Demented Librarian Fantasies: Insulting Users With A Smile

I was avoiding work today by watching some Mitchell and Webb Look videos. This one is funny, naturally.

The thing is, I know it’s funny because the librarian is such an asshole to the user, but I couldn’t help but think that I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t some sort of fantasy for many bitter, downtrodden librarians. You know, the ones so quick to complain about pretty much anything and everything. Kids these days are such idiots. Nobody appreciates their wit. Shit, I could be talking about me! (Except I really love my user community and do it all for “the kids”.)

Presentation tips from a lap-dance?

I will admit to being on a very horrible, obsessive binge of Peep Show. It’s got a lesson for pretty much anything. Deep in the throes of trying to prepare a presentation or working on an article? Why not work on it while receiving a lap-dance?

In this clip, our hero Mark is trying to finish up a presentation whilst receiving a lap-dance. The dancer suggests he distils the main point into one sentence, which he thinks is too simple. She warns him that the presentation might be “too diffuse”. I’ve been there. In that tunnel of over-thought and total blinders to anything other than your idea. Outside perspective is helpful.

I’m sure I could probably do a whole series of lessons from Peep Show (like professional revenge), but I am interested in knowing what lessons you’ve learned from media that have made you a better library “professional”?

Loathing and Libraries

(photo source: sbmontana)

Today I saw something about “shambrarians” on Twitter. Intrigued, I had to see what the next be thing in libraries after “guybrarians”, “cyberbrarians”, and “hipster librarians” was going to be. Luckily, there’s Shambrarian International.

Work in a Library or information management sector? Know lots of real Librarians? Couldn’t be arsed to get a MA in info management? Drink Beer*? Welcome to Shambrarianship. We’re a little like you. Probably.

Does that describe you? Why not join!

This made me think though… what’s with all the self-loathing in the library world? Even if it’s toungue-in-cheek, there’s still a lot of self-doubt and deprecation. It’s like a giant pity party.

So the people without the masters are shambrarians. Jokey but totally loaded and reflects the weird hierarchies some places have, but not all libraries have that pecking order.

Then, from our patron saint Blake Carver’s LIS News, I saw this Linda Ueki Absher column on Counterpunch about a hipster librarians.

Finally, decide you need to work at something professional that will still let you pursue your art. After years of Top Ramen, Learning Annex classes and three consecutive editions of What Color is My Parachute? you realize that although you are An Artist, your attempts are becoming really annoying. And expensive. After ruling out paralegal as a career because you of your thing about xeroxing pictures of diseased lungs and neck MRIs as a primary job responsibility, you undergo an epiphany: what’s the one profession where you can skate on your immense knowledge of civil war button lore and shabby wardrobe? Librarianship.

Absher is trying to scare off fickle hipsters from the LIS school trap, which is a good thing ultimately (I think), but also goes for that tried and true method of embracing the stereotype in a somewhat self-effacing way. I’ll cop to it. I was just joking about my extensive background in historical Germanic linguistics this morning, and why I left that game for libraries. I needed health insurance.

So what do you think? How can we collectively say fuck it and get over our low self-esteems.

The Fifth Column?

photo source: cdrummbks

Sarah brought up the fifth column metaphor this week in relation to the library world, and it was interesting because we both had different impressions of what it meant.

Are people who are working from within the established channels/organizations to secretly (or not so obviously) affect change a sort of fifth column? I’m talking about those people grinding away for change at the heart of ALA/SLA/AALL/professional association of your choice.

Or is the fifth column people who don’t work with any system at all, and instead focus on why organizations like ALA aren’t worth the costly membership dues? It’s a hard life out there, and sometimes people can’t be blessed with the time or money to get involved for the greater good. (Or they can’t play nicely with others… wait is that us?)

What do y’all think? We might talk about this on LibPunk Radio. We might not. Don’t pin us down!


I think I’ve lost my blogging mojo. Or maybe I’m just tired of having the same conversations with the same people where everyone takes the same sides, not to mention the fact that I strongly suspect that some of these conversations keep happening just because people like drama and the excuse to bitch and moan.

So I’m expressing my professional ennui by making trollface cartoons.  I can’t wait to put this in my P&T Dossier.

Let me know if you want a blank to make your own and I can hook you up.

A secret society?

Um… not really. This video is from Navigating the New the California Library Association conference. They did battledecks. You can see them all here. It’s always fun to see librarians make fools of themselves in a good way. (Seriously, I wish more people would have fun and take risks like that.) In around 4:55 of the video here, Sam McBane stumbles across a LibPunk slide. She was stymied. “Is it a secret society or something?” Ha. No. We gotta get the word out I suppose.

Thanks to the people who made the decks! Fun times…

LibPunk Essay Contest In Full Swing

Don’t forget to enter the LibPunk Essay Contest! Sarah already did and it’s a good read. Definitely check it out.  We’ll try to post all the entries here or on the LibPunk Radio Wiki. We’ll have a special episode of LibPunk Radio about it most definitely. If you feel too constrained by words, we’ll take videos or other visual art. If you feel inclined to send vegan baked goods, please let me know.  (I don’t like raisins.)

Keep fighting the good fight and all that.

Show Your LibPunk Pride

Do you have a blog or website? Want to show off your LibPunk pride and membership in the collective? Here’s a nifty badge you can download, upload and then link back to this site.

But here’s the thing…this isn’t the “official” LibPunk blog badge.  If you want to go crazy with the image editing software and make your own, that’s great!  You can post a link in the LibPunk FF room or leave a comment here if you want to share.  Or keep it all to yourself.

Likewise, there is no “official” LibPunk logo or merchandise.  Amy and Kathryn set up the original LibPunk CafePress store.  But that’s original, not official.  If you want to get creative and make your own CafePress store or make some crafty stuff to sell on Etsy, that’s cool.    Just between you and  me, half the reason that we decided to really jump start this LibPunk thing again is so we’d have an excuse to make LibPunk merchandise. Again, let us know here or on FriendFeed if you want to show it off.