Library Juice 2:25 - June 23, 1999


1. Announcement: New Library Juice staff member
2. Encyclopedia of Cajun Culture
4. MSRRT Newsletter, Summer Issue
5. Karen Pranger's Reference Notebook
6. American Factfinder (US Census Bureau)
7. Two lists of Labor Libraries
8. Article on the Alternative Press in _Database_ magazine
9. IPA Library Initiative
10. House passes library and school internet censorship legislation
11. The Sandy Berman Award for Social Responsibility in Library Services
12. Checklist : a bisexual / gay / lesbian / transgender bibliography
13. Letter to a young person considering librarianship
14. Library Exhibitions on the Web -- Smithsonian Institution Libraries
15. What's Going On -

Quote for the week:

"Remember, Information is not knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom;
Wisdom is not truth; Truth is not beauty; Beauty is not love;
Love is not music; Music is the best."   -Frank Zappa

Note: Library Juice will skip a week of publication for the ALA conference,
and will resume with the July 7th issue.


1. Announcement: New Library Juice staff member

Library Juice now has a staff of two with the addition of Teri Weesner
as Children's and Youth Services Editor.  Teri is a recent graduate of
San Jose State's School of Library and Information Science and an
employee of the Santa Cruz County Library specializing in Youth Services.
Teri is also a parent, which gives her an important perspective on issues
affecting children and youth.  She will be contributing occasional
features to Library Juice in her area and will also be reporting on this
summer's ALA conference in New Oreans.  I'm very glad to have somebody
working the children's and teen's angle on libraries and look forward to
her contributions.

Feel free to write her with material for the Juice, ideas for a story or
a welcome message.  She can be reached at teri[at]

-Rory Litwin

2. Encyclopedia of Cajun Culture

An alphabetical index of encyclopedic entries existing
"for the purpose of preserving and promoting Cajun culture,
and for disseminating accurate information about Cajun
culture for educational purposes," according to the Mission
Statement (  A
bibliography of reference materials is provided
( as well as
remote links (
to related resources.

Submitted by:
R. Tiess

From ResPool -


A somewhat facetious manifesto

Most people who have been involved with the American Library
Association to some degree of depth know a truth that is seldom
spoken: The organization is a lot like the former Soviet Union.  I
will ignore the obvious differences, except to state at the outset
that ALA doesn't appear to be ready to collapse under its own weight
into independent component parts, although this could be a welcome
eventuality.  Here is an outline of the similarities I see between
the ALA and the USSR:


This is the first because it is the most obvious.  ALA's head doesn't
know what its toes are doing until several nervous impulses later.
Communication is a terrible problem.  Task forces wait years to get a
list of their membership, and when it arrives its accuracy is
questionable.  Financial reporting from ALA liason offices to the
units is more like non-reporting.  In the lives of its constituents,
ALA is as foreign and monolithic as the CP was to Soviet citizens.
ALA's relationship with the units can be unfair in the manner of a
totalitarian system.  Task forces, for example, are held to
financial responsibilities that ALA's withholding of essential
information (unintentionally but with incredibly persistence) makes
it impossible to fulfill.


For an organization that purports to support the intellectual
foundations of democracy, ALA could stand to be a little more
democratic.  Its representative council is made up overwhelmingly of
library directors and other members of Library Land's managerial
class.  Similarly, it is mostly librarians at the top of a library
system's food chain who are sent by their libraries to the ALA
conferences, which is where the decisions are made that effect many
libraries everywhere at once (whether these decisions are perceived
to come from ALA or not).  Democracy in ALA could be increased in
many ways.  One change that's needed is to make good on ALA's open
meetings policy.  Only 16 observers were allowed at the Congress on
Professional Education, and those were allowed only after an approval
process on an individual basis.  No observers at all will be allowed
at the special meeting of the executive board and division heads to
discuss the Dr. Laura crisis and related issues.  A true open
meetings policy is necessary before the organization can call itself
democratically run.  Another improvement would be to reform the dues
structure to encourage more membership (and conference attendance)
from rank-and-file librarians.  The vote to raise the quorum for
meaningful membership meetings was a move away from democracy in
the organization, and needs to be un-railroaded through council and
put before the membership again, this time with adequate information
about the implications and intentions of the change.  Finally, the
organization could be made more democratic by a process of
decentralization.  With more more autonomy for the divisions and round
tables, ALA members would be a great deal closer to the decisions
that matter to them.


