Tag Archives: librarians

Don’t be rude or I’ll flash my librarian badge.

alternate title:  Why Didn’t I fly Southwest like I always do?

I had to fly an airline I normally wouldn’t take.  Starts with a U.  Ends in a D.  #$&*@ in the middle.

When I was in O’Hare waiting for my flight, I went to double check my departure gate and couldn’t find the flight number on the screen.  So I go up to what I previously knew my gate to be (C1) and I inquired.  The snotty gate agent looked at me and said “Um, it’s right over THERE. (pointing) At C4 – it says that on the BIG SIGN.”  Thanks, sweet cheeks.  Bitchiness duly noted.

And I had had it.  I was tired, I was grumpy.  And I shot back “I guess all those years as a librarian haven’t paid off because I CLEARLY CAN’T READ!  THANKS!”  (oooo…good one Chris.  You really got her.  why don’t you really be nasty and give her a free bookmark too?)  Well, it sounded a lot more bitter in real life.  Don’t make me use my librarian badge, I swear I will.

So, then I went to the store when I got to Indy and bought the Dude a bottle of wine for Valentine’s.  (I don’t dig the holiday myself, but he is very good about such things, and so I’m working on my pro-Valentine Day’s attitude, plus, he’s worth it.  </sappiness>)  I got back to my room and realized that a) I can’t pack it in my carry on (how many ounces are in a wine bottle?) and b) IF I CHECK MY BAG IT’S 15 BUCKS!  I’ve been living in a world of free baggage since I mostly fly Southwest.

Oh cruel world!  How I will get this awesome Cabernet Savignon back home is a mystery.  I might end up mailing it.

Well, that’s all for now, friends.  No startling or amazing library thoughts…my mind is focused on wine and airlines.

Agnotology problem? I think I know a remedy…

I’m a little behind in reading this month’s edition of Wired Magazine.  But now I’m wide awake at 2 AM EST (Midnight in Denver) and restless and reading.  And I find an article entitled Manufacturing Confusion (subtitle: How more information leads to less knowledge).

As the article says, the historian Robert Proctor has come up with a new word for our language:

“He has developed a word inspired by this trend: agnotology. Derived from the Greek root agnosis, it is “the study of culturally constructed ignorance.”

The idea is that in this world in which we are awash with information, special interest groups (for example) are easily able to stir up the proverbial sand and make the factual water very murky.  We are becoming an increasingly ignorant society according to Proctor because we don’t seek out truths – we wait for them to fed to us via that information pipeline called the web.  What’s that quote…We’re drowning in information but starving for knowledge.  Oh yes, we are.

The author of the article wraps up by saying this:

“Can we fight off these attempts to foster ignorance? Despite his fears about the Internet’s combative culture, Proctor is optimistic. During last year’s election, campaign-trail lies were quickly exposed via YouTube and transcripts. The Web makes secrets harder to keep.

We need to fashion information tools that are designed to combat agnotological rot. Like Wikipedia: It encourages users to build real knowledge through consensus, and the result manages to (mostly) satisfy even people who hate each other’s guts. Because the most important thing these days might just be knowing what we know.”

Huh, we need to fashion information tools huh?  Gee, where, oh where, would we get these tools?  Who will guide us through this information?  Hmmm.  I dunno, maybe a potential remedy to this situation is…a world wide network of damn good librarians.  Let’s step up to the plate, before Wikipedia becomes the answer for everything.  And if it must be the answer for many things, if it is the place that people go to for answers, then let’s make sure that we’re the ones editing it.  Because information is our business and we can’t be bit players.

Just something to think about.

I’m going to try to go to bed.  Again.

Stop Thief! I’m a LIBRARIAN!

Josie is a past president of the Michigan Library Association.  I’ve always had a lot of respect for her, but this elevates her to superhero status!  Step back Wonder Woman!  There’s a new crime fighter in town!

I think it’s awesome!  Way to go Josie!  I hope your leg feels better soon.

