Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Improving the ALA?

Now the traffic on the AL has died down a bit and the gawkers who came here to see what all the fuss was about have gone away, I wanted to post something that's been in my queue for a week or so. I've been so distracted by my sitemeter going off the map that I didn't have the time to post. Someone sent me a great quote from a listserv where some person called me "extremely unbalanced and seemingly deranged!" You could tell it must have been a librarian by the exclamation point! I could have called her a simpering moron, but that just wouldn't be nice. Let's just say I'll match my sanity and intelligence against hers any day.

I got a lot of requests to write something on that hippie shusher article, and you know I like to please the fans. Then somehow the whole world found out about it, or at least a lot more of the world than usually reads this poor thing that I don't admit to being my own. I need to figure out how this whole Internet thing works someday, I really do, so I can see where all this traffic comes from.

Speaking of shushers, I noticed a piece by the Webtamer last week about one of his students being shushed by the ALA Council. The shushed student is someone named Aaron the Librarian, and wrote about the issue on his own blog, entitled, in an eerie coincidence, Aaron the Librarian. From his blog:

"Councilor-at-Large Heidi Dolamore stood for me (with coaching on parliamentary procedure by Councilor-at-Large Michael Golrick) and asked the moderator to suspend the normal rules of debate to allow me to address Council on this issue being discussed.

The moderator asked for the indulgence of Council to allow me to speak and a bunch of councilors shouted 'Why?!'"

Did they really shout "why"? Doesn't sound like proper parliamentary procedure to me. Just to make sure, I checked Parliamentary Procedure Online, and found no mention of anyone shouting "why" in response to a formal request. Some councilors commented on his blog, and are definitely worth reading for the defense of shushing the guy. Heck, maybe he should have been shushed at that time. Regardless, I could have told him no one wanted to hear what he had to say about improving ALA. ALA old-timers like it the way it is. They're comfortable. Just leave them be.

Still, he's created an Improve ALA Wiki. I haven't checked it out much yet, but "abolishing the association" should probably be high on the list of priorities on the "platform for improvements" page.

If we really want to get all participatorily democratic, as the regressives claim they want to do, we should probably abandon the ALA Council as well. A face to face meeting every six months to decide issues? My goodness, how quaint. We don't need that anymore. We can just have all the members vote on stuff electronically, and let's say that if at least 35% of the membership doesn't bother to vote, then the issue is automatically eliminated from consideration. That sounds good to me.

I suppose we could also have term limits on ALA Councilors. Are there such things now? There sure seem to be a lot of the same names that pop up over the years. Let's say they're limited to two terms over their lifetime. That would weed out a lot of people. Within 10 years or so, all the poor losers who've been trying to get onto Council would've been on and cycled off for good, and there'd be nobody left to run, so the Council could just go away.

Anyway, I guess I should be glad someone thinks ALA should be improved, though we might not agree on what the fixes should be. The ALA could be "improved" in all sorts of ways that would make it even more ridiculous than it is. Maybe it should just stay the same after all. Better the devil you know.


Anonymous said...

The best way to improve ALA? Abolish it!

And AL, you were almost as popular as that drama praire dog on youtube was a couple of weeks ago..

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm... how to fix and/or improve ALA... Let me ponder this while straightening that stack of Library Journals that keeps sliding off the LEFT side of my desk.

cherie said...

if you get a statcounter from, you can see a map of where all your visitors are from. this is not an ad--i'm just offering a suggestion to your response.

Brent said...

ALA believes in privacy! So if AL is a good librarian, she would respect posters privacy.

Anyway, if I pay ALA to say I am a really important member in its organization for said resume, I will let them vote to condemn the Bush Administration for not signing the Kyoto Protocol, and other important issues to other progressive librarians. These are my demands.

AL said...

I respect the privacy in that I didn't list her name, even though I had it. One might notice that I attacking people by name unless they have attacked me first. For the record, I get lots of emails, too, and they are all off the record.

Thanks for the tip, cherie. I do have a stat counter called sitemeter that tells me that. I was just fooling a bit. I don't check it as much as I used to, but yesterday i got an email update that doubled my usual hit numbers. I guess the shusher piece drew people in, both fans and critics. No such thing as bad publicity, I guess. I was even mentioned on the Huffington Post. Last summer it was Michelle Malkin. Apparently I've mellowed.

Brent said...

With people citing you, it's surprising there is no Wikipedia entry about you.

AL said...

There should be, of course, and I considered putting one in, but the Wikipedia has a policy against vanity entries. Besides, if there was a Wikipedia article, I'd have to monitor it all the time to make sure my detractors didn't put in mean things about me.

However, if you want to start one, I can't stop you.

Anonymous said...

Council perpetuates itself - - look at the Biblos; Further, Council is slowly becoming an arm of the SRRT.

I'd wager that in a few years, the American Library Association will become the Social Responsibilities Library Association

contrarian said...

Anonymous @7:17pm is right, well, make that correct. The only way ALA can improve is to abolish the Socially Ridiculous Round Table (better known as SRRT). It has to start there.

Brent said...

That would require doing research. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

If you maintain this level of intellectual discourse, you won't attract any "Irish bottoms" or other porn-seekers. And for that the world will be all the more bleak.

Maybe the Counsillyors can meet at Manor Farm.


John Siegel, MLS said...

I enjoyed reading AL's post, and concur with the views expressed. I can't tell you how many times I rolled my eyes, especially when the article mentioned "guybrarians."

However, with that said, I do not think that uneccesarily abandoning or bad-mouthing the profession, or discouraging people from going into librarianship if they truly have the desire to do so, is accomplishing anything--but running away from the problem.

In my opinion, librarians should be themselves and do their job to the best of their ability. Librarians need to recognize that someone somewhere will always have preconceived notions about librarians. We cannot change the whole world's thinking--period.

We must be proud of our profession and be willing to show that to others. As a prime example, the next time someone says (for the 100th time), "You need a Master's degree to be a librarian?", don't huff and puff and have an attitude. Take the time to boast about library school (even though we all have things we hated about it) and what you do as a librarian.

AL said...

That sounds so practical and hopeful. How on earth did you end up at the AL!

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia allows vanity entries, which is one reason I don't consider it authoritative.

Linda said...

There is a strange belittling symmetry between the monikers "The ALA" and the Bush's "The Democrat Party." Liberrian upstarts should get some mileage out of this. Will Annoyed Librarian be martini-ing at the Internet Librarian conference this year?

AL said...

Strange belittling symmetries may be in the eye of the beholder.