Annoyed Librarian
Search LibraryJournal.com ....
Subscribe to LJ
Inside Annoyed Librarian

National Library Week! Yay!

I wanted to write more this week, but I’ve been way too busy celebrating National Library Week. That was before I discovered it wasn’t a real holiday. At the very least I thought it might be one of those jumped up holidays created in the feverish dungeons of Hallmark to get people to spend money on useless and stupid holiday cards, but it turns out Hallmark doesn’t even have a card for National Library Week. I know, because I’ve checked.

It was especially fun celebrating National Library Workers Day yesterday. That’s the reason I’m moving so slowly today. It’s been a long time since I was out drinking and dancing until 4am with a bunch of library workers. I think the last time that happened was the era when people were getting down that night and shaking their booty. Good times. We all started in the middle of the afternoon at the extremely popular martini bar we opened in the library last year (and who said the AL can’t recommend popular innovations!), and it went on from there. Our celebration included lots of drinks, a huge catered buffet dinner, and a gratis night on the town for all of our library workers, followed by a day off to recover and a four-day spa vacation. True, this effectively shut the library down for the week, angering lots of patrons, but it showed we really care about our workers.

I took a look around at how some other libraries celebrated Library Workers Day. Here’s one: "Tucson, AZ: To celebrate National Library Workers Day, the American Library Association (ALA) Student Chapter at the University of Arizona delivered big signs and balloons to the nearbyPima County Public Library branches, says Rebecca Blakiston , President of the Library Student Organization. “Before our last meeting we had 12 volunteers come in and decorate the signs. They all say ‘Name of Branch: Thank You! Libraries Work Because You Do!’ and have various pictures and decorations on them.” I hope they actually put the names of the specific branches on them, instead of just "Name of Branch" on every sign. Big signs and balloons. How exciting.

But not as exciting as this one: "Beckley, WV: To honor its workers, the Raleigh County Public Library created a photo poster and placed it in a prominent place near the circulation desk." They sure know how to honor workers down there in West Virginia. Nothing says "we honor you" better than a photo poster. Except maybe this: "Edison, GA: The Calhoun County Library tied celebratory green balloons to its library sign." To which I can only say, Wow! It’s not just backwoods places that know how to honor their library workers, either. "Brooklyn, NY: Each branch received aNLWD banner to display." That’s right. They didn’t skimp. Each branch got a banner to display.

Things got pretty exciting out in the mountain states, too. "Colorado Springs, CO: For its first-ever NLWD celebration, Pikes Peak Library embraced the ‘Star’ theme, honoring staff with star-studded name badge ribbons that announced the Star status of each library worker." I bet those library workers felt like real stars, each and every one of them! I know I’d feel like a star if I was forced to wear a name badge and then had the added humiliation of having a ribbon flowing from it. Libraries like those badges: "Washington, DC: An attractive badge, with the message ‘Libraries Work Because We Do,’ was designed specially for all District of Columbia Public Library staff to wear during National Library Week to convey that each staff member performs valuable work in the library system." Oh, an attractive badge. Well, that makes all the difference. Then I’d really feel honored.

It’s not all just badges and photo posters, though. There’s also food! Because if there’s anything library workers need, it’s more food, especially star-shaped sweets. "Whether you choose a regional delicacy or a store-bought cake, a catered event or potluck goodies in the break room, food brings workers together." Now that’s true! Especially those "potluck goodies in the break room"! Potluck goodies? Are we serious with this one? People have to celebrate being "stars" by cooking food and bringing it to the library?

There was no end to the food. "Alexandria, VA: Each department of the Alexandria Public Library received a card that said ‘A few hugs and kisses from Library Administration’ along with a gift basket of Hugs (little juice barrels) and Kisses (Hershey Kisses, Hershey Kisses Hugs, HersheyKissables)." Awww . Hugs and kisses from the library administration? Frankly, I find that one a little creepy. "The San Jose Public Library Administration and Library Stewards bought cakes for each of the branches and visit the branches for the cake-eating events." Cake eating events? This isn’t creepy, but I can just imagine the forced frivolity at the staff are each handed their 1.5" square piece of cake and told to eat it and have fun (!).

