Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Technolust and Chastened Twopointopians

Probably the most amusing leitmotif I’ve noticed in the twopointopian orchestra lately is the warning to their huge audiences of wide-eyed, slack-minded followers to avoid something called "technolust."

(I could point you to blogs, but I’ve been informed by friends that some of these sensitive souls either tear up or froth at the mouth whenever the AL points out their inanities directly. You’ll just have to guess!)

Technolust seems to be the uncontrollable desire to fondle every shiny new gadget that comes along and enthusiastically promote it as the solution to everyone’s problems, regardless of your library or situation..

It’s amusing for so many reasons. For one, very few of us suffer from "technolust" in the first place. We hardly need a warning to avoid a flaw that we don’t have.

It’s an unnecessary warning for most of us, but seems even stranger given the sources, for "technolust" is surely a defining flaw of the twopointopians themselves. Twopointopians warning librarians against technolust is like dipsomaniacs warning Muslims about the dangers of alcohol.

The twopointopians seem to have been chastened by reality, which was much harsher on their foolish pronouncements than even the Annoyed Librarian. "Every library must have a blog!" "Every library must have a wiki!" "Every library must haveiPads!" "Every library must have a Twitter account!" "This is your job now, get used to it!" "Otherwise libraries are dooooomed!"

There was only one problem with those pronouncements. They were bollocks. Everyone seemed to know this but the twopointopians.

I certainly knew it. I’ve been calling the twopointopians on their technolust for years, only to be called a luddite or worse by people who have no idea what they’re talking about. They’ve confused skepticism with reaction. I suppose when you suffer from technolust but have no critical faculties this is what will happen.

One thing that’s puzzled me all along is the way the twopointopians have been promoting their unsubstantiated schemes as a dubious culture of assessment has arisen around us. Both are silly and pretentious, but one would think they’d cancel each other out.

The assessment librarians want to quantify the unquantifiable while the twopointopians want to adopt every new toy but never evaluate anything. Somewhere along the way I expected them to clash. Maybe the twopointopians are so irrelevant no one pays attention to them but conference audiences and me.

I would love to ask them about their recent statements warning against technolust. Is this the first step of their recovery? Did some caring friends or relatives stage an intervention? Did they finally notice that their colleagues’ eyes glazed over every time they started yammering about their latest hobby?

Or maybe they finally realized that the reason I was able to make them look so silly is that they had no justifiable arguments for what they did? That’s it’s just stuff they like to do, even though they claimed their hobbies were absolutely necessary to the future of libraries?

I’d be curious to know. I could ask, I suppose, but twopointopians aren’t very good at introspection. They’re not inner-directed. They’re like toddlers easily distracted by shiny things. Thus, I probably wouldn’t get an answer.

So in the absence of an answer, I’ll just assume they’ve met their match in annoyed librarians tired of their shenanigans. Or, as with the regressive librarians, they got tired of being mocked for their silliness and decided to calm down. It feels good. I came, I saw, I conquered. Then I had a martini.

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Comments

  1. Dances With Books says:

    Amen, well said. I have found ironic those posts of avoid the technolust coming from the 2.0 crowd. Do as I say not as I do hypocrisy if you ask me. As for not being able to take criticism, so very right.

  2. God Bless You, AL says:

    You always speak the truth.

    I wish you could come and speak directly to my director. Maybe then, he would see the light of day and abandon all his hair brained schemes.

    You are the lone beacon of truth in a vast sea of Internet waste.

    Where can we send money so that you keep on keeping on? Whatever you get paid now is not nearly enough.

  3. Ryan Deschamps says:

    I find it hard to believe that you hadn’t seen the word ‘technolust’ from the Twopointopian crowd before now. While I agree to feeling that a lecture on technolust from some of the biggest technolusters was odd, it’s not as if they weren’t doing it well before the term Library 2.0 ever came into light.

  4. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    You’re back, AL, you’re back!! Technology for technology’s sake has always annoyed the heck out me (I lump stuff like Facebook, Twitter, et al. in there, too). For all the work we put into wikis, LibGuides, Facebook, blogs – there’s very little return on that because there are counters in them, and the use in no way exceeds the time and effort expended to create them. But oh boy!! that stuff is super visible so we have to keep doing it!

