mdoneil's blog

ALA insanity:

Walt mentioned a piece on Library Juice and I think it just demonstrates the insanity of the ALA. The way the organization is run is laughable and their denial of reality amazes me.

On April 12th the ALA honored Laura Bush for her contribution to libraries. She was given, at a public ceremony in Washington, DC’s ML King Public Library what the ALA website calls a citation and a gift of award winning children’s book. The ALA home page with the article about the honor is here . I’m not so sure how long it will last so let me quote the news item (available here. )

The American Library Association today honored Mrs. Laura Bush for her years of support to America's libraries and librarians at the Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library in downtown Washington, D.C. ALA Immediate Past President Carla Hayden presented Mrs. Bush with a citation and a gift of Kira-Kira and Kitten's First Full Moon, the 2005 winners of the Newbery and Caldecott medals, respectively.

"Mrs. Bush has been a tireless supporter of libraries and library workers during her tenure in the White House," said Carol Brey-Casiano, president of the American Library Association and director of the El Paso Public Library in El Paso, Texas. "She has been an exemplary role model to women and men considering the profession of librarianship, and she has been a consistent advocate for the importance of reading since her days in the Texas Governor's mansion. Librarians and library users everywhere owe her thanks," she continued.

In 2002, Mrs. Bush hosted the White House Conference on School Libraries, an event that highlighted the power of school libraries to make a difference in student achievement. In 2003, Mrs. Bush was a guiding force behind "Recruitment of Librarians for the 21st Century," legislation designed to help attract and retain librarians.

What I find really amazing is a posting reproduced in the LJ article from the Executive Director of the ALA Keith Michael Fiels. He insists that Mrs. Bush did not receive an ALA award.

How can he possibly defend that statement when a news release about it is right on the ALA’s front page. More amazing is that immediately after stating that Mrs. Bush was not honored he states why she was honored:

My understanding is that these were presented in appreciation
for her support for the importance of reading, libraries (and school
libraries in particular), federal funding for libraries and federal
funding for recruitment and scholarships, including a grant to ALA which
will increase diversity in the profession.

And Sandy Berger didn’t put documents in his socks!

What is even more entertaining is that there are so many people opposed to the current administration that they would deny that Mrs. Bush has been a champion for libraries. The discussion degrades into a semantic dance about the meaning of honor and award and who can bestow what plaudits. Even more absurd is the discussion on the use of Mrs. Laura Bush as opposed to simply Laura Bush. (If her husband were dead it would be Mrs. Laura Bush, now it is Mrs. George Bush according to Emily Post. Using Mrs. Laura Bush is probably wishful thinking on a great part of the ALA membership.)

This may be an appropriate time to share my view of the ALA. The ALA is a political action committee (albeit a very ineffective one). The ALA is ostensibly run by its elected officers and the council, but if you read the Constitution and Bylaws carefully you will see that there are little duties of the council except to meet. There is no requirement that they actually do anything. I really fail to see what the ALA accomplishes that could not be accomplished over coffee with a few bright librarians.

The committees, round tables and other such cliques are simply echo chambers for the various political leanings of their members. The Accreditation committee has failed to enforce rigorous standards on any of the dwindling number of library schools in the nation. I have a hat that could get an MLS at my closest library school. The Advisory committee advises (another coffee klatch), there is even a Committee on Committees, Holy Lord how could someone outside of government service have come up with that.
The round tables which could really do some good work for libraries and librarians if they managed to make a little time to discuss them rather than worrying about social responsibility or torture or any of the other nonsense they debate that is not library related.

Enough ALA bashing though, it does some things well. It produces many good publications for librarians. It employs a number of people in the Chicagoland area thus boosting the economy and it fills conference space. Too bad it is not a better advocate for the profession and the professionals it claims to serve.

Someone tell him his 15 minutes is up.

Michael Moore is making jokes about running for Pope.

Would someone please tell him his 15 minutes are up. Self-important windbag (and Rush Limbaugh too, but he is not making fun of the papal election).

No we don't....

Have any more instruction books for the 1040 or 1040A. All I have is 1040EZ.

Yes I think it is terrible that the post office does not have the forms any longer.

No, I will not print the instruction book for you for free.

But the 2 Library Assistants that drive me up the wall are off !!! I am all alone !!! I love the peace and quiet.

Still working it...

Pope John Paul the Great is still using his charisma to bring together people of many faiths, colours, and ideologies together. Perhaps some good will come from this, certainly no harm can come from our world leaders meeting one another on neutral ground.

Middle Eastern leaders, Jew and Muslim were just feet apart. They even greeted one another.

Prince Charles shook the hand of a despot, Mugabe. Perhaps good things will come of this.

They found me

Today in my (postal) mail was a letter from someone commenting on a letter I wrote to the local newspaper. They were upset that I called the Pope "Holy Father". I'm sure that the letter writer (it was sent anonymously) did it in the best possible spirit, but geez did ya have to look up my home address to send a letter and tracts to me.