ALA's intellectual freedom focus started as a reaction to
anti-communist censors, who apparently missed the irony of their
totalitarian posture.  Thus ALA's defense of freedom of speech
was against the backdrop of the unfree, totalitarian enemy, the
Soviet Union.  The cold-war situation defined the purpose for ALA's
fundamental IF documents.  While today's fear of the internet
inspires a type of outright censorship, there is a greater threat to
freedom of expression in the post-cold-war world of mega-corporate
capitalism.  The situation to be on guard against is no longer the
world of Orwell's _1984_ but the _Brave New World_ envisioned by
Aldous Huxley, where the control of intellectual life by the state
is accomplished by doling out unchallenging pleasures and banal
excitement.  It's a world a lot like the one given us by the new
giant publishing and media corporations, who largely control the
marketing and distribution channels that librarians turn to, half
asleep.  The result is a false impression of a diverse collection and
a narrow view of the world.  It is time for ALA to wake up and
provide leadership to librarians in support of the alternative press
as an antidote to this poison.  It is also time for Judith Krug, whose
contribution to the intellectual freedom movement during the cold-war
era has been immeasureable, to retire and make room for a newer, more
relevant vision of intellectual freedom.  The cold war and its
conditions are over.


People participate in ALA through the divisions and round tables, and
members probably rank those activities as more important than the
huge-budget publishing projects undertaken by ALA central, yet dues
for membership in ALA are much higher than membership dues for the
units.  In recent years it has also become clear that the units are
expected to be financially 100% self-supporting.  Why then is someone
who wants to be a member of PLA or ACRL or AASL required to join
ALA?  The diversity of interests that ALA is trying to serve is also
the source of many of ALA's problems.  Any of its divisions would be
capable of defining a clear set of core values for its own area of
practice, or its own set of sensible accreditation standards, where
ALA has not been able to do it satisfactorily.  "Library" work is
increasingly diversified, and ALA has attempted to be a larger and
larger umbrella, including an ever-widening range of interests, to
the point of attempting to include a world of "information work"
under its accreditation standards.  The result of this attempt to
speak for such a wide range of institutions and activities with a
unified voice is a sum that is less than its parts, and an
unarticulated question: Why should we listen?


The ubiquity of the concept of information has led to a crisis not
only for the profession but also for the meaning of the words
"library" and "librarianship."  ALA isn't going to be able to define
a clear set of core values until it can decide what the profession
*IS*, that these values apply to.  People are complacent about the
meaning of the word librarianship because they think of it as an
ancient profession, secure in its reality.  The actual quest for core
values, though, is based on the modern version of library service,
which is only a century old, and if not coming to an end then facing
a major transformation.  The profession as we know may be headed for
a shakeout the magnitude of which ALA is not prepared for.  In a way,
all the wind and heat over adapting to change and moving into the new
millenium is premature, if ALA can't, or won't, see the changes that
are in store.  It has has allowed itself to be blinded to its real
crisis - a simple crisis of relevance - by the internet filtering
circus and an uncritical futurism.  As the Soviet Union had
unrealistic expectations of Glasnost, ALA has unrealistic
expectations of "speaking with one voice" in the 21st century.


I believe that the best future for ALA is a decentralized one.
However, I don't believe that the ALA has to share the same fate as
the former Soviet Union.  Librarianship can be a unified profession
in some sense.  To that end, I believe ALA needs to distinguish
clearly between librarianship and information work in general.  A
library, rather than being a storehouse of information, is a social
process.  Library schools should endeavor to be clear about what
they are teaching and what it is they are teaching about.  If a
school is teaching primarily something other than librarianship, we
should stop referring to it as a library school.

As a recent library school graduate, I would like to end by asking
library schools to consider teaching a required course in the History
of Library Science, outlining its development in the works of its major
contributors in the past century - people like Williamson,
Ranganathan, Butler, Swanson, Shera, and outside contributors like
Otlet. Librarianship is struggling for existence partly because it
lacks a clear picture of itself.  Library educators can help by
painting that picture of librarianship through greater attention to
its intellectual foundations.  Library educators at least seem to
understand the importance of the definition of librarianship.  ALA
seems not to see that its role is correspondingly unclear.  The ALA is
engaged in a struggle for relevance which it has yet to recognize.

