Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Librarian Sex and Status

This seems to be the season for alleged sexually related illegal something or other by librarians or library workers. One story that’s all over the New York news concerns a 33-year-old school librarian in New Rochelle who allegedly tried to seduce a 16-year-old male student in the high school she worked at.

She was arrested when she arrived at his house for what she allegedly thought was a sexual encounter with him. Apparently, she’s the only librarian in history who removed her glasses, shook the bun out of her hair, and still nobody wanted to have sex with her.

I said “allegedly” a lot because this case looks very suspicious to me. First, it involves a grown librarian pursuing a teenage boy for sex, when it’s well known that teenage boys are terrible at sex, plus they reek of Axe body spray. Second, it involves a teenage boy who supposedly doesn’t want to have sex with anyone who will have him. All very strange.

Something about New York just makes kids crazy, I guess, like these sexually harassing teen boys who did their best to ruin a teacher’s life. That’s what teenage boys are like.

But if you want to read about alleged librarian sex, this article is much better: Librarian Accused of Sex Abuse. Though the place it Albany, it’s Albany, OR, so at least all the alleged librarian sex isn’t happening in New York.

The story itself isn’t very interesting. It’s about a “51-year-old woman who worked as a library aide [being] accused of having sex in her car with a 17-year-old student.” The woman turned herself in to the police. It’s all very boring.

The one comment on the story by someone calling themselves Charity is priceless, though.

FYI – A library aide is NOT a librarian!  I Librarian has to have a Masters of Library Science.  A library aide often has to have nothing more than a high school education.  Please do not insult our profession by calling everyone who works in a library a librarians.  Do you call everyone who works at a bank, a banker?  Or everyone who works H&R Block an accountant?

Obviously the editor who wrote the headline was uninformed, but so what?

Do you want to know what’s an insult to a “profession”? When said professionals are so desperate to be considered professionals that they’ll use any excuse to proclaim how they’re professionals while everyone else isn’t. That comment was both funny and pathetic at the same time.

Would I call everyone who works at a bank a banker? You know what, I might. It’s not like bankers have to have a special Master of Banking degree. But if I called a teller a banker, would a banker start whining about it? I seriously doubt it.

But if you can’t tell the difference between what “professional” librarians and library workers do in a library, how professional is it really? If you can be a “professional” and yet still dress every day for work in jeans and sneakers, people are going to take your profession less seriously than doctors. Get over it.

At this point, I can’t understand why librarians are still worried about their “professional” status. Give it up. It’s a lost game. What professional librarians are left are being deprofessionalized left and right. This was a school library aide. Chances are in a few years the school libraries won’t have any librarians left; they’ll all be aides. Reference desks are often staffed by non-”professional” librarians.

In the past and today there are plenty of tasks assigned to “professional” librarians that could easily be performed by intelligent and educated amateurs. Some argue that in the future, no one but library directors will have MLS degrees, and even they would probably benefit from some other degree.

Fretting that the world doesn’t see you as the professional your professional association swears you are is just pointless. Why waste your desperate time even bothering to correct an innocent mistake in a new headline? Don’t you have some professional things you need to be doing about now?

Librarians need to accept that they’ll never be understood by the world at large because the world at large doesn’t need or use them. Think of it as a compliment. Librarians who are doing their jobs well should have libraries that are so easy to use no one ever needs the librarians, and thus they don’t know what librarians really do.

That way, instead of leaving little cries for help in the comments section of a news story, you can be content that people not knowing what you do is a sign that you do it well. Even if that’s not true, it’ll keep you from looking like a desperate fool. Talk about embarrassing to the profession!

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Comments

  1. pt frawley says:

    You’ve condensed everything that needs to be said about the library “profession” into one short article and by rights, this should be your last article ever!

  2. Didi says:

    Leave it to a librarian to miss the whole point of an article about someone having sex with a kid…I agree, we make ourselves look foolish!

