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Reviewing the Apocalypses

The end of 2017 is nigh, which means it’s a good time to review the year to see if the terrible things people predicted actually came true.

The two worst predictions I’ve seen this year are variations on the Robotpocalypse and, worst of all, the Trumpocalypse.

The first was going to take all our librarian jobs and make them obsolete, and the second was going to turn the country into a barren wasteland where life wasn’t worth living, at least that’s the message you’d get if you run in librarian circles, which are the most categorized and organized circles it’s possible to run in.

The Robotpocalypse wasn’t always presented as such. It comes in various guises.

Librarians will be replaced by machines, and is already happening with some circulation staff. Self checkout machines would probably be popular everywhere if only libraries implemented them. But then where would the circulation staff work?

Or librarians will become obsolete because the internet provides information better and more quickly than librarians do.

Librarians somehow just keep adapting to whatever changes the internet brings, but that doesn’t stop clickbait journalists from making dire pronouncements or even librarians from getting overexcited trying to show how much better libraries are than the internet upon which they all depend these days.

Or the job prospects of librarians will decline precipitously for librarians, as if they could decline much further, and all because the rise of the machines has made them obsolete, along with travel agents and typists.

And yet, librarians seem to be chugging along.

The only librarians in any danger as a group are school librarians, a subject I’ve addressed many times. However, the problem for school librarians isn’t that their work has been replaced by robots. It’s that their work has been a low priority compared to classroom teachers when budget cuts come around.

We’ll know school librarians are truly obsolete when well funded private and public schools start getting rid of them. Until then we’ll know that some cities consider them a luxury service that poor kids don’t really need.

And then the truly devastating event that was supposed to sweep us all into oblivion this year: the Trumpocalypse!

Librarians began protesting early, when the ALA released a bland statement indicating its willingness to work with the new administration and had to to keep releasing more statements saying it didn’t really mean it as the librarian internet mob got all angry.

Then there were the librarians ineffectually protesting all things Trump, because someone has to save the country, and who better than librarians? They’ll also save us all from fake news, because librarians are great that way.

According to a lot of librarians, the world was going to descend into chaos, and they were personally going to be worse off just knowing that Trump was president, even if nothing he did had any actual effect on their lives. Librarians are clearly a reasonable bunch.

What’s happened so far?

Except for the mostly thwarted travel bans, the only Trump action that seems to be more than just standard Republican fare is the crackdown on illegal immigrants, or whatever the politically correct term we librarians are supposed to use these days.

The actions of ICE and Homeland Security have ranged from tricky to downright cruel, and the expected treatment of the so-called dreamers might defy all reason and compassion if people end up being deported to countries they have absolutely no memory of.

Everything else, though, from conservative judges to tax reform, is exactly what one would expect from a government with all three branches controlled by Republicans. It’s a Republican agenda because Trump doesn’t have ideas of his own.

The tax reform is appalling, but not for the reasons librarians might give. The big complaint from the left media is that it lowers taxes on the rich and on corporations, but lowering taxes on the rich or corporations aren’t problems in themselves. Indeed, America has had higher corporate taxes than many other developed countries.

There’s also the complaint that the tax cut benefits the rich more than the poor, but that’s because the rich pay more in taxes. I’m not even rich, but I’ll benefit a lot more from the tax cut than someone making $18,000 a year simply because I pay more in taxes.

As far as I know, the IMLS didn’t get cut, and that was the biggest professional fear for librarians.

The appalling thing, if you care about the future, is the increase in the national debt, but the only party that ever cares about the rising national debt is the party out of power. Now we know that Republicans are hypocrites on the national debt. Hardly surprising.

So if you don’t like standard Republican policies being enacted, and chances are you don’t, you’re probably unhappy with the state of the nation, but the Trumpocalypse hasn’t arrived yet.

If there’s a nuclear war with North Korea, it will have arrived, but so far almost nothing practical has changed for most librarians.

But things could always change. What might the future bring? We’ll find out next week.

In the meantime, Happy New Year!

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Comments

  1. Anonymous Cowherd says:

    I’m pretty sure republicans care about the national debt as well…

    • anonymous coward says:

      hahahahahaha… that’s a good one. There might be 5 elected officials at the federal level who say they care. Fewer who act like it.

  2. Oh yeah...right on..um, er...power to the people says:

    This article is spot on. Man, what a crazy year, except….it wasn’t unless you were unhinged overly political type, then it was the worse year ever….thank you AL your voice is needed. Keep up the good work.

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