Random Monday thoughts

1) Why would you tell a librarian (or anyone else for that matter) "I just bought a computer and I don't know how to use it."

Would someone who does not know how to fly buy an airplane? What is wrong with these people. Take a few classes -we do have them for free at the library- and learn what you need and what you will use before you let some kid at BestBuy talk you into a $2K laptop when you would have been better off with a $500 e-machine.

Totus Tuus

We all pray that it would be said after we die that the world was a better place because we were in it. For one humble son of Poland this is most assuredly true.

Servant of the Servants of Christ, your work here is done, we will carry on the mission of peace and the dignity of persons. Go now to the waiting arms of the Father. You have taught the lessons, let us pray that we were good students.

Matty the book

I have a patient (at my other job obviously) that was allegedly involved in organized crime. He wanted an RN after he was discharged from the hospital so he hired one. I decided I needed a 'mobster" name so I was Matty the needle (the pill, the shot, and the catheter were considered but dropped).

So I figured that I needed a mob name for my other job too....Matty the book.

Coincidence, I think not....

Today I was complaining because patrons never seem to be able to push in a chair when they get up from a table or a computer. I wondered aloud if they ever did that at restaurants. Another staff member noted that the booths and chairs in McDonald's were generally bolted in place.

My Taser arrived in the mail today, I bet the chair problem will shape right up.

Carrying over Obstinate SOB over to non library life

Tonight was a delight at the library. After 5 PM I was the only one from the Adult Services department. I had a wonderful evening, 2 patrons remarked how quiet it was and I got tons of stuff done including a display on living wills (I think I had Terry Schiavo as a patient in the 80's as I worked in the hospital she went to in the unit. I don't remember her but she was there for months and I worked in the unit during that time) .

Anyway I decided to carry the obstinate SOB thing over into the rest of my life as oddly it seems to be working well.

Tonight I went out with a library patron who was also my waitress at a local restaurant (no not McD's). She told me she was a vegitarian so I picked one of those cook in front of you Asian places that have a vegatarian fry up. (Wave fingers like a flashback now....)

Me: Lets eat here.

Former Library Patron Waitress Woman: OK

M: Hi, two please...

FLPWW: yeah...

(more finger waving as time passes)

M: I'll have the filet

FLPWW: I'm a vegatarian

M: OK, they have vegatarian stir fry.

FLPWW: But you are eating meat.

M: Yep

FLPWW: But meat is animals.

M: Thats OK I'm an omnivore

FLPWW: (strange look after the word omnivore) I can't do this.


Waitress at Asian place I go to at least once a week: Uh, what do you want?

M: Hang on to mine I'll be back in a few minutes.

FLPWW: What are we doing?

M: I guess this was a bad idea, I'll take you back to your car (at the library).


(Finger waving ...15-20 mins)

WAAPIGTALOAW: Hi, still eating?

M: Of course

(finger waving...eating of filet cooked at the table... Japanese food for just me at my own table.)

Greek man who apparently owns Japanese restaurant: That took some big ones.

M: No, not really I just got tired of everybody's shit so I am being a stubborn SOB.

WAAPIGTALOAW: (brings check) Thank you! (check says COMP!!! and managers signature).

M: Thanks a million, (tips staff what the meal would have cost).

This obstinate SOB stuff ain't so bad.


Today I spent an hour or so doing important research on Free Cell in the office to avoid the staff that drive me up the wall.

The previous librarian that had my post used to read the Chicago newspaper online in the office to avoid them.

9 wins out of 22 games.

Obstinate SOB

Well I just can't stand working with do nothing co-workers any more and I regret not taking the $35K job in south Florida I was offered last month. Sure I would have had to move, but at least it would have rid me of the lazy stupid people I work with. (Not all of them are lazy and stupid just 2/5 --it was 2/4 but we had to hire another part time person to make up for the lazy stupid people doing ILL wrong.)

So I have decided to be an obstinate SOB. I guess it beats going on a rampage and striking all of my co-workers with a plumbers helper. I will no longer help my co-workers with their computer problems as they should know how to fix them. If they can't print from Acrobat reader after I told them to use the print button within the application then I guess they don't get their document. These people print their email and put it in folders. Putting someone on hold outsmarts them, really I could not make that up.

I'm done covering for them and I am calling them on their failures, it seemed mean when I first started to not help 70ish year old women, but I am tired of doing their work and mine too. I am also remarkably tired of them stabbing me in the back. The funny thing is they are so oblivious to their surroundings they often do it when I am present.

I no longer work mornings. I will not go in before 1145 except on Friday or Saturday (no more Friday AND Saturday). I will sit in the office like the last librarian that had my position and read the paper. Sure it sucks for those asking reference questions, but let them get the wrong answer from the old ladies, they have been doing that for the last 12 or 13 years why change.

They have librarians (albiet from the local state university which I feel cranks out woefully unprepared librarians), yes MLS degreed librarians doing the work of clerks -keeping room reservations, installing virus updates by sitting at each machine, checking out books, setting static IPs for the network. The place is a library from 15 years ago.