  5. uhohtopian says:

    @NotMarianTheLibrarian
    Good point about the counters on electronic information resources. Let’s use this approach on books as well. Any book that doesn’t get as many circs as the library’s Facebook page has “friends” gets dropped after a year and no other books on that topic or by that author is ordered again. Should help tremendously with our shrinking budgets when our collections shrink to consist primarily of course reserves (academic) and bestsellers (public). It could even be incorporated into a 12-step program for the malady known as…booklust.

  6. Just Because says:

    Technology for technology sake is killing libraries.

    Just like cars killed the horse trading industry.

    We will have classy and well run libraries, but no users.

  7. anonymous says:

    Oh, please. Michael Stephens has been writing in Library Journal about technolust since at least 2004.

    [AL: Library Journal? Never heard of it.]

  8. AndyW says:

    Your case would be more compelling with the links. If this is really as dreadful as you say it is, then pointing to it directly should be a boon, not a burden. Personally, and no offense intended, but I want to see the evidence for myself. Otherwise, you are just beating up a strawman.

    [AL: You're a librarian. Find it yourself.]

  9. ElderLibrarian says:

    Reply to “Just Because”
    I don’t think AL is against technology- for does not AL blog? Technology in this day and age needs to enhance library service, not waste man hours. My library system is big on PR and is pretty good at it, sometimes it’d done with blogs, etc. It’s best to diverse and make sure whatever you do is really effective.

  10. librarEwoman says:

    The library where I work actually does evaluate the effectiveness of our social networking presence. We have spreadsheets of usage statistics for each one of our social networknig pages. It’s not as if we just threw up a Twitter page and forgot about asking questions such as, “Is this worthwhile? Is it effective?” I think you underestimate the intelligence of many technology-savvy librarians out there.

  11. Fancy Nancy says:

    Dare I print this out and hang it on the bulletin board in our staff room? Although I doubt our resident twopointonians can take a hint.

  12. Yeah... right says:

    Er, Just Because? In case you haven’t noticed, digital stuff is still a drop in the bucket, and the people–despite the fever dreams of library admin–prefer books. Look at the protesters of the Boston Public Library closings, which are supposed to be done to increase techno-savvy libraries and cut down on brick and mortar book warehouses… the people are furious and demanding intervention from every elected official they can find. It’s not what they want.

  13. Just Because says:

    Yes, people may still want books, but the model is shifting.

    Many more people are going to amazon to get their books because in the long run it is cheaper to do so. Plus, they can sell them later when they don’t want them.

    More and more, libraries are becoming spots for homeless and illegal aliens to congregate so that liberals can have one place to go find them to “help” their cause.

    Face it, as an intellectual institution, libraries are dying.

  14. Jouko Ahola says:

    An interesting aside, I saw this in the job requirements for a librarian.

    Ability to carry 25 lbs. 200 yards.

    Now you know why you don’t see many librarians in World’s Strongest competitions.

  15. soren faust says:

    “More and more, libraries are becoming spots for homeless and illegal aliens to congregate so that liberals can have one place to go find them to “help” their cause.”

    There’s always one political simpleton in the group. Thanks, Just Because!

    There are two sides to the technology spectrum, those who despise it and those who worship it; both are disconnected from reality and history. Isn’t it true, however, that most librarians are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum? I use a pen to write, which means I’m employing technology as a means to an end to get my thoughts down in some manner.

    Means to an end! A library is a means to an end, it is not the end in itself. People come into my library, some use pencils to do their work, while others use their laptops. They are both relevant technologies; they are both means to an end. I have to wonder, was there this much controversy when the first ball point pen was invented? The ballpointopians vs. the quill luddites?

  16. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    People should read this article and change newspapers for technology. “One Cathedral More” or “Mere Lounging
    Places for Bummers”? The Cultural Politics of Leisure and the Public Library in Gilded Age America”
    Alexis McCrossen

    The difference though is then books were still looked for in the library. Today people dont need the library!

  17. UncleJack says:

    It is no fun to watch you lemmings march on to oblivion while your libraries slowly shrink and die!!!

  18. Just Because says:

    When the bean counters come, you better have some good statistics and reasons why you should be funded.

    Being a de facto homeless shelter and refuge isn’t going to get you many of those beans.

  19. Raynor says:

    @uhohtopian

    You mean weeding and responsible collection development? By Jove!