The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." "...it is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32) akakyakakyevich@gmail.com

Friday, July 13, 2007

THE COOL LIBRARIANS: I see in the New York Times, and if I see it in the New York Times it must be so, right (high irony alert), that librarians are now officially hip, cool, or whatever word the kids are using these days to denote special approval. I don’t know how this happened; we were just sitting around shushing little kids (I am a champion shusher, if I do say so myself—in library school I got my best grades in the course on shushing) and telling teenagers that no, they can’t eat, drink, dance, or copulate anywhere in the library, and all of a sudden, we’re at the center of the cool universe. This is certainly very strange, especially for those of us who have been in the profession for a while. The Times goes on about how libraries are not just about books these days, that we are about packaging, for lack of a better word, information for the patrons. This sort of thing always amuses those of us who have had to do this for a bit, since libraries were never just about books even when all we offered were books. No, indeed, sometimes it's about cadavers.

It is a commonplace amongst librarians that library schools do not teach you anything useful about the actual functioning of a library. This was especially true if you planned to work in a public library. For example, I cannot remember a single instance in library school of any instructor telling the gathered cool people to be what the proper procedure for dealing with a corpse in the men’s room was. I mean, do we try to identify him? And if we do, should we check to see if he has any outstanding fines and take the money out of his wallet before we call the police? And what about the books and DVDs he has out? Will we ever see them again? No one told us and I am pretty sure that none of us in the classroom ever thought to ask. Similarly, the questions of crazed dogs, crazed junkies, crazed parents, crazed kids, and what to do with the people who are just plain crazy never crossed our minds as we learned the intricacies of the Dewey Decimal System. I am sure that if given a little time, I could probably catalog and classify any number of oddball behaviors, but what to do with the people actually exhibiting those behaviors while inside the library did not rate much discussion, as far as I remember. I had to learn how to deal with barfing dogs and paranoid schizophrenics defecating in the fiction stacks on my own and without any help from my graduate degree, which, don’t get me wrong, is always a nice thing to have, but I suspect is largely superfluous to what I actually have to do in this egregious mold pit from day to day.

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2 Comments:

  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger Joseph said…

    After reading the article, it looks like librarians are more likely to be politically liberal if they're drunk.

     
  • At 8:14 AM, Blogger Purple Avenger said…

    without any help from my graduate degree, which, don’t get me wrong, is always a nice thing to have, but I suspect is largely superfluous to what I actually have to do in this egregious mold pit from day to day.

    I suspect most of the years spent by most people attending grad school are largely worthless in the real world.

    Through undergrad and grad school, I can count perhaps 3 courses that really helped me during 20+ years in the computer business. The rest of it was nice, but easily something I could have taught myself on the fly on an as needed basis.

    I suppose that is the point -- getting to where you know just enough to know when you don't know and should go research something.

     

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