Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Failure to Report

As longtime readers know, I usually like to give a report on my ALA experiences, primarily consisting of the best places I've eaten and drunk during the conference, the best place to get a martini, that sort of thing. Unfortunately, I can't do that this time, and not because I didn't have at least one very fine martini and some excellent food along the way. No, it turns out I was a bit more public than I normally am. That might not quite be it. I'm always out in public. Only this time I was at more librarian events where the right people might be able to put two and two together and get the Annoyed Librarian. I wined around a lot of other librarians and met some nice newer librarians who made me feel jaded. These fresh librarians and library school students are just so hopeful. Also, sadly, I'm getting to the point where the neophytes look at me with hungry eyes wondering either how they can displace me or how they can use me to further their careers. It'll never happen. Entrenched privileges are only for the few, and I'll fight for mine like a wild cat. I can say that the booze in Philadelphia seemed very expensive for what I got. My hotel bar, which was exquisite, had very expensive drinks. Keep that in mind whenever you stay in that hotel!

One would like to think that while one is away the rest of the library world would stop. After all, it seems like everyone involved in the greater library blogland area goes to conferences. Maybe it's academic librarians, mostly, though. Consider the comment one of my favorite readers, Anonymous, left this weekend on my last post:

"Just remember, not matter what track you take, if you want to make an impact on libraries you had better go into academia.

They are the only ones who ever get published, the only ones who attend conferences regularly (the rest of us are working), and they are the ones who get appointed to committees.

Just remember the real world of librarianship is an ivory tower that has no relationship to the real world.

Don't believe me, take a look at the blogs and listservs and notice that most are not being updated and there are sparse postings because all the real movers and shakers are at midwinter conferences, sucking down martinis."

Anonymous, you might have something there. There sure do seem to be a lot of academic librarians at these conferences. On my committees I'm surrounded by nothing but academic librarians. It's spooky.

But of course the world didn't stop, not even in library blogland. I got back to find the AL had been voted one of the LIS News 10 Blogs to Read in 2008. Among LIS News voters, I was apparently "this year's most popular blogger, by a wide margin." What can I say? Once again, I'd like to thank all the little people whose backs I had to step on during my tumultuous rise to the top. Thank you, little people. But seriously, folks, that was nice. It still surprises me to have so many readers. The only downside, if there is one, is that it's harder to pose as the alternative library blogger when stuff like this happens. I'll pay that price if you keep reading. And then there's the danger that I'm "getting soft," as one of my readers accused me of last week. Perhaps it's my personal life right now that's making me mellow, because I don't feel like I'm getting soft. If that were the case, this would have been a good time to quit the AL. Instead I hope to come out swinging this year. Maybe I just need some new stuff to be annoyed about.

21 comments:

Guardienne of the Tomes said...

Ah, Anonymous. I love that guy. "They are the only ones who ever get published, the only ones who attend conferences regularly (the rest of us are working), and they are the ones who get appointed to committees. Just remember the real world of librarianship is an ivory tower that has no relationship to the real world."

I wish someone had told my boss that getting published is a luxury, and that attending conferences is merely a perk of my job instead of something that I'm supposed to do so I can bring back fabulous ideas and catch the tenure rabbit.

And I understand that helping today's 18 year olds (who can vote, mind you) learn how to sift through information and determine the veracity of claims has nothing to do with the real world. And that my library instruction, collection development, reference work for students and faculty doesn't count as 'work,' too. I should be ashamed of myself for having gone into the plush and undemanding world of academia. I know.

But I started out in public libraries long before my MLS. Long before I left high school, even. And even I have to admit that I don't have the greatness of heart or real librarian skills enough to deal with snotting children, the stinky homeless, and the creepy naked flasher-guy in the stacks. I certainly believe all of these people deserve good service and access...I just recognize my own limitations and know that I should not be the one serving them.

So, please feel free to look down upon me for my shortcomings. If I attend conferences while you are working, Anonymous, it's only because its the price of failure I have to pay. I could be at a place that has no desire to innovate and keep students informed. My bad.

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo.

I am anonymous AND I stll got noticed.

Wow.

I would go on more, but there are books to be shelved.

Dances With Books said...

There will always be annoyances and hypocrisy and so on. Don't you quit on us, for there is still much to be annoyed about.

Actually, the Anonymous academia thing only applies to the academics in the well-funded places with tenure reqs. (which makes me feel sorry for those with the tenure req. in some underfunded place. You have to publish and pay for the privilege? No thanks. I am keeping my professional staff job). I work in academia, and like Guardienne, I have to work for a living (and it does suck they don't count your real work for the tenure), and I don't get paid to go to conferences and blog about the fun in the blog salon or whatever it is those folks do.

On a serious note, it does seem the world sort of stops, or rather the blogging goes mobile as all the "big shots" who are self-important all post their schedules live.Que sera, sera. Anyhow, now we can go back to business as usual, well, until the next big conference.

Anonymous said...

>>Maybe I just need some new stuff to be annoyed about.<<

How about library-hosted duct tape craft events?

Kristen said...

From the perspective of a person in special libraries and thus neutral:

Academic library jobs overall seem to involve the most intellectual strain.

Public library jobs overall seem to involve the most psychological strain.

So arguing over who is putting in more effort gets you into the ever-popular apples/oranges thing.

Hero said...

