Every time a major conference comes along, I seem to get overwhelmingly backlogged on the “professional” reading I do to keep up with the tremendous pace required of the Annoyed Librarian. Thus, maybe it’s time for a roundup.
The silliest thing I read recently was this headline: This Librarian Is Smashing Stereotypes, One Tattoo at a Time. I saw the headline and thought, not again! Aren’t librarians tired of other librarians claiming to smash stereotypes for whatever reason? Since the stereotypes have lasted so long, there’s not much smashing going on anyway.
After reading the interview, I concluded that our tattooed librarian was definitely not to blame. She’s a library circulation clerk with a new MLS and she was interviewed by someone mostly interested in her tattoos. That’s about it. Since the interviewer mentioned nothing about stereotypes, I can only conclude a bad editor created the headline. Go away, bad editors!
Some of you might have seen the Search for America’s Most Glamorous Librarian. Besides the pointless obsession with fashion in relation to librarians, that one was noticeable to me because it sort of linked to my post on reasons Lady Gaga isn’t a librarian.
Instead of linking to my post, it linked to someone who basically reposted my entire blog post. It was one of those, “I normally don’t like the AL, but…” pieces. In this case it was, “but I don’t mind copying her entire blog post when I feel like it.”
Do other professions have so much attention focused on the look of the professionals? Or is it because 85% of librarians are women? Tattoos, glam, hip fashion? The only profession I can think of is the entertainment profession, so maybe librarians and Lady Gaga have more in common than I thought. Looks and sex. No one has any “hot lawyer” fantasies that I know of.
Another thing I’m not sure what to think about is Portland, Oregon’s street librarian. A woman is peddling a box of books around Portland and checking them out to homeless people. Apparently Portland has a lot of homeless people on the street, a problem solved where I live by cold winters.
It gets books to people who might appreciate them and might inspire some librarians, but the need for this indicates such a social failure in so many ways that I can’t help but be depressed about it. It reminded me of the story about the Columbian man who carries books around on a burro for rural children to read. That’s the sort of comparison that doesn’t say much good about America.
In the information news, Google is trying yet again to compete against Facebook by offering yet another social media product: Google+. I guess the failures of Orkut and Buzz weren’t enough for them. Librarians used to fear Google because people searched Google rather than asking librarians for information.
I’m not sure Google is even that great for search anymore. It seems to be floundering around trying to compete in areas where people have pretty much said they don’t want Google products. IBM is a century old now and still plugging along. I wonder if there will still be a Google in 90 years.
Though it has nothing to do with American Libraries, I think I’ve found the next case that the Office for Ineffectual Freedom should take up. A Michigan man is suing the state because the prison he’s in doesn’t allow inmates to have pornography, which he claims is a violation of his rights.
“Such living conditions have been used as a method of ‘psychological warfare’ against prisoners, in order to both destroy the morale of inmates and break the spirit of individuals,” he wrote. Maybe he should have thought of that before he started robbing banks and assaulting people, but that’s just me being judgmental.
He also says the lack of porn gives him “a poor standard of living, suffering from both sexual and sensory deprivation.” From my vast knowledge of prison life gleaned by watching the old HBO show Oz, sexual and sensory deprivation are probably the best option in prison.
However, the ALA Council could pass a resolution on this. The ALA Prisoner’s Right to Read declaration, adopted by the ALA Council just last year, clearly states that “Material with sexual content should not be banned unless it violates state and federal law.” In this case, it doesn’t, since state libraries allow at least Penthouse and Playboy.
Therefore, the obvious thing is for the ALA Council to pass a resolution that this poor Michgan prisoner be given some porn, and the OIF can make bold statements about how important porn is for the intellectual freedom and masturbatory fantasies of prisoners. This is the sort of intellectual freedom cause that lets the ALA make national headlinesI
At the very least, the ALA president could send the guy some porn. I suggest this, and maybe the past few years as well.