ADMINISTRATION (of libraries)
Library administration is often neither an art nor a science - too often it is a case of the blind leading the intimidated.
It's not that I've got anything against tall people, it's just that I don't like their altitude.
Although we live in an assessment-driven society, I donít believe that thinking beyond those artificial constructs is harmful. Except possibly in the financial sense.
I donít know why it is that Iím still constantly amazed at the places I see bigotry. Iím not talking about being objectionable on the basis of race, color or creed; these are objections to where someone has worked in the past, who they worked with or for, and the fact that they might hold differing perspectives. How do you legislate against that?
There are only two kinds of books in the world: good books and bad books. If you enjoy reading it, then it's a good book.
You can't judge a book by its cover, but it sure helps to give you a good idea of what's inside.
Book blurbs are vital to students - it helps them to knock over a book report in less than 10 minutes.
I was bored once. I think it was in March, 1962.
I hope the revolution doesn't come too soon. I have to sort out the priorities of all the people on my list who are currently down to be "first against the wall".
The library budget is a tool for creating and maintaining the physical entity that is the sum of the parts; the professional staff is the means by which that physical entity becomes an effective instrument in the hands and minds of the learner.
Teacher Librarians are having to compete with other school faculties by begging at Budget Submission time to School Executives - who would no more read the research findings on the impact of school libraries than they would nail themselves to the library door to prevent any further disintegration of school library services.
The really good thing about cliches is that everyone understands what you mean.
Communication is a dying form of expression. It's just so much simpler for the people higher up the ladder to bark down the orders, rather than come down their ladder.
[In an email, explaining the use of an epidiascope] If only you could see me waving my arms around and pointing into thin air, Iím sure I could make it much clearer.
[On a listserv, responding to an adminstrator directive not to post anything to the list that wouldn't be of interest to the majority of the subscribers] Please send me the email addresses for all of the subscribers, and I'll post to them off-list.
Courage is going to work every day, knowing that those in charge have absolutely no idea what's really happening. The higher up the corporate food chain, the more removed they are from the realities at grass roots level.
Many of the world's greatest minds have been labeled as unpleasant, undesirable, obnoxious, or objectionable due to their uncompromising refusal to blithely wander about, prattling inanely about how wonderful and perfect everything is ...
Me? A cynic? Nah. A skeptic perhaps. Cynics don't believe things can change - me, I believe anything is possible. Given enough time, money, support staff, motivation, climate control, a small infusion of intelligence in the current moronic state of affairs ...
Computers in libraries are like icing on cake - they add to the whole experience, but just make a sticky mess without a firm foundation.
Considering the increasingly rapid obsolescence of technology, computer theft is a community service.
I just hope that whether I go 'upwards' or 'to the other place', I don't have to do any shelving. Otherwise I might as well stay where I am.
Sure, I've made the odd decision or two in my life. Often the wrong one ...
Dignity is highly overrated. Experience has shown that you can achieve just so much more by crying, screaming and laying on the floor kicking than by rationale argument and presentation of documented evidence.
I have a dream that all libraries will one day operate in a nation where they will not be judged by the number of computers, but by the quality of the whole collection.
If only editors could read authors' minds, they wouldn't change so much of their work ...
With so many national and state-wide policies stating that one of the purposes of the school library is to support the curriculum, why is it that so many are struggling for resource funding and staffing support? Could it be that someone forgot to take the talk for a walk? I just KNEW there was a reason for that horrible smell.
The vast majority of worksites would rather employ a cheerful cretin than a surly genius.
Enemies are wonderful things to collect - they keep you humble by disagreeing with you, give you someone to blame when things don't work out.
EVALUATIONS, of librarians
Who should be assessing library folk's efficiency and practice? Certainly NOT anyone who hasn't been trained, qualified and experienced in the profession. Can you imagine any specialist practioners from any field being judged a specialist from another field?
I'm just not sure how I'll be able to tell when I've had enough experience. At the moment, I seem to be getting a lot of experience - maybe too much.
