Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

End of the AL

It seems fair to claim that there’s never been a librarian publication quite like the Annoyed Librarian, and there might never be again. Born during the brief golden age of librarian blogging, it’s the sort of thing unlikely to be repeated in different circumstances, for better or worse depending on your perspective. The golden age of librarian blogging is over now, though.

Inevitably all good things end. Also, this blog. For many years I’ve tried to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, but the time has come to retire.

The Library Journal will stop supporting the Annoyed Librarian after March, and I don’t think I’ll go back to the old site if I could even remember how to get in, so this is probably the last official Annoyed Librarian blog post. It feels like the end of an era, but social media eras are notoriously short so that’s not saying much.

I’d like to give some thanks before I go. I’d especially like to thank the Kind Readers. For reading, commenting, sending me ideas and questions, thank you all. The response to the blog over the years has kept me going. That and the money.

Speaking of the money, I’d like to thank the Library Journal for its support, especially the brave editors Rebecca Miller and Francine Fialkoff before her. They both put up with a lot of criticism from disgruntled librarians who wanted to kill the blog because they didn’t like what it had to say.

Also, they’ve kept the great secret of the AL’s identity, which I shall now reveal: the blog has always been written by Russian trolls attempting to influence the outcome of ALA elections. Now that you know, I hope you can rest easy.

After a million words or so the blog is finished, so maybe the disgruntled librarians can finally get some peace and the Russian trolls can move on to more important tasks.

My how things change. Ten years ago I was sitting in my lonely writer’s garret writing the AL. For the past ten years I’ve sat in my beautiful corner office on the thirtieth floor overlooking the park writing the AL for the Library Journal. And after today, I shall retire to my country estate purchased with the money the Library Journal has lavished upon me for the past decade. Selling out to the Man? I still highly recommend it.

And just like that…she was gone.



Please note that new comments for all posts on this blog have been closed.


  1. Feldspar says:

    Good bye, AL: We will miss you and who knows, perhaps another will take up the challenge?

  2. anonymous coward says:

    wow. The value of AL cannot be understated.

  3. Sad to see this go!

  4. Frumious Bandersnatch says:

    But who will vicariously rant for us when the next LJ article (or blog post…cough *Bell Tower* cough) about being a dynamically changing change agent in a changing dynamic profession comes out, likely before the end of the day?

    We, the cynical, jaded, yet reasonably silent masses will miss you.

  5. sciencereader says:

    Funny right up to the end! Thanks for all the wonderful posts, AL. I and countless others will miss you.

  6. As a newcomer to the library industry and to this site, I will miss my favorite blog! Thank you for sharing your perspective and voice of reason for a decade. May your retirement not be full of snarky annoying Russian trolls.

  7. FinallyaLibrarian says:

    Hmmm, considering the length of time stuff gets saved on the Internet and how little “LibraryLand” has changed since I have been associated with it, 20 years from now librarians will still be reading AL’s pithy posts and understanding their world better. Then sobbing at their messy desks in their lonely cubicles, or snapping rudely at patrons’ idiotic questions while dreaming of retirement.

    I sure hope your contract includes residuals! Bye and good luck!

  8. So sorry to see this column end! IMHO, it was the best thing from Library Journal.

  9. Don’t worry. I’m sure LJ will be asking me to bid farewell in the not too distant future or I’ll just hang up my columns. Then you can celebrate. But I’m pretty sure you have my columns mixed up. From the Bell Tower focuses on the intersection between academic librarianship and higher education. Leading From the Library does occasionally take up “change” as a topic – though I don’t think I’ve ever used the phrase “change agent”. Maybe you’ll try reading it sometime. You could use some change.

  10. You will be missed. You often said what many of us wished we could (but we had to worry about jobs to keep and such). May you have a great retirement wherever it takes you.

  11. I’ve really enjoyed the blog over the years. Sad to see it go, but please know how appreciated the work was. Best in the future!

  12. Libertarian Librarian says:

    Sad to see you go. You have been a voice speaking truth to power in library land. Haven’t always agreed with your conclusions. You at least had the courage to rationally look at trends, fads, and feel goodisms with a logical eye.

  13. no surprise LJ is dropping AL says:

    Sad to see this. I wonder if AL was just too unorthodox for the modern librarians sensitivities? Today, maybe we’re just too fragile for snarky dissent?

  14. This makes me sad. There is not a lot of room for cynics among the wide-eyed…
    But at least you’re living high on the hog, so there’s that.
    So long and thanks for all the fish!

  15. Sharon Crotser-Toy says:

    Perhaps, like the Dread Pirate Roberts, another will take your place!

  16. I’d sad to see you go! If you’re not there, then who will tell potential MLIS students that there’s not a shortage of librarians?