YOUR RESPONSE to this editorial is invited.  I would like to publish
readers' opinions that show a broader perspective or the
wisdom of greater experience in a future issue of Library Juice.
Though I've been slightly facetious, these are my opinions at the
present time and I feel that the subjects I've raised deserve
further discussion.  Perhaps your ideas are more fully thought through!
Write to me at editor[at]

Rory Litwin, MLIS


4. MSRRT Newsletter, Summer Issue

For your info, just posted:

Activist Librarian Resigns
MLA Rejects Employee Free Speech
Politics of Cataloging, Part II

and assorted reviews, annotations, links...

Chris Dodge
Street Librarian

5. Karen Pranger's Reference Notebook

Karen Pranger's Reference Notebook - a nice-sized collection of websites
(bigger than a bookmarks file and smaller than a directory like Yahoo or, suitable for basic reference uses.  From her homepage you can
also check out a nice internet searching tutorial.  Karen Pranger is a
librarian with the Santa Clara County Public Library.


6. American Factfinder (US Census Bureau) -

        This is "a new data access and dissemination system
        that provides useful facts and information about your
        community, your economy, and your society. The system
        will find and retrieve the information you need from
        some of the Census Bureau's largest data sets." Users
        can create a variety of tables, reports, or maps with
        information on their community, the economy, or
        American society. There are three methods to access
        data: Quick Tables, Thematic Maps, and Business and
        Industry Reports, which offer reports on the most
        widely used statistics; Detailed Tables, which require
        several choices (such as time frame and geographic
        area); and Build A Query, which requires a few more
        steps. Also has help files, a FAQ, and is searchable. -
        Subjects: census

>Librarians' Index to the Internet 

7. Two lists of Labor Libraries

list of labor and hr related libraries

Labor Libraries:


8. Article on the Alternative Press in _Database_ magazine

>The latest issue of _Database_ magazine (vol.22, no.3, June/July 1999) has
>an article titled "The Alternative Press: Newsweeklies and Zines" by
>Stephanie C. Ardito, pp.14-22.  It discusses indexing coverage of
>alternative periodicals and describes some web sites that provide info on
>alternative publishing.  The issue is on the display rack in the LIS
>Library (by the copy machine).

From Sue Searing of UIUC GSLIS; forwarded by Al Kagan

9. IPA Library Initiative

Take a stroll through the periodicals section of your nearest public
or college library.  Chances are you'll find lots of mainstream
consumer magazines, but very little in the way of alternative
publications.  Only a few dozen libraries - the main gatekeepers of
information - carry more than a handful of progressive or alternative
magazine titles.  For example, a study reported in the July 1998 issue
of _College and Research Libraries_ found that only 12 of the more
than 160 members of the Association of College and Research Libraries
had at least 50% of the titles listed in the _Alternative Press
Index_, one of the few reference sources that includes most IPA

To help expand library collections, the IPA has started a Library
Initiative that will not only increase library subscriptions to IPA
members but, more broadly, demostrate the diversity and importance of
the independent press.

The IPA began looking at strategies to improve library holdings of
progressive periodicals at the June 1998 meeting of the American
Library Association (ALA).  The convention laid the groundwork for a
much larger IPA presence at ALA conventions in 1999 and beyond.
Building on the experience and contacts gained at the initial
meetings, the IPA will occupy its own booth at the major 1999
conventions, displaying as many member titles as possible and
exploring innovative ways to promote them.

Early experience with the IPA's Library initiative suggests that this
effort has tremendous potential.  Librarians from all over the country
report that they want more alternative titles for young people, more
literature about oppositional movements, and more titles of interest
to various communicties.  Hundreds of librarians have already
requested information from the IPA on the magazines in the IPA

Contact Information:

IPA/Chicago (for public education and the library initiative)
630 Joanne Lane, Suite 73
DeKalb, IL  60115
815/756-6556; fax: 815/756-5331
e-mail: bethschu[at]

10. House passes library and school internet censorship legislation

Congress is rushing to censor the Internet again.  On Thursday, June 17,
the House passed the 'Children's Internet Protection Act' as an amendment
to the juvenile justice bill, which became the legislative equivalent of a
Christmas-tree.  The Internet amendment, offered by Representative Bob
Franks (R-NJ), requires all schools and libraries receiving E-rate funding
to install and use filtering and blocking tools to screen out Internet
content that is obscene, child pornography, or 'harmful to minors.'

