Friday, October 26, 2007

For This We Need Librarians?

"The Commonwealth requires the education of the people as the safeguard of order and liberty." That's what it says on the side of the Boston Public Library building. These days order and liberty don't need to be safeguarded, I guess, or at least libraries have nothing to do with it since that requires the education of the people. Educating the people is so boring, though. These days the Boston Public Library is "moving with the times," according to this article. "At the Boston Public Library each month, teenagers get down to the vigorous techno thumps of the popular arcade game Dance Dance Revolution."

Kimberly Lynn, president of the Massachusetts Library Association, likes it. "We are not your grandmother's library," she says, whatever that means. What if my grandmother lives in Boston, though? Doesn't that mean you are in fact my grandmother's library? Oh, I know. It means they don't like old people in the library. Old people read books and pay taxes and stuff. Teens "get down" to "vigorous techno thumps." I have to admit, my grandmother doesn't do that very often. I haven't seen her get down a vigorous techno thump since Christmas two years ago when she'd had too much sherry and my brother started playing some Dave Clarke music. It wasn't a pretty sight.

According to the article, "In the era of waning readership and Internet search engines, libraries in Massachusetts and across the country are shifting their resources and expertise to areas once unthinkable." Resources, sure, but expertise? Where's the expertise? "Public libraries are finding new niches that make them appealing to patrons, and patrons are increasingly using libraries as a free alternative to DVD rentals, music stores, Internet caf├ęs, and even gaming arcades." Oh, expertise in being Internet cafes and gaming arcades. I guess I missed that class in library school. Maybe my library school just wasn't hip enough.

And what's the appeal for the patrons? "People are realizing how much money they can save their family, not going to a video rental store or even buying DVDs but instead renting them for a week for free," said a video librarian. Hmm, I wonder if they could save any money for their family by lowering their taxes by, say, reducing library taxes. I for one don't want to subsidize video arcades. That's what we have malls for.

The danger is that if libraries don't "move with the times," that is, become something else other than libraries, they'll close. "Library officials do not have to look far to see what happens when towns decide their services have become irrelevant. Last summer, libraries in Saugus and Bridgewater, which had relied mostly on books, were on the verge of being shut down and were forced to reduce their hours." Better to do anything to get people through the door than educate the people to safeguard order and liberty. Hey, let's have dance parties! Yay! People like to dance!

"It's cool that we have activities other than reading books at the library now," said Leon Shaw, 15, panting after a particularly difficult Dance Dance Revolution pirouette in one of the library's basement rooms last week. "More libraries should do this." Finally, libraries are "cool." And reading books is so boring compared to dancing. Now dancing, that's important! Reading isn't very important. Let's not try to get the kids reading, like some foolish librarians want. Let's get them dancing!

As one teen librarian says, "We're not only trying to meet the [patrons'] reading needs but we also want to meet their social and recreational needs. This is where libraries are going." But if they're not reading anyway, why bother to try to meet their reading needs? Why not save money you might have spent on books and buy video games instead? Oh wait, that's what you're already doing. Good job!

I'm glad somebody is finally admitting it. Social and recreational needs. The library as recreation center. Why doesn't the ALA change its mission statement to reflect that this is "where libraries are going"? Here's what the ALA says its mission is:

"The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all."

I'm not sure the ALA accomplishes any part of this mission, but it's definitely time they "move with the times." If they want to support libraries, then they should say they want to improve library and entertainment services to ensure access to entertainment for all. We can all entertain ourselves to death while education, order, and liberty disappear.

I keep hearing that "professional" librarians need master's degrees. Does an MLS now qualify one to run a recreation center? Obviously library "education" needs to change as well. It's already intellectually stultifying, but now library schools should just close down. Buying video games and hosting dance parties isn't professional library work by any stretch of the imagination. So why should libraries hire people with library degrees? What a waste of money.

If librarians want a good way to deprofessionalize themselves and completely convert themselves to clerks, what better way than hosting dance parties and staying fully stocked with DVDs? You don't need a master's degree to work at Blockbuster. You don't need a master's degree to run a recreation center. Important as these jobs might be, they don't require even the laughable education an MLS provides. So public libraries should save themselves the money that might be spent hiring so-called "educated," "professional" librarians, which is ironic since it's obvious that librarians are "moving with the times" not because people need more "free" entertainment, but because otherwise the libraries will close down and librarians will lose their jobs.

The Commonwealth requires the entertainment of the people as the safeguard of librarian jobs.

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny, I was just reading about this somewhere else. I think public libraries are asking themselves why they exist and are having trouble answering the question. But expecting the ALA to be proactive? Really.

Josh said...

"Oh, expertise in being Internet cafes and gaming arcades. I guess I missed that class in library school. Maybe my library school just wasn't hip enough."

Yeah, I now wish I'd taken that class in selecting Comfy Chairs as well.

contrarian said...

Libraries have also become alternatives to adult book stores. Perverts don’t have to go to stores anymore to view porn. It’s entertaining to look at porn in the library and it saves the perverts from having to buy it in a store. I’m so glad libraries are providing this service too.

Brent said...

I don't agree with your comment that it is unprofessional to do "fun" activities for the library. It is a bad argument. It assumes people with an education cannot create fun events. If an instructor has a masters in education, and can't do fun things in the classroom or school, that would be a waste of education. Plus it would be contrary to what they learnt.

I do agree that that the library needs to serve the whole community, and saying it is not your grandmother's library is inane, quite possibly damaging. Maybe a PR class in library school?

I'll admit, I've never been in a library past 7pm on a Friday. If it is not being used by patrons for research, I don't see why an event would be a bad idea at those times. That being said, I'd never participate in it.

Anonymous said...

I believe that interactive media is an art form in itself, and involves the user in a way that movies, books, and TV could never involve a "viewer." It's difficult to articulate, but I'm sure it will be easier to understand in the future.

In that sense, DDR is quite brilliant.

Anonymous said...

This shows me, once again, public libraries and librarians are slipping toward obsolescence, like railroad brakemen and newspaper type setters.

I started in this business in the pre web era, and in that time there was a real need and use for the public library. Most of the time we couldn’t come close to satisfying patron’s information needs or answering reference questions, mainly because then, as now, the librarians were mostly incompetent–in all areas, searching, collection development, and on and on.

But the reality was, if you needed to find information on a given topic, you had to find it in print, and your first crack at that search would be your public library.

