Laura Bush Interview in American Profile

M. Weller writes "For those of you interested in reading the article in American Profile magazine,- please click on the link below. If this doesn't work- I searched under "Laura Bush"- and it was the second article listed: Teacher in Spirit. Disservice to our profession doesn't even begin to describe this woman's lack of understanding of not only of our profession - but everything we stand for. How sad that she refers to herself as a librarian! I think that it is very important that those of us with strong feelings about this issue make sure the magazine hears about it-
Article here.


I'm no fan of Laura Bush, but I read this article twice and I'm still not certain why it's an insult to librarians. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

You know, I'm not entirely sure either... The lumping of teachers and librarians all together? I don't think so... The fact that she said librarians can read all day (I wish!) without guilt? It perpetuates a common misconception the public has about what we do, but I don't really think it's insulting...

To me it was an article about family and reading, more than a statement on librarianship or really even teaching.

I think not. This is a fine article about a librarians path to her MLS and her career along the way.

That she metered the use of television as a babysitter and feels that reading is a worthwhile activity speak volumes. It seems that the we would want parents who see teaching, librarianship and involved parenting.

You want to talk about disservice to the profession look at the ALA and especially some of its groups.

From other posts elsewhere, this seems to be the most offending comment, as shoe pointed out (emphasis mine):

"I read, for instance, every single book in the whole library about landscaping and gardening, because that was an interest of mine," she admits. "It was one of the few jobs where you didn't feel guilty if you
spent all of your time reading."

There has been a lot of work done lately to show the public that librarians do more than read at work all day, so Mrs. Bush's comment is one of those forehead smackers. The rest of the piece was really a nice affirmation about the importance of reading, though.

I personally would not call it "a fine article."

I would call it a "puff piece".

And ALA for all their faults is TRYING to be the voice for all American librarians of all persuasions and if that's a disservice, who do you think is going to provide such a service?

Just wish their show booths were cheaper.

I think the ALA is trying to be a voice for libraries, not librarians. If it were an enthusiastic advocate for librarians would our salaries be so low. Then again there is no librarian association, just a library association.

The booth prices are way too high, 36 bucks to rent a folding chair at the last on, $180 for a table. That was after the space itself was rented at an outrageous price.

Okay, so she makes a joke about having spent all her time reading on the job. Big deal. Maybe that's a bit thoughtless, and maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see the comment as being offensive, let alone an indication of her being a "disservice to the profession" or failing to understand "everything that we stand for."

This post just seems to be an excuse to bash her gratuitously. If there's a legitimate and substantial reason to criticize her, fine. This doesn't seem to be one of those occasions. It just adds to the perception that some people will lash out at her no matter what she says or does. She's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. In my opinion, that kind of kneejerk response is not reflective, and it doesn't do the profession any favors.

Like it or not, she's the First Lady, and she has an MLS. A lot of people respect and admire her. (That includes, not coincidentally, library patrons, some of whom donate substantial amounts of money to libraries aroiund the country, others of whom vote for bond measures that keep libraries open and running.) That would seem to redound beneficially to the profession, even if she makes a dumb comment every so often.

"Disservice to our profession doesn't even begin to describe this woman's lack of understanding of not only of our profession - but everything we stand for."

The author? Mrs. Bush? The person who submitted the story? Oh, OK. I thought it was a nice story--not too different than any of the others. I read a lot when I was employed--in fact, it was part of my job. I had to learn all those animal diseases, how else would a language major do that, if not by reading, and why would I do it on my own time? When I worked in the ag library, I also read gardening books, books on forestry, and stuff on horses, cattle and swine. So, what's the gripe? Not enough committee meetings mentioned? She didn't network computers? Mrs. Bush has been the best PR for libraries and librarians in 25 years. I'm not sure it can overcome the negative views people have of librarians over the filtering issue, but it can't hurt.

There was a National Librarians Association. It might still exist. I wouldn't know; I wouldn't be eligible. It's fair to say that it did not apparently wipe out ALA.

I'm with nbruce. It wasn't a bad story. It wasn't a fantastic piece of investigative journalism, but it really wasn't meant to be, was it?

The bit about 'reading all day' is somewhat unfortunate, but for all we know Mrs Bush followed this comment with 'of course, librarians have to do many other things such as.....', and went off into a detailed discussion of cataloguing, readers advisory, etc - all of which was cut by the journalist.

I like the article - she keeps talking about the importance of reading, which is clearly a message we support.

(And I am far from being a fan of her husband).

I agree - there really isn't anything offensive to anyone in this article, and why should there be in an election year. It's a nice article, just as Mrs. Bush is a nice lady. Besides, as we know, this country just despises smart and outspoken and uppity First Ladies.

As to the comment about reading all the time - well, yes, that comment does irritate me. It's so stereotypical and misses the point about why librarians read in that it doesn't go far enough on why we read. As far as job related reading goes, we read for the same reasons other professionals do: to be up to date on what our customers want and need. This applies whether I'm reading the latest pot-boiler or another article on WiFi or on effective fund raising. ('Course, I read loads of stuff for fun; but, I'd be reading that if I were a ditch digger. My profession has nothing to do with my fun reading. I was reading voraciously before I even knew what a librarian was!)

Other than that - lets give the woman due for making education and reading her pet projects. I'm all for it.

You are right, it is a puff piece. The really hard questions asked of a First Lady Librarian were not asked. Questions about censorship. Questions about changing academic standards so professional librarians are no longer required in elementary schools. About the questions concerning Internet access in schools and public libraries. About decling support for libraries as a result of lowered taxes.

Laura Bush has cancelled meetings where the White House could not control the speech of the authors. Laura Bush has not spoken out against Republican-sponsored plans to save money by getting rid of professional librarians and hiring library assistants instead in public schools. Laura Bush has not commented on cutting funds and support for local public and school libraries, which has happened across the nation as a result of lowering taxes. She has stayed out of the heated debate about access to the Internet in public libraries and schools, although this is a big political issue in many local and county districts.

Her standards are pretty clear. Laura Bush will not criticise her husband's actions or lack of action in education. She will not criticise Republican party actions or the actions of other Republicans (eleventh commandment). She will not stand on library principles against political expediency.

As a librarian, she is an excellent politician. And her first rule and only rule is, "Don't make waves."

Sigh. Good librarians make waves everyday. We live in the churning surf of politics, money, selection, staff, patrons, children and technology. It would be nice to get some comment and leadership about libraries that are helpful, rather than reminescent of librarianship from 23 years ago.

Her current stature is a direct result of her husband being President. There is a certain obligation, or should be, for a spouse to protect their own before 'making waves'.

As for 'good librarians make waves everyday', while its important to have views about our profession and its future in society it is the idea that we should be making waves everyday that led to the Orlando convention being a megaphone for the DNC and tarnished the reputation of librarians everywhere.

What a nice lady she is! She reads books on gardening. She remembers her mother reading with her when she was a child. Nice. She read with her own children. Nice, too. She and her husband read at night--well, she reads and he tells her to turn off the light--and they read--Newspapers!!! really early in the morning. She's very, very nice. Well, ok, she should have been working, and not reading gardening books on the job, but she doesn't seem to recognize that as wrong. I cannot fault her, but I cannot admire her, either. I kind of would like a First Lady with a little more spine and spunk, frankly. But maybe it's the fault of the article, which is entirely a puff piece.