At the last minute, in an effort to address constitutional concerns, the
amendment was narrowed to require the filtering of child porn and obscene
(i.e.,  constitutionally unprotected) material all the time, but 'harmful
to minors' material only 'during use by minors.'  What is harmful to minors
is to be defined on the basis of 'contemporary community standards.'

The text of the Franks amendment can be found at

The Senate-passed version of the juvenile justice bill contains no
filtering provision, setting up the need for a House-Senate conference to
reconcile differences between the bills.  The fact that the Senate bill
contains gun control provisions complicates matters.

[ From CDT Policy Post 5.11 - ]

11. The Sandy Berman Award for Social Responsibility in Library Services

June 16, 1999


Sandy Berman, former Head Cataloger at the Hennepin County Library (HCL),
was recognized recently for his 26 years as an activist librarian in
Minnesota with an award named in his honor. The "Sandy Berman Award  for
Social Responsibility in Library Services" was presented to Berman on June
12, 1999, by AFSCME Locals 2864 (representing HCL non-supervisory
librarians) and 2822 (representing associate librarians and support
staff). The award cites Berman's "many years of passionate service to the
diverse patrons of the library world" and expresses "gratitude for his
generous leadership, guidance and inspiration to us, his colleagues".  In
the future, the award will be given to HCL staff members who "make unique
and invaluable contributions to humanity through their work in Hennepin
County Library".

In 1990 Berman accepted the John Sessions Memorial Award on behalf of HCL,
for his significant library work with the labor community. He has also
been individually honored with the Honeywell Project Anniversary Award for
Peace and Justice (1988), the American Library Association Equality Award
(1989), the Carey McWilliams Award for "outstanding scholarly work
relating to the U.S. experience of Multiculturalism" (1994), and the Downs
Intellectual Freedom Award (1996).

For further information: Jan DeSirey, Secretary, Local 2864 

Chris Dodge
Street Librarian

12. Checklist : a bisexual / gay / lesbian / transgender bibliography

"Checklist : a bisexual / gay / lesbian / transgender bibliography with
synopses" Anaheim, Ca : Odd Girls Press, 1-887237-11-9, $50, cloth,
Fall/Winter 1999.

*** *** *** *** ***

Odd Girls will be donating the first two-thousand copies of this book to
libraries and b/g/l/t studies teachers. Although this book will not be
out until the fall, we have set up a form and a registration process in
which we will reserve donated copies for libraries and teachers. For
more information go to the Odd Girls home page and click on the option
in the left hand frame which reads "Checklist DONATION REQUEST form &
        A printed copy of this form will be at the Women's Presses Library
Project booth at the ALA convention.
        Some of you have already reserved copies with me. I will be mailing
confirmations to you in a few weeks.
        Could someone please forward this message to the queer librarians mail
list -- I don't know the name but it's the mixed gender b/g/l/t list --
I am not a member.

Margaret Gillon
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Odd Girls Press, PO Box 2157, Anaheim, CA  92814-2157, 800-821-0632
EMAIL: publisher[at]

13. Letter to a young person considering librarianship

Thanks to Jessamyn ( for passing this letter
along to me.  -Rory

To: rarin[at]
From: paul wiener <pwiener[at]>
Subject: Food for thought

Following is a letter that came into my possession about 3 years ago,
advising a young person about to enter the profession. I thought many of
the views expressed were worth sharing with you for their insights,
distortions and ideals.
Dear Alex,

This letter will be devoted entirely to the subject of planning to make a
career in librarianship. You may not like some of what I say here, but if
you read this letter you'll probably remember it, so if that's a problem,
better stop reading now.