The internet’s changed all that. And the notion that the information found on the web isn’t authoritative, or hasn’t been professionally vetted like librarian approved sources is nonsense. Most librarians aren’t qualified to filter or recommend information, and to most library users nowadays it doesn’t matter anyway.

So we’re left with running dance programs for the otherwise feral teenagers, and providing free DVDs and video games. Yes, that’s what we’ve come to. I would make the point that by closing the library, the town’s citizenry would get a tax rebate they could use for any purpose they like, paying for kid’s dance classes, or renting DVDs. But I know the library money would be used to fund unnecessary jobs at the town Department of Public Works and schools, to give low functioning politically connected relatives jobs. The citizens wouldn’t see a dime.

I think what makes more sense is to close the library and create a rec center, with dancing, video games, programs for all ages, internet, and maybe DVD lending. Stop trying to bend a dying or dead institution to a purpose it’s not designed, and create an institution that reflects the community needs.

These absurd School Library Journal articles with statements along the lines of, “if we can just get them in the door, by whatever means possible, maybe one or two will pick up a graphic novel, get hooked on it, realize it’s cool and pass it along to a friend, and maybe that spark will grow to a burning flame of reading,” are as absurd as they come.

Reading books isn’t coming back folks. This generation is killing it, and there’s nothing libraries can do to save it.

Yes, the tech based trasmission of information will evolve from the crude methods we have now into something new we can't imagine, but libraries and librarians won't be a part of it, no matter how loudly they yoo hoo to be involved.

Lola said...

I've checked out the occasional DVD from a library but it has always annoyed me to see the patrons who return 5 movies and check out 5 more. Reading and education are not valued in our society and public libraries are adapting to this reality. Libraries should carry fiction/entertainment titles but it should not be the main focus of their collection development. Activities at the library should encourage users to check out BOOKS on the subject. Ex: Craft activities should display craft books.

Anonymous said...

Ok I'm glad there are a few activities for the teens and under. BUT there should be some connection to literature. Books and periodicals are the lifeblood of a library.

As for the problem of patrons not using the libraries materials, this is not just a public librarian problem. I've just reviewed my stats for the past FY and by far the greatest usaage is computers.
Privateer6

Talking Books Librarian said...

It seems like some library schools are now offering courses on some of the topics you mention that are not so library related, like gaming, DDR, etc... plus, I think we're seeing more of these topics at library conferences and in continuing education opportunities for librarians. The face of "librarianship" may indeed be changing?!?

Bunny Watson said...

You know you're fighting a losing battle when organizations like NITLE are joining the mix. Just take a look at the upcoming conference at Bryn Mawr: Gaming and Teaching: Virtual Environments for Liberal Education. And NITLE is a fairly well-known academic library organization. What hope do the public libraries have?

j- said...

Most of the public librarians I've known and worked with are the type that wouldn't know an existential threat if it stalked them for six weeks in the open, slowly crept up on them in a brightly lit room and started gnawing at their throats--so this doesn't surprise me.

These same people apply their moronic & suicidal logic to national defense and international relations, too [so they're not just endangering their own livelihood but also attempting to the same to everyone's lives], which is why so many of them are members of SANE or International A.N.S.W.E.R. or Greenpeace or Amnesty International, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

I graduated from library school this past April not realizing the dire state of library schools and librarianship in general. This was a big career change for me and I did not do as thorough a job of vetting the profession as needed. With that said, I don't want to run gaming, dance or video parties. If I did, I would have been an event planner and skipped grad school.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why libraries offering dvds and non traditional programming is such a big deal. We should be applauding libraries for bringing young adults in, especially adolescent males. How is DDR any different than the old men playing cards or people playing Magik or whatever- they're all games that are serving the recreational needs of patrons. Isn't the purpose of libraries to offer free resources (computers, books, magazines, video games, dvds, cds) to the public?

Oh and the comment- "Oh, expertise in being Internet cafes and gaming arcades. I guess I missed that class in library school. Maybe my library school just wasn't hip enough."

I took those classes. They're called Programming and Public Libraries. Every ALA conference I've attended in the past 3 years has encouraged these ideas.

I'm sure people threw a fit when computers and computer catalogs became the norm in libraries, but the libraries didn't suffer.

The world's not going to end just because a bunch of teens are playing video games in a library.

The optimist in me believes that at least some of these gamers will become life long library users.

Anonymous said...

What do librarians do best? Maybe they should figure that out and just stick with the Japanese model of refinement and improvement.

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with most of what you're saying. But if I see one more article or press release about how print is obsolete, I'll scream.

I work in a library in a medium-sized town in the middle of nowhere. We check out lots of DVDs, yes, but books on all kinds of subjects are still flying off the shelves. Barnes and Nobles are still packed with book-buyers, and every time I'm on public transit in any larger city, well over half the riders are reading books. So what's the deal with this "nobody reads" obsession?

Okay, my theory is that it's a point of view problem. Nobody ever thought libraries were supposed to compete with pizza places and video arcades before, and now, apparently, somebody does think that. I'm betting the print circulation at many libraries is higher than it ever was. Because it's not like libraries were flooded with teen readers twenty years ago. It was okay to have an important resource for people who needed it, whether or not it was as busy as a nightclub on a Saturday night...

Anonymous said...

People who use the library for informational, educational, recreational, and social needs are relevant. Users of Dance, Dance Revolution may be learning new skills, having fun with their friends and sharing an experience. Isn't that an educational experience too?

Anonymous said...

I ponder but three things:

How to keep up the aura of being saviors of information when the job is renting DVD's and hosting dance parties?

Aren't video games politically incorrect? I mean, they involve guns and shooting--we can't have that!

Lastly, what about those patrons who do want to read or research? Kind of hard to carry on in depth thought when there's a Thump-Thump dance session going on.

I really doubt libraries could spin this around into something good such as a "cultural rec centers." As for the people saying it's great and why can't we see that.....weren't you saying the same thing just last week about Web 2.0?

I say fuse the two, drill some holes in Johnny's head, plant some electrodes and wire him into the dance machine so he can experience it all virtually. And for those worrying it might cause brain damage---trust me, you won't notice.

Scott Douglas said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with libraries doing things a bit difference, but sometimes I get the feeling libraries aren't even trying. Anyone work for a library that has a film discussion group, but not a book discussion group?

Anonymous said...