To all others: Librarians are nice people, but don’t even try to test us.  We keep cans of whup a$$ under out desks.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2008/12/12/dnt.mi.donation.thief.wdiv

Librarians and a fish with ick…

I went to visit my hometown library yesterday.  Working there was what made me decide to become a librarian.  The whole staff is amazing.  My friends M and H were on desk and closely examining their fish, Dewey, when I walked up to say hi.

Apparently Dewey has “the ick” and is floating weirdly in his bowl.  (Insert juvenile comment of your choice here…)

Being sarcastic librarians and complete nerds, M and H have decided to start a prayer chain on Facebook for Dewey…let’s all hope no one takes them seriously.  But you know someone will.

I’ll keep you posted.

“This is the librarian call-in hour…”

Here in metro Detroit, everyone is on the very edge of their seat waiting to hear what will happen if the government does not grant a bailout to the Big Three.  It’s not just Detroit that is affected, but everywhere, I know.  However, to give you an idea of how car-centric Michigan is: In the summer people set up lawn chairs on the sides of big roads (Woodward Avenue) and car watch for vintage cars.  By the hundreds.  On any given day.  It’s a car crazy state.

Okay, on with my point…so radio stations are going nuts here.  I mean nuts.  Every morning it’s all you hear about…discussion of the bailout, discussion of how people will manage financially if they lose their jobs, lots and lots of fear and stress on the radio.

Librarians – WE NEED A RADIO SPOT.  Now, I know a lot of libraries have a radio show or a cable show.  But that’s not what I’m talking about.  If you are listening to your local radio over the next week or so and they are talking about economic slowdown and what solutions should be, CALL IN.  And don’t just call into public radio because that’s comfortable.  Calling public radio is like preaching to the choir…still a good idea, but they already know the message.  Call your area’s morning disc jockey show with a quick message.

Say:
- your name
- your library’s name
- name three resources your library offers (we offer free classes, resume writing books, and computer classes)
- and then as a “bonus” mention a cool resource (oh DJ Sammy Sam, I want to let listeners know that the Census is hiring this month, and you can visit their website at census.gov for more info)
- then close by saying something along the lines of “the librarians in our state are happy to help people out…we won’t even shush you, we promise” (this reinforces the state-wide element of libraries and humor is memorable…)

Don’t feel comfortable calling?  Then email your local DJs.  I just sent an email to a DJ this morning with a link to my article: http://www.ilovelibraries.org/news/topstories/toughtimes.cfm  and am going to listen in to a different show tomorrow morning to see if they are still on the topic.

C’mon guys and gals…let’s do it!

P.S. – Try to call the morning shows and the afternoon/drive home shows…those have the largest listenership and the audience is most captive…stuck in their cars, usually.

A Prayer for Librarians

So I’m cleaning my desk today and I find a book mark that has “Prayer for Librarians” on it.  I am not making this up.

It’s long, but the first few lines go something like:

Lord, You are infinite and with
Your infinity, You are the Word.
Help us then, as Keepers and custodians
of words, to be aware of our profession
in all its depths of knowledge and
wisdom and in all its encompassing of
the past, present, and what is yet to be.

And so on and so on and blah blah blah

I won’t rant about religion, but I would consider myself to be a prayerful, spiritual person.  But what would my version of a librarian prayer look like?  Well the above sure ain’t it.  Here’s mine…

Dear God, give me the strength to not strangle the next person who says “Gee, you’re a librarian, you must get to read alllll the time!”.  Give me the wisdom to know that not all people understand that libraries are not the places to have cell phone conversations at HIGH VOLUME.  Grant me the peace that comes only after all information literacy and story time sessions are done for the day.  And lastly, Lord, grant me protection from the porn dude…you know the one…the guy who looks at porn on Computer 2, all day, every day.

“So that’s 614.23 PAS…”

Ever notice how librarians mutter call numbers to themselves as they’re writing them down or walking away from the desk to look for it?

And always in a very matter of fact tone, as if to say “Well of course 342.3 D.” or “And then I was walking along and 003.2 DAV!”

It’s never a question…always a statement.

Sorry – academic librarians mutter, “And then there’s BL 2525 .R4695 – but it’s 2002.”