Annoyed by the Annoyed Librarian

Today’s tip: whatever you do, don’t read the Annoyed Librarian. When cornered, I’ll admit that I subscribe to the AL, but in the spirit of this blog, I must warn my readers to stay away! Unless you have a high tolerance for sarcasm and pessimism, the AL will affect you in a manner directly opposite to the premise of the ILSS. Today she posted to make fun of people who start library blogs, and I can’t help but feel personally attacked (despite the extreme unlikelihood of her being aware of the ILSS).

She makes four accusations of the top library bloggers: they have no original ideas, they endlessly repeat any original ideas they do have, their word count is low, and they don’t stick to their topic.

In response to the first two, I would argue that librarianship is largely about transmitting the ideas of others; given that, I believe that bloggers provide a valuable service by posting new ideas and encouraging dialogue, even if the ideas aren’t their own. As for the third complaint, I sympathize with the AL: I love writing, and, though I despise unnecessary wordiness, I enjoy blogs that involve a lot of writing. However, I also appreciate the multimedia nature of the Web, and if some bloggers can make their point without using words at all, I completely respect that choice. In fact, I often find text-only blogs to be terribly dull – if I wanted a novel, I’d go to the stacks! Finally, though having a direction is essential to any Web-based endeavour, blogs tend to take on lives of their own, and I, for one, am happy to follow the tangents of any blogger who has captured my interest.

The moral of the story is: don’t let the AL get you down! Don’t be afraid to start a blog because you worry you won’t have enough original content, or enough content that’s on topic. Find out about the latest ideas, and pass those ideas on to others. And if you want to call me, or any other gentleman librarian, a guybrarian, just go for it.

The future of librarianship

Sometimes it’s not just library school that leaves us feeling uninspired. Take, for example, this article from Library Journal (via the.effing.librarian): Blatant Berry: The Vanishing Librarians. As a library school student (and I’m sure any readers who care enough about these issues to read this blog will agree), it’s obviously frustrating that society seems to place so little value on the skills of information professionals. But if we wring our hands and say, “oh well, there’s nothing a lowly student can do about it,” then what we’ll end up with is a generation of librarians who are apathetic and subservient to the whims of managers and that segment of the population that wants libraries to be like a version of Chapters where all the books are free. So let’s keep two things in mind: first of all, there are plenty of library users out there who value our services. And secondly, it’s a lot easier for our profession to be pushed aside if we’re apathetic and offer no resistance. So let’s focus on what we love about information and use that enthusiasm to prove to management and users that they need us.