hello dear reader
when someone says how-do-you-do, just say you didn’t. —eeyore
as you can see from the title, im just a little perturbed today. and this feeling reminds me of one of my favorite literary characters … aa milne’s eeyore from the hundred acre wood.
now, i know what you’re saying. eeyore?!?! but winnie the pooh is soooo cute. and tigger is so bouncy and full of energy. and what about little piglet? and the quiet wisdom of roo? but, alas, dear reader, i say we would not appreciate any of those wonderfully wonderful qualities if it were not for eeyore.
and, what, you are now asking, does this have to do with libraries? a LOT! in performing my due diligence of reading this weekend for you (okay, i would have done it anyway) i came across a blog that kinda, well, ticked me off. the blog is titled “closed stacks”and im not sure exactly how i stumbled upon it since its been dormant since may of last year. but it was in my google reader, so…
i must point out here that i don’t think we would get along if we met in an alley or a bar. cases in point…
the first is a blog posting titled “i’m tired of talking about e-books.”
this post was written back in april 2012, and the author pines for a bygone era where librarians talked about something other than e-books. huh? first, e-books is an IMPORTANT conversation. however, maybe this librarian needs to get out more. i know plenty of librarians and they’re talking about LOTS of things other than ebooks. even back in april. besides, if you wanna talk about something else, then START THE CONVERSATION. don’t complain because no one else has started it.
the second post -”how can we harness this?” visits the “why aren’t we more like a bookstore” question or the “why are we trying to be like bookstores?” question.
this screed, published in dec of 2011 decried the age-old habit of comparison shopping. however, they’re not calling it that anymore – now it’s “showcasing.” the practice of going into a bookstore, checking out the goods, then leaving said bookstore and placing an order from some online entity. the blogger wants to know how we can “harness” this “power” and get people to come to the library to get the items they want either instead instead of the bookstore or after the bookstore. then the blogger (and the posting commenters) proceed to explain exactly WHY people don’t…not enough copies, lack of browsability, sterile environment, long waits in hold queue. *sigh*
some memorable quotes:
…as I meet people, tell them what I do and then gauge their reaction. People who have positive associations of the library, usually from childhood, get excited and enthusiastic; other people really don’t understand what it is that I or the library does these days
The state that I currently work in, is in financial shambles (as are many).
It’s certainly difficult to keep on doing more with less like we have been for the past few years.
yes, we know…woe is me. woe is the library…
thirdly, in discussing a public library closing in central falls, rhode island in july 2011, the blogger talks of how terrible the closing is, the loss of jobs, the loss to the community, the gnashing of teeth, the wringing of hands. then proceeds to talk about their trip to that year’s ALA in new orleans and how terrible that said blogger worked multiple part-time library jobs while most attendees had full-time jobs and couldn’t understand the “struggle” and how new orleans residents were happy to have ALA there but still asked “what do librarians do anyway?”
lastly, the blogger’s last post, i assume, since it was dated may 21, 2012 is titled leaving public libraries (why technology literacy is king). not much suspense there is it? apparently the writer has found greener pastures for pursuance of their commitment to libraries (just not public ones) and…wait…what? what’s that you say? you’re leaving the public library realm? why? is it because you couldn’t find a full-time job? no? then why?
Some libraries are doing amazing things with technology in their communities, and I personally think they should be commended. But what do you make of a public library system that is okay with just sitting idly by and being part of the dying “community warehouse” model?
I finally had to accept the fact that the libraries and librarians I was talking to were okay with complacency. And since I’m not a complacent person, I started to look elsewhere. What I found was a job that lets me teach those very skills that I’ve been hammering on about to college students. I’ve been given the freedom teach technology literacy to adults in a college setting and help them prepare not just for their classes, but for their lives after college./blockquote>
now, i know, this posting is kinda personal. and you may not agree with me on some or any of the disagreements i have with this blogger. which, basically, come down to the victimization argument some librarians put forth. this blogger brought up some very good points. the concept of library is being challenged in many ways and from many directions. publishers, consumers, taxpayers, students all want something from libraries. its one of the most put-upon industries (professions) today. public libraries try to be all things to all people, and a lot of the time it doesn’t involve books. computer assistance, research assistance, and after-school care (unofficially) and homeless shelter are all standard accoutrements of your local public library. academic libraries are trying to figure out what students and faculty need to succeed – ebooks (yes, we still have to talk about them), electronic databases, information fluency, research skills. and what about their commitment to the community they reside? how much to offer and in what format (darn, there’s that pesky e-book conversation rearing its head).
sometimes you can make things better by working it from the inside, not bashing it from the outside (or from the inside). be…pro…active. think. converse. challenge. breathe…