They might not all have food, but they’re all exciting. "Clinton Township, MI: Christine Hage of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library has been employed at several libraries with recognition programs. One had a "Going the Extra Mile" award where employees nominated one another for going beyond the call of duty. Winners received $10 gift certificate from a local business." I’m not sure a $10 gift certificate is worth going to the trouble of nominating anyone. What are you going to get for ten bucks these days? Maybe a cozy dinner for two at the local Taco Bell, if you skip the pop and just order water.

This one is just weird: "Portland, OR: The Multnomah County Library designated a Queen for the Day. The ‘queen’ was delighted by her crown and feather boa." Isn’t this some kind of sex discrimination? Does it mean theycouldn’t ‘ designate a man? Or only women and gay men? Maybe that’s not so weird. We are talking about librarians and library workers, after all. Women and gay men make up most of that demographic.

Am I the only one who finds most of these so-called celebratory events pathetic? Are people really supposed to feel honored because you hand them some cake once a year? Or you make them wear badges? Or tie a colorful balloon to their waist and paste a photo poster on their back? If the environment is such that the library workers don’t already feel appreciated on a daily basis, is a basket of "hugs and kisses from the library administration" really going to make any difference?

Just so you know I’m not a total cynic, there was one action that didn’t creep me out or leave me cold: "Baltimore, MD: The ‘Let Everyone Know!’ flyer was in the rack Enoch Pratt Free Library. And all public service departments and branches received a free standing rack with post cards in them. The cards said ‘National Library Workers Day, Tuesday, April 4, 2006. Please write a brief statement on “How the Pratt Library has Changed My Life” on this card and leave it with the Library staff. Thank you.’ The cards the library received had incredible testimonies from patrons of all ages." This seemed to me one of the most thoughtful of all the ways to celebrate library workers. Plus the staff all got tee shirts and lanyards!

I hope your library did something clever rather than creepy.

ALA is doing other things this week, like releasing yet another list of "challenged" books so we can all know how important librarians are, but I’m too exhausted from Library Worker’s Day to talk about their other exciting celebrations. However, I do think they should have postponed this all a week so the celebrations could correspond with Administrative Professionals Week. After all, most librarians are just glorified secretaries anyway, only without the glory.

Share

Comments

  1. Anonypotamus says:

    I’m going to celebrate this week by anonymously challenging the right of libraries to house books, thereby making every piece of the collection a “challenged” book. This will have the effect of increasing the importance of my library since it will have the largest collection of “at-risk knowledge” in the state. After all, if libraries don’t protect knowledge, who will? Google? There’s a reason we don’t have a National Search Engine Week! Also, I got free food for National Library Week, which is much more satisfying than a ribbon.

  2. DVA says:

    Where is Mr. Kat?

    I think that all posts should be deleted in favor of those bon mots of wisdom. It can be the Kat and Annoyed show.

  3. Geaux Tigers Librarian says:

    “It’s been a long time since I was out drinking and dancing until 4am with a bunch of library workers.”

    We actually did that at LSU. Some of the library workers and SLIS students there are actually pretty cute too. Imagine that. Then again, it is Louisiana after all.

  4. Former LSU library worker 1994-95 says:

    My ears are burning!!!

  5. Outcast says:

    If a library blog fell on its face in a forrest……???

  6. Sad says:

    Annoyed Librarian, I love your blog, but tell me, is there anything you actually like? Is there anything under the sun that doesn’t annoy you?

  7. Austie_brary says:

    She obviously likes Mr. Kat. The blog should be The Annoying Kat.

