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.

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