Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

A Dubious Badge of Distinction

There’s a new list making the library social media rounds about libraries and social media. You can always count on a list like that getting a lot of links from librarians. I’m not going to link to it because the website seems to exist only to get people to link to it, and I hate stuff like that. If you have the pulse of the library world as I and my kind readers do, you’ll have seen it. If not, I’m sure you can find it. You’re a librarian. Not that it’s worth finding.

The website claims its mission is: “List. Inform. Educate.” Because apparently there’s something informational and educational about arbitrary lists of library related things.

The site, which I won’t name, claims on the about page that it “is a new, ultra hip Library Science Social Community for Librarians of all walks of life. Our site is run by data and editorial geeks with a handful of librarian’s as associates. Our aim is to showcase creative editorial around the field of Librarianship. Where did we get the images for the background? On Pinterest. If we’ve violated a copyright or two, you’ll let us know.”

Does anything seem odd about that sentence? “Handful of librarian’s”? “Showcase creative editorial around the field”? Mistaking the possessive for the plural or thinking “editorial” in this sentence is a noun rather than an adjective are pretty basic errors in grammar. Is bad grammar ultra hip now or something?

And ultra hip. Good lord.

At the very least, a site claiming to say something educational about library science should use proper grammar. Surely an “editorial geek” would have been able to spot those errors.

And what about that last bit? “If we’ve violated a copyright or two, you’ll let us know.” If there are any librarians (or even librarian’s) advising them, perhaps they should advise that librarians aren’t usually so cavalier about copyright. That kind of attitude gets libraries sued. And no, I won’t let you know.

The list is about libraries using social media. We’re told that “regardless of how each library uses their social media accounts, the end goal is the same: to get more students to visit the library.” Thanks for clarifying.

Actually, it should be “how each library uses its social media accounts.” If you’re going to do some proofreading, you might as well be thorough. Sometimes people use “their” as an informal gender neutral singular pronoun, but libraries don’t have a gender, at least not in English.

There’s a list of 100 libraries chosen by a method which makes the average LIS peer-reviewed article look scientifically rigorous in comparison.

And then of course there’s the whole point, getting librarians to link back to them and “promote” their library’s distinction: “How to Promote? All libraries on this list are free to use our Top 100 badge distinction on your website, blog, or social media accounts.”

Because I’m sure the fine library at the University of Texas in Austin – which topped this arbitrary list – will look much more impressive to its community and to other libraries by putting a “Top 100 badge” on their site, with a link to this grammatically challenged website.

As a blogger, I get things like this all the time. “Dear Annoyed Librarian, you’ve made our list of the top 1,000 library blogs. Please link to us to let your readers know!” As if my readers or I would care about making a list compiled by people we’ve never heard of.

However, there’s one way libraries could use this site. It might be a fine example in an information literacy class about analyzing dubious media sources trying to promote link love through arbitrary and insubstantial content. If there’s a badge of distinction for that, this website should prominently display it.




  1. I’m just happy it wasn’t “irregardless of how each library uses their social media accounts.”

  2. I got curious and found the website. My least favorite part was their description of who should consider an MLS: those who like books, and prefer a slow-paced job.

    • Cut Both Ways says:

      Contrast the slow, book-loving portion of their recommendation with the ‘core competencies’ page which lists many of the skills librarians need that don’t involve books. At least they provide a disclaimer, “The place of employment will have a large impact on exactly what is needed to thrive in a particular position in a particular job and the specific competencies most important in that occupation.”

      It all depends! But check out these cool librarians.

  3. Does the methodology for the top 100 social media friendly even make sense? For example, they seem to weight “likes” and “were here” the same for Facebook, so Santa Barbara City College has a higher Facebook rank than UT even thought UT has many more “likes”. And “likes” seems like a better measure of success. Regardless they’re not even using Facebook’s existing metrics–but I guess they would actually have to contact the libraries to find those and do some meaningful research.

    Ugh, and some of those university Facebook sites are posting the “badge of honor”.

  4. Existentialist Librarian says:

    The same perpetrators have an identical webpage for MBA’s which is just as grammatically challenged as the Library Science one. Same template, just switching the target audience. Definitely a “classic” for use in Information Literacy class, as AL says.

  5. Libraries do have a gender in English. They are definitely neuter, which is why they take the neuter pronoun. Only an indefinite antecedent (such as “the reader”) has an indefinite gender and takes the pronoun of indefinite gender if you believe that there is one.

  6. Say wut?

  7. Law Librarian says:

    “Slow-paced”? Ha! That’s funny.

    And I have comments about the position descriptions, which can’t have been written by a librarian. Law librarians do not do work that simply “involves overseeing and managing libraries related to law”. Sure; we do that stuff. But law librarians also do significant research of all kinds of topics, including financial, business, people, media and others. Those of us who are also lawyers often perform substantive legal research And our time gets billed to the client, just as lawyers’ time is, which tells us that our work is actually valued..

  8. And my social security will depend on these people? I had better start saving even more.

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