Welcome back AL! Query. Did anyone mention Mark Steyn at ALA? He's a Canadian author being taken to court for offending Muslims. He could be fined and/or have his book (Amercia Alone) banned in that country. I figure if the ALA can make a statement on Catholic schools in Canada removing His Dark Materials, they could tackle this. Oh wait! What am I thinking? Mark Steyn is a conservative who writers for National Review, so I'm sure the ALA is fine with his work never making it north of the border again.

j- said...

*I could be at a place that has no desire to innovate and keep students informed. My bad.*

Your sentence seemed to get cut off in the ether...your bad what?

/biggest pet peeve of this young century. Is pidgin English how you communicate with "the students" these days?

*Did anyone mention Mark Steyn at ALA? He's a Canadian author being taken to court for offending Muslims.*

Even though Steyn is one of the funniest men alive right now, I'm sure no one at ALA even knows who he is since he's on the other side of the aisle [read: non-socialist, non-appeaser].

And he's lucky insofar as he's only being sued by the Canadian government [they haven't gone full-blown sharia up there yet, have they?]. In most Muslim countries he'd be tossed off a building or suffer an amputation/beheading for "insulting" Muslims/Islam.

Anonymous said...

Wow, if I'm in an an Ivory Tower, I can't see it for all the poo that's thrown down from the top.

waltc said...

Wow. Let's see. I've been published (yes, even in refereed journals). I've been appointed to committees. "Academic librarian"? Never, and I haven't worked in an academic library in almost 29 years--and then as a non-librarian.

Generalizations are frequently amusing but also frequently worthless.

Anonymous said...

"Also, sadly, I'm getting to the point where the neophytes look at me with hungry eyes wondering either how they can displace me or how they can use me to further their careers."

I'm a neophyte, in that this is my second career, and trust me, I don't envy you at all. You are clearly wasting your life at your POW, living only for the opportunity to go to ALA (which you despise) conferences full of people you despise, so you can suck down martinis at the open bar. It's a pity that a smart person like you can't find something more worthwhile and more satisfying to do with her life. We can blame the Corporatocracy for the fact that all the good jobs have been outsourced and oversea'd.

AL said...

Ah, how little the neophytes understand. The open bars rarely have martinis, and never good martinis.

A nonny-like moose said...

Stick with the disdain for ALA, AL. There's not much its affiliation tends to get you that a solid work ethic or influential mentor could do better, and from what I heard from the conference, you couldn't just be a regular member to participate in some of the resume workshops and networking meetings anyway...

Rae said...

Admittedly, most of my experience with the ALA is through this blog and the ALA website, but I don't think I want to bother being associated with them.

Oh, and AL, I would be more than happy to take your job. Running the AL blog, that is. If you feel like becoming mellow the AL will be safe in my increasingly annoyed hands. You can keep your other job.

AL said...

The other job pays a lot more.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:58 said
"It's a pity that a smart person like you can't find something more worthwhile and more satisfying to do with her life. We can blame the Corporatocracy for the fact that all the good jobs have been outsourced and oversea'd."

Actually at the corporation I work for, we can NOT find enough smart people for the jobs that are available. We are actually recruiting in other countries to get people with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to do them.

Privateer6

PS. AL, Glad to have you back!

Anonymous said...

I'm proud to say I never joined ALA, nor have or will ever attend an ALA conference. As for AL's debate about trying to be the alternative voice while rising "to the top".....well, one of two things has to be true.

Either you really are the latest and greatest of all librarians, in which case you have issues being the consummate professional by day and venting your seething hatred about the profession at night.

Or.....you're just another frustrated nobody who adopts a persona you'd like to have, much like most bloggers out there.

As your skin is thin I'm sure you'll give me a snappy reply and maybe even make this post another blog topic.

jansville said...

Geez, now I have to google Mark Steyn and see what the heck is going on. I love that guy, but don't tell any of my liberal friends in libraryland. But what I really want to do is commiserate about the high cost of booze in Phil. hotels. As guests of the Mxxxxxxxxxx hotel, we were invited to a daily "social" for librarians. My friends and I dropped by, saw one lonely librarian sipping a glass of wine, checked the prices and fled. $8 for a glass of crappy Chardonnay!!

Dances With Books said...

8 bucks for a glass of crappy wine? Now THAT is a crime against humanity. Where is the ALA stand on booze at conferences? Why aren't the social responsibilities folk passing some resolution for drinking costs relief?

Kristen said...

"As for AL's debate about trying to be the alternative voice while rising "to the top".....well, one of two things has to be true.

Either you really are the latest and greatest of all librarians, in which case you have issues being the consummate professional by day and venting your seething hatred about the profession at night.

Or.....you're just another frustrated nobody who adopts a persona you'd like to have, much like most bloggers out there."

I'm missing your logic.

Rising within this field doesn't require being the latest and greatest at anything.

j- said...

*Anonymous said...
I'm proud to say I never joined ALA, nor have or will ever attend an ALA conference. As for AL's debate about trying to be the alternative voice while rising "to the top".....well, one of two things has to be true.
*

There's got to be some amino acids you can consume that enhance your sarcasm reception.

Right?

Anonymous said...

One reason drinks in Philadelphia cost so much: a liquor-by-the-drink tax that's been around since 1994. At ten percent, bar owners pass the savings along to you. Cheers!