It is at this precise time of the year, when we set our clocks back, and the leaves start to change that I always tend to get introspective. I think it is because everything else is starting to sleep, or die off that I start to take stock of my life. Perhaps it is just Sunlight Affective Disorder, but I prefer not to lend myself to self diagnosis.
I also find myself wondering what jacket to wear, if it's time for gloves, hats, and heavier jackets. Of late, I have found myself wearing a cashmere camel colored over coat, my burberry scarf, and my black flat cap. It does look particularly dapper on days when I also carry my stick umbrella. But all this is actually besides the point.
I am finally working as a professional in a library setting. Kind of.
I like the behind the scenes look at library life that administration offers. I know, that someday, ideally, I'll work as a full fledged administrator. I have been fortunate to work with two of the most ideal administrator-librarians that anyone could wish for. Very different backgrounds, often divergent ideas about what constitutes a great library.
This makes me think of what my idea of a "great library" is. For starters, its urban. Multiple branches. Listed with HAPLR as a top 10. Funded. I was heart broken to see that not one of my libraries from back home made it onto the list, but NY never has been a state that cared deeply about library funding. For heavens sake, Niagara Falls Public Library is in litigation for their funding. That is not attractive at all - I can't imagine being saddled with that each day going to work.
I also think a diverse staff is important, as well as a well stocked collection, that appeals to all levels of society.
I was distressed to learn that Wal-Mart sells more books than Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble combined. Think about it. The NYT carries a Sunday "best sellers list". Wal-Mart is driving the sales for those books, and they are selective in what they sell. Remember George Carlans "When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?". Wal-Mart doesn't. They didn't sell it. Not christian enough. Essentially, Wal-Mart is generating that NYT best sellers list. That is scary.
People say they shop at Wal-Mart because there isn't any where else to shop. Think about it kids. That is WHY Wal-Mart is there! Everyone quit shopping at the local Mom & Pop stores, because Wal-Mart sold something for .10 less. Enough of that, this is leaving a bad taste in my mouth.
I do not want to live in the South. Plenty of public libraries down there, I'm sure. But I want snow for a few months out of the year, this time of the year always makes me excited for that weather, and not just because I can crack out my ripping collection of vintage cardigans, sweaters, and sports jackets. So the North it is. I'm still partial to the East Coast, but the Mr. is keen on exploring the west. I've reminded him he did NOT marry Sacajawea. Plus I look awful in suede.
Overall, librarianship means serving people. I guess I'd be happy in some cozy New England town, with a little library. I would still be able to do what I love.
I'd also need technology. No dial-up computers for me. I want wireless, I want fines paid online, I want a fast connections - and scads of databases.
I want an office with a window. Sorry catalogers, I am no longer hoping to play ball with you. I wouldn't mind the library being a Carnegie building either....sort of posh in a way.
My hopes and dreams for what librarianship is and will be to me keep me moving forward. This is not a profession to get comfortable in - if you do, you've lost touch with the entire field. Information changes daily, so do the ways we receive it. I found myself talking the other day and mentioned RSS feeds...I might have been talking in Chinese (only I know I wasn't, I only speak romantic languages so far).
That is it. Fall makes me dreamy. Librarianship is dreamy. What a nice couple.
I'm a bit link happy. Don't think its because I have dried up. I just finished going to conferences/staff development for the past 4 days, and I'm ready to burst with hilarious things to write.
Library Journal just ran an article written by Michael Stephens of Tame The Web. It is a frank look into the blogging issue, and how it is looked at. Is it a tool? Is it a fad? Is it for fun? The article which can be found by clicking the link, is pretty interesting. I'm just sad that Mr. Stephens didn't call me. The other guy, Aaron Schmidt, is one of those guys in the library that I would probably stare at for too long. Supercute.com. At any rate, blogging is becoming a big deal at work.
It has come to my attention, that my blog, dear old thing that it is, is no longer a secret. Seems everyone but the cleaning people read it. HR has mentioned that they are aware of it, people make references about it when talking to me (secret code for "I READ YOUR BLOG"), and in fact, my list of "Conference topics that SHOULD exist has been printed out and hung in several bathrooms across the system.
