A New Hobby
Lately, I have developed a new hobby; well, more like a pastime. I am into making things transparent – reversing the smoke and mirrors effects that seem to frustrate us and cloud our judgment. And just like most new converts, I have become a champion of my new cause, not just a practitioner. So I decided to occasionally share with you my de-mystifying, de-mythologizing journeys, and as a sign of good faith (pun intended) I am going to expose one of the core myths about my profession: LIBRARIANS DO NOT SPEND ALL THEIR TIME READING!
So how come you know so much, you ask? Here’s how come: we have good resources!
And unlike journalists that cannot reveal their sources, we LOVE revealing ours!
Here is such a resource that keeps me in the loop about my professional universe: the American Libraries Association electronic newsletter, American Libraries Direct. It is rife with good stories, ideas, and information, and in a minute you will know (almost) as much as I do about what is going on in the world of libraries and librarians this week:
Sports Illustrated decides libraries don’t need swimsuit issueLibrarians on Public and other discussion lists discovered in the first week of March that none of them had received the February 14 “swimsuit issue” of Sports Illustrated. Inquiries to publisher Time Warner eventually resulted in a statement from spokesman Rick McCabe that the company had withheld shipment of that issue to some 21,000 libraries and schools because for years the magazine had received complaints it was too risqué. In a March 9 statement, ALA President Leslie Burger called Time Warner’s decision “patronizing and paternalistic in the extreme.” But libraries will get a second chance—they will receive a postcard this week allowing them to reclaim their copies....
The good news, however, is that despite our (50+ old librarians…) grumbling and mumbling, a new generation of readers, not just voyeurs, is in the making.
Teens buying books at the fastest rate in decadesTeen book sales are booming—up by a quarter between 1999 and 2005, by one industry analysis—and the quality is soaring as well. Credit a bulging teen population, a surge of global talent, and perhaps a bit of Harry Potter afterglow as the preteen Muggles of yesteryear carry an ingrained reading habit into later adolescence. Older teens in particular are enjoying a surge of sophisticated fare as young adult literature becomes a global phenomenon....Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mar. 7
On the other hand, (where IS the first hand???), some books are really bizarre, or at least, their titles are:
Bizarre titles of 2006They are not the kind of titles that are likely to top the bestseller charts. But half a dozen bizarre tomes, including a guide to stray shopping carts and a history of a Coventry ice-cream business, may win their 15 minutes of fame as contenders for the Oddest Book Title of the Year. The competition, which has been run by The Bookseller magazine since 1978, invites publishers, booksellers, and librarians to submit their choices of the strange and odd....The Independent (U.K.), Mar. 9
And finally, let’s hear it for the profession!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, librarianThe U.S. Postal Service will issue a stamp on March 15 to commemorate the bicentennial of American poet Longfellow’s birth. Longfellow served as librarian of Bowdoin College Library in Brunswick, Maine, from 1829 to 1835 during the same period in which he taught modern languages for the college. It was typical for colleges to tap a faculty member to serve as librarian on a part-time basis....Library History Buff, Mar. 6
(With many thanks to American Libraries Direct, March 14, 2007)