Happy new year to you all. My vacation was so peaceful and relaxing that to be honest I almost didn't start writing again. There are those people who go into withdrawal symptoms whenever they're away from their blogs or an Internet connection for a few days or even hours. I'm not one of those people. But what would life be like without the AL, I asked myself? Occasionally one must sacrifice oneself for the greater good.
Three weeks have passed without any AL commentary on the happenings in the library world. I have a lot of catching up to do, and plan to do some of it in this post. While this cat was away, all sorts of librarians came out to play.
Since it's the new year, it's time to make new year's resolutions. Some people resolve to get to their target weight or quit smoking or stop beating their children, etc. I made those resolutions first thing, and since my weight's just fine, I don't smoke, and I don't have children, they are easy ones for me to keep. I've also made a resolution to be a much nicer person this year and not so cranky all the time. So here goes.
To start off the survey of the past three weeks, I should say that if David Lee King didn't exist, the Annoyed Librarian would have to invent him, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. He's so enthusiastic about libraries; sometimes I wish I could be that enthusiastic about anything without my meds. Let's consider his response to a question about what might draw people to physical library buildings in the future. He quotes from some other source:
“Imagine a future when you go to the library with a 5 minute video you’ve just made about last night’s Presidential debates and that librarian says to you:
‘You should upload it to YouTube and tag it with these four tags - two broad and two more specific to existing communities of interest on YouTube and the topic of your video. Then you should embed that video in a blog post along with some text introducing it and linking to some of your favorite posts by other people who have also written today about the Presidential debates. Make sure to send trackbacks to those posts!’
‘Now, I think this is a particularly good video on the topic, so if you’re interested I will vote for it on StumbleUpon (as a sexy librarian I have a very powerful account there) and give it a good summary explanation. Any of those are steps you can take that will make your work all the easier for people to discover.’ “"
Then he asks what we think. My thought is, yuck! Helping upload the video if asked isn't so bad, but all the nonsense about telling people to upload it and saying how great it is and how we'll help people discover that alleged greatness by promoting it in some way is ridiculous. I consider it service enough if a librarian helps upload the video without gagging at the content. I didn't click through to the other source, but it has a nice twopointopian ring to it. Notice the librarian is telling patrons to upload yet another boring video to Youtube. The librarian doesn't even wait to see why you're in the library before trying to force a twopointopian agenda on you. Typical.
Moving on to another perennial favorite, the Webtamer, who, as we all know, loves posting pictures of himself online. Finally, he's posted a photo even I can like, entitled Martini, Lychee and Stephens, Michael. Of course a real martini never has any fruit in it, but it still looks nice in the picture.
Now let's take a look at a couple of librarians from New York. You've probably all seen the story of the librarian who won the 29-hour couch potato contest. The article says he's a research librarian in Manhattan. It doesn't name his employer, but I'd bet it's the senior research librarian at Conde Nast, who has the same name. If it's the same person, he looks like an ordinary enough guy. I think we should all thank him for reveling in a stereotype of the librarian instead of trying to fight the stereotypes like those hipster librarians from last summer.
We've also got this guy, the "librarian to the stars," a librarian at the NYPL celebrated by all sorts of authors for helping them with crucial research for their books. Congratulations to the librarian of the stars for getting some great publicity for excellent library work. He's not a hipster, though he might be a couch potato. For both off these, it's refreshing not to hear how some silly group of librarians supposedly break out of some stereotype.
Via the Ubiquitous Librarian, I discovered that library school students can be as pretentious as they are ill prepared for library work. He points to a promotional page for a Library Student Journal "emerging leaders" special issue which says: “Library Student Journal believes that in many ways the average LIS student today understands the average user better than does the average LIS professional.” Ahh, the arrogance of youth. That's certainly a bold claim, though they fail to back it up with any evidence. People believe all sorts of silly things, so this is hardly surprising. They go on: "We have new and exciting ideas. We see information needs in new places (and new worlds)." Do they really have new and exciting ideas? Somehow I doubt that, but if on the off chance they do those ideas will be beaten out of them by some actual library work. I'm curious about the "new worlds" where they see information needs. Sounds like a Trekkie has been writing their promo.
One of the new and exciting ideas the new librarians always want to promote is turning libraries into video arcades, their guiding philosophy being that libraries should be all things to all people and that any sort of overriding educational mission for the library is just elitist. Those videogaming librarians should take a look at this essay in the Wall Street Journal on Teenage Zombies, subtitled "Video Games Have Sucked the Life out of My Kids." If the tales in this story are indicative of the relationship between teenage boys and their videogames, then the gaming librarians are definitely doing their part to turn boys into zombies. Turning teenagers into zombies is a terrible thing, and must be stopped in our lifetime, but obviously some librarians haven't heeded that important public service message.
One boy was so absorbed by his video game that he wouldn't take a bathroom break, choosing instead to just wet himself right there in the gaming seat. Remember that the next time you sit down at a library computer station. I can't comment on the accuracy of this anecdotal evidence, since I haven't spent much time around teenage boys since I was a teenager myself, and I didn't like most of them then. The urination story does seem relevant to a lot of teenage boys, though, since I recall a large percentage of them having an arm's length relationship with good hygiene or basic grooming skills.
I'm sure lots of other exciting things happened in the greater libraryland area while I was away, but that's about all I can stand for now. Besides, if I covered everything, I wouldn't have anything to blog about later in the week, since I haven't heard about any good nonsense in the works for the ALA Midwinter Meeting in the City of Brotherly Love.
Welcome back, everyone. I'm looking forward to a third year of being annoyed together.