If you've had the wonderful experience to attend/watch a video game program at a library, you'd see material displayed related to video games. There's plenty of materials to push during a video game program, such as: books about cheat codes, how to create video games, gaming magazines, and fiction. Just because a teen is playing a video game doesn't correlate to a nonreader. How is a craft program different from video game program?

Furthermore, in the past, many libraries would only buy educational VHS then came Blockbuster and libraries became even un-cool than before. Why do librarians wait for huge companies to think of innovative ideas to bring people in?

Anonymous said...

Shorter AL,

I'm old and cranky. Loud noises and children scare me. These durn kids a-runnin' things now don't know how to have fun. Vic Damone -- now that was fun.

It's ALA's fault my hip hurts. No, I won't give you your ball back.

Anonymous said...

You're not just annoyed, you're also supporting every stereotype that innovative librarians are working against. The Boston Public Library does and should "require the education of the people". But, as a librarian and information professional you should be the first to realize and argue that education comes from more than just books. Familairty with technology and Information literacy is just as important as comprehension of the written word, and as nearly all important interactions happen online. To apply for a job an applicant needs and email address, an online application, and an Internet connection. While this might not be a problem for you, as an Internet savvy annoying blogger, for many people this can be a large obstacle. And this is why it's important to have video games in libraries - because children and teens and adults can skills acquired from video games and transfer them to another skill set. Why should education not be fun?! Because your grandmother didn't have fun at the library? Annoyed Librarian, if you are so dedicated to the library of your grandmother's days, why don't you do us all a favor. Put down your blog and pick up your 3x5 index card.

AL said...

You're just so earnest. Thanks for reading! "Education comes from more than just books," blah blah blah "familiarity with technology" blah blah blah "to apply for a job" blah blah blah. And what does any of this have to do with Dance Dance Revolution? Are they going to apply for a job as dancers? Is that what you're saying?

Anonymous said...

We have kids at our library who use the computers for nothing but internet games. They don't have a clue about using the internet for anything else. Yeah, they're really developing some transferable skills there. Information literacy blooms from constant use of the Cartoon Network site!!

Anonymous said...

But when the kids are waiting patiently and quietly in line for their turn at the techno thumping, they might see a book on one of the shelves, and they might take it down, and might open it, and might start to read it, and might want to check it out so they can take it home and finish it. That's what we call MIGHTY LIBRARIANSHIP.

---Kurt

Anonymous said...

What's with the annoying "blah, blah, blah" response? Oh, it's the annoying librarian speaking. If they become dancers as a result of Dance Dance Revolution, then that answers your question. It's educational, positive, and fun library programming for teens.

Anonymous said...

My library is located in a small, urban style town, on a busy main street. For the last two hours, since school let out, kids have been swarming in and around the library like crazed weasels. The only time they sit still is to play on the computers.

Yeah, the library, with all its books and enlightenment really serves their needs, thank goodness it's here with us to guide it and them.

Anonymous said...

You know what another meaning for "public" is? "Lowest Common Denominator".

My library system does this stuff. It drives me up the wall, and I'm counting down the days until I can get a position in an academic library.

AL said...

What's with the annoying "blah, blah, blah" response? Oh, it's the annoying librarian speaking."

Annoying librarian, indeed. You're so clever! Yawn. Can't you at least try to think of a witty insult? Perhaps you've been playing Dance Dance Revolution too often and your brain has melted.

"If they become dancers as a result of Dance Dance Revolution, then that answers your question. It's educational, positive, and fun library programming for teens."

I can't tell if you're putting me on with this or if you're foolish enough to believe it. If they become dancers, it answers my question? I don't often engage in ad hominem in the comments, but since you started it, I'll go along with the game. If you think this answers any of my questions, I'm not sure you're bright enough to carry on a conversation on the topic. To have an intelligent conversation, there have to be at least two intelligent people, not just me pointing out how foolish you are.

Anonymous said...

Sharing information and handling constructive criticism may require an open mind. What is terrible about dancing in the library?

AL said...

What is "educational" about dancing in the library?

Anonymous said...

To apply for a job an applicant needs and email address, an online application, and an Internet connection. While this might not be a problem for you, as an Internet savvy annoying blogger, for many people this can be a large obstacle. And this is why it's important to have video games in libraries

Am I missing something? How does playing video games translate into a learned skill in filling out an employment application? Those must be some really uncool games at the libraries......

And YES! Let's dance at the library! Silly people, as long as it breaks a stereotype and isn't something we've done before, it must be good!

So Get DOWN and BOOGIE! What? They don't do that anymore, what kind of dancing is popular......you're kidding right?

Anonymous said...

Greater Lickspit Community Library

Monday Calendar

8-8:30 AM Yoga

8:30-9 AM Free Movie Short

9-10 AM Macaroni Art

10-12 AM Web 2.0
(Virtual attendance only)

12-1 PM Lunch
(Cooking Lessons!)

1-2 PM Free Form Interpretive Art

3-4 PM Teen Frenzy Hour (Adults not allowed)

4-5 PM Video Game Shootout (Followed by Non-Violence Seminar)

5-6 PM Dinner
(With Chef Teasdale)

6-6:15 PM Book Reading
(If any interest)

j- said...

*To apply for a job an applicant needs and email address, an online application, and an Internet connection. While this might not be a problem for you, as an Internet savvy annoying blogger, for many people this can be a large obstacle. And this is why it's important to have video games in libraries*

Yep, playing arcade or console games has readied so many people for productive lives as working members of society.

*My library system does this stuff. It drives me up the wall, and I'm counting down the days until I can get a position in an academic library*

Out of the frying pan and into a slightly less uncomfortable cooking implement. Make sure your academic library doesn't have anything that would attract undergrads...or library school students as neither of these groups is very mature or scholarly.

*Greater Lickspit Community Library

Monday Calendar*

Anon, you left out "Bumfights", "Impromptu Ron Paul Rally" and "Truck stop shower time" from your schedule.

TJPaladin said...

AL you have a great point. Yet, we shouldn't throw out the babies with the bath water.

It does seem that so many of these Teen/Children's Dept's have had lots of "mission creep".

The Activities should be there to "promote the collection".

If they have a collection of Popular Movies - for the purpose of exposing patrons to "Pop Culture Literacy" - then have a movie night.

If they have a collection of Video Games and/or Video Game industry related materials - then yes they can have a Video Game event.

