Laura's Last Hurrah


After leaving the White House Laura Bush plans to continue promoting literacy through the United Nations and the George W. Bush presidential library in Dallas.

The AP reports that the first lady, who will host the National Book Festival on Saturday, also said she hopes her signature Washington event becomes a lasting tradition -- and she'll whisper something about that to the next first lady. This is the eighth year for the book festival, which will be covered on BookTVon CSpan-2 all day Saturday.

Will we miss having a librarian in the White House?


No. If this woman has acted at all like a librarian in the past eight years, then I'm a five-legged giraffe with alimony payments.

Because she has an MLS she a librarian at all times, like a Texas Ranger or Batman? She had another job: First Lady.

She always seemed like a smart and decent lady. Awful taste in men.

I would have liked to see her just a little bit riled about the PATRIOT Act...

Will we miss having a librarian in the White House?

Please. That sellout? If my husband passed the Patriot Act and No Child Left (Behind) Standing he'd need to find the couch and a great divorce attorney in short order. Love's a grand thing and so is loyalty, but selling out both your educator and your librarian credentials to stand by your man - well - it's a disgrace to the uniform (metaphorically speaking).

Laura Bush also censored readings by poets she did not approve of, and did not criticize the Republicans who threw many Ohio school librarians out of public schools because they didn't think they were needed or were really teachers.

Sarah Palin, who Laura Bush hopes will be the new First Lady, also fired a public librarian since that was simpler than filling out a form to challenge a book on the library shelf. They certainly agree with each other on important things.

Laura Bush has bad taste in men? Naw. They deserve each other.

R. Lee Hadden (These are my own opinions!)

You don't have to be a Democrat to be a librarian (contrary to popular belief).

Though it seems that most people in the profession don't agree with me on this, I think that being a librarian has much more to do with your ability to organize and access information and to connect people with the resources they need than it does with whether or not your political beliefs lie to the left.

Who cares what she did, said, censored or left out? I didn't vote for her. The people who voted for her husband didn't elect her to any office. She's a private citizen with a public job. She doesn't need an ideological purity test to be one of the Sisterhood.

For the last 8 years, librarians have acted as if Laura DID fail an idealogical purity test. We have not celebrated her presence in the White House (and therefore the public eye) because most of us cannot move beyond our dislike of and disagreement with her husband. Librarians and librarianship have lost a wonderful opportunity to promote librarianship, literacy, and lifelong learning, and to embrace political diversity in the profession, because we're incapable of truly non-partisan cooperation. Shame on us.

Hmmm someone should tell the people over at not to get their hopes up.

NCLB makes no provision for having a certified, high qualified LMS for a school and when budgets got tight...guess which were the some of the first jobs on the chopping block...librarians. I know because I'm living it. Yes, she's a private citizen with a husband who has a public job....but she was an educator and librarian so you think at some point in the creation of NCLB, she would've put a bug in George's ear about schools having library media specialists. Especially with the research that's out there on how schools how have full-time LMS have higher test scores and students with better grades.

"will we miss having a librarian in the White House?"

If she takes her husband with her when she leaves, I will personally help her pack. So long, thanks for the memories, need some Ramen noodles for the trip?

Really, we didn't have a librarian in the White House - We had the husband of a librarian in the White House. Laura did very little for us as a profession, and fell silent during the moments that we needed her most.

If she came to my library in the spring and applied for a position, I wouldn't even consider her for anything but a shelving job.

Nice work there. You base hiring decisions on who someone is married to, or their political views.

No wonder many people think librarians have an agenda and fail to check their personal beliefs at the door.

If anyone came to me looking for a job, I would evaluate their professional qualifications and hire the most qualified persons.

Excellent way to represent the profession there anonymous.

I think the point was that for someone with an MLS she didn't exactly use her skills or even keep them current over the course of Gods know how many years. Also, maintaining professional ethics is also a fairly important consideration. ALA Code of ethics, point #2:

We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.


We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.


We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.


We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.

Granted, the poster and I likely should try to weigh #5-#7 (dealing mostly with "check your baggage at the door") a bit more to be over the top fair to Mrs. Bush, but seriously, would you want someone running on a resume of experience in your library that has the appearance of bending or breaking over half the ALA ethics code, especially in a tight economy?

I personally know of only 2 librarians who can separate their personal beliefs and their professional practice and I and the other are both Republicans.

I know of at least three librarians who have not bought or cataloged books because they disagreed. As we can see above other librarians make hiring decisions based on an applicant's beliefs.

The ALA and professional development are laughable. Library school was easier than high school. I had a student in my class who could not complete a coherent sentence. ALA Accreditation is a complete joke, the library school I went to is not even chaired by a librarian any longer.

