Monday, February 05, 2007

Lie, Statistics Never

Of course, neither do I, so it should come as no surprise to you that I have unearthed these startling statistics, facts, and figures.

I was innocently going through filing cabinets while I waited for the Xerox to warm up. Yes, I said Xerox - not copier machine, because I am from Rochester, New York. Where was I? Oh yes.

As in any good story, this begins with me going through something that

a)isn't mine
b)should be locked or
c)is hidden from plain view.

In this case, I haven't decided which scenario best fits - librarians in addition to not marrying are notoriously nosey or considered busy bodies. I pride myself on this. At any rate, I just kept rifling through these drawers, when I found a binder of old newspaper clippings.

Apparently, because of a shortage of librarians when this article was written, they neglected to note the paper they clipped it from, and the date it ran. Because I am not only attractive, but smart - I pieced together some information.

This article was ran by AP press - so it was a national article. And it was written by one Miss Mary Hazeltine - preceptor of the Wisconsin Library School.

I am sure many of you are absolutely sitting in horror that I am not only saying mean things about the founder of one of the best known programs in the country, but also a dead woman. Don't hate me because I found this first. Besides, we all look better in black than bitter.

A bit of digging, and I found that Miss Hazeltine was in Madison as the preceptor from 1906-1938 when she retired. So it must have been written during her reign.

I did not attend this library school, and it appears to be quite a good thing. Wisconsin librarians don't marry. Either did Miss Hazeltine. Is there any surprise with her gathering statistics like a crow finding shiny objects all day?

The article captivates one for many reasons:

a) It was published nationally - implying people of this era liked to read figures like this
b) There were statistics kept on librarians ! I wonder if they were tagged like sea tortoises that are released back into the wild....
c) It was important enough to cut out and put in a scrap book of articles at My Library™.
d)Stephen Abram didn't write it

I could go on. But this got me thinking, statistics can prove anything we want. What Miss Hazeltine was trying to prove is a little sketchy in my mind, but never the less, she made her point. Using facts and figures.

I personally like statistics because I use them when I am trying to get a project done. We had so much lit review in Grad School, my ulcer literally bled. There is no way I am throwing this skill out for any reason. Now, when I really need something, I just look for graphs, charts, and other assorted figures that prove my point - and hope that a co worker hasn't thought of doing the same thing from the opposing view point. Outside of being trumped at my own game, it would be unsightly if I blushed during a meeting.

Olive skin doesn't blush properly - I've always thought that.

But numbers can also be your friend when you are trying to sway local politicians, or towns people. Mostly I worry that people no longer use the term "towns people" - but more importantly these figures can get us new buildings, larger budgets, more shelves, or something as simple as a grant.

So, like our great, dead predecesor Miss Mary Hazeltine, get your facts straight - and share them with the world.

Moral of this blog: I can't get married. Write about that Mary Hazeltine.

No comments: