Sheesh, ALA Annual is just around the corner and I’m definitely not ready. Last week I was too busy reading the comments telling me how progressive Mississippi is these days to start planning my conference schedule.
Today I was looking through the conference program descriptions, and I can at least point out some places you won’t be seeing the AL.
“Starting Out? Start With You: What Every New Librarian Needs to Know”
Obviously I’m not a new librarian (or am I?!), so I don’t need to go to this. But then came the description: “Are you a new librarian seeking to share your bright ideas, enthusiasm, and fresh perspective?” If you are, then I have a suggestion for you, keep them to yourself. Nobody’s really interested in your bright ideas or your enthusiasm, or your fresh perspective for that matter. That’s all that you really need to know so you don’t annoy the rest of us and harm your career by enthusing your bright perspectives all over us. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Besides, you might learn something.
“The (Screen) Casting Couch: Tips and Tricks to Effectively Use Screencasting Tools for Library Instruction”
I’m glad I’m not easily offended, because this one has sexist, inappropriate pun written all over it. One wonders if the presenters know that a “casting couch” is where male directors and producers “audition” starlet manques by having sex with them in return for maybe casting the young women in movies. So what’s the gist here? Screencasting software, or perhaps its sales reps, are supposed to have sex with us in return for maybe buying the product? Ewww.
“Burning Man, Libraries, and the 21st Century: the Intersection of the Individual and Society”
This one really seems like a stretch. I doubt the hippies and social misfits who gather in the desert for Burning Man each year create a library. The first sentence is as pretentious as Burning Man itself. “Can you imagine living in a city where censorship does not exist?” Not only can I imagine it, but I actually live in it, and not just one week a year. I doubt we even have “censorship” in the inflated, nonsensical ALA sense of the word since we don’t have a lot of rubes complaining to the librarians about how Harry Potter is going to turn their precious little ones into witches.
“Blasphemy! When Religious Values Clash with Intellectual Freedom Values”
Blasphemy, how 17th century. Since I don’t live in a theocracy, I already know what to do when those two values clash. Tell the self-righteous that if they don’t like free speech they can go back to whatever fascist country spawned them and leave freedom and prosperity for the rest of us. Is this decision really that hard for librarians?
“From Urban to Suburban: shifting youth demographics and library service for teens”
I bet this one would have been a HOT topic about 40 years ago, when all the youth were shifting to the suburbs.
“Battledecks represent the ultimate challenge for a public speaker as they are challenged to give a coherent presentation based on hand-selected, seemingly unrelated slides that they see for the very first time live on stage.” That sounds like most of the library talks I’ve ever seen. “Hilarity, along with some learning, is guaranteed for all!” Guaranteed, huh? And what happens if we don’t find it hilarious? Do we get our money back? Do we get to inflict revenge on the presenters? I bet we get nothing.
“Sixth Annual Book Cart Drill Team Championship”
This one pretty much speaks for itself. And people wonder why the public doesn’t take librarians seriously. “Those crazy librarians can’t get enough of their book carts!” I can’t remember the last time I actually touched a book cart.
“Grassroot Program – Purple Crayons, Random Dots, and Peanut Butter Sandwiches: Children’s Literature as Catalyst for Creativity and Change in the Workplace”
Wow. This one is presented by an academic library director. One has to wonder what sort of academic librarians are going to enjoy having their director hold storytime during staff meetings. It’s labeled “Staff Support Interests,” so it could just be that the support staff will be infantilized and not the professional librarians, which doesn’t make it any better in my book. I don’t think we’ll be trying this one in my library.
“Passing the Baton: Who Will Take It?”
I bet you can guess what false assumptions this one is based on: more librarian shortage nonsense. “There are 72 million baby boomers, 11,000 Americans turn 50 every day, 4.6 adults turn 65 each minute, and almost 60% of librarians are 45 or older. There is little balance: only 7% of the library work force is age 20-29!” The exclamation point really drives these irrelevant facts home! “Not surprisingly the profession worldwide is asking ‘who will run the libraries when this talent leaves?’” Yeah, that’s exactly what we’re not asking. Do the presenters really think this is going to be a problem, or do they just need something to speak about to put on their resumes? When the “talent” leaves, libraries will run themselves just fine, if the “talent” and budget cuts haven’t already destroyed them. Is there no end of this nonsense?
“Grassroot Program – Recruiting Undergraduates to the Library Profession: A Melton [sic] Success Story”
Apparently, there isn’t an end to this nonsense. Get a load of this one: “By the end of the next decade, nearly 60% of current librarians will reach retirement age. This shortage could reach crisis proportions if it is not addressed quickly.” Crisis proportions! Oh, dear! Has the penny not dropped yet? There’s not going to be a crisis! Wake up! I think this is supposed to be a “Mellon Success Story,” but the only success was in suckering more money from Mellon for useless library projects. Wouldn’t be the first time.
Next time I’ll talk about the ones I’ll definitely be attending because they’ll be so much fun!