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Happy Anniversary to Me!

Today is the first anniversary of the Annoyed Librarian at Library Journal. Yay! Who’d have thought I’d make it this far. What a long, strange, and (since this is my 125th blog post here), busy trip it’s been.

The thing I’ve noticed most over the past year is that while the page views remain high, the comments have settled down considerably, and this can only be a good thing. Some of those first posts were dominated by people who seemed to think if they wrote "I hate this blog" enough times the AL would just go away. At some point those bozos realized their plan wasn’t working and went off to read Tame the Web instead.

The old blog built up its audience slowly, so that by the time there were a lot of readers the commenters had self selected. This one had to start from scratch with lots of new readers who didn’t know what to make of it. One negative commenter early on claimed the blog was bad because the posts were long and he was expecting short posts. Readers with short attention spans have presumably given up and gone to shorter pastures. Twitter, maybe.

Were we thinking about it, we all would have noticed that library journalism hasn’t collapsed from having the AL at LJ. Some of the initial responses from anti-AL types in the early days ranged from spittle-flecked rage to borderline mentally unstable. I recall one person claiming she would never again read LJ or the work of anyone who ever wrote for LJ. Somehow LJ is still producing responsible news content, and has increased the range of voices in the blog section. Go figure.

Many long time readers have noticed the blog has changed some. Some claim it’s worse, but I don’t think so. It’s definitely different, mostly because it’s more consistent. Very long time readers probably noticed the old blog evolved quite a bit in the 3.5 years it was around. Years ago, I tried an experiment to write a serious piece once a month like one might find in an American Libraries column. Before the year was out, most of the pieces were like that, as the blog evolved from something almost purely satirical and sarcastic to something more akin to an opinion column. When I moved here, I deliberately revamped the AL as semi-weekly opinion column, usually on topical subjects.

I thought this would have been clear enough after a few months, but I noticed a comment a few weeks ago from someone disappointed because other people had already written about the story I was commenting upon, as if the AL had ever been a place to come for late-breaking news. If librarians ever come to rely on the AL for library news, then library journalism will indeed be dead.

I’ll end this self-examination on a grateful note. I’d like to thank Francine and Dan at LJ, who have been most supportive and helpful over the past year. I’m not sure they realized just how controversial this move was going to be, but I have nothing but gratitude for their courteous and professional treatment. Originally, I had my doubts about blogging for an established journal, and wondered if it would rein me in or "censor" me in some way. But as promised I was given complete control (of the content, not the platform), and instead of reining me in I feel instead it’s allowed me to reach new readers and prompted me to further develop my voice and tone.

I’d also like to thank all the readers out there. And I’d like to give a special thanks to that network of people who help with the AL with comments, suggestions, and discussion of possible topics. You don’t know each other, but you know who you are. The AL is a lot more of a group effort than many people realize.

Whatever happens to the AL eventually, the last year has been an worthwhile learning experience for me. And now I’m off to celebrate at the AL Anniversary party. The champagne will soon be flowing, and Chip has promised us an exotic dance. Good times.

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Comments

  1. Hero says:

    Happy Anniversary! The library world would be much more boring without you.

  2. let's get it right says:

    That should be “REIN me in”, not “reign”. The metaphor is that of a horse with its reins held tight so that it has no freedom of movement.
    But anyway, congratulations on your anniversary! I am one of those new readers since you moved here to LJ, and I have enjoyed your year immensely. It is nice to know that there are some semi-sane librarians out there.

    [Fixed! I'm homonymicly challenged. --AL]

  3. Congratulations AL says:

    AL, many of your posts have made the workday more amusing for me. They have also made me seriously reconsider whether it’s worth staying in this field of unstable, abusable, and smelly public librarianship.

    A career change is probably in store for me in the future, to a minuscule degree, thanks to your blog, and to a much larger degree, thanks to the crazies, perverts, creeps and craziness I have to deal with at work.

    Long live public libraries!

  4. It's me says:

    I sincerely hope that LJ writers read you, as well as “library management” – this is one of the few channels into what really goes on in libraries.

  5. Wendy Blue says:

    Happy Anniversary to you! I love reading the AL and to know that at least one other librarian out there is more annoyed than myself, on most days at least!

  6. the.effing.librarian says:

    happy anniversary. but you’re clearly *not* doing your job well enough since no other journal felt the need to hire their own sarcastic library blogger to compete with you.

  7. sidney says:

    A year already? Happy Anniversary!

  8. Norma says:

    Happy Anniversary. I rarely visit now that you’ve “gone over.”

  9. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    Happy Anniversary may your years thanks for the insightful laughs.

  10. librarEwoman says:

    Happy anniversary! Your blog is always a source of amusement for my days at work.

  11. Well Wisher says:

    Congratulations. Whatever happened to the book you were going to publish? Or did I just miss it?

  12. Librarianro says:

    Happy anniversary! Please keep this blog going! I once tried to write a blog about my feelings about librarianship. I gave it up. Why should I waste my time doing that when you do it so much better? Thank you!

  13. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org says:

    AL, you are the very best library blogger, and everyone knows it. That’s why you get so many comments. May you have many more anniversaries at LJ, and once again, thanks, LJ, for AL and Chip.

  14. Dances With Books says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary here. May you keep blogging for a long time because we need your voice and you. Keep telling it like it is.

  15. Harold Johnson says:

    First time reading your blog (I think); heading to library school soon (probably) and maybe looking forward to reading more of your posts! ;)

  16. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    Happy anniversary! Enjoy Chip’s dancing and the bubbly. I enjoy your blog tremendously because you aren’t starry-eyed and “oh how wonderful liberries and liberrians are!” Keep up the good work.

  17. X in TX says:

    we Texans know, and appreciate, a good iconoclast when we see, er, read one. keep on kickin’ staid library butt, AL. i raise my Shiner long-neck to you.

  18. AL says:

    Thanks for all the kind words. Well Wisher, the book deal fell through. It was supposed to be a special journal issue/ monograph, but the company was sold and things went haywire. There’s a special issue of the Journal of Access Services (of all places) from last Fall that’s all Annoyed Librarian.

  19. Scrooge says:

    Happy Birthday to me!

    Happy Anniversary to me!

    What’s next, welcome to the AL decade?

    The Anniversary when you started pretending to be a librarian even though you are a journalist?

    The anniversary when you gave out meaningful and constructive criticism instead of reactionary bile. Ooops, sorry about that. We wouldn’t want to celebrate a non-existent thing.