Today's Soapbox

Hold on while I climb up.


Everyone who wants to do a good thing today needs to go sign the Petition for Public Access to Publicly Funded Research in the United States. You can follow this link or you can click on the "go stick it to the man" button on my sidebar. Because even if you don't care about having access to publicly-funded research, there are other people who really want it and would make great use out of it. Plus it's research that we have paid for, so we darn well should be able to see it and use it. It's a step in the right direction towards Open Access and Access to Knowledge and information goods not being controlled by greedy rights-infringing corporations and don't you make me post my entire dissertation up here because I will. Just go sign the thing; it will earn you karma points. I promise.

If you haven't downloaded Firefox after I already told you to, then you really need to get on that. At least upgrade to Internet Explorer 7, even though that is so not Sticking it to the Man. I'm just sayin'.

Kids these days don't even know what an encyclopedia is anymore. What is up with that? And it's not like they're off using something better. They don't actually know how to use the Internet to do research. Their parents just drop them off at the library and expect them to figure it out. There are so many things I wish I could be teaching people how to do with computers at the library. There are so many free programs and so many databases that have already been paid for. I could run a "Homework Help" class. I could run a "Why Firefox is True and Will Bless Your Life with Bunnies and Unicorns" class. I could run a "Here are all the cool things you can do with Google and a few of the things you really shouldn't" class. It would be amazing. But I'm stretched thin and frazzled as it is. Plus the library's computers are steaming piles of crap.

I'm trying to work on my professional development by reading good library blogs and listserves and keeping up with what's happening in Libraryland, but it's making me feel a bit overwhelmed. People are doing such cool things, and I know the point is to just do the things that are possible for you and your library and are the most needed, but I don't know if we'll ever get to the point of doing some of this stuff.

I need business cards. Why don't I have them? How am I supposed to network at this week's Utah Library Association conference if I don't have business cards?

I am officially done having people ask me why I need a master's degree to work in a library. I am not talking about Singin's sweet husband here, because he was just taking an interest and had lots of good questions & suggestions. Also he made me scones. So he wins. Everyone else, though, will get a kick in the teeth, a million nasty papercuts, and a dip in a vat of lemon juice. I'll just start printing out librarian job descriptions and handing them out. "Can you do that? I didn't think so." People think that stuff like library catalogs and search engines and databases just happen and magically show them things. Only guess what? There is so, so, so very much more going on there than we think there is. And it took a lot of work to make it seem that simple, so that even an idiot (Read: The next person who says "You have to get a master's degree to stamp books??" to me) can use it. And to those people I say, when you consider that there is more information available on everything under the sun than there ever has been, you had better be grateful that there are people out there who figure out how to organize it all and make it so that out of all those billions of things you can find the one thing that you actually want and need. And you should be grateful that there are people who care about whether you're getting good & accurate information instead of standing back and letting natural selection finish you off.

The End.

Climbing back down.


nomadic gnome said... [reply]

I just had this exact conversation with my mom. She wanted to get a part time job at the library and was surprised to find she couldn't do so without a masters degree. I believe her exact words were "Why would you need a masters degree to put books on shelves?" Silly moms.

I tried to paint a picture of a million part time moms working at the library and how chaotic that might become. Actually, that might be a good premise for that next big reality show...

kristen said... [reply]

You should totally get business cards. I'd take one.

Don't even get me started about children and their lack of skills these days (and the lack of parental involvement). That's a can of worms. I fully support you teaching those classes. And the titles are perfect.

Do library patrons actually ask you that?

April said... [reply]

Preaching to the choir, sister! Amen times a billion.

abby said... [reply]

I get the why do you need a masters question all the time at ward socials. People just don't understand. I think a lot of the skills I've learned in my profession is stuff I have picked up on the job, however, I know the theory on why I need those skills. I love finding things for people in two seconds when they struggled for an hour finding it themselves. It's all about knowing where to look and how to think.

My daily work doesn't even include shelving books and checking them out. My local public library used to hire high school students to do that work. The job requires budgeting, researching (ok that's a duh), and people skills.

Edgy said... [reply]

So, on Saturday, when I finally meet you because you and DesMama and I are all having lunch, it is unacceptable to ask why you needs a master's degree to be a librarian. I will remember that. However, I assume it's okay to ask you what kind of coursework you took and what you liked and what was a complete waste of time now that you're working and being a librarian, right?

Lizardbreath McGee said... [reply]

*Applauds. Vehemently.*

Jimmy said... [reply]

If you haven't downloaded Firefox after I already told you to, then you really need to get on that.

Duly noted, and being done as we speak. Or read, or whatever the heck it is that I'm doing.

iPrint.com makes great cards, and they're cheap! I have some, and they were well done.

And I would bet that most people who would question the need for that Master's wouldn't be smart enough to get one of their own.

You do a good Soapbox, Lady.

Yeah, it's me. . . said... [reply]

Very well said! God Bless Librarians! And a pox on all the idiots of the world.

Vistaprint.com has awesome prices on business cards, including some free ones.

And I agree, Firefox rules.

amyjane said... [reply]

Don't hurt yourself with all the climbing, OK? I thanked me a librarian or five today, BTW. Also, our library has a HUGE poster stating the unattended children rule and it is very firmly enforced. I thought of you.

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