Now, of course, my natural curiosity has gotten the best of my cute self. I find myself looking for people who have linked to me, and why they have linked to me. One blog, that will remain nameless, noted that I was the "least favorite of all the library blogs" she read, because I didn't write about libraries. She noted that it might be interesting to read my blog if you knew me. She was writing it for library school. Poor disillusioned dear. Library Blogs aren't all fact spewing, filled with interesting links, and social commentary on the library scene at large.
I think if you want to laugh, you should visit sites that I have linked in the side bar. Kimchijon, of this great site is a really hunky librarian who loves to cook Asian food. What does this have to do with library science you ask? LIBRARIANS ARE PEOPLE. We don't sit behind desks all day, answering questions, doing paperwork, and going home to sleep until we go back to the building with books. We have lives. Blogs are not only a great communicating tool to express library related information, but also to let and remind others that librarian's don't have to live, breathe, eat, sleep, dream libraries. The Hot Librarian is a fine point in this case. She's just plain hot. She's a librarian with a crazy social life (and an affinity for pens with teddy bears on them). Sadly, sometimes life can get in the way of all of this.
It is sad that even librarian's blogs are stereotyped. By our own. Its like Jews turning on each other during the War. OK, not THAT bad, but my general impression is: If your blog isn't scholarly, or a "useful tool", your blog has less merit.
The funny part is, these same people read the Wall Street Journal, and Cosmo. Why? Both convey news, its just delivered differently. If you come to my blog to learn about being a librarian, there are a few links. Well Dressed Librarian.com was set up specifically for this purpose. This blog, as is stated at the top, is about me: "Young, fabulously well dressed librarian takes on the world of libraries, and anything that comes at him while he's at it". And it's true. That's what this is about. Being a librarian. Our lives effect our work, our work effects our lives. A blog is the perfect milieu for this phenomenon.
If you want vanilla, there is plenty out there. If that is the case, I strongly recommend So, you want to be a librarian by Ms. Wallace, c. 1963. Text book information, or read about the real lives lead by librarians. What you learn in grad school does not happen at work. Trust me.
I never learned, NOR was any class offered at my wonderful (and prestigious) Library School about dealing with people with Mental Health issues (patrons, not co-workers, though sometimes one wonders). No class was offered in libraries in poverty stricken areas, reaching out to communities who WON'T or WILL not associate with people with different economic backgrounds. Issues in Race, Child Welfare, or Security.
Any of you take a class in library school that teaches you how to disarm a patron with a shiv? Email me if you did. It happens.
Though some of you may end up in Stepford. Some of you may end up in fuzzy rose colored high rises in sexy cities. Some of you may live your life in the basement or backroom of a library, sunlight only touching your skin as you walk to and from your car- and will never deal with anyone but coworkers. Some of you may end up with law firms, hospitals, museums, military installations (any of you army boys read this? you can email me too). Some of you may sit at home and play library, and make your cats check out Scientology pamplets all day...though I should point out that doesn't actually make you a librarian. Libraries have been given iconic status. Why? Because we, librarians, keep them that way. You learn what you learn in the trenches - but we never let them see us sweat.
Blogs are a great way for librarians to let other librarians know they are not alone, and to let "freshers" know what they are getting into.
Moral of this blog: I am way too passionate. And so well dressed...damn.
Today, I came across an article in American Libraries that really made me think. All this work I've done to shatter stereotypes, and then I realized something: The people that need to be reached the most, don't even READ blogs. They probably can't even check email. At any rate, I hope all of you enjoy it, and I hope Mr. Manley doesn't mind me using his article.
Moral of this blog: Librarian's are hot. Remember this. Keep shattering stereotypes. Perhaps you came to this field because you love books, but it doesn't mean you have to look like you found your clothes in a dumpster. I hesitate to reprimand people that shop at Sears, but, use common sense. Book sweaters and neckties only go so far. Try wearing a silver book lapel pin on a smart blazer. Same effect, only smarter.
Bonne Maman makes my favorite strawberry preserves.
Even though I can hardly afford anything now that I've graduated, consolidated my loans (did you know you give up your grace period when you do that?), and started paying them back. Student loan repayment is the bane of my existance right now. But I do adore good French preserves.
Moral of this blog: Keeping up appearances is important.