Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Share Your Story!

If it weren’t for the kindness of strangers, I might never have anything to blog about. I know, I know, some of you are thinking, damn those strangers! But that’s just not polite.

A reader forwarded me a call for submissions to a newsletter of sorts published by our old friends the ALA – Allied Professional Association. I haven’t paid much attention to the ALA-APA since I pointed out how silly their arguments for increased librarian pay are, and that was way back in the winter of 2006. Where does the time go?

One would have thought that such a useless organization as the ALA-APA would have disappeared by now, but such is not the case. Apparently they publish something called Library Worklife, which they describe as "HR E-News for Today’s Leaders," and they’ve been publishing it for years without my knowing about it. Those ALA-APA folks should put me on more of their mailing lists so I can find out about this exciting stuff. After all, it’s a library publication for "today’s leaders," and who could be more of a leader than the Annoyed Librarian? Unfortunately, even now that I know about it, I can’t read it, because the subscription costs money unless you’re an "ALA Institutional Member," and I don’t think I am one of those, though they should make me an honorary one to reward all the constructive criticism I’ve given them over the years.

The standard call for submissions is pretty dry, except for this part: "Articles may be based on news, trends, or research. They may be written in first person or third person (though not in the same article, please)." This tells me either that someone at the ALA-APA has a sense of humor, or that they get a lot of badly written submissions. Given the state of writing in librarianship, it’s probably the latter. The emailed call for submissions is perkier, though. "Do you have a story to tell? Come and share it at Library Worklife!" It wouldn’t be a library publication without that exclamation point! They claim to be "looking for aspiring and experienced writers – library employees and graduate students who have stories to tell about their careers, jobs, research, and pathways to success." I wonder if they want librarians to write about pathways to failure. It might be easier to get submissions that way.

They don’t seem too picky about topics. The articles can be about all sorts of things. For example, they could be about "You or a great project that you want to share with colleagues." Wouldn’t it be great to have an article about yourself in Library Worklife? If I read that correctly, and of course I do, you don’t have to have a great project. You can just write about you. And since you’re so unbelievably fascinating, the article would probably be accepted. I would write one about me, but I’m shy and demure. And I never share great projects with colleagues; they might steal my ideas and beat me out for promotions.

But wait, there’s more. This looks interesting: "Advice, testimonials, opportunities and research about advancing your career." I could write some great articles about how to advance your career, but it sounds like they only want positive, fluffy stuff and some of my tactics are…well…let’s just say that they require a bit of moral flexibility. Success doesn’t come easy in this profession. Also, they probably don’t want to depressing stories about how you were screwed out of a good job by a mayor with a penchant for nepotism or anything like that.

You can write about "Why it is important to participate in professional development and continuing education, including state and national certification programs," but most likely they don’t want you to write about how most of these programs are a waste of your time and just another way for professional organizations to suck money out of you for something you learn for free on your own. Kind of like preconferences. We can also try to answer the question, "How do we attract people to the profession?" Publishing misleading propaganda about librarian shortages and jobs aplenty seems to work okay. Maybe the ALA can try that.

Remember how I said they wanted to charge actual money for this junk? Well, the really exciting part is that if you write enough for them, you get the newsletter free. "And the best news is… If you commit to writing three (3), count ‘em THREE, articles in one year, you get a free subscription to Library Worklife, a $35 value (for ALA Regular members.)" Are you excited yet? A $35 value…for free! And if you write five (5), count ’em FIVE articles, they throw in a Ginsu knife with matching carving fork…for free!

That offer is so tempting that I might just have to share some of my stories with them, so that other librarians can learn from my meteoric rise to success. How to use gossip and innuendo to destroy the careers of more promising colleagues could be a good one. Or maybe how I climbed up the ladder of success on the backs of my coworkers. I was saving all of these for the Annoyed Librarian’s Self Help Guide to Library Success, but now I’m considering sharing these stories with the ALA-APA. It seems the least I could do to give a little something back to the profession that has done so much for me. For that opportunity and a $35 value, I’d sell out my own grandmother. Which reminds me of how I got my first library job….



  1. anonymous says:

    It is early afternoon of the first day of this and the silence is deafening.

  2. “It is early afternoon of the first day of this and the silence is deafening.”

    ehhh, cum again sonny?

  3. This thread is DEAD [no pun intended]. I wonder how long it will be before the Reed “Suits” decide to close it down. You’re headed the way of “Circuit City” and “Linens’N Things”.

  4. I am No. 6 says:

    Maybe everyone is too busy doing their taxes.

    Or everyone was too off-put by the first reply. Really, using someone’s death by cancer as a jumping-off point for a rant?

  5. The sad thing is, this is how the AL got the gig at the LJ, they needed somebody, ANYBODY who could pump out contrarian words.

  6. Unemployed librarians says:

    Jennifer Grady needs be held personally accountable for her utter spinelessness in the performance of her duties at the ALA-APA.

    Her name will be remembered.

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