Friday, September 15, 2006

The ALA MemblerBog

Exciting stuff afoot at the ALA, as always. Check out the new ALA MemblerBog! It's HOT! Well, it isn't really, but I get this tingly sensation whenever anything's written in all caps and exclamation points, and I would like you to be able to share my tingling sensations. (And no wisecracks!) Or should I say, NO WISECRACKS!!!

Here's the raison d'etre of the Memblerbog:
"Members of the American Library Association are change-agents within their communities. From public to academic to school to research and special libraries, ALA members have an immediate, dynamic impact on the quality of life in a community; on successful student learning outcomes; on the sustainability of critical engagements with the past and the extending access to tools for charting a new future; and on the usefulness of work/life in every field of human endeavor. And this blog would like to show them off."

Boy, these ALA members sure are impressive, aren't they. Yes, those are the same ALA members you see around you at work. They're impressive. Really. Just ask the Memblerbog.

Let's examine this a little more closely, though. "Change-agents within their communities." Are you a change-agent within your community, or are you like me and want to slap anyone who uses the phrase "change agent"? I feel the same way about "proactive," since I still can't tell the difference between that and just "active." I guess it's like "prepackaged" instead of packaged--means the same thing, but has that extra syllable to impress the illiterates. But I digress.

"From public to academic to school to research and special libraries, ALA members have an immediate, dynamic impact on the quality of life in a community...." Do they really? Do you have an immediate and dynamic effect on the quality of life in your community? People who yammer on about change agents certainly immediately and dynamically affect my quality of life. They lower it considerably, immediately, and dynamically.

But at least this isn't as pretentious as claiming to have an "immediate and dynamic effect" on "the usefulness of work/life in every field of human endeavor. " The usefulness of life in every field of human endeavor? My goodness, we're full of ourselves today, aren't we. Does anyone really believe this? I'm not even sure what this means. More marketing gibberish as far as I can tell. It's more impressive than "it sure beats Walmart," but this has got to be some of the most pompous gobbledygook about librarians I've seen for a while. In future, please don't take yourself so seriously, because nobody else does.

And what sort of exciting and change-agenting dynamic immediacy has been posted so far? Let's see, there's a call for ALA committee volunteers. There's nothing more dynamic and exciting than an ALA committee meeting, that's for sure. There's an announcement about a "Joint Conference of Librarians of Color," where you can get reeducated about "diversity" issues. An editor's note says this will be an "extra-ordinary conference - well worth it for both library staff of color as well as those serving diverse or emerging communities." Sure it will be, as if there's ever been an interesting idea come out of the "diversity" movement, I mean besides the idea that in the name of "diversity" we all have to think exactly alike. And then there's "Travel Awards for Annual 2007." Very exciting, dynamic, and change-agenting stuff, that. And then there's a call for proposals for PLA 2008. Woo-hoo! All I can say is, THEY'VE GOT IT GOING ON!

How exactly does any of this showcase how dynamic and immediate all those extraordinary and dynamic ALA members are? It looks like the same boring stuff that normally pops up on listservs. Maybe my standards are too high, though.

Thank goodness it's Friday. My martini beckons.


Anonymous said...

Heh heh. Proactive. At the risk of showing my true nature, I have to tell you my favorite use of this word comes from the fabulous Simpsons "Poochie" episode when the word is bandied about so generously by ad execs that Homer starts using it too - only he thinks it's a bad thing. He tells them, "Look, I know I come off a little - proactive - but I really think it might be a good idea..." I hate that stupid word. And "change agent" is its cousin. Who writes that kind of crap down on a piece of paper and thinks it's good?

Dances With Books said...

These were exactly some of my thoughts when I heard of that new blog. Of course, being the curious one, I jumped over to take a look, and yes, it's pretty much the same marketing corporate schtick (trying to keep it polite) we get from ALA. It's so full of male bovine excrement that to call it so would denigrate that fine fertilizer. I have to ask after a while, just what exactly does ALA take librarians for? Thanks for writing what many of us are thinking.

AL said...

You're quite welcome.

Taupey, the Bush Kangaroo said...




Taupey "Dice" Clay

Anonymous said...

Student Learning Outcomes. I knew the Local Temple of Library Learning(s) wasn't smart enough to come up with that garbage on their own. They have replaced their 'goals' with SLO. How appropriate.

AL said...

Perhaps we need a new traffic sign. "Slow Children Playing" grow up to be "Slow Librarians Working."

Anonymous said...

I explicitly transferred from circulation in order to cease being a change-agent.

Perhaps I wasn't proactive enough.

Still, I refuse to accept prepackaged roles.

But I'd really like to see some benchmarking first.

Perhaps a blue-ribbon committee to determine best practices?

Just putting that on your radar!

/just died a little inside

Library Goddess said...

What's the matter with you all? We need to think outside the box! Be open to new and innovative idealogies that can enhance our professional perspective and make us better team players! We have to brain storm; to come up with new paradigms, then run 'em up the flagpole and see how they fly!

Excuse me, that took a lot out of me and I need a lot of vodka right now. Someone call me when this ALA/blogging renaissance is over and we can all get on with our library lives.

AL said...

There is no "I" in team. It's T-E-A-M. I'm going to run that up the ALA flagpole and see if the cat licks it up.

Anonymous said...

Every time I hear the word "proactive" my skin crawls (sort of). "Change-agent"? Isn't that some sort of magic realism disease? This is the sort of blather that ALA puts out on a regular basis and I guess the reason why I am not an ALA member.

Enjoy your martini!

mdoneil said...

I use terms like proactive, benchmarking, best practices, and change agent.

However I have whored myself out to corporate America (even though I have an MLS and should be stuck in some hole for 2/5 my salary) and I have to use those words because everyone else does. I know they are crap, the other people know they are crap but we just do it.

Anonymous said...

"Change-agent?" Oh please, those librarians in ALA have such an inflated view of themselves.

Bob H. said...

You know, I should really stop reading your blog; I struggle daily with the need to point out how absurd all of this corporate-speak is - and with my fear of its creeping into the library world. You're not helping my struggle.