"To promote the collection"

If the library has a Multi-Purpose Community Center room - it can and should be used as a Community Center -
+ Video Game Nights
+ Dance Classes
+ Pottery
+ Yoga
+ Arts & Crafts

Youth Librarians do need to remember the difference between "Library Collection related activities" and "Community / Rec Center Activities"

Do our Youth Librarians need special training in "education" "child psychology"

How about "FBI background checks"
"Approved with a good moral character"

Once a Youth Librarian starts playing the role of Youth Center activity coordinator and counselor then they've gone too far.

We already know that most libraries already abdicate any responsibility for the children.

JC said...

I am a public librarian who loves her job. Imagine that! I work in a medium -sized library which offers a wide variety of programming and materials in order to meet the needs of the whole community. Isn't that our purpose? I think so, we need to meet each and every person where they are and if that means a gaming event, then so be it. Our library is full every day with teens... yes, many of them are on the computer, but they are in the building which gives our teen librarian the opportunity to interact with them and provide them with the other materials and information we have. Hopefully our library is not only my grandmother's library, but my dad's, my children's, and the grandchildren's (which I don't have yet)!

AL said...

"offers a wide variety of programming and materials in order to meet the needs of the whole community. Isn't that our purpose?"

Is your purpose to "meet the needs of the whole community"? That's the question. Are you meeting the needs of the whole community now? I doubt it. Should your purpose be to meet every need? Are you really there to be all things to all people in the community? Then you will fail.

Scott Douglas said...

What's educational about Dance Dance Revolution? You certainly have to use your brain a lot more then a game like say Halo...and they excercise. Another benefit to offering this to teens is it's putting them in a room where they have to socialize with real humans, as opposed to spending hours on the libraries computers sending IMs, or posting comments on their friends MySpace page.

My library has the game, and I hate it, but that's because I hate teens. It does seem to be what the community wants (being in between two large h.s.), and the parents absolutely love it; they drop the older kids off in the room, and then take the younger ones to the kids room to let them read books. A lot of these parents had not been to the library in years...they only came because their teens asked them to take them to play video games.

Libraries aren't the monopoly they were 50 years ago. I think it's something libraries can do to break out of the traditonal "ssh" stereotype.

AL said...

You use your brain more than in Halo? Well, that changes everything.

Scott Douglas said...

al, my point exactly! you don't use your brain much in a game like halo. but it's sort of an elitist attitude to say you don't use your brain to play games...there is some cognitive and critical thinking involved (granted, it’s not rocket science but neither is circulating a copy of John Grisham). the simple fact is games have become a language to many teens, and a library that wants teens not to, at the very least, consider using gaming as a tool is kidding themselves. my library has had weekly game days for about a year; sense then we have seen are teen book circulation grow by over double...is this because of games? who knows. but are teen population has more then tripled. and some of these teens do actually stay and get books.

Anonymous said...

What's educational about Dance Dance Revolution? You certainly have to use your brain a lot more then a game like say Halo...and they excercise.

Hmmm....I remember Halo had a library level that seemed to go on forever and ever. But heck, mentally challenging games have been things more like Myst and Syberia. Good old shooters like Far Cry, Deus Ex, and F.E.A.R. have usually balanced puzzles with all out automatic fire mayhem. Great for honing those twitch reflexes.

But more to a point, Halo (the first one) is about six years old and old news. Who's to say Dance Dance Revolution won't be in the same boat in a few years? And I'm someone who lived through the Disco era when it was supposed to "Live Forever," and sadly my mind has borne the scars of a calypso themed guitar shuffle riff ever since.

Libraries may find themselves cacheting out to become short lived dance centers, and then having to re-tool a short time later. I say go for basketball, nothing like trying to read to a good Globetrotter dribble.

Anonymous said...

"Libraries may find themselves cacheting out to become short lived dance centers."

Well last time I looked Dance Dance Revolution was less than a hundred bucks. Maybe in a year it won't be popular, but you're only out a hundred bucks. Let's say during that year it is popular and you do every week. That's less then 10 bucks a week. By the time kids tire of it, then you can buy a new game.

The first Halo isn't popular, but the third one just broke records! Millions of teens are still in love with this sci-fi character...he's become the post-modern Alice and Wonderland...kids who play the game go on to read the chapter book.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with being an elitist? I have never understood that as a relevant attack. Damn right I am an elitist - I don't want to be ruled by an ignorant "entertaining ourselves to death" mob. I am sick to death of populism - both liberal and conservative (and right now, the charge of "elitism" is mostly likely going to come from conservative quarters - we elitists actually believe in facts and evidcence and opinions only being wroth something if supported by facts, not the gut feelings of "the people"). The whole point of a library is you give regular folks the tools and materials they may need to JOIN the elite if they are too poor to have that sort of access form other areas. If you arent' delivering materials that will make your patrons more knowledgeable, more informed, better cricital thinkers, and more aware of the issues in the world than before they came to you, what is the point? Certainly not to encourage them to become furhter mired in entertainment. Nothing wrong with entertainment, but that isn't a library's job. If folks don't want what libraries do anymore, so what if they close? I have other skills. I am certainly an elitist - I want my doctor to kow a good bit more than I do about medicine. I want my poliical leaders to be better informed about the world than I am. I want scientists working on serious problems to have a methodology that is rigorous and perhaps inaccessible to the rabble. And I want libraries to exist so those so inclined can aspire to join the elite.

Anonymous said...

If your proud of your being an elistist why do you post as anonymous! And you don't have to be an elistist to be smart. Nor to you have to be smart to be an elistist. To be an elistist you merely need to be arrogant!

Leelu said...

AL, are you also against fiction in libraries?

Gilbert Bland said...

There is a time and place for thumping music, for porn, for video games and teenagers dancing. Most of them should be far away from any decent people, preferably behind several sets of twelve foot high, electrified barbed wire fences. Libraries are where you should go to escape this idiocy and get your battery charged reading something demonstrating that we are not just monkeys with car keys. My advise to teenagers:
If you want to dance do it on the end of a rope
If you want to subject others to bass thundering disposable noise take it to Gitmo
If you want to watch humans have sex with goats please remember the children in the library who may some day want to join the 4H. Go home and commit your "daily suicide" and get it the hell over with!
People who used to think little characters on a screen were shooting at them were placed in ice cold baths and restrained. Your video game will not protect you from this return to the old values.
Compare Huckleberry Finn to South Park and get a clue.
Lastly, don't ever come into my department unless you want to open the biggest can of librarian whoop-ass you have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Haven't you ever seen Footloose? Dancing can lead to liberty.