I was of course quite excited and happy to hear that you've apparently
decided to pursue librarianship as a career. I am equally puzzled and not a
little put out that you've chosen not to speak with me at all about it -
old age be damned and all that, eh? My dad says you did speak to me at one
time and since I'd spoken quite negatively about my job you decided you
didn't want to hear more. That may have happened.  It may be a good
decision of yours - or a sign of insecurity. But I am a bit insulted to
think that you might believe that no matter how I view my own career and
life I cannot be objective about these matters anyway. I've always prided
myself on my ability to be fair even to something that oppresses me, and on
my ability to counsel and judge others based purely on their interests and

I will try to set down some givens about librarianship that you may quickly
be able to ignore or adjust to your own self-knowledge. Before I do, let me
say this:  for many years I have personally been belittled, envied, ignored
and punished by my colleagues at work for having a job that was seen as
ideal - always attuned to my environmental and intellectual needs,
interests, skills, personal style, work ethic and autonomy. I'm not sure
how I got so lucky but in most jobs I've had I always made it clear what I
wanted and needed and how I best worked - and usually was given the space
and means to do what I had to do. So whatever my gripes are, I have the job
I want. But believe me, my situation is very very unusual in the library
world.  Let me also say that there's no question but that I don't many
things about where I work; I'm dissatisfied by nature. Also, an employee's
workplace never suits an ideal. Because of that fact I have no choice but
to recommend your never working in an academic library, especially given
your sociable, inquiring nature. Essentially, academia, as you well know,
is where young people are taught NOT to read and NOT to think - carefully
taught. And now for the givens:

1. Libraries are ruled by conservatism, are bastions of it, necessarily.
Not political conservatism, of course (politically they're traditionally
liberal, even sometimes leftist), but in terms of employee behaviors judged
(everything's tolerated, as long as you pay the price...), decision-making,
rule by committee,  how behavioral interactions are assessed - all are done
conservatively. Libraries of course USED to be conservatories. They are
almost dedicated to the opposite now, conservation being seen as something
a hard drive is better entrusted with than a mind, a room or an
institution. I invoke no cliche by saying it is a profession that values
quietness, order, cleanliness, courtesy, going along, following rules, and
doing what the other libraries are doing. This is the way it is in 90% of

2. Libraries today are more or less  dominated by computer culture and the
entire substructure that claims computers will save or educate everyone
quicker, cheaper, more "democratically" and more permanently.  I believe
that's a crock of shit. Books are treated now as absolutely second class,
except for the lowest-level users and some grade school students. Computers
to librarians, though, are a means of information retrieval - and almost
totally textual at that - cataloguing and record-keeping, not
communication. Few librarians understand computer technology.

3. There is almost no challenge in the work beneath the level of
administrator - unless you like the challenge of doing the impossible and
ill-advised - and libraries are increasingly going in the direction (as
they should be) of being dominated and almost solely occupied by
administrators - who take orders from governing boards, trustees, provosts,
academic presidents, teaching faculty, citizen/political interest groups,
local and state governments, school superintendents and other such
officially enlightened people. Almost all these authorities will be people
who don't use, understand or care about libraries.

4. Since so relatively few people use libraries, much effort is put in
"outreach" programs - finding users of all kinds, the more politically
correct, illiterate, or far away the better. "Distance education" and
"virtual library" are the big buzzwords now - words that also indicate the
painfully low demand much of the public has for libraries (that are not
also social centers). There's very little evidence any of these programs
actually attract more than a tiny number of people, partly because
libraries almost never measure, evaluate or assess their users, collections
or programs in any way that can be replicated or tested (they dare not,
fearing what they'd find). "Should" is the word that dominates library
culture. It is a righteous word.

5. With obvious exceptions (very specialized or rich libraries), libraries
have no interest in acquiring or keeping rare books (U of Texas a noted
exception) and minimal interest in people who are experts in any content
other than "library science." There are exceptions, if you're lucky enough
to work at Harvard, Yale and other great institutions.

6. Enormous amounts of the library budget now go to leasing or buying
electronic databases - very expensive one with lots of panache but of
little proven track record compared to, say, their use OUTSIDE the library
by big business, government or science. This year we'll be spening over
$220,000 on them. This means less money is available for personnel, books,
periodicals, newspapers, videos, equipment, public programs, security or
building maintenance.

7. Libraries do not generally attract people known for their interpersonal
skills, their courage, passion or attractive appearance. If you have those,
you have a leg up on becoming a Director. Whatever your personal situation
is, though, you will be stereotyped and have to deal and live with it.