  8. Helen says:

    Yes, this is all too funny and stupid especially ALA’s release of another list of “challenged” books …maybe we could for a minute out of respect for Judith Krug as honored in the NYTimes see some good in the work librarians do…. the larger role librarians play in our democracy, facilitating access to information and ideas and promoting and protecting a precious First Amendment right: the freedom to read.

    Judith Krug, Who Fought Ban on Books, Dies at 69 (April 15, 2009)

    No one took that role more seriously than Judith Krug, the trained librarian and director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom for more than four decades, who died Saturday at age 69. NYTimes.

  9. Mr. Kat says:

    I object!

    I insist that nobody is liked any more or any less here.

    Furthermore, there will be no “Kat & Annoyed” or “Annoying Kat” or “Angst & Khaos” shows now or ever.

    If you dont like what you’re reading, add your opinion to the dialog so you can read something you actually agree with!!
    IAnd I full heartedly agree that many of these activities down are quite superficial and completely irrelevant to library service. I avoided the student organizations on my campus as soon as I discovered they were dedicated to making T-shirt and stickers designs…eeks…rah rah, I have my “I [HEART] Libraries” stickers…what do I want that for again???

  10. AL says:

    Sheesh, what is it with all the Judith Krug references? Put those on your own blog.

  11. Cynically Annoyed says:

    “If the environment is such that the library workers don’t already feel appreciated on a daily basis, is a basket of “hugs and kisses from the library administration” really going to make any difference?” I wonder what side of the cycle of pink-slips they are on, too. In some places being a librarian ranks next to newspaper journalism in terms of job security. And of course, ALA has yet to deal with “Banned Librarians”, those who have been dumped by a board secretly. I think this is what I find most annoying. This business ignores the real problems the field faces and tries to put a false window dressing to the situation. And yes, Judith Krug tended to be the one that rode the stalking horse into the fray whenever there was talk of removing Huck Finn from the library. However, if the librarian is removed behind closed doors, on vague charges, told to clean out their desk, later escorted from the building with the locksmith waiting behind her to change the lock on the door, what gives? Zip, nada, nothing. I personally know of LIBRARY EDUCATORS who said they “couldn’t get involved” in a case like this, then rushed to distance themselves from the matter.

  12. Irritatated Baltimore Librarian says:

    Yay, I was irrationally excited to see Enoch Pratt mentioned as the only non-creepy celebration! I knew they were good for something!

  13. Anonymous says:

    My library sent us a memo saying they appreciated us. Srsly.

  14. Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian says:

    I don’t think that Portland would discriminate on the gender of the their Queens. In fact, I’m surprised that there isn’t a story about an all boys cat fight over the boa!

  15. PNW library work says:

    LOL – wonderful blog—-our place didn’t do a thing :(

  16. PNW library work says:

    LOL – wonderful blog—-our place didn’t do a thing :(

  17. Vegans For Meat says:

    Yea, Pratt! Still, an open martini bar would have made it a stellar affair rather than simply a non-creepy one. So, when is National Sanitation Engineer Day?

  18. Mr. Kat says:

    “I wonder what side of the cycle of pink-slips they are on, too. In some places being a librarian ranks next to newspaper journalism in terms of job security.”

    In my state it doesn’t matter where you are, the pink slips are falling every where. Economy is bottoming out?? We just hit our newest round and the hard sector being hit right now is the education field. Imagine for an instance that Libraries were as important as schools are – and now imagine those schools being cut like library budgets are traditionally cut. The charter schools here are thriving…

    An appreciation memo ranks right up there with an appreciation cover letter. It’s that second paragraph that says “Inspite of your exemplorary service the library budget is currently under severe strain and your position could not be retained any longer…” that really kills the mood.

    Third paragraph goes on to describe how wonderful you are and all the wonderful things and places you will do and go and how extrodinary your career will be…just not here becasue they alas cannot afford to partake in your future any longer.

    It’s the good old Sandwich Theory in action. You take something bad and you sandwich it between two good things – the first usually being a baseless compliment and the second being an even more abstract compliment making even less sense then the first…Because, afterall, if they were truely complimenting your hard work, they wouldn’t be letting you go, right??? but then again, they could be doing you a service, depending on how you look at it!