  17. I’m sorry to see you go. I can’t wait, though, for ALA’s replacement blog:

    Tattooed, Stereotype Defying, Maker-Spacing, Censorship Resisting, Social Work Cybrarian 2.0

  18. OH NO!!
    I’m still blogging, about s3xually harassed librarians and about ALA generally. Go check me out at the link under my name.

    Really sorry to see AL go. And Will Manley is no longer a voice for reason either. Literally, it leaves just me.

    And isn’t it awful fellow librarians tried to silence her? It seems to have worked. ALA is becoming a monolith, and not a good one.

  19. librarEwoman says:

    I’ll miss your blog! It’s always been the thing I read first when visiting the Library Journal site. Happy retirement, though. Enjoy the fruits of “selling out to the man.”

  20. Libraary Observer says:

    Sorry to see you go !

    I think that your post of August fifteenth 2006 titled ” On The Purpose of Public Libraries “,
    pretty much encapsulated what has been going on in the Public Library systems of most major cities in the last decades.

    I suggest that people give it and the comments a read ….. it’s all come frightening true.


    ps. I always liked your old cat logo best.

  21. Retired? says:

    NOOOOOO!! Your column kept me sane during my brief tenure in Libraryland, trying to make sense of public libraries and the strange inhabitants therein. Your cynicism and honesty were such a welcome balm. Enjoy your retirement. Thank you!

  22. Any Mouse says:

    Thank you for many hours of time spent at the Circulation Desk looking like I was working because I was reading your blog.

  23. Sorry to see you go! I’ve been reading this blog since library school (sometime around 2005-2007), and you’ve always given me a lot to think about in librarianship, whether or not I ended up agreeing with you. Good luck in whatever you decide to do next.

  24. Quiet Librarian says:

    Best wishes for your future! I will miss the blog, it was the first thing I looked for when I got the LJ emails. Thanks for all you’ve done.

  25. Joneser says:

    Actually, “Leading From the Library” gives some interesting perspectives. Would that “library leadership”, whatever who/what that is, would pay attention and consider that they might learn something. I always read it to see what’s up this time.

  26. Paula Buerger says:

    So sorry to see you go! Your blog was the best thing on LJ. I do hope someone will take up your mantle! I will miss your snarky but realistic take on the foolishness of the world! Enjoy your retirement – you have earned it.

  27. Laura Staley says:

    Thank you for all the entertaining columns. I didn’t always agree with you, but you were always interesting.

  28. dan cawley says:

    i remember that essay! it’s reminiscent of tisdale’s “silence please: the public library as entertainment center.” also worth your time. goodbye, AL.

  29. Robert Jensen says:

    AL, why don’t you publish a book of your columns?

  30. Gayle Morrow says:

    Russians??? OMG!! The Russians are coming??? Disgruntled librarians too??

  31. Did you just assume AL’s gender???

  32. Jessica says:

    Goodbye AL. However, I want to you know that there will resurrection of quiet libraries in the future. I’m sure of it. Because the teenagers will eventually lose interest in public libraries. Not many will use internet in public libraries someday. Again, thank you for your honesty AL. You are opened-minded a lot smarter library directors and trustees.

  33. Jessica says:

    You are open-minded and a lot smarter than library directors and trustees. Sorry about the typo on my last comment.

  34. I loved your column and looked forward to it each week. In 3 or so years of reading it, I’ve laughed quite a bit and nodded my head in agreement even more. I can only think of one time when I thought you crossed the line from righteous indignation into mean-spiritedness, but even then, you still had something worthwhile to say. I will definitely miss your column and your insight.

  35. Skipbear says:

    Hope this is not an early “April Fool joke”

    Regardless thanks for being the voice of reason for those of us who are realistic optimists and pessimists. Who are there getting the job done day after day. Over the years, I have counted on you to put some skeptical perspective on the “Mary Sunshines” at conferences and elsewhere who peddle the next big thing that’s going to rock our collective world.

  36. @SJW, see below:
    “The Annoyed Librarian is possibly the most successful, respected, and desirable librarian of her generation.

    She has no other interest than to bring her wit and wisdom to the huddled librarian masses yearning to breathe free.

    The Annoyed Librarian is a free spirit and you are lucky to have her.”
    She’s a she.

  37. Longtime Lurker says:

    Sorry to see you go. I’ve been enjoying your columns since before you were at LJ. Thank you for being a voice of reason in the library world.

  38. Steven S says:

    The AL columns were something I looked forward to reading whenever I visited the Library Journal Website. Not knowing who the AL is and was was part of the fun of reading the blog posts and expecting the unexpected views… All The Best – Enjoy Your Next Chapter…

  39. You’ve kept me sane all these years. Now what will I do?

  40. Mike Kirwan says:

    Apres toi, le deluge.

  41. Wait. You all have desks and cubicles?!?! *sigh*

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