I couldn't help myself ... I had a difficult childhood, my parents wouldn't buy me a pony until I was 12. Due to my middle class background, we weren't allowed to live in a cardboard box like all my friends - we lived in a standard house. Despite my pleas to wander around in second-hand rags, I was forced to wear proper clothes that conformed to some unwritten bourgeoisie dress code, which left me (obviously) scarred for life. At least, that's what I'll be claiming in court ...
I met an expert once. I knew they were an expert, because they told me. A number of times. I guess they thought I had a short memory.
Facts are becoming increasingly rubbery. There was a time when once a 'fact' was discovered, it was immutable. Nowdays, 'facts' are only true until someone proves otherwise.
A passion for fashion leads to a penchant for poverty.
My major financial relationship is with my employer. I've agreed to turn up at work, and they've agreed to pay me. Apparently, I've also agreed to pay taxes to the government, but I don't remember signing a contract for that.
All library folk apparently should be grateful that they are employed and have a regular income. Otherwise we might be laying around all day on a sunny beach, reading. Let me rephrase that ...
Genius is its own punishment. It's resented by the dull-witted, challenged by the jealous inept, and manipulated by organizations for their own evil plans.
Show me a genius and I'll show you a manic-depressive. Of course, they may not be the same person.
Libraries owe a debt of gratitude to Hollywood. If it wasn't for some movies, then a significant proportion of the population would never have heard of many authors. Now all producers have to do is ensure that ISBNs appear in the credits, along with the author's name and the title of the original book. But in REALLY BIG letters. Or more correctly of course, NUMBERS.
Librarians have not been so much "seared in the flames of withering injustice", as lightly parboiled in the melting pot of bureaucratic ignorance.
I had this awesome idea to improve the operation of the library! But then I had to go check some books out, then the phone rang with a reference query; a patron had a minor injury that required a major amount of paperwork. After all that, I forgot what the idea was. But it really was a great one. Isn't it lucky that Benjamin Franklin didn't work in a library?
Playing browser-based games on 'company time' is a professional development activity; it promotes development of keyboarding skills, acts as Diversional Therapy in times of stress, and integrates ICT into work practice. Anyone who says it's just goofing off lacks cognizance of higher order thinking paradigms.
After all this re-invention, won't we end up with a wonderful wheel!
If you're looking for justice in a library, try around 345, 363, 364 or 365. You won't find it anywhere else in a library.
Itís not how far youíve travelled, or how quickly you got there Ė the important thing is what you achieved along the way, and how many lives youíve enriched.
Accept the fact that youíre going to pick up baggage on any journey Ė regardless of how lightly you packed in the beginning. Some of it will be a memento; some will be junk. Some will be of your selection; some will be foisted on you against your will.
You cannot 'manage' knowledge, because it remains firmly locked within the human psyche. Facts, whether they are published in some form, or carried by individuals, are another matter. To attempt to organise the human psyche would be like trying to teach a goldfish to fetch a ball.
Working as I do in the surrealistic environment of a government beaurocracy,
where 'admistration' and 'management' are equated with Leadership, I greatly
admire those figures in history with the ability to share their vision and
inspire others. All politics aside. And with a few notable exceptions, where
those abilities have been abused to the detriment of others.
Could the last one out of librarianship please turn off the lights?
A smiling librarian is an awesome sight; it challenges the stereotypes, creates an atmosphere of change, and frightens the heck out of 95% of the borrowers.
Libraries are not really about books or information. They are about connecting people to ideas - often against their will.
When the day comes that people no longer need libraries, they will no longer need air.
An empty library is a sad library. But really quiet, plus you can get so much work done!
Almost all libraries offer some form of 'refuge services', but these never seem to appear in policy statements, or have a budget allocation.
Unfortunately, ripping the heads off beaurocrats was not a formally recognised subject at my Library School - an oversight that one day I hope to address through strident campaigning, and probably ripping the heads off a few beaurocrats ...
The last time I dared to raise my head to mention literacy standards, I was ducking flak for a week. Maybe longer. Sometimes I get my battles mixed up.
See also:Ataxia in the Republic of Letters?
MATH FICTION, MATH HUMOR
The best laughs from Math Fiction come from library budget allocation documents.
You can fortell the success of your requests by the degree of opacity of the meeting room windows ... watch for the shadows of the pigs flying past.
My blissful naivety was blown away by a rapid succession of Ill Winds.