  19. CUA says:

    Maybe we can celebrate National Library Week here by reading the AL’s and Mr. Kat’s screeds and we can bow down in amazement at their abilities and egos.

    We are so unworthy of the time of these two giants.

  20. Mr. Kitty says:

    “We are so unworthy of the time of these two giants.

    I’m glad to see you’re not in denial about it.

  21. Auntie Nanuuq says:

    I don’t do much for my staff during National Library Week…I do things all the time. I bring chocolate, pizza, donuts, I cook breakfast on our “late” days. I give thank-you gifts, pins, mugs, ink pens, stuffed animals, and this year I made them each (all females) freshwater pearl necklaces.

    Most of all, I learned this from my former supervisor), I say “thank-you” every night before we leave to go home.

    Is that enough? If not there is a book I suggest you read “1001 Ways to reward Employees”.

  22. Yay! ALA! says:

    “An appreciation memo ranks right up there with an appreciation cover letter. It’s that second paragraph that says “Inspite of your exemplorary service the library budget is currently under severe strain and your position could not be retained any longer…” that really kills the mood.” Sort of like the way ALA tends to dodge the current situation. You know, once upon a time I really went for the stuff they shoveled my way. I was involved with JMRT and even made it into one of the library “Who’s Who’s”. Then I saw the dark underside of the business. Get pink slipped in a downturn in some states can be a career killer – unless you are independently wealthy. Those job interviews over long distances, where they were never interested in the first place but never saw a resume they didn’t like, or were window dressing the hiring of someone with an inside track. Hey, it’ll probably happen to someone here who thinks it can’t. ALA refuses to look at the job market, the library diploma mills, and keeps the media from asking serious questions by use of stalking horses linke “Banned Books”. I’m morbidly curious who they have in the wings to replce Judith Krug, whose death was a bit overplayed in the media. Of course Journalism is sinking as well, and with good reason. I had to smile when I read that the Philadephia INQUIRER, the source of the latest attempt to puff the “Librarian Shortage” story to benifit Drexil, was in danger of sinking in bankruptcy. Wonder what that reporter will be doing five years from now…..?

  23. anonymous says:

    What they need is a program [probably on cable, given the viewer market] called “American Librarian”, with a number of unemployed librarians competing for a job, before a selection committee. With the final decision to be made by the head of the library, regardless of the committee.

  24. CA Lib. says:

    Sign seen recently in California; “Will Shelve Books For Food”.

  25. Chicago railsplitter says:

    Go get a “green” highway construction job.

  26. samantha says:

    i’m siphoning gas to resell!

  27. Rust Bowl Librarian says:

    Gee, maybe I can gow up and be just like Judith Krug….

  28. LS Advisor says:

    “Gee, maybe I can gow up and be just like Judith Krug….” First of all, learn how to spell. It’s “grow”, not “gow” [or is it?}. Second of all, you can get an ALA Accredited degree for $30K+ that will probably do as much to hasten you towards your goal – she’s dead, after all. You will probably have a significantly shorter life expectancy too, with all the trials and tribulations
    of unemployment and bad credit history.

  29. wisenheimer says:

    “Wonder what that reporter will be doing five years from now…..?” Siphoning gas, or working for ALA.

  30. LDI says:

    What they need is a program [probably on cable, given the viewer market] called “American Librarian”, with a number of unemployed librarians competing for a job, before a selection committee. With the final decision to be made by the head of the library, regardless of the committee.

    Oh, around here, there already is a program on public access, L-TV, where they sit around and talk about books. The production values, fashion, sets, etc would have looked bad back in 1987. It is a great image to project about the state of things, especially when they are talking budget cuts.

    People (and by people I mean the mouth breathing shut ins who are forced to watch public access tv) look at this and say, “Why should we spend money on a public bookstore?”

