Annoyed Librarian
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Special ALA Rates for Unemployed Librarians! Woo Hoo!

We got an exciting announcement a couple of weeks ago that if you're an unemployed librarian, you can join ALA at a discount. Yay! "Do you know, for example, that ALA has a special membership category at $46 for non-salaried library employees who make less than $25,000 a year or are unemployed?" we are asked. In fact, I did know that. I've known about the various rates for years, and have been taking advantage of them all along. For a few years, I used the student rate, which is currently $33/year.  Unfortunately, the ALA will only let you be a student for five years, so after that you have to come up with another plan. For a few years I pretended to be a library support staff member (currently $46/year), then I posed as a non-salaried member for a number of years, until finally I claimed to be a retired member (also $46/year), and I can probably keep up that fiction for the rest of my career. I have all the ALA junk sent to my home address, and what are the chances ...

In Which I Resist the Group Techno-Hug

A kind reader sent me a blog post by a cheerful librarian who didn't like it that the AL is so "negative" and that the blog and many of its commenters would make fun of a ridiculous library movement because the persons behind it were "passionate" and "enthusiastic." Supposedly, we need more passion and enthusiasm in librarianship. I was under the impression that we had lots of "passion" and "enthusiasm" but almost no culture of criticism. Passion and enthusiasm don't matter. What matters is the result. Librarians are prone to think that being bubbly and chirpy is somehow important. For a lot of us, being bubbly and chirpy makes you look like an idiot. Dance around enthusiastically grinning like a fool all you like, but your enthusiasm moves me not a whit. You can put on a happy face or direct your feet to the sunny side of the street or load up on antidepressants or whatever else you need to get through the day, but I don't care how ...

Shiny Toys and Glossy Gimmicks

It was pretty obvious by the response to my last post that there are at least two sorts of librarians - those who value trite, vulgar, attention-seeking gimmicks that supposedly benefit the profession, and those who don't. I really shouldn't be so hard on those librarians who value the trite and vulgar. They really can't help themselves. They live in a world awash with vulgarity and self-obsession, and they don't have the proper moral compass to steer clear of them. Execrable rock videos, balloon boys, they're both part of the bizarre society we have developed in which the only value that matters is to get noticed, not to have anything worthwhile to say. One has to hand it to some librarians: they definitely know how to get noticed. They dress up trite gimmicks with glossy trappings and wave them in front of audiences of librarians, most of whom are good-hearted and desire to promote their profession - traits which blind them to the lack of substance behind these attention-seeking ...

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