8. A great deal of normal, daily library work is drudgery, pure and simple.
Many people like it for that reason! Maybe you will. Certainly many
librarians brag proudly how busy they are all the time doing this and that
chore and task, and it's true, they ARE busy - doing work that few people
see, care about, benefit from, and that's often outdated as soon as it's
completed, working dutifully from 8 or 9 to 5 (some nights, weekends), and
voluntarily accounting for every moment away from the workplace when they
were supposed to be there. I've been extremely lucky in being able to avoid
assignment to most of these drudge tasks - not purely lucky: since I hate
that kind of work I've creatively avoided it, or shortcutted it, or
delegated it, or faked it, or have tried to do away with it.  Absolutely no
one has ever suffered because of this - I wouldn't have done it if they
had. As I said, I am resented for this.

9. Few librarians have led adventurous, interesting lives, very few, though
adult education and forced career changes may alter this. Few are highly
creative, are avid readers, are frequent internet users, use stimulants,
challenge authority regularly, are highly sexed, are athletic, are party
animals, dress well or know much about the larger world. Many are single,
gay, strange, iconoclastic, or are fiercely devoted to family life. Many
actually believe that referring people to information sources is more
admirable than giving them the information directly. When asked the time,
instead of glancing at his watch and telling, a librarian may say, "There's
a clock on the wall near Microforms."  It is surely more responsible. Some
of these judgments, I admit, are influenced by 20 years at my workplace.

10. Never be fooled by the glamour of doing "reference work," probably the
only drudgery task in the field that's regularly mythologized. For every
interesting or challenging question you get at a reference desk you will
have 30 or 40 stupid, simple inquiries anyone with an eighth grade
education could (and does) answer. For all their touting of
"professionalism," librarians love to employ students, secretaries,
volunteers, and low-grade civil servants, some with IQs bordering the
subnormal, to service the reference desk when they feel "understaffed" (the
official term for saying you're sick of doing that work and need a break).
Then they complain about their lack of a "professional" image. As long as
libraries are staffed by non-professionals they will suffer - justifiably -
their stereotyping.

11. A librarian's work is essentially passive in nature. "Service" is the
abiding value and has been for many years Many people like it for this
reason. . An astonishing number of people enjoy benevolent servitude.
Librarians RESPOND - to questions, to needs, to doubts, to shyness, to
interests, to demands. Their own opinions are not officially welcomed.
Almost everything we do is because someone else wants or needs us to do it.
While the character of those in need, and their needs, may be quite low,
their neediness gets a lot of people off, morally, socially,
professionally.  And librarians are not allowed to make judgments about
either "patrons" (the official misnomer for people who speak to librarians)
or their requests - (as if psychiatrists don't often mock their patients
nehind their backs!). In academic settings this neediness usually revolves
around "learning, "research" and "information." In public settings, it may
revolve around "community," public school assignments, democratism. In all
cases you will be expected to feed the people what they want, using the
favorite rationale of your choice to decribe the gift of your
professionalism. Your brave attempt to spoonfeed minds sewn shut by fates
older and stronger than American willpower will be seen as a victory and a
justification to continue your efforts by your peers and superiors, who
will fill professional journals and listservs with articles and manifestos
describing failure as success.

12. Librarians are notoriously poor communicators - like most beaurocrats.
Good communication depends on one thing: putting yourself in the place of
someone else, and imagining how they listen and what they need to know.
Many librarians prefer subtly imparting their procedural superiority
instead, then wonder why patrons don't approach them more often. Similarly,
I've found many librarians are staunch defenders of free speech - as long
as it's not spoken by colleagues.

I assume I don't have to tell you about the pleasures of librarianship.
Like most aspirants, you probably think you know what they are and wish to
believe it. I don't blame you. All those good things ARE possible, they
exist potentially, and they exist fully in a few rare wonderful libraries
(EVERYTHING in a particular library depends on who the Director(s) is. But
the Director must please and answer first to his/her superiors, not to his
staff. There are great and interesting librarians, there are great rare
book collections, there are readers, there are rewarding feelings of
service and usefulness. Read Nicholson Baker's famous New Yorker essay on
the trashing of the San Francisco Public Library's card catalog and weeded
books. It's a must. Much great writing about libraries has been done by