Objectivity itself is subjective, dependent on a self-perception of lack of bias.
As a citizen, parent, and taxpayer, I consider that my rights to an opinion on educational issues are not annulled by my employment arrangements. Although my employer apparently believes otherwise.
Thereís nothing wrong with being "a bit passionate and one-eyed". Much preferable to being bifocal and bland!
The tragic reality is that we do not live in a perfect world. It seems to me that there a number of ways to deal with this fact. Firstly, you can quietly accept it. Secondly, you can moan and whine about it. Thirdly, you can try to make things better. If you haven't taken the third option and at least made some effort, then you have no right to take the second option either.
For every action there is certainly an opposite reaction, but in the library world, unlike in physics, it is not necessarily equal. This is surely proof that libraries exist in their own universe with different laws, practices and most importantly management procedures - that often bear little correlation to the principles of logic, as they are generally understood here on Planet Earth.
If the library is quiet enough, you can actually hear the bookstock ageing.
The effort required to come up with a set of words that will be worthy of endless repetition and plagiarism is rarely worth the trouble.
Is anyone running an in-utero reading program? Or should literacy foundations be laid during conception?
I liked the road-kill in Minnesota - before that, I'd only seen skunks in their native habits in zoos.
[The massive output means that some of them] get lost in the endless
sea of papers that spume out on the bow waves of the mighty vessels,
registered in the Great State of Academia. Of course, some of these are
carrying valuable cargo, others only passengers ....
Ever noticed how new libraries smell different to old ones? Many people think this is because of the bookstock. Few people realise that, in fact, the smell in new libraries are pheromones released through anticipation, enthusiasm and exuberance. In old libraries, it's the smell of reality.
Few people realise that I know at least some of the words to many, many songs. That's probably why I never get asked to sing.
One day, a library patron will come up to the desk and say "I don't suppose you could sing me the first two lines of ..." They should really be teaching this in library school. It's a greatly neglected area of Reference Services.
Disraeli has been quoted as saying "to be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge". So how do we get stupid people to take that first step?
I know we're not quite ready to start dancing in the streets, but it
seems like the 'little steps' are spanning just a touch more ground.
The secret to success is to know when it's the right time to speak, and when to stay silent. And when it's the right time to stand and fight, and when to walk away. Obviously I have the wrong sort of watch.
There's something profoundly disturbing about men holding positions where a suit and tie are authority symbols. They might as well just wear a badge that says "VIP" or '*sshole'.
Look not on the surly with distain, but with admiration. How lucky are such, that their lives are so blissful that they have no need of mirth. How admirable that they would be prepared to spread their own form of cheer, so that others can share their joy and also no longer feel the need for laughter. Not.
I've finally figured out what's wrong here. There aren't enough days in the week, or hours in the day. Therefore we're on the wrong planet.
I have to momentarily interrupt my efforts in saving the world, and go do some laundry. I bet that never happened to Che Guevara - but then they killed him in the end. I guess, in educational-speak, that would have been an "unforseen outcome".
Truth is a matter of perspective, personality and sheer determination.
Old Wally Heisenberg was only partially correct. When he considered the paradox (of the more precisely the POSITION was identified, the reliability of measurement of the VELOCITY declined), he forgot to factor in budgets, policies and human nature.
Experience has shown that, ironically, a large percentage of their time is consumed with meetings - where presumably they are discussing how best to support their members. This consumes so much of their time, they are unable to support their members.
Violence is NEVER justified. Except possibly in matters of justice. And then only when all other avenues have been exhausted. Or during PMS.
[In response to the question "how can someone be a librarian unless they're working in a library?] Do you have to work in a school to be a teacher? Where would that leave Distance Education? Do researchers have to be surrounded by test tubes and beakers? Don't tell the ethnographers or psychologists. Do you have to work in a hospital or medical center to be a doctor? What position would that leave missionaries in? OK, let me rephrase that last one ...
Writing, like school librarianship, should not be undertaken for the financial rewards.
It doesn't matter if 90% of the world's published material is crap. It should be considered as packing for the other 10% that's worth reading. Except you don't get to pop the bubbles.
X, Y and Z might come here eventually ...