Arlene said...

Libraries were about only books when books were the only media around. Then came records, and oh my gosh, rock and roll! Cassette tapes! Videos! My point is this kind of intelligentsa protest has been going on since the 19th century and libraries have always changed and grown with the times. I heard it when I started in libraries 17 years ago - "We'll become Blockbuster!" But we didn't, did we? We need to continue to expand the definition of libraries if we want to continue exsisting. If you only want to work with books, go to an academic library or bookstore. Public libraries are for the public and yes that includes teens (some who will never be readers, no matter what, but who will come for video gaming or other non traditional programs) and that includes the lowest common denominator who will play poker on our terminal. Do they not deserve to be served by their tax dollars?

Brent said...

What kind of dance applies the skills of DDR? I know it isn't flamenco.

I do get concern though that libraries are stealing business if they do things like this regularly. Libraries should have only videos that a local store doesn't have. Libraries shouldn't sell coffee. Libraries shouldn't become an arcade. Libraries shouldn't give away porn for free.

Anonymous said...

The elitist either can’t spell or is a lazy writer, probably the latter. I don’t believe there is such a thing as elitism anymore because there really are no higher or transcendent benchmarks to aspire to in a democracy. Instead of elitist think of yourself as rabble extraordinaire; you’re not just one of many, but an outstanding member of the crowd, not necessarily because you are outstanding, but because you think you’re outstanding, which is what counts in the end.

Now, doesn’t that feel better?

-Soren Faust

Anonymous said...

Oh, Please. Many libraries using DDR incorporate it into programs for health education. If you think we're going to cure diabetes by plunking a kid down at a desk and making them read a library book, you really are dreaming. For an example of a holistic program health education program in a library that uses a variety of methods, including DDR, see here.

Ollie Cromwell said...

Haven't you ever seen Footloose? Dancing can lead to liberty.

Dancing and liberty, like Kevin Bacon-dancing star of Footloose have become old, wrinkled and exhausted. The "new puritanism" is the hip thing now. Dancing first, then we get rid of theater. If libraries had ducking stools for those who would talk on a cell phone in a reading room we would all be better off!

faithless minion said...

This thread seems to be sharpening the distinction between a librarianship focused on the public library context, and a librarianship focused on an academic context (among others). I think Arlene has it encapsulated about right:

"We need to continue to expand the definition of libraries if we want to continue existing. If you only want to work with books, go to an academic library or bookstore. Public libraries are for the public ... and that includes the lowest common denominator who will play poker on our terminal. Do they not deserve to be served by their tax dollars?"
I am trying to hold simultaneously in mind this situation in Boston, and the recent discussion about Jackson County, Oregon. It's not exactly dissonant, but it's an odd harmony at best. A skyscraper chord for sure.

Susan said...

The only thing more annoying than librarians whining about librarian stereotypes are librarians
whining about how adding anything other than books implies the death of the library. DDR is just a
game, not the end of civilization; don't get your panties in a twist. I checked the shelves--the books are still there.

I agree the article was over-the-top breathless, but that's just the Boston Globe's "balance" for their
reporter's "homely librarian" comment (same newspaper).

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree -- I can't imagine that teens today aren't reading, but they are learning in different formats - through videogames, the internet and downloadable audio.

I hardly think the library is obsolete yet, nor are we a rec. center, as some have proclaimed.
If librarians didn't go to library school to be "event planners," etc., then my advice is to go work at a corporate library, school library, or academia. Maybe you'll like those places better.

Good luck!

I have found that humans largely dislike change. We librarians arrived into the internet land kicking and screaming, and I'm sure there will be a lot more chagnes in the coming years.

Technology has brought lots of changes to other industries as well -- look at travel agents.
Get used to it folks!

Anonymous said...

First,

There is third option to explain my typos - I am legally blind. But thanks for asking.

Second, did I consider myself a member of the elite? I said I am someone who knows enough to recognize the best work of humanity when I see it and don't have to indulge the resentment inherent in the concept of elitism (which among the left has crucially divorced itself from any conception of economic inequality as a barrier to folks having access to higher aspirations than video games) which seethes at imagining there might actually be people smarter than me and that the bland entertainments I use to divert myself might not be as exalted as those of others.

Ever wonder why we are in a country where 50% of our population believes in creationism and thinks Darwin and all those silly biologists are just a bunch of elitists who are biased against the average folks? Ever wonder why so many folks who opine authoritatively about the Iraq War can't find Iraq on a map or tell me anything about the history of the Middle East? It is because we have belittled the notion of any sort of intellectual elite - creeping liberal relativism and celebrating mediocrity has brought us to the point where an braying jackass with an opinion is considered worthy of "equal time" (and if I opine on matters without recourse to evidence from my betters, I include myself among the braying jackasses).

Libraries should be run by gatekeepers - I expect professionals in any field to know a bit more than me and not to always indulge my lowest and most banal impulses (which are legion).

Anonymous said...

Many libraries using DDR incorporate it into programs for health education.

That does not burn enough calories! DAILY sustained aerobic exercise at 70% of one's maximum hr for at least 30 mins is the way to get fit. In fact, didn't the surgeon general recently bump that up to 60 minutes a day? I don't care if some quack doctor endorses this program.

Furthermore, most librarians are the last group of people that should be dishing out fitness advice. I see many of you at conferences mindlessly eat whatever is in front of you, etc.

Really, the heart of implementing DDR is to appear relevant and "cool". It is also possibly to indulge the implementor's love of gaming. Yes, while people like me in college had plenty of social interaction and were engaged with a learning environment, you were holed up in your dorm gaming. Hooray, you have won.

If librarians didn't go to library school to be "event planners," etc., then my advice is to go work at a corporate library, school library, or academia.