Librarians don't strive for excellence in the profession, or it would be evident. Librarians strive for and on rare occasions rise to the level or mediocrity.

How could the poster know if Mrs. Bush keeps current, perhaps she reads LJ or school library journals at home every month. She has been an advocate for libraries and reading:

She has been a notable librarian who read to children at the National Book Fair Saturday.

She started the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries, which provides grants for book purchases to local school libraries including over one million dollars in April to 190 school libraries.

Through her advocacy ten million dollars was allocated in the 2003 Federal Budget to recruit and train new librarians.

If Congress continues on this path, it would be the first time in a decade that no federal money would be provided for reading instruction.

She even chastises Congress for failing to provde funding for reading education in remarks she made at the Fifth Annual Reading First National Conference last July.

If Mrs. Bush applied at my library I would hire her on the spot and make her the director. She is a librarian, a teacher, an advocate for reading and education, and we would have to hire more staff to deposit the checks that people would send. As a powerful advocate for libraries and librarianship Mrs. Bush will continue to be a positive model for the profession.

If librarians could check their prejudices at the door they could have leveraged the librarian who has the ear of the President to much greater advantage, but they failed to do so. They just whined, which made any non-librarians paying attention think that librarians are whackjobs. Who could get their knickers in a knot about the name of a federal grant, a blogger and a 'distinguished' professor of library science. Thank goodness most people don't pay attention to what the librarian blogosphere has to say.

Library school was easier than high school.

Mine was hard as hell. Which one did you attend?

I had a student in my class who could not complete a coherent sentence.

There's one in every class in every school from here to Hogwarts.

Librarians don't strive for excellence in the profession, or it would be evident. Librarians strive for and on rare occasions rise to the level or mediocrity.

Aren't you a nurse? What would you know about professionalism and skill in the profession today?

I have been reading this site for at least five years, probably more like seven, and I have noticed that the person who seems to be continually complaining about library schools and the MLS certainly doesn't seem to strive for excellence at whatever work he is currently engaged in.

Or, at least, he seems to spend more time posting on this site than he does working at his job. If he actually spent more time working than posting he might have some basis for his assertions.

A new version of the old saw...

"Those who can, do, those who can't, post on blogs....often."

Every place I have lived has had, what I would call, very good libraries and MLS-prepared librarians who have responded to the local community's needs. My current library is in a rather conservative area, but they will order any item if they get a request for it, as have most public library systems that I have known.

Most librarians perform superbly within the constraints placed upon them by political administrators, elected officials and other hacks.

Anyone, and I mean anyone, who thinks that he or she will grow wealthy by being a librarian, is a fool. As for Library School; what it does is break down your mind and re-train it to think as a librarian does. Same as law school. Same as nursing school.


Want to see what I do all day?

Send me your name and number and I'll make arrangements for you to come by and see what I do.

If you find superb librarians at your local library you are either blessed, or you settle for mediocrity.

Library school was easy compared to other degrees I have. Perhaps I went to an easy school, but I have the impression that library school is not by any means a hard Masters. Chemistry, that was hard , library school was a few papers, some Hello World programs, a few RDBMS tables, and rephrasing the BS in the articles I read. Never anything longer than 50 pages. No capstone, no thesis, no independent research.

I work with people that are librarians from Pratt, and Rutgers and those don't have any capstone project, thesis or original research. I don't know of a library school that does. Now my MBA didn't require that either, but I find the MBA was harder. That said I would not have my job now without my MLS (MS LIS actually), simply because the person that hired me was a librarian and there are a lot of librarians in my group.

I was attempting to explain XBRL to a new hire the other day and she is a librarian as well. I said think of it as MARC for business reporting, so being a librarian can be helpful, but it could be more respected if it were more rigourous.

What library school did you go to? Was it harder?

Those who can do, and we post on blogs from time to time as well.

Library school does not break down your mind and make you think like a librarian, it teaches you information organization, cataloging, and how to conduct a reference interview - all remarkably valuable skills, but it should have more public administration, HR management, and general business management courses to better prepare librarians to lead libraries, not just answer reference questions. Perhaps that is not the goal, but I think it should be.

Why are librarians copy cataloging, or running circulation desks, or conducting childrens' programming. Librarians should be directing those things not staffing them. Yes I know budgets are a problem, but if librarians don't add significant value we will all be replaced with clerks - even in the positions that require the specialized skills librarians have.

Darn, you're right I posted to LISNews and I missed Jeopardy. One of the few things on TV worth watching and I was writing that junk. Now I will only get final Jeopardy.