Wednesday, September 29, 2010 have to go to school for that

Being a member of the American Library Association, every month I receive my issue of American Libraries. I even read it most of the time. This month it included this article by Jason Smalley discussing the librarian identity crisis facing many of us with library degrees these days. The fact that I am not alone in the paralyzing fear of being asked my profession is both parsimoniously comforting and horribly depressing.

I am a librarian. I consider myself a librarian and I have the degree to back me up. However, like Smalley, I do not earn my living by working in a library. I work for a database company and I enjoy my job most days. I even get to work with library catalogs and metadata which I absolutely love. None of this changes the fact that my job title does not contain the word “librarian” causing me no small amount of psychological anguish.

I still say that I’m a librarian when people ask what I do and most are satisfied with that. It’s the rest of you out there, the people who need details, who are really lining the money in some future therapist’s pocket. You people that can’t leave well enough alone and just have to ask, “So what library do you work for?” This is the social situation that causes my heart to skip a beat, my lungs to seize, and a deer-in-headlights look to appear in my eyes. Then the shameful truth comes out, “Well I don’t actually work at a library…” I can hear you judging me at this point, “Well why did she say she was a librarian then if she doesn’t work in a library?”

Here is the problem I have with people who think this judgment at me: you probably are one of the 9 out of 10 people who didn’t even know you need a Master’s Degree to be a librarian in the first place. So while you’re over there being Judgy McJudgerson, I am desperately trying to cling to my bookish self-respect and grapple with the fact that there really are no “real” library jobs right now due to the horrible state of the economy (it is a post for another day howmessed up it is that libraries, of all institutions, are having their budgets slashed to pieces in an economic crisis that would actually benefit from more information for the public).

The fact is, when I got my degree (Master of Library and Information Sciences) it says I get “all rights and privileges appertaining” and one of those privileges is to call myself a Librarian even when I do not work in a library. I worked very hard for that degree and I will forever identify myself as a Librarian because I can and because that, at the heart of everything I do in my non-library job, is what I am.

I like to eat and pay my bills as much as the next person, which is why I work at a database company instead of wallowing in psychological anguish. The education required for my chosen profession that I can’t technically claim didn’t come cheap.

So next time you just have to follow up that question either don’t, or don’t judge me for proclaiming “Librarian. Preferably, just don’t.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I had planned to keep this week festive and only talk about banned books and other library-related topics, however, you know what they say: the best laid plans of mice and men… Besides, a coworker offered me such a thought today, I had to share.

Peanut butter and ketchup.

They should never go together, but any food can be enhanced with one or the other, though never both (it's an odd paradox).

Stay with me on this, it will change your worldview.

Eggs: peanut butter on eggs is a horrible idea but add some ketchup and you have a delicious breakfast
Pancakes/Waffles: never ever add ketchup unless you're pregnant, but add peanut butter and not only do you have a sugary treat, but a sugary treat that might actually not give you the shakes in a few hours
Chicken nuggets: you would never think of adding peanut butter but ketchup is the best condiment ever
Cookies: peanut butter cookies = awesome; ketchup cookies = a failed Iron Chef recipe
Bread: add peanut butter, excellent sandwich; add ketchup without supporting layers, disaster
Meatloaf: ketchup is pretty much a given; peanut butter, are you out of your mind?

The list could go on forever. This could be a thesis paper for someone (a thesis paper I would actually read). Not for someone doing something important like medicine or social work, but a philosophy major could really get into this. I mean really, this would not be the craziest philosophy paper a professor has seen. Have you ever met a philosophy major? If you have listened to any of them talk for longer than five minutes, you can already see the potential.

All you philosophy majors reading this, you should be paying me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Banned Books Week!

Every year during the last week of September, the American Library Association sponsors a glorious librarian holiday season called Banned Books Week. It’s a wonderful time of year when libraries and bookstores and all free citizens are encouraged to revel in their First Amendment rights.

Now I could go into a very long, involved, well-researched essay on censorship and its evils (seriously, I have a paper from college that goes into wonderful detail if you’re interested), but I will not (and I can hear the sighs of relief…). What I will do is share with you a few things from the ALA Banned Books Week site that I find interesting and generally wonderful.

This is just a sample, click on the link for the full list and the reason why:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Block
Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Deal With It! A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain, and Life as a gURL by Esther Drill
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Sex for Busy People: The Art of the Quickie for Lovers on the Go by Emily Dubberley
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Cartoons That Shook the World by Jytte Klausen
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary by Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell
How to Get Suspended and Influence People by Adam Selzer
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Banned Books Week Proclamation
WHEREAS, the freedom to read is essential to our democracy, and reading is among our greatest freedoms; and
WHEREAS, privacy is essential to the exercise of that freedom, and the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized by others; and
WHEREAS, the freedom to read is protected by our Constitution; and
WHEREAS some individuals, groups, and public authorities work to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “Objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries of materials reflecting the diversity of society; and
WHEREAS, both governmental intimidation and the fear of censorship cause authors who seek to avoid controversy to practice self-censorship, thus limiting our access to new ideas; and
WHEREAS, every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of American society and leaves it less able to deal with controversy and difference; and
WHEREAS, American still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression, and can be trusted to exercise critical judgment, to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe, and to exercise the responsibilities that accompany this freedom; and
WHEREAS, intellectual freedom is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture; and
WHEREAS, the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year as a reminder to Americans not to take their precious freedom for granted; and
WHEREAS, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Library celebrates the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Library encourages all libraries and bookstores to acquire and make available materials representative of all the people in our society; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Library encourages free people to read freely, now and forever.