I would also add if you don't like being micromanaged, smelling body odor, wearing holiday themed clothing,using a lot of !!!!!, playing with Publisher, and indulging your patrons' stupidity on a daily basis then avoid public libaries. They are the death knell of librarianship. If you love kids become a media specialist. There is a shortage in many states!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for clarifying your condition and I apologize if I offended you. Concerning my snide comment to your elitism, I myself have been called an elitist and in some ways probably am. My main point, however, is a lament more than a celebration and its import is that we live in a culture that by its very definition and default must celebrate the vulgar over the refined, i.e. the masses, common. I think in many ways what you are experiencing as a terrible banality is exactly what many 19th century philosophers were lamenting when they understood what an American democracy would do to the aristocratic tradition and other transcendent things and at the same time what the effect of a diminishing God in the face of a rising scientific reverence would do to western culture where now the individual is celebrated above all else. I'm not stating this, btw, because I think God is great, but I do believe that thinkers such as Nietzsche knew that a confluence of democracy and science would kill the potential of anything having higher purpose or the necessary benchmarks rooted in something greater than oneself and nature to distinguish bad from good, such as high & low art. In short, I was being perhaps too subtly ironic in my response to your response.

-Soren Faust

Anonymous said...

re That does not burn enough calories! <<

Oh, fer cryin out loud. It's a teaching tool, not a gym. This is exactly what librarians should be doing. The long predicted wave of retirement of the old cranky generation of librarians is long overdue.

Anonymous said...

Oh, fer cryin out loud. It's a teaching tool, not a gym. This is exactly what librarians should be doing. The long predicted wave of retirement of the old cranky generation of librarians is long overdue.

Cranky? Old? You are sorely deluded. I am fairly young, but lack the childish outlook of my peers. Also, many of those old cranky librarians (gah, could you be any more envious?) are not retiring anytime soon. You will have to wait until about 2018. I hope you have a decent job. It's too bad you do not have the benefit of working with some boomer librarians. Some of them are excellent colleagues.

The fact that you had to resort to assuming I am "cranky and old" is such a cheap shot and a convenient way to cover up the fact you don't know anything about fitness education.

Without divulging too much let me tell you I know a lot about human kinetics. DDR is a fad. What does it teach about lifelong fitness? Nothing. It does nothing to develop capillary beds which promote efficient circulation rest. It does nothing to ward off vascular difficulties that often strike people in middle age. I could go on. You are better off sponsoring some walking programs or activities to get kids to play outside. Non-purposeful exercise works pretty well.

Why don't we use Guitar Hero to teach kids how to play guitar? Because the game does not teach you how to form chords. Same principle applies to DDR.

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious...how many of you anti-Dance Revolution librarians are Young Adult librarians?

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, Guitar Hero doesn't even require the fingering of real chords!! I was exposed to this inane game by a vendor at a state library conference this weekend. Perfect commentary on modern society - a video game to help you feel like you are playing an instrument without all that elitist learning of chords and such.

AL said...

"I'm just curious...how many of you anti-Dance Revolution librarians are Young Adult librarians?"

If by "young adult" you are using the usual librarian's ridiculous euphemism for "old child," then I don't think "young adults" should be librarians at all.

Anonymous said...

no, by "Young Adult" librarian, I meant the librarians who are trying to make a difference in the lives of teens.

obviously you aren't a YA librarian, AL...I think your just a bitter one!

Anonymous said...

I think it's fair to let the teen librarians speak. I'll admit that I'm a cranky adult service librarian. I have no problem doing absolutely no programming for teens. But I think it's fair to hear these librarians opinion.

So to that other comment...are there any librarians out there who work in youth services that don't want to see video games in the library?

Anonymous said...

re: So to that other comment...are there any librarians out there who work in youth services that don't want to see video games in the library?<<

The overwhelming majority of public libraries support gaming of one sort or another. See Nicholson, Scott(2007). The Role of Gaming in Libraries: Taking the
Pulse. White paper here.

Anonymous said...

re: Without divulging too much let me tell you I know a lot about human kinetics. DDR is a fad. What does it teach about lifelong fitness? >>

You're just determined to misconstrue. A number of health professionals disagree. As a librarian, you should how how to do the research, and what you might and might not expect from incorporating DDR into a comprehensive program of diet and exercise education. See for example, Playing to Win: Video Games and the Fight against Obesity.Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 106, Issue 2, Pages 188-189 D. Brown (from your favorite Elsevier database), or the following article Video dance game to be used in schools: West Virginia taps Konami's system to help fight obesity. According to this article, "Gail Woodward-Lopez, associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Weight and Health, said games like Dance Dance Revolution should not be the only tool in fighting obesity. But if implemented alongside traditional physical education methods, it has a great chance of
motivating children to exercise."

TJPaladin said...

No one seems to be addressing the point that

Young Adult Librarians are intended to build and promote a "collection" of materials.

DDR - and Halo may be adequate in a Videogame collection -- that's great - I play both of them ;-).

But, why are librarians hosting events that verge on the activities at the "Y" or Church Youth groups?

I know of a library that hosted a "Teen Sleep Over"

- How does this promote the collection?

- Why should a parent trust their kids overnight at the Library?

ALA and Public Libraries have made it very clear they do not wish to be "parents in absentia"

Again I ask - did these Youth Librarians have FBI background checks? Certification to deal with Teens and children.

The Library is not a Church Youth Group. It is not a Community Rec center.

Librarians are not Youth Counselors.

A DDR or Halo activity may be a fine event in the Youth Department - "To promote the collection"

Not an event onto itself.

This is Librarians talking out of both sides of their mouths.

They claim to "want to change the lives of teens"

To be positive influences and serve the needs of their young patrons.......

Yet - when books, videos and other controversial materials are challenged the Librarians claim no responsibility for the mental or moral development of their patrons.

Would someone please square these ideas for me?

mdoneil said...

YA librarians want to make a difference in the lives of teens... or whatever nonsense it was that one of anons said.

When has a teen ever given a damn about anything other than themselves.

I have made a difference in the lives of several teens, but not when I was a librarian - when I was a cop. The Juvenile Assessment Center was quite disturbing to all that I took there - it was just like jail and they thought that they were going to someplace fun.


DDR in the library, nice to have that budget money.

Anonymous said...

"offers a wide variety of programming and materials in order to meet the needs of the whole community. Isn't that our purpose?"

The problem is that the libraries are NOT meeting the needs of the whole community. I need a quiet place to study. I can't do that with all the teens and kids running around and the space taken up with all the dance, art, political, etc. programs. The computers are singing, making sounds like gunshots, and talking from youtube videos. I would like to read some more newspapers and magazines but the librarian told me the money wasn’t’ there because they had to buy new computers. I'm not a student so the collage library is not available to me, and it has the same problems with noise. I would like a clean bathroom to use as needed, but it isn't there because the kids and bums trashed it.

No, the local libraries are not meeting this community members needs. Am I ticked off? Yes.

Snarky Librarian said...

TJPaladin @ 2:47 am, I can assure you that it is a law in my state that everyone who works or volunteers with children in any capacity is required to get background checks. This includes everyone who works in a public library, even those who don't directly work with children such as administrators and catalogers. This was the case in the mid-western state I worked in previously and I believe it to be relatively common, although I do not of course know the laws of each state.

Second, I think your assumptions that programming should promote the collection are valid only depending on the mission of the library. In our (poor, urban) community, recreational options are limited for most people, especially teens and kids, and the mission statement of our library specifically states that we provide educational and recreational resources to our community. Thus, a teen sleepover directly supports the library mission of being a recreational resource. Theoretically activities at the sleepover could also support the collection (book trivia, scavenger hunts requiring use of the OPAC, craft activities using books in the collection, and fairy tale charades are all activities we've done) although those activities aren't necessary for the sleepover to still support the library's mission.

Am I suggesting that all libraries should do sleepovers and DDR competitions? No. What I do believe is that libraries should be as responsive to the needs of their communities as possible. Many people have complained about people viewing porn on public computers and the inability to find a quiet place to read or study, and I completely agree that libraries with those issues are failing at serving the majority of their community. However, that doesn't mean that all libraries who offer nontraditional programs are wrong. Balance is possible.

At our library, we take both the educational and recreational parts of our mission seriously. We offer private study rooms, quiet areas, research databases, books, and reference staff, as well as educational programs for kids, teens, and adults. We also offer a separate teen space for people to hang out and chat with their friends, board games, movie nights, craft programs, sleepovers, and video game tournaments. We have rules that are enforced even in our louder areas. Perverts trolling for young girls, people viewing porn, kids running randomly through the library, smelly people - all are made to leave.

And finally, in almost every library I'm aware of, the DDR programs, video game tournaments, teen sleepovers, etc. are held either in a special program room or after-hours, and are generally paid for through special grants. Our teen programming, for example, is supported entirely through grant funding and is exclusively done either after the library is closed or in our teen department. Do other libraries do those types of things in the middle of the adult non-fiction collection using funds that otherwise would have been spent on books or staff? If the answer to that question is yes, then I completely understand the hostility to nontraditional library programs.

TJPaladin said...

Snarky,

Thanks for addressing my concerns.

It is something of a comfort that background checks are done.


And that at your library you have separate areas to conduct the activities.


I understand that you are doing your job the best that you can.

And that you are trying to uphold your Library's Mission =

"... I think your assumptions that programming should promote the collection are valid only depending on the mission of the library. "


This is where I believe some of the problem lies.

Who wrote in that the mission of a Public library was to provide for entertainment and recreation ?

I understand that it is there - but I disagree that it should be there.

- Not that you or any particular YA librarian isn't doing what they believe their job is - but why is this their job ?

----

I still have a concern about the idea that YA librarians should be "watching the children" when most public libraries don't accept responsibility for such.

When I leave my child with the Church youth group for a weekend retreat I can be sure they won't be exposed to Rated-R movies or controversial materials.

When I leave my child at the local Rec Center for a fencing lesson I know that is all they will get. And Then I come back in an hour to pick them up.

I can't exactly trust what my child will see or be exposed to at the Public Library - especially when I know that the Public Library specifically states that it takes no responsibility for what a child can access from the collection.

I'm sure many/most YA Librarians are kind, well meaning folks, but I would like to see them in the capacity as experts in the field of Youth Literature and yes even Movies and possibly Video Games.

Not as program directors for youth activities. As a means in themselves.

Thank you for taking you work seriously and trying to help the Teens.

I'm sorry that we have a difference in opinions about exactly what your job "should" be.

But, I know you don't have that choice right now - you must do the job set before you.

So I support you, that you should do it in the best way that you can.

God Be with you.

TJP

Anonymous said...

A number of health professionals disagree.

So what? Has the study been published by Human Kinetics? Furthermore, I'll wait until a study is published in JAMA, Pediatric Exercise Science, The Journal of Exercise Physiology, etc. Yes, any movement, if one is not used to actually moving from point A to point B will make a difference, but I'll believe it when I read a longitudinal study.

Librarians are so gullible! You point me to a one page article in a journal. A journal that doesn't even focus on exercise science, nonetheless. You know what, fine, you are soooo right. I'm sure I'll see you waddling around at some conference sometime or another. Keep playing DDR, but don't bitch when you go through the "change" and acquire that lovely pooch.


And this is why it's important to have video games in libraries - because children and teens and adults can skills acquired from video games and transfer them to another skill set. Why should education not be fun?!

Yes, we should demand to be entertained to death. Video games should supplant reading and vector calculus. Bring on the eternal adolescent!

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I am a bit tired about all this talk about video games and teens. Just offer video games and be done with it. I think there is another need not previously addressed by libraries. A lot of women have a serious fashion need that simply is not accessible to those with a low to moderate income. I think public libraries should acquire designer shoes and purses to loan for a period of two weeks. Yes, you run the risk of people never returning these items, but aren't your citizens worth the risk. Besides, you can turn delinquent patrons over to a collection agency. This also affords ladies the opportunity to try before you buy. I think it is a win-win situation. Perhaps, libraries should also get in to the business of collecting formal wear. This would be a great marketing strategy to attract teenage girls to the library. There could be YA programs focusing in prom hair and make-up.

Sarah Moffett said...

Well said. It's a terrifying thought to think one of the last venues devoted to reading is shifting its resources.

Snarky Librarian said...

One thing I forgot to add in my previous lengthy missive is that programming does increase circulation at our library. The more programming, the more circ.

TJPaladin, thanks for your thoughtful reply. I suspect that our philosophical ideas about what a library should be may not be terribly far apart. It also sounds like you're the type of parent that I LOVE to see in the library - the type that actually cares about what his/her child is doing.

Finally, a general question. People always talk about porn in libraries - AL mentions it frequently, and several people in the comments have said it as well. Does this really happen? Our computer lab rules clearly state that pornography isn't allowed, and we kick people out for up to 6 months if they violate those rules. Are there honestly libraries that don't have anti-porn rules? I honestly have never been in a library anywhere (and I travel a lot) that had rampant porn-watching.

Feldspar said...

Hi,
You're all right!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps with all the tension and disagreement in the comments area, we can look at the efforts of one group of probable future librarians to find common ground on the issues that separate us as realted in the article below.

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29317

Anonymous said...

