Annoyed Librarian
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An Open Letter to Someone Who Wrote Me

I’ve gotten quite a bit of email in the last couple of weeks. In the next post, I’ll point to some fun stuff people have sent in, but for today I want to reply to some nutter who double dared me to respond.

First, check out this email to the AL:

To the “Annoyed Librarian” blogger of the American Library Association:

How about running an “Annoyed Library Patron” blog?  I cannot even get a response from the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Affairs regarding my free-speech library-related grievances.  What’s the point in having such an Office?  Also, your Library Journal refuses to consider reviewing the journal I edit and will not even respond.

You note in an orgy of self-congratulations, which only seems to occur in organizations lacking accountability, that “The Annoyed Librarian is possibly the most successful, respected, and desirable librarian of her generation.  She has no other interest than to bring her wit and wisdom to the huddled librarian masses yearning to breathe free.  The Annoyed Librarian is a free spirit and you are lucky to have her.”

Well, I don’t feel lucky at all!  And just how “free spirit” can you possibly be when you don’t even possess the courage to post your real name?   Anonymity is the last refuge of cowards.

For a highly critical article on the ALA and libraries, examine [something I’m not going to link to]. OR are you of the incurious librarian-marm variety that seems to have taken over the large majority of public libraries in America?  Will you respond?  My experience indicates it unlikely you will.

Sincerely,

Crazed Ranting Person, PhD

Normally, this would be just the kind of thing I’d happily post about. Controversy about libraries is like red meat to the mama grizzly that is the AL. Or something like that.

The ludicrous tone annoyed me, though. I almost skimmed it and hit delete like I do most of the ranting email I get, but what the heck. It’s a slow news week, so I’ll respond.

—-

Dear Crazy Ranting Person, PhD,

First, anyone who calls the AL the “‘Annoyed Librarian’ blogger of the American Library Association” obviously has no idea what he’s talking about. I’m sure the ALA would be very surprised at the connection. When the AL starts blogging for the ALA…wait, I couldn’t finish that, because it would be one of those impossible things like a square circle.

And why would I run  an “Annoyed Library Patron” blog? I already have a blog. You want to start up another blog, do it. But be warned, library blogging isn’t as easy as it looks. I just make it look easy because I’m so good at it.

I’m not at all surprised that you can’t get a response from “ALA’s Office of Intellectual Affairs,” because the ALA doesn’t have such an office. I assume you’re referring to the Office of Intellectual Freedom. In that case, you could try getting your facts straight before you contact them again.

Perhaps you wrote them saying, “Dear Office of Intellectual Affairs.” Try “Dear Office of Intellectual Freedom” next time. You still probably won’t get a response, but at least you’ll know that it isn’t your ignorance of their name that’s the cause. It’s also not because you’re critical of libraries, but we’ll get to the cause in a moment.

The claim that my Library Journal “refuses to consider reviewing the journal” you edit is kind of weird. First of all, it isn’t MY Library Journal. If anything, I’m one of THEIR bloggers. Second of all, who reviews a journal? Has LJ ever reviewed a journal? Has anyone? Maybe you could get a brief review in Ulrichs if that link you sent me with “blogspot” in the url is really a journal.

LJ reviews books. Why don’t you try writing a book, publishing it, and then sending it in for a review? They might still not review it, but you’ll at least have a grievance that doesn’t make you sound insane.

So orgies of self-congratulations only occur in organizations lacking accountability? I don’t even know what that means, since I’m not an organization. Also, I’m not anonymous. My name is Annoyed Librarian. It says so right on my birth certificate.

“Incurious librarian-marm variety”? Does that describe this blog at all? Oh, right, you wouldn’t know, since you obviously have never read the blog and are just writing me to rant because no librarians will pay any attention to you. While we’re at it, why don’t you take your sexist description and shove it up your backside. “Librarian-marm,” indeed.

No sane person reading your email would be surprised that your experience indicates I won’t respond to whatever it was you sent me that I didn’t click on or read. You probably think librarians don’t respond to whatever thing you wrote about libraries because librarians don’t like criticism. You’d sort of be right. Librarians don’t like criticism very much, which is one reason I write this blog.

However, you’re wrong that they don’t respond because they can’t handle your devastating criticism that nobody pays any attention to. They don’t respond because you sound like a jerk. You write rude, condescending emails rife with factual errors and insults, and you’re surprised nobody responds? Get a clue, buddy.

As for the Library Journal, if you wrote the editors exhibiting the same smug ignorance you showed in the email to me, I’m not surprised no one offered to start a new genre of “journal review” just so they could review yours. The fact that LJ publishes this blog shows they’re not averse to controversy. They’re just averse to jerks.

Oh, and that PhD? I think it’s fake or from a diploma mill or something. I could find no evidence you have a genuine PhD from any accredited school. That “PhD” after your name might impress the kind of people you hang out with, but every third person I know has a real PhD, so color me unimpressed.

You wanted a response, so here’s your response. Thanks for writing!

Sincerely,

Annoyed Librarian, PhD

P.S. If you had written the following, I’d have happily linked to you and discussed your criticisms:

Dear AL,

Here is something I wrote critical of libraries, but I can’t get anyone from the ALA or Library Journal to respond to me. Would you consider writing about it?

Thank you.

Non-Ranting Library Critic.

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Comments

  1. Dave Lull says:

    LJ used to have a magazines column, edited by Bill Katz, late author of Magazines for Libraries:

    http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA479179.html

  2. Overworked Librarian says:

    Great response AL!

  3. Jeff Wanser says:

    Point of information: American Reference Books Annual used to publish reviews of journals, at least in the area of library science.

  4. Oh this AL response is funny.

  5. CJ says:

    That email has to be from the safe libraries guy.

  6. Tired Librarian says:

    AL has done a grave disservice to her readers by NOT providing her faithful readers with Crazed Ranting Person, PhD’s real name and the name of the “journal” that he edits.

    I’m sure the “journal” is as unintentionally hilarious as Crazed Ranting Person, PhD’s letter.

    Don’t you just love the doorknobs who start in on “freedom of speech” blah, blah, when you refuse to let them use you as a platform for their obsessions?

  7. Annoyed Librarian says:

    The email was definitely not from Safe Libraries Guy, who freely leaves comments on the blog. As a matter of policy, I don’t reveal the identities of people who email the AL unless they specify that they don’t mind being identified. Sometimes I don’t even write about the things people send me because I couldn’t write about them without violating the privacy of the writer. This person might or might not want to be identified, but the tone and approach of the email were so annoying I refused to even link to the “journal.”

  8. D. Legitimus says:

    Knowing that you try, but humor is not really your thing, I thought you made this email response up. Since your response was very spot on and funny, perhaps you didn’t make it up after all.