    It doesn’t help when our professional association even seems to think we’re all just working for pin money so we should have conferences in vacation spots so people can bring their kids. Somehow I doubt lawyers and doctors are trolling the exhibit halls at their professional conferences with kids in tow or fretting that if they spend their own money to attend a conference it means no family vacation. I have never been able to figure out why ALA doesn’t tackle the real issue – many libraries don’t fund professional development for their employees. Fix that, and maybe we can at least start looking and acting like professionals at our own damn conference. (It could be I’m still reeling from the fine example of librarianship I witnessed at a PLA conference in Phoenix – guy sashayed through the exhibit hall in shorts, tank top, and flip flops proudly wearing a name badge proclaiming he was a full-fledged conference attendee (not just some day pass for the exhibits) representing his library employer.)

    • Joneser says:

      The ALA has conferences in “vacation spots” like Anaheim because rates are cheaper in summer and very few cities have facilities to handle the number of people who attend (or at least used to). That’s why Florida and New Orleans also show up on the ALA Summer hit list.

  3. me says:

    I go to work as a librarian every day in a shirt and tie. Does that make me a professional?

  4. groovykinda says:

    It sounds like a last gasp attempt at recognition. I’ve worked in libraries for 14 years, and, in my experience, the vast majority of librarians do work that doesn’t need a Master’s Degree.
    And library systems are wising up. Hiring someone who’s smart, has a wide range of experiences, is good with people-and who works for about $10/hour less-serves the public much better.

  5. Steve says:

    I agree with all the previous comments, especially pt frawley. First, anyone who knows anything about reporters would NEVER comment on any news article, because odds are about 1,000 to 1 that the facts are wrong. Drawing conclusions and opinions from reporters is like the blind leading the blind.

    Second, one thing most ‘professional’ librarians are not is professional. Libraries are too casual and relaxed an atmosphere to be ‘professional’ and that’s the way ‘professional’ librarians want it. That is one of our main problems when it comes to trying to develop strategic partnerships that will help us survive. Who wants to do business with “too casual”?

    Third, tossing out comments without justification or meaning doesn’t help persuade anyone of anything. What is this comment supposed to mean? – “What professional librarians are left are being deprofessionalized left and right.” – How is someone deprofessionalized?

    Rants are fine in Blogs, but they should be identified as such, not disguised as valid commentary.

  6. annoyedlibraryworker says:

    If I had a dollar for every time a “real” librarian went out of their way to correct a patron who referred to me, or any other non-librarian staff member, as a librarian we all would be making librarian rate. Prove you are a librarian by being the most knowledgeable, proactive, and accessible person in the library.

  7. JW Librarian says:

    I would have finished up this post with a refrain to the sex issue; it would have tied it up nicely.

    Librarians are very much like Jehovah’s Witnesses. They take themselves way too seriously, are anything but socially adapted, and belong to the club rather than the profession or religion, as in the case of the JWs.

    I personally think the AL is fine. I hope you post into perpetuity or as long as I’m still employed as a “librarian.” I wear a shirt and tie, as well.

  8. Mark says:

    “annoyed librarian” talks nonsense. The MLS program is intensive preparation with tough Reference classes and lengthy Research papers. The MLS degree effectively prepares Librarians to provide the best possible Reference and Research assistance to patrons and students. Speak for yourself “annoyed librarian”, but my Reference and Research assistance has always been appreciated and valued by the patrons I’ve served.

  9. Mlisa says:

    This: “Librarians who are doing their jobs well should have libraries that are so easy to use no one ever needs the librarians, and thus they don’t know what librarians really do.”

    Also, annoyedlibraryworker: I have been making the distinction for fear of offending my more senior colleagues, but I’m going to stop as of now. A supposedly user-centered profession should realize the uselessness of distinguishing between these two levels of personnel. And not just in front of patrons.

  10. Belinda G says:

    I’m a professional researcher for documentary fulm. There’s no MLS holder alive who knows more than I do about research. The degree course work isn’t particularly difficult.

  11. elena schneider says:

    wait, what about the sex?