Oh, I'm teaching no more classes, I have asked over and over for people to be screened for basic mouse and keyboard skills and yet I get new computer users in Excel classes. If you can't double click then why am I explaining pivot tables?

So its corporate librarianship (I have the suits and ties), my Ph.D., or hanging out in Mexico for me. Public librarianship is for idealists and something else, I'm not sure what, but public librarianship in the US is not for me.

Now will the people with challenging academic or corporate positions please respond to the address above. Salary negotiable in the middle 50's to 60.

[ I'd be ripping blind drunk if twasn't still Lent. ]

Response from Rep. Baxley (filtering bill sponsor)

Today I received a letter from Rep. Dennis Baxley (R- Florida District 24) regarding my letter about the filtering bill in Florida.

Dr Mr. O'Neil:

Thank you for your thoughtful letter. I know there are many conscientious librarians like you who can and do manage things well in your enviornment. However, I will respectfully disagree with some of your conclusions.

Many public libraries can, and do, filter out pornographic sites. It seems reasonable to me to set this as a standard for all public libraries.

Day off musings

Musings, wow I hold a high opinion of myself:)

1) Skype is pretty cool. It is a voip thingy that also connects to land lines. It is free to call from Skype to Skype and really inexpensive to call land lines -- 1.7 Euro Cents, (~2 US cents) a minute to most of North America, Western Europe and Australia. It is at if you care to look.

Strange day

I had some strange things today.

Someone gave me a Quebec license plate they found in the parking lot. I convinced one of the LA's that the phrase on the bottom was French for "Bring me souviners" (Je me souviens) I think it is something about having memories but I don't speak French very well.

A woman asked me to read her her teeth.

Here is another...

job I shouldn't waste the paper sending in a résumé. I guess I am 37¢ ahead.

Here is the advertisement. It is almost funny because they describe diversity is such politically correct language as to make it meaningless:

"DIVERSITY is a commitment to recognizing and appreciating the variety
of characteristics that make individuals unique in an atmosphere that
promotes and celebrates individual and collective achievement." --UT
Libraries' Diversity Committee

Lets keep the white man down

UB is offering a 2 year post MLS residency program for librarians. However the qualifications exclude me based upon my race.

See the program requirements here.

I guess it is my fault that I am not African American, Asian American, Latino/Hispanic American, or Native American, perhaps I should sue my parents.

Are there any programs for white male heterosexual librarians, a decidedly under-represented group.

Talking books

People keep stealing "Out" magazine. I don't know if it is the gay people or the gay people haters. We ususally don't security strip the periodicals but I got tired of people stealing it so I put 4 security strips in it. (Our gates are not very good so I went for overkill.)

I forgot the squirrel

Oh, I forgot the squirrel today. The circ staff told me of a sick or injured squirrel outside and even showed me. It was indeed sick the poor little fella, he was laying near the bike rack and would not move when anyone approached like a normal squirrel.

So I called the Humane Society and they said they didn't have anyone to get it, but I could bring it in. So I got some gloves (in my car...always prepared... I was a Boy Scout) and a box (from tax forms) and put the squirrel in the box and taped the lid almost, but not quite shut.


Today again was my day on the ask a librarian desk and I actually look forward to it. I get reference questions that require a librarian's input. One patron today said she had been looking for a poem all day and I found it in under a minute. (I knew a long and drawn out liberal arts education would pay off eventually.) So I found the HW Longfellow poem and sent it to her. I like happy patrons.

Then a vendor showed up at about 2PM that I was going to meet at 3. He had work to do on his computer until then so we were fine. The rest of the staff went nuts. They had other librarians logging into ask a librarian to take my place, they called me 4 times. Holy geebus you would think the Pope dropped in to check out the 291's.

So after so much annoyance I gave up and met with the vendor (they were bothering him too) he is an old guy ~ 70 not ancient just older, and he brings book covers or dust jackets with him. I pick the books, he makes a list, I check it twice to make sure I'm not duplicating COPs or stuff we own and then the books arrive. The others think he is a nutjob, I like the guy. I am much more tactile when it comes to book buying. B&T is fine but let me read the cover and I am much more likely to buy it.

After then another uneventful day at the library. Still looking for work -not on company time though.

One of my (normal) co-worker's moms is dying of brain mets from her lung CA. That sucks, but I talked to her and she seems to have things sorted. Her mom is at home and wants to drive even though she has lost peripheral vision and most use of her left leg. It sounds like my relatives. I suggested small doses of Jamieson Whiskey in the evenings- both for mom and for her daughter. I also let them know that I am really reasonable for in home nursing. (2 eggs scrambled, hash browns, and sausage/ 8 hours.) They signed up for Hospice (who works for cash not food) so all should be well. They're Catholic so we all just look for a happy death.

I think I'll learn to play the Uilleann pipes.


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