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.

LibPunk Radio Episode 20: Haters gonna hate, or the new skill of not giving a shit.

photo from LoveComeDown.

Listen to LibPunk Radio Episode #20:

For those of you keeping track at home, I don’t think this is really episode 20, but TalkShoe makes it hard to keep track and I don’t really care. So deal. This isn’t being cataloged, so it’s not my worry. Or I should say, I’m not cataloging it, so whatever.

This week we talked about the side of social media or the new web where people can hate. Sarah has been thinking about this a lot, and shared her thoughts. We talked about the consequences of opening yourself up to criticism, trying to differentiate between actual criticism and flat out trollish hate. I think there was more. Like the whole thing of cliques and the fatigue of the groups. Rochelle pointed out that there’s more than one circle of librarians on the internet, and then we all talked about our scenes. It is a little funny since the three of us are not really involved in the biggest one of them all – ALA. We also touched upon Courtney Fuson’s question on LSW about state library association involvement. Are you a member of yours? I’m not, but I’m also self-professed SLA-4-LYFE.

I dunno. There was more. Care to comment?

Fuck the system? We made it!

img via alshepmcr

This morning was sort of surreal. The UL here was talking about all the great stuff this campus is doing with Google Books and how Hathi Trust is a major step forward towards access. Then Brewster Kahle from the Internet Archive pointed out the Hathi Trust isn’t as open as it could be, even going so far as likening it to Elsevier and Lexis Nexus. His point? We, libraries and librarians, helped created and empower the Elseviers and Lexises. They’re our own monsters which we pay lots of money to. So we’ve created and enabled the system which fucks us. It’s like Frankenstein.

What’s the solution? Clearly smashing the system ain’t going to work. Thoughts?

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 Radio Episode #17: OA week, what are you doing?

(Photo source.)

This picture is of my dinner… sort of. I had a Chipotle burrito bowl after recording LibPunk tonight. It was in honor of one of our biggest supporters – Blake Carver of LIS News. Thank you, Blake!

So go listen to this week’s LibPunk Radio. Unfortunately Amy couldn’t make it for most of the show, so you get lots of Sarah and me talking. Actually, I have to say we earned our burritos tonight by being mostly on topic. I mean, yeah, we started off with talking about howh rabid women sports fans tend to be more rabid than male sports fans. Anyhow… That’s like the first 5 minutes. The rest of it is:

  • The commodificaiton of OA Week. Sort of like the pink ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness Month or slapping a “green” sticker on something and marking up the price.
  • Should libraries be responsible for institutional repositories?
  • How our language obscures our aims: Open Access? Free Law? Scholarly Communication? You get it.
  • Amy calls in at the end from a cab. YES A CAB! I dunno, that’s cool.

So, we won’t be on next week. Instead Amy and I will be eating burritos in the Bay Area and Sarah will be rubbing elbows with Lynn Swann. Stay tuned!

LibPunk Radio 17? Or something: OPEN ACCESS

(Photo via wakingtiger.)
Tonight’s LibPunk Radio is all about Open Access Week, or it will be as much as we can stay on topic. Hopefully we will stay on topic because what’s more punk in the library world than OA? Not much, other than straight up piracy (but then Sarah will smack somebody). We might also talk about the oncoming Internet Librarian, but who knows.

See ya in the pit!