Compared to many kinds of work, a mid-level career in libraries can be
relatively stress-free, peaceful, congenial - in a word, easy. You can
spend much of your work time surrounded by books or their surrogates,
computers, information, people who need all kinds of help, people who like
learning, people committed to the word, the text, the past. There are
opportunities for travel, education, advancement, living a Glass Bead Game
sort of existence (I've been funded to study to Oxford, England for 3
weeks, Hollywood for one, Charlottesville, VA, (four times), NYC, Ann
Arbor, Philly, Chicago). If you become a Director you can have a nice job
and a nice life. But it's hard to imagine you as a Director, Alex - for the
same reason that I'm not one: you're too committed to bucking the system,
and you don't like telling others what to do, or not do. A Director must be
be very very reliable, predictable, available, conservative, nice,
hardworking, nitpicking, must respect and promote drudgery and be able to
support many things you, he or she doesn't believe in. It helps if you can
smile the warmest smile while screwing a subordinate or outsourcing a

Why did I go for it? I crave books, words and writing (add to that now
computers and the Web). I always loved being in libraries. I love silence.
I wanted an easy, peaceful worklife. I have no ambitions in, and little
respect for, the world of commerce. I love the past. I thought I couldn't
fail at the work (I'll never know). I love the idea of helping to "collect"
(amass, buy) materials to be seen and kept and stored for people - and evenand evenmoreso, for posterity. I was burned out on my current life (I was 35) and
craved some stability. I still love and believe libraries of the old sort -
the sort celebrated in "The Name of the Rose"  or "The Dead Poets' Society"
or "Goodbye Columbus" - are places of magic and power. I've been in quite a
few of them. But bear in mind: libraries live by budgets, politics and the
indulgence of mostly ignorant and idealistic citizens, and thus must always
change (or more likely, APPEAR to change) to "reflect the times." And you
know what that means. Surely Umberto Eco wrote his famous book to keep some
of those times from ever changing.

As to where you take your degree: I doubt it really matters. Soon most of
the schools will be gone, and good riddance to them.  Don't be taken in by
efforts to recruit minorities into librarianship: minorities that do not
take literacy seriously have no place in the profession, though exceptional
individuals will always find one. What you learn in library school is
roughly of the same value as a teaching degree and exists to establish a
"professional" cachet - more bullshit.  So why not try and go with the best
- high grade computer instruction, or a foreign language, like managerial
Buzz. Then you might end up knowing something real, though most library
computer work focuses solely on information retrieval, or on what some huge
conglomerate passes off as such after gouging as much as possible out of
libraries for the privilege of letting 34 people a month dial in for
60-year-old archives of unreadable journals.  Everything else in library
school is instantly forgettable, though some of it stays with you like a
bad meal.

Keep this letter. Show it to your professors. It probably doesn't sound
very objective by now. I don't care who sees it. If you go through with
your plan, my letter may be good for a laugh or a cry someday.


14. Library Exhibitions on the Web -- Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Compiled by S. Diane Shaw, Special Collections Cataloger at the Smithsonian
Institution Libraries, this site lists over 350 exhibitions on the Web
created by all types of libraries from all over the US. The exhibitions
cover a wide range of topics, from the history of the sugar trade at LSU to
the Psychedelic Sixties at the University of Virginia (reviewed in the June
26th, 1998 Scout Report), with travel photographs from the Ohio Historical
Society and a 1940 Tour of the Oregon Coast from the Oregon State Archives
along the way. The unifying factor is that all the materials shown in the
exhibitions are from library and archival collections; they are primarily
paper-based materials such as photographs, documents, book jackets and
illustrations, postcards, prints, and posters. Libraries wishing to add
exhibitions to the list should email Shaw at dshaw[at] [DS]

>From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-1999.

15. What's Going On -

        Descriptions and links to further information on
        international events, festivals, gatherings, and
        celebrations, with an emphasis on the unique and
        offbeat. Don't miss the Fast Facts link at the bottom of
        each event description. Events in the USA are
        searchable by category, location, time period, and
        keyword. Top Spot lists are by country and currently
        include Japan, Mexico, Thailand, the Caribbean, India,
        UK, and Spain. Top Ten Lists are provided with
        categories such as "gluttony," and "down & dirty."
        Check out the Coolest Place on Earth Today, which
        changes daily and is archived. - lw
        Subjects: festivals | travel | current events

>Librarians' Index to the Internet 

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