owe anybody anything you didn’t request.

    Union Bosses are the most brilliant of all CEOs. The workers have been turned into a commodity and the only way to those workers is through the Union Boss. If unions truely represented the workers, then why are there these rich lush Union Owned estates?

    The American worker became affluent because the companies they worked for prospered, and when companies are prosperous, everybody in the system is rewarded. Mind you, these companies were set up by ordinary Americans who had the luck and the intelligence to compete and be successful.

    Perhaps you were not so lucky, but hoepfully you will instill in your children the will to strive towards and achieve greater heights than you were able to attain in your own lifetime.

  64. AlwaysWanted2B says:

    I wonder if Mr. Kat has actually worked in a Union environment. I have and when it comes to supervising, I prefer supervising Union employees. Granted these are pseudo-governmental employees in state education and not factory workers. The thing I liked was everything was spelled out in the Union contract and there is not as much gray abut rules and policies. I am now in a right to work state and the employee contracts offer a lot more leeway to the employees. I saw no more poor performers in the union environment than is those that are non-union. In terms of the comments about wages and benefits and the business owner, that argument is fairly moot. Most public and academic library employees are government workers of some sort and I know very few library employees making a fortune.

  65. Vegans For Meat says:

    @AlwaysWanted2B, I worked in a union environment for a billboard sign company in New Jersey and I remember the day that I made the immoral mistake of working 3 or so minutes over 5pm. My boss ran upstairs to the loft I was in and nearly took my head off because I was breaking union rules and giving the MAN a whole five extra minutes. I realized then what a sham the Union has become. I now work for a City public library and lots of deadwood on the payroll. These people would be out of a job in seconds in a modern competitive environment, as they should be. It’s called personal responsibility of which I don’t need a Union to hold my hand for me.

  66. PHM says:

    I have worked in two different union shops, and have had barely made it out.

    The first was in retail where you had to join the union or you couldn’t have a job. The store went bankrupt and guess what, the shop stewards and all the union officers got compensation and help from the union in finding new jobs. Anyone who was in the union, paying dues every week, but did not take an active roll was shown the door and told not to make waves or they would be sorry.

    Second union job was in a “professional” library setting. You couldn’t do anything outside of your job description, or even make a complaint about it. This worked out well when a tenured cataloger would catalog books on a drunken whim and it was up to us to have to find where they went. Get him fired or even make suggestions about what to do? Better not or you will never get a raise. This was told to me by the head of the union. So, instead of one boss, I had two.

  67. Mr. Kat says:

    And worse, you were paying that second boss right out of your paycheck…

    No way in hell I’m Paying for a SECOND BOSS!!! Corporate is ENOUGH!!!

  68. PHM says:

    “And worse, you were paying that second boss right out of your paycheck… No way in hell I’m Paying for a SECOND BOSS!!! Corporate is ENOUGH!!!”

    The fun thing on the second job too was the “voluntary” political contribution to the union fund. Granted it was $2 a week, but it was my $2 and it was voluntary. When I asked to have that removed, I was told that everyone paid it and it went to a good cause.

    So much for listening to the wants of the workers.

  69. Picard says:

    We have to read the stupid manifestos because every time there is a new director coming in – theres radical change on the menu based on some stupid manifesto. Survival. Does anyone ever get to be a mover or a shaker by doing their job? No – they must save LIBRARIANSHIP by doing things other than working on desk and helping patrons.

    Good article. You are on a roll after months of blah.

  70. Ann says:

    he-he-he