Sunday, November 01, 2009

Library 101

I first twigged to this via The Annoyed Librarian. In the interests of being fair, I watched the video. I only got as far as the punk rock solo, but that's 5 minutes in. Really, I thought I was going to have a seizure.

In further interests of being fair, I went and read some of the accompanying essays. And I didn't wind up uplifted and empowered. I wound up pissed, because the whole package is fucking juvenile and vague, and it positions itself as being what libraries and librarians need to do to survive. But it's content free. It's not solutions or recommendations about how to actually improve or change things in the library, any pathways to the big problems.

Hell, I'm not even looking for evidence based practices here. I'd go for a solid recommendation based on a promising pilot program or an in-depth case study.

It's insulting because of the underlying assumption that libraries aren't locally focused, filled with curious people with good "soft skills" who are also crack information professionals willing to meet the user on his level and help him to climb above it. It's a bunch of platitudes that if you've been around the library world long enough, you've heard 10,000 times and bear no resemblance to the challenges the institutions currently face. And it's tiresome to hear leading library lights mouth the same old lines.


drwende said...

So how much lingering doubt do you have about your switch to being an auditor, that you can't let go of librarianship blogs and news?

Your reasons for leaving the field were good, and having left, you are no longer in a position to change anything about it. This is rage to no purpose.

Kerry said...

I actually don't have doubts about leaving so much as doubts about long term careerwise paths that I can or should aim for that make me nervous. As for rage--I have to find something outside my current world to rage against for a couple of reasons. 1) I've fully embraced that old trope about how I can't make people do things, which removed a good target, and plus there are a limited expressions allowed to me of rage, which is good and bad.

And 2) If I give up on anger, then I'm left with either numbness or the constant pricks of anxiety, and that's even worse. That way leads to pouring candle wax on my feet in order to feel something, or constant images about cutting myself. Pretty much anger in some degree is the only emotion I feel. Sad but true--my positive emotions are strong but fleeting. And what's worse is that lately I've just been sad, which is kind of a crappy third emotion to have.

And also for libraries and librarians, there is such a culture of not criticizing that it's infuriating and delusional. And because I'm out of it, I can use it as fuel for feeling something, even if I can't change things.

drwende said...

I'm never sure whether to feel guilty or gratified when my stomping my foot leads to a real and sincere answer. I'm about to call you about getting coffee or something.