Like Cat Stephens, I can’t keep it in.

Hello fair readers!

I hope your Vernal Equinox and your potential Easter celebrations went smooth and hopefully with much less snow than mine did.

(photo taken by Yenna, posted on Flickr with the tag “Winter sucks”…I agree)

But all this winter snow in Spring has given me some time to stew and grow more and more annoyed with this article:

Our Public Libraries Are Being Turned Into Video Arcades

and the fuddy duddy librarians who are rallying around it, as if this was a good point.

I would like to take one particular response to the article and break it down into it’s ridiculous components. Why you ask? Because it’s sad. And angering. And wrong.

Posted by anonymous in response to the LISNews blog about the article:

this is just part of the problem with public libraries since they forgot what they were in the early nineties, and decided to become this hybrid amazon.com/barnes and noble/arcade/rec center ordeal that we have now. I am a young adult librarian and soon we will be losing ref desks for kiosks so that we are encouraged to wander around and bother the patrons ala target employees. this is sad. the video game aspect, while i don’t agree with it, isn’t the libraries fault. we have books here. we just have adult and children too stupid to read them now.
Wow. Just wow. That’s right people. Librarians like that actually still exist. Sad, yes?Let’s debunk that statement.

“this is just part of the problem with public libraries since they forgot what they were in the early nineties”

What is a library? According to the free online dictionary:

li·brar·y

(lbrr)

n. pl. li·brar·ies

1.

a. A place in which literary and artistic materials, such as books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, prints, records, and tapes, are kept for reading, reference, or lending.
b. A collection of such materials, especially when systematically arranged.
c. A room in a private home for such a collection.
d. An institution or foundation maintaining such a collection.
2. A commercial establishment that lends books for a fee.
3. A series or set of books issued by a publisher.
4. A collection of recorded data or tapes arranged for ease of use.
5. A set of things similar to a library in appearance, function, or organization: a library of computer programs.
6. Genetics A collection of cloned DNA sequences whose location and identity can be established by mapping the genome of a particular organism.
So there’s a definition. But truly, a library is what a community makes of it. A library can be as big, or as small, as the school, city, business or organization it serves provides it to be.
So libraries can be this:
But libraries can also be this:
(this picture was taken by The Shifted Librarian at DOK Delft, one of the hippest libraries in the world)
Needless to say a library, a building, an inanimate object, does not forget what it is. A community, a school….people change it when they see a need for change.
Back to the hater:
“and decided to become this hybrid amazon.com/barnes and noble/arcade/rec center ordeal that we have now”
This comment implies that a library cannot change to keep up to date with the times. That a book-store style of library, or a library catalog that has pictures and words that everyone understands in it….are bad things. Let me direct you back to a blog I posted about librarian stereotypes. If change does not occur, if keeping up to date with modern trends…not just in libraries but in the whole world
If these things do not occur, then it is logical that the entity will cease to exist. I recommend this poster reads a little something called The Origin of the Species by means of natural selection by Charles Darwin. Check out the bit on survivial of the fittest. Apply.
Let’s continue:
“I am a young adult librarian”
Really? Well that’s quite a surprise. Because most teen librarians that I know…totally rock.
“and soon we will be losing ref desks for kiosks so that we are encouraged to wander around and bother the patrons ala target employees”
First, Target employees certainly do not walk around bothering people…or even asking if you need help. They are few and far between. And would it really be so bad to get rid of those awful reference desks that scare the bejeezes out of most patrons? Wandering around and asking people for help…well that’s just helpful. Not bothersome.
“this is sad. the video game aspect, while i don’t agree with it, isn’t the libraries fault. we have books here. we just have adult and children too stupid to read them now
As soon as I read that sentence…well it took every bone in my librarian body to not pick up a volume of the OED and chuck it across the reference section.
And no, the typo in the sentence does not make it any better.
Talk about a total loss of hope.
Not just in libraries…or even librarians…but humanity as a whole.
It’s sad.
So I suggest to reading this to cleanse your palate of that awful taste of bitter librarian:
It’s much more useful than calling someone stupid….which as librarians we should all know….is just no excuse for poor service.
Have a lovely week, fair readers! And do yourself a favor, play some video games. 🙂
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2 responses to “Like Cat Stephens, I can’t keep it in.

  1. Hear, hear! I, too, find it depressing when our own colleagues resort to name-calling instead of engaging in civil discussion. I particularly like the images you used in your post. Thanks for making me smile today. 🙂

  2. Anytime! I was trying to avoid it but this morning I was just feeling particularly ranty. 🙂

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