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Month: March 2008

Is Librarianship a Profession?

Is Librarianship a Profession?

Just starting to follow a feisty discussion around the use of the term “librarian”, helped along by Rachel Singer Gordon’s excellent post on librarianship’s attitude toward library paraprofessionals here. I must bow to Dorothea, who breaks down the idea of “profession” and how librarianship fits in in her post here. A teaser:

Profession is monopoly labor protectionism, driving up the price of the Elect. End of story. All the training, all the oaths, all the conferences, all that other stuff amounts to pissing in a circle to mark territory, hoard resources (i.e. jobs and social status), and keep the unwashed out. Where an individual doing a particular kind of work can more or less swan about naming her own price, labor perceives no need for the trappings of a profession.

What a fascinating and powerful exchange.

Obituary of a Unique Librarian

Obituary of a Unique Librarian

The Miami Herald says farewell to one of their quirkiest librarians in an honest, funny, and touching obituary that reminds me of a few other librarians I have known:

”We all did everything back then,” Nemeti said. “She was a database editor, then photo librarian. She had encyclopedic memories and knew how to ferret everything out of the files.”

She loved management conspiracy theories and gossip, and treasured her grudges.

In a bad mood — which was often — she could be mean as a snake. But she cared deeply about the colleagues she liked and turned herself inside out for them.

”She was a natural news researcher who loved the news, loved the work and loved helping reporters,” said one-time boss Elisabeth Donovan. “But it requires a calm demeanor, and Rose was never calm.”

She was, however, frequently kind, attentive and motherly, committing small acts of generosity like bringing a colleague designer jeans from a thrift shop and reminding another to keep his head up and “not let the bastards get you down.”

Former library colleague Ruthey Golden recalls that her friend ‘was always buying some homeless man or woman food. I know one cold day she came to work with no coat, crying. I said, `Rose, what’s the matter?’ She said, ‘I had to do it, Ruthey. . . . I just gave that woman laying in the street my coat. I feel bad for her.’ That’s just how Rose was.”

One of the many salty, multi-faceted, genius librarians who made our profession great. [via one of Jeremy‘s RSS feeds]

Reference: You can pay for the service too!

Reference: You can pay for the service too!

I snapped this picture ages ago and forgot about it sitting on my phone. What a revolutionary new service, where you can text and get a text answer about anything! Only two dollars a call!

I generally call this “IM a friend whose online while I’m not”. God forbid they learn of this service and start charging me.

It would be cool if libraries started doing this, though…text questions. I bet most of them would be directional. (“Where’s the nearest Gap?”)

Write what you Know

Write what you Know

Eventually I will get back to interesting posts, the ones about information and educational technology and fun internet things, but I’m currently working on my dad’s 10 year old win98 machine, as my ibook is in the shop, and he’s got dial up. So I’m not using the fun internet things to their fullest. (He at least upped his “one hour per day” plan to “unlimited”, so now I can wait an indefinite amount of time for things to load.) My world is largely dominated by health-related matters at the moment, and since I don’t plan to experience this cancer business again (and, for the record, there’s no reason why I should fear I might; there’s no direct correlation between thyroid cancer and any other kind), so I’m being self-indulgent and recording my experiences and reflections here.

There was a kerfuffle some time ago when a more serious librarian blogger looked down his nose at those of us who don’t post exclusively about librarianship on our blogs within the “biblioblogosphere”, and as I recall a few of us rallied around the idea that our lives are not exclusively about librarianship, and we are healthier people for having multiple interests and experiences to share and ponder. And I will stand by my contention that I primarily keep this blog for me, and I will post as I feel compelled to. In the end, I think it makes me a better professional to see fodder to ponder in all aspects of my life rather than confining it to a tiny strip of “acceptable” material. I don’t get paid to keep a blog. I blog because writing is how I process information, and I like to share.

I’ll get back to the info tech soon enough.