    I am no two-topian but this kind of crap has got to go.

  31. Mr. Kat says:

    Speaking of reality TV…

    I hereby nominate Susan Boyle as the Patron Saint of Librarians. You can find her performance on Youtube.

    Just ran into this thanks to another discussion board. But well worth the
    time!!

    Enjoy ;)

  32. anonymous doofus says:

    “Why should we spend money on a public bookstore?”I am no two-topian but this kind of crap has got to go.” That’s right, go out and text message for a bit, you’ll feel better :-/…..

  33. AL says:

    What can I say…I have a soft spot for Enoch Pratt.

  34. RealityChick says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t get LS Advisor’s post? (Aside from the trite spelling ”

  35. SloppyDresser says:

    Susan Boyle dresses too well to be a librarian. Her clothing did not come from a thrift store dumpster.

  36. library doofus says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t get LS Advisor’s post? (Aside from the trite spelling ” Give it a few years and maybe you will.

  37. Mr. Kat says:

    Sloppydresser, she looks every bit the part of a number of the librarians I met in my days in academic librarianship. And I’ll tell you this: for all that most of the world might have found many of these peopel to be visually unappealing, I generally found that every one of them were genuinely nice people and had a unique talent unrivaled by most else.

    Susan’s biography even reads much like a librarian…or at least like a number of those her age from library school…

    The part that gets me is how official organizations do so much to take advantage of these sort of people.

  38. ex. libris says:

    “The part that gets me is how official organizations do so much to take advantage of these sort of people.” For example??

  39. decent-looking straight guy says:

    Oh god, not another comment thread that had the subject of well-dressed and/or visually appealing librarians come into it. Yeah, well, most may not be but at every conference that I go to there is always a core group of attractive, intelligent and cutely dressed female librarians present. (I still think my girlfriend is always the hottest one among them, but that’s just my little prejudice, hehe. Forgive me, I know you people have snarky comments to get posted but I couldn’t help it. OK, but to snark you snarkers. Have fun.)

  40. decent-looking straight guy says:

    Oh god, not another comment thread that had the subject of well-dressed and/or visually appealing librarians come into it. Yeah, well, most may not be but at every conference that I go to there is always a core group of attractive, intelligent and cutely dressed female librarians present. (I still think my girlfriend is always the hottest one among them, but that’s just my little prejudice, hehe. Forgive me, I know you people have snarky comments to get posted but I couldn’t help it. OK, back to snark you snarkers. Have fun.)

  41. Crazy Cat Lady says:

    “Oh god, not another comment thread that had the subject of well-dressed and/or visually appealing librarians come into it.” Don’t you have something better to be doin g than acting like the God’s gift to the library? I hope you’re prepared for your girlfriend to support you. Your future in library work is probably dimmer than you realize.

  42. decent-looking straight guy says:

    Relax, Crazy Cat Lady, that comment wasn’t entirely serious. People post tounge-in-cheek comments on here all the time. I don’t think I’m any more of a gift to my library than any of my colleagues. Besides, how did my post even suggest I thought I was anything more? Maybe my future is seriously dimmer than I realize, but I guess if it is, I’ll find that out. For the present I’m doing just fine, thanks.

    Then again, I ended my comment with a call for the snarkers to have at it, so I guess I have to consider your snark legitimate (!)

  43. Flying Saucer Attack says:

    The crazy cat lady has toxoplasmosis in a bad way.

  44. rcn says:

    To Sad: Did you miss the paragraph starting with Just so you know I’m not a total cynic, there was one action that didn’t creep me out or leave me cold: “Baltimore, MD: The ‘Let Everyone Know!’ flyer was in the rack Enoch Pratt Free Library.? AL liked it, she really liked it!

  45. Vegans For Meat says:

    So, the question is what is AL’s affiliation with Pratt? …a patron, ex-employee, or distant admirerer…?

  46. Midwesterner says:

    Ah, a clue. The AL refers to soda as ”