Friday, December 15, 2006

Annoyed Librarian Ambassador

The head is clearing and I'm back in action. Thanks for all the "get well soons." I'm not sure what to say about some of the proposed remedies. "Thanks" seems a bit of an overstatement there. Regardless, I can now resume my rigorous blogging and martini regimen. I have to suffer for my art.

Apropos of nothing, you know what I'm really excited about? This new ALA Ambassador program. And who wouldn't be! it's HOT!! Have you read about this?

"Help the next generation of librarians and library workers navigate the premier professional event of their career - ALA Annual Conference. Long-time attendees at ALA Annual Conference and Midwinter are invited to become ALA Ambassadors. Help welcome new, first-time attendees to Annual Conference 2007 in Washington, D.C.! To volunteer as an ALA Ambassador, please register before February 1, 2007."

When I saw this, I said to myself, "Sign me up, Baby!"

Because there's nothing I'd rather do than help that next generation of librarians navigate ALA. I was even more excited to find out it was the "premier professional event of their career," because I don't even know what that means. Does this mean premier as in "1. First in position, importance, or rank; chief, leading, foremost," or premier as in "2. First in time; earliest" (OED).

This couldn't be premier in the first sense. Are we really to believe this is the most important "professional event" in any librarian's career? Wouldn't actually getting a job be the most important event? Or getting a promotion? Or publishing that first exciting library lit article? Or perhaps just checking the morning email?

And it couldn't very well be premier in the second sense for anyone who has a professional job. I think that would the be the first professional event, if indeed you were able to get a job. Or maybe the first professional event would be filling out all that tedious paperwork on the first day of the first professional job, once you're a real professional and before you've lost the hazy glow of excitement and realized what you've really gotten yourself into.

I remember my first ALA, when I was going only to see some friends from library school and booze it up and get away from one of my idiotic colleagues for a few days. I remember it being really boring, but I don't recall needing any help "navigating" it. After all, they had a list of all the programs and meetings and a map of the exhibit floor. How much help does anyone really need for this? Now it's even easier with this "event planner" thing. I mean, really, how stupid do they think new librarians are? On second thought, don't answer that.

Still, I'm excited, and I'm thinking of signing up to be an Ambassador. The great thing is that signing up for this is much like library school. You don't need any qualifications of skills; you just need to show up!

"ALA Ambassadors ... can help the next generation of librarians and library workers meet new colleagues, answer questions, navigate the exhibits and figure out just what programs or committees will have the most impact on their careers."

That's what I want to do. I want to give this next generation of librarians the low down on all of the career-impacting stuff sure to be going on at ALA. I want to introduce them to all my friends and point out how much more successful my friends are than they will ever be. And I want to answer all off their thoughtful questions like, "Can you believe how much they're charging for that junk at the ALA Store?" And I should be able to help them navigate the exhibits, so they know where to go to get the best tote bags, note pads, and sparkly pens to take home with them. I can point out the bovine efficiency of all the librarians who go through the exhibit halls with large rolling suitcases filling them with kitten posters and post-it notes.

Oooh, and the committees! There the excitement never ends. The problem would be finding a committee that wouldn't have a huge impact on their careers! Same with the programs. Many of this next generation might have limited experience of bad public speaking and unnecessarily flashy Power Points. Well, not anymore!

Somehow I don't think the folks at ALA would like to have the AL as one of their ambassadors, though. Oh well, maybe they could use a few of these folks instead.


Anonymous said...

At your suggestion I took a look at the unemployed librarian's blog. All the facts--and opinions--here ring true to me. Unfortunately, so do the typos and the grammatical errors. The Annoyed Librarian dispenses 'widsom' for example. They've never met a semi-colon they've liked. Let's hope their resumes have been proof-read by wiser heads, or they are going to remain unemployed far longer than they want.
Having carped appropriately, I've very grateful I'm not trying to break into the 'profession' right now, or I'd have to try an older profession to pay the rent.

AL said...

The Annoyed Librarian - Dispensing widsom since 1923!

Adoring Spouse of a Librarian said...

Obviously the most important event of their professional careers is reading the Annoyed Librarian!

Contrarian Librarian said...

I will join ALA again if you become my Ambassador. Glad you're feeling better.

Dances With Books said...

Glad you are back with the martinis. I read the ALA program page, and it was my thought as well: where do they get off thinking they are the premier career experience for a librarian? What I was also thinking is how many librarians are actually the "long time" attendants. Unless you are either independently wealthy or extremely well-funded, what are the odds you go to those big shindigs with any sense of regularity. In my case, I am more likely to take a trip to EL Dorado than a trip to an ALA Annual Conference.

Anyways, you would make a good ambassador, telling it like it really is.

Well, keep getting better and nice to see ya back.

Privateer6 said...

Unfortuantely have you seen some of the people coming out of library school lately? Not the brightest lightbulbs in the bunch. Mauybe they need an "ambassador" to help them out.

But the concept of having someone with a master's degree, even an easy one like the MLS, needing help to attend a convention is assinine. Unless the ambassador is a local who will take you to the non-tourist good pubs to get a pint of Guinness, or martinis it's your preference, I'm sure someone with half a brain can get around a conference just fine.

Norma said...

I think MLA had something like this for my first time--can't remember if I ever found her, but I did see another librarian cautiously leaning against the wall instead of sitting at one of the meetings. Recognizing another bad back, I stopped to talk. She was also a first timer and we struck up a friendship that lasts to this day.

JustaLibrarian said...

I attended several ALA annuals before I figured out how to get free meals... last time I attended I ate free the whole time I was there. OCLC breakfast, EBSCO lunch, etc. I also got lots of vino for gratis. They should publish a guide to free food and free booze... that is all that is really needed.