Reading this made me "Glad all over".

Anonymous said...

I've caught people playing Solitaire at the public computers. When I asked them to get up and let someone who really needs a computer use it, they claimed that the other librarian told them to do this, to "practice using the mouse." Can you imagine! Playing a useless game and claiming it was educational! What kind of fool do they take me for?

Talking Books Librarian said...

This article seems to relate to this discussion as well....

"Concert in a public library? What's next, wings and draft beer?"

Anonymous said...

"Are there honestly libraries that don't have anti-porn rules? I honestly have never been in a library anywhere (and I travel a lot) that had rampant porn-watching."

The ALA does not explicitly forbid it, therefore it is permitted.

TJPaladin said...

Snarky,

In full disclosure I must admit the "my child" is a bit theoretical. Since I currently do not have a child. However, I do have nieces and nephews and have been a Youth minister at my church.

The main point I am trying to get across is to express dissatisfaction and disillusionment with Public libraries and their mission.

After the hoopla surrounding "Banned Books Week" it has become clear to me that Public libraries claim to be "non-partisan" when it comes to controversial materials getting into the hands of children. (Not just straight out Porn)

I've seen YA events promoted at local libraries that don't 'jibe' with my family's philosophical, moral, and religious ideas.

Upon what foundation are these events promoted - if the library claims to be "non-partisan" ?

How can a neutral YA Librarian decide what is a "good" or "bad" event for the kids ?


Yet, when many folks defend Recreational & Entertainment activities they sound as if they are "taking care of the needs of kids".

When it comes children:
- I want a partisan
- I want an adult that will support "community standards"
- I want a person that will shoo kids away from materials that are best left in the Adult section of the library and allow for discretionary lending to children.

It seems that so many YA PL's reject these ideas. So I have no choice than to claim --- er uhm..

... a kind of mission drift that moves dangerously close to hypocrisy.

Either a PL is a place that can take care of a child's Recreational, educational, and entertainment needs in such a way a parent need not worry so much

-- or it should stick to providing neutral access to and expertise in the collection.

Even if the "Library Mission" includes Rec and Entertainment why does it need to use "Librarians" to do the job.

Could the Library hire a "Youth Rec Director" and create a clear guidline for the kinds of activites they should do ? A separate non-librarian that need not claim ALA's neutrality ?

Just a thought ---

I guess I've drifted onto a rambling soap box. I'll get off it now.

Thanks for your comments.
This thread is a bit dead.

TJPaldin

Anonymous said...

Calling it "DDR" gives me the heebie-jeebies. Back in the Cold War days that's how we German-speakers referred to "East Germany."

Do any of your teen library dancers know about that little piece of ancient history?

---Kurt

whlptn said...

What do you mean, "even the laughable education an MLS provides?" I only have an education credential in Library Media, and it was incredibly difficult and rigorous. An MLS must be much more difficult. I have a BA in English (all from Calif state schools)- fun and slightly difficult, a Calif teaching credential in English K12, slightly easier, then I took all the classes for an MA in English, occasionally challenging, getting through some of the reading lists, so I was not prepared for how incredibly difficult library media classes were, at least 10 times, (not figuratively) the work load and level of challenge. 50% drop out rate and with good reason.

AL said...

Hmmm, I'm not sure I want to comment too much. Perhaps "Library Media" classes are harder than library school, or perhaps I'm just better at school, but I certainly found library school to be very easy compared to my previous graduate education, and I'm far from alone in this.

However, if there really is a 50% dropout rate, AND it's because the classes are too difficult (as opposed to too expensive or inconvenient), you might have a case. I can't imagine anyone dropping out of library school because they can't handle the classes (at least intellectually. I can imagine them having difficulty with the boredom and groupwork). I'm always surprised to hear of anyone not getting an A for every class.

j- said...

*Anonymous said...
Calling it "DDR" gives me the heebie-jeebies. Back in the Cold War days that's how we German-speakers referred to "East Germany."*

You should probably take it up with the almost-assuredly Japanese creators of the game.

And just wait for the sequel, Dance Dance Stasi Schweinhund

whlptn said...

Oh, that is so encouraging, because I just couldn't imagine what the MLS classes would be like after that. There was no group work. There was about a 10 page paper due every week and a 50 page paper due every semester. I have heard Fullerton is easier, it was Long Beach State. Well, I am going to think about an MLS! And find some of my old assignments to send you so you will see.

AL said...

No need to send them. If that's what your program was like, you'll find library school a breeze, no matter where you go.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:14 PM - Solitaire is an excellent way for computers novices to learn how to use the mouse. I encourage new users to play solitaire for just that reason. Your co-worker evidentally has experience teaching computer classes.

Anonymous said...

"Does an MLS now qualify one to run a recreation center?"

No, but a Masters in the recreation field does. Hey AL, here's a whole new national association at which you can poke fun:

http://www.nrpa.org

Anonymous said...

The MLS was such a breeze; how could any academic course work related to libraries be otherwise? No body of library literature exists to justify an academic degree.

I can’t imagine writing a ten page paper on any library subject, and contemplating a fifty page one makes my hair hurt. I must have done something along those lines though, as I do have an MLS; it’s on my coffee table under old Chinese food cartons and back issues of Cat Fancy magazine. At least I think it’s there.

Maybe I don’t remember the fifty page papers because the library school period of my life coincided with the birth of my gin and vermouth love affair.

Anonymous said...

Apparently we need the MLS to give us the power to judge our patrons for their lack of a seriousness of purpose when they play solitaire or watch a dvd.

Sj said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AL said...

Watch the language, people.

Anonymous said...

re: Maybe I don’t remember the fifty page papers because the library school period of my life coincided with the birth of my gin and vermouth love affair.<<

Ahh. This explains much.

She thinks she's carrie nation! said...

How about match-making and hair dressing? Library users need these things.

Kennedy said...

???? I thought many of us went into librarianship because of how soothing low expectations can be. You don't have to work too hard, you have time for your hobbies and interests, it's low stress, and you can excel and feel good about yourself without expending too much life force.

Of course the flip side is that the easy work doesn't provide enough gravity to give your life meaning, and your co-workers can be freaky and/or dumb.

But really, how terrible is it if you 1. work at the level of expectation and just chill, and 2. Take a lesson from most of the working class: Find meaning at home, and after work. I don't want to say consider yourselves lucky or anything, but just try to reframe once in a while. You might suffer less.