Library Bill of Rights
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

…and I keep hearing strange music…

The Twilight Zone is a real place, and I’m pretty sure I live there. People say the Midwest is a freakish place where people smile at each other on the street and everyone is polite and is somehow home of the happiest people on earth not on Prozac. I am here to tell you that there is a land that makes the Midwest look like inner-city LA and it is called New England.

When I moved to the East Coast, I was concerned about many things but I did not consider preparing for a siege against Pleasantville pre-technicolor. Apparently, I should have.

The first thing that probably should have tipped me off is that every square inch of this part of the country looks like a freaking post card. It’s idyllic to the point of creepy; like Mayberry and Stars Hollow and Hooterville rolled into one.

Then there are the towns themselves…and the townies. They make me with my sweet, Midwestern upbringing look downright rude. Cars stop so pedestrians can cross the street, and not only at the crosswalks or at stop signs and traffic lights, but wherever the pedestrian has deigned appropriate. In the Midwest we have strict driver/pedestrian etiquette. If you are driving a car and you see someone trying to cross the street, as long as no eye contact is made, you can keep driving unless said person is already in the crosswalk in which case you grudgingly slow down trying to time it so you do not have to come to a complete stop and glare at the person who has dared to impede your progress. Said pedestrian must cross the street as fast as humanly possible, also avoiding eye contact, and realize they have just taken their life into their own hands.

New England families walk their children to school. I live across the street from an elementary school, I have witnessed this phenomenon. Whole families and the dog walk the children to school. Both parents. Siblings. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. The man who runs the dry cleaning shop. The woman behind the counter at the convenience store. Together. Walking the kids to school. Yeah, you keep denying the existence of the Twilight Zone facing that knowledge.

Still think you need more proof? Visit New England. Spend 10 minutes in a downtown area. You will find enough irrefutable evidence that you will run away begging for the eerie tune to stop permeating your skull…

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gleeking Out

Season 2 begins on Tuesday and despite the fact that I will be in rehearsal (community theatre show I am sure I will mention in future posts) and will have to watch it on Hulu...Score! I am ready for more Sue Sylvester (You think this is hard? Try paying off your student loans, that's hard!) and some happy show tunes!

However, this post is not to wax eloquent about the many fantastic reasons I love this show. If you would like to read about those things, there are countless other sites on the web you can visit.

No, no, this post is about my deep regret for buying the complete first season. You see, I had already purchased the first half of the season when they released it last December but I was convinced via many blogs and announcements that I needed to buy the complete season when it came out instead of just supplementing with the back 9. I was told that the back 9 DVD set would not have the epic bonus features included with the complete season. 

I am a sucker for bonus features. I own all three of the 4-disc extended editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Obviously, it was not hard to convince me that I needed the complete season.

I finished watching the bonus features today...and I was horribly disappointed. There are not that many new special features; most are repeats from when they released the first 13 episodes. The new features consists of the 'Jukebox' feature allowing you to watch just the musical numbers of the episodes, a karaoke feature which is only available for 4 songs, the choreographer teaching the dance for one song (Vocal Adrenaline's Rehab dance from the pilot) and "How to Dress Like Your Favorite Character." There are also two featurettes about the Power of Madonna episode and the making of the Bohemian Rhapsody sequence in the season finale. 

The two featurettes were really the only worthwhile additions and even they did not countermand my buyer's remorse.

Moral of the story: if you already have the first half of season 1, just buy the back 9 set. I will lend you the bonus disk of the complete season if you really must see it. Please friends, save yourselves from my mistakes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Welcome to ABLIB!

Hi everyone and welcome to ABLIB!

This is my first blog attempt, hopefully the look will improve as I learn more. It might take a while to figure the ins and outs though, so be patient with me.

I'm still working on a cohesive plan for the blog. Part of the reason I named it ABLIB is because I plan on this being pretty random; whatever I find interesting at the time of posting. I am planning on a few regular features:

East Coast Foreigner: a Midwestern girl's adventures in New England

Things of [Relative] Substance: book, movie, and tv reviews and pop culture

LIBeral Professionalism: library news, information and observations

Being Crafty: knitting projects, maybe some sewing and cooking thrown in occasionally

Distractions: new (to me) blogs, videos, websites, and other internet time-wasters

I'll start out updating every few days or so and see how it goes. Thoughts, comments and suggestions are welcome! Enjoy!