Busily preparing for ALA, I find once again little old me is the subject of more bibliotek-blogland discussion. Yawn. Despite having a name – Annoyed Librarian – supposedly I’m "anonymous." Whenever someone likes the things I make fun of, but can’t actually defend those things, I can count on them to trot out the "anonymous" complaint.
It’s even funnier when they don’t like the things I make fun of. I think my favorite was when the oneohonions released that silly video. About the best the bouncy library cheerleaders could say about that was, "Oh, aren’t they enthusiastic." Yet I’m somehow the villain for pointing out the ridiculousness of considering Hulu a basic library skill.
Oh well, those who can’t talk about ideas are reduced to talking about personalities. The annoying thing for them is I don’t have a personality, and the only person with whom I can commiserate is my majordomo Chip. He doesn’t have a personality, either.
Speaking of ALA, it looks like it might be a quiet one. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the ALA Council list, but nothing’s grabbed me yet. I’ve been busy, though, so I’m skimming rather than perusing. Maybe someone can point to something juicy.
Someone was complaining about the ALA Event Planner, but apparently decided not to propose a resolution about it. If you’ve ever tried to use any of the "helpful" websites the ALA puts up for conferences, you’ve probably been annoyed before. But if Council started proposing resolutions regarding ALA annoyances, they might resolve to disband, and then what would all the ALA diehards do for four days during conferences?
The event planner is small beer, though. It’s amazing that a profession dedicated to organizing information and making it more accessible to people has a professional association that can’t put together a decent website. Every few years the ALA redesigns the website, and every time it seems to get worse instead of better. After a few years of finally getting all the links to work after the last redesign, I think they redesign on purpose to get the broken links back. Not that they have any affection for broken links, but if people can’t find out what they’re doing, they don’t look as silly.
There is a new ALA strategic plan draft going around. Maybe Council will discuss that at Midwinter. It has lines like, "ALA builds a world where libraries are central to life-long learning and where everyone is a library user." I assume that won’t make it into the final document, because it’s pretty silly. ALA doesn’t build worlds. It doesn’t even build libraries. Heck, it can’t even build a decent website.
It has a lot of grandiose rhetoric about how ALA will make the world literate, librarians valued, and information available to all. Grandiose rhetoric is the stuff strategic plans are made of, but when I hear stuff like that I feel like Brett Ashley to theALA’s Jake Barnes…"Isn’t it pretty to think so."
My absolute favorite line in the document is this one: "Goal Statement: ALA operates effectively, efficiently, and nimbly to accomplish its mission." There doesn’t seem to be much precedent for that, but maybe they can turn it all around in the next five years. Even if the ALA staff itself could achieve this – and I see no reason they couldn’t – they’re still operating with a sluggish, enormous, fractious organization whose elected leadership changes too often to get much done.
The president changes every year, and while there’s a cohort of councilors who seem to have been on Council since the 1960s or earlier, even that changes as people try it and get fed up with the boredom. It’s one thing to be elected to the House of Representatives and get paid $174,000 a year; it’s quite another to be elected to Council and sit through all that for nothing but the satisfaction of a job not really done.
Still, Boston will be nice. I always prefer when the meetings are on the east coast so I can travel without enduring pat-downs and full cavity searches and all the other unpleasant and humiliating practices theTSA foists on us. Instead, I can board the 20th Century Limited, sit alluringly in the dining car sipping a gibson, and wait for Cary Grant to sweep me off to adventure. Ahhhh.
If you’re in Boston, look me up. Apparently, I’ll be the one without a name.
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