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"So a comedian walks into a library and decides to work there …"
That's not my line. It's from Meredith Myers, the self-described Standup Librarian who just had something very unfunny happen to her.
She got fired from a West Hollywood library job that she loved.
But let's back up, all the way to Florida, where Myers discovered as a child that a library is a place to think, dream and figure things out. As an adult, she grabbed books on the PR business, leading to a 10-year career as a publicist. Then she checked out books on stand-up comedy and became a comedian. Then, about five years ago, she realized what she really wanted to be when she grew up. A librarian.
Here's what happened earlier this week: On the morning of Oct. 25, Myers told her library colleagues that The Times was interested in her story, and that metro feature editor Nita Lelyveld and a photographer might be coming by the library the next day. "They were excited about it and happy for me," Myers said of her colleagues.
But later that day, Myers learned that library officials had some concerns about the possibility of a story in The Times. A call was made to the county library's official spokesman, Ken Kramer. Faced with the possibility of an upbeat feature celebrating a hip, funny employee whose night job included stand-up bits in which she promoted the library, Kramer offered that she could go ahead with the interview, but she couldn't say that she was a page at the West Hollywood branch. -- Read More
There's a lot of complaining going on in Chicago over Mayor Emanuel's budget cuts. City librarians are pitching in with a read-in in front of the Mayor's office to voice opposition to his plan to cut library hours, holding up "Boo to Library Cuts" and other messages of protest.
Children sat on the floor in their Halloween costumes as librarians held an interactive story time reading books such as “Go Away Big Green Monster” and “Bark, George”.
Jenny Vitzileos’ seven children, ages 1 to 14, were among the crowd who held up signs that read “We Shall Not be Shushed!” and “No Library Cuts, Don’t Lock Out Learning.” Vitzileos said her family has relied on the Irving Park branch for book reports and Internet access over the years.
Salt Lake City Library employees say the latest chapter on staff turmoil is rich with irony: a clampdown on free speech inside the very institution that celebrates the principle.
A just-launched crackdown on any opinionated email — and on criticism of management expressed via social media — has some veteran librarians fearing for their jobs and a chorus of others crying censorship.
Even Friends of the Library members are openly questioning the library’s direction and its “chronic problems.”
The uproar started last week after the human resources manager unveiled new guidelines for all-staff email. It is only appropriate, Shelly Chapman wrote, to send pertinent, work-related information such as available shifts and job announcements. “It was also determined,” Chapman wrote, “that employees would not use all-staff email to voice opinions or express concerns.”
“Appropriate” all-staff email must be reviewed by two staffers before sending, the edict reads. And “any other” all-staff email must be approved by the employee’s manager.
That prompted veteran librarian Ranae Pierce — via an all-staff email — to point out the irony of the rule, given the library’s free-speech mission. Story from the Salt Lake City Tribune.
Piece in the NYT by Shannon O’Neill. She is an archivist and reference librarian at the Atlantic City Free Public Library.
AS a librarian and archivist, I am often asked if I believe that, one day, libraries will disappear. While the present situation for many libraries is difficult — budget cuts, closings and furloughs — I think that libraries will persist.
One of my duties as an archivist is to document history. Given this, I cannot help but preserve the library artifacts that I find.
Full piece here. (Contains slide show of library items)
Their mission statement:
We know what people think: Dewey, glasses, shushing, books, hairbuns, Party Girl and card catalogs. Yes, we know what people think. We know that the American, library profession is approximately 80% White and 72% female; and we know that tens of thousands of librarians are expected to reach age 65 in the next 5 years. We also know that this is not us.
There is an entire population of professional librarians out there who disagree with the way the library profession is perceived in contemporary media outlets and in the historical consciousness of the American mind. Different people and different associations will use different means to try to change those perceptions. This is ours.
Congrats guys, looking good...
“Killing Librarianship” Keynote New England Library Association Annual Conference, Burlington, VT.
Abstract: What might kill our profession is not ebooks, Amazon or Google, but a lack of imagination. We must envision a bright future for librarians and the communities they serve, then fight to make that vision a reality. We need a new activist librarianship focused on solving the grand challenges of our communities. Without action we will kill librarianship.
From The Chicago Tribune:
The Read-To-Dogs program is one of the many unusual ways that libraries throughout Chicagoland are engaging citizens of all ages. Kids can read to dogs, send their stuffed animals on sleepovers or visit a magical forest, and parents can attend a toga party, taste gourmet chocolate or even meet up at a martini bar, all thanks to their local libraries.
It was obvious that the read-to-dogs program has caught the interest of 7-year-old Ella, who casually petted cockapoodle Jake with her right hand and held the book "Nobody's Dog" with her left while confidently breezing through sentences studded with multisyllabic words.
In a rare bit of good news, Milwaukee appears poised to restore some funding to the public library system,
"Milwaukee Public Libraries would be open longer hours and expand their educational programs for children, under the 2012 city budget that Mayor Tom Barrett will unveil Tuesday.
Barrett said he's seeking to roll back the library service cuts of previous years, in recognition of the libraries' importance in helping residents improve their lives.
As recent statistics show increasing poverty in Milwaukee, Barrett said, "I remain convinced that education, and access to education, and access to books, is one of the best things we can do to combat that. We're trying to foster a positive learning environment.""
From The Atlantic. Four librarians and a few teachers tell readers about their major employment gripes:
I'm a librarian in a public library that's part of a larger system. The most annoying thing about my job is the lack of support in the most public aspect of my work from managers and administration. Patron behavior expectations have been reduced, primarily because it is seen as a hassle to enforce rules of behavior. Even the rules of behavior we have, like wearing shirt and shoes in the building, are seen by the administration as too much trouble to enforce if no patron complains. Which means that if I see a situation, even if it's in direct opposition to posted policy, I can't be sure I won't be reprimanded, perhaps in public, by my own boss for enforcing the policy. Yet I've also been told I was letting some patrons (that I couldn't hear at the central desk) get too loud, so it's a sort of being stuck on a morton's fork.*
-- Read More