Library Juice 5:5, February 7, 2002
- NewBreed Librarian turns 1 yr old - New Issue Out
- 1947 film on being a librarian - free on the web
- Three more weblogs
- Al-Arian & Academic Freedom
- The ARL breakdown on electronic search & seizure laws
- Mary Minow on the USA-PATRIOT Act
- Send a free fax to John Ashcroft
- Marginal Librarian 9.2
- "Best Books of 2001"
- Librarians Index to the Internet Would-Be Heckler
- Free PDF-to-Text utility
- Information for Social Change No. 14
- SRRT Resolution: Libraries in a Time of War & Emergency
- Browsing Room (zine review)
Quote for the week:
"It's Still About People."
-Marketing slogan of the library vendor Demco
Personal homepage of the week: Colleen Bell
1. NewBreed Librarian turns 1 yr old - New Issue Out
NewBreed Librarian turns 1 yr old
Date: Fri, 01 Feb 2002 09:12:43 -0800
From: Juanita Benedicto <juanitab[at]OREGON.UOREGON.EDU>
To: newlib-l[at]usc.edu, libraryunderground[at]topica.com
And we've got some milk and cookies over at
FEATURE: An exploration of library as memory.
INTERVIEW: Growth, leadership, and future opportunities.
PEOPLE: Life after grad school.
ASK SUSU: Where can I learn more about running a small library?
TECH TALK: Opera gets the once over.
J u a n i t a B e n e d i c t o
University of Oregon * Librarian
5 4 1 . 3 4 6 . 1 9 3 2
2. 1947 film on being a librarian - free on the web
Librarian, The 1947
Producer: Holmes (Burton) Films, Inc.
Sponsor: Vocational Guidance Films, Inc.
Shows the work of different library personnel.
Descriptors: Occupations: Librarians
Run time: 10:08 Color/B&W: B&W Silent/Sound: Sd
Download: DiVX 4.11 00526.avi (33.5 MB)
VCD 00526.mpg (106.8 MB)
MPEG-2 00526.mpg (283.2 MB)
3. Three more weblogs
(Server not responding as of 7:50pm PST)
4. Al-Arian & Academic Freedom
NEW WEBSITE MAINTAINS UP-TO-DATE COVERAGE OF CONTROVERSY:
ACADEMIC FREEDOM, DUE PROCESS, AND PROFESSOR AL-ARIAN
SITE IS MAINTAINED BY THE UNITED FACULTY OF FLORIDA
The planned termination of USF Computer Science Professor Al-Arian has
attracted national and international attention. There are hundreds of
newspaper stories, magazine articles, and web-pages devoted to the issue.
As a service to the USF community and to visitors, the UFF will maintain
a collection of web-pages accessible through
on the controversy, including links and references to some stories, pages,
and involved organizations. These pages are maintained as an educational
service for people who want to research the actions and issues involved.
Following UFF's own view of the situation, these links are selected with
an eye not only on events, but also on academic freedom and due process.
The primary duty of the UFF is to negotiate and enforce the contract
between faculty in the USF bargaining unit and the legal representative
of the State of Florida, currently the Board of Trustees. Thus the
UFF is very concerned with contractual protection of academic freedom,
and with maintaining faculty rights to due process.
The UFF believes that THE ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND DUE PROCESS RIGHTS OF ALL
FACULTY WOULD BE COMPROMISED BY THE VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF ANY ONE
FACULTY MEMBER, and so the UFF assists a faculty member in defending
his rights. In a very public case like this one, the UFF also explains
the need for defending the rights of faculty.
The Chronicle of Higher Education is having this week's Live Colloquy on
the Al-Arian controversy. To read their background and
readers' contributions from Tuesday, 2/6, go to:
5. The ARL on electronic search & seizure
The ARL (Association of Research Libraries) has placed a matrix
online (.pdf) that might be of interest.
Title: The Search and Seizure of Electronic Information: The Law
Before and After the USA Patriot Act"
More info on the subject on this new page:
Gary D. Price, MLIS
Gary Price Library Research and Internet Consulting
6. Mary Minow on the USA-PATRIOT Act
...and Patron Privacy on Library Internet Terminals
Mary Minow is a lawyer who specializes in library issues. Her website is
http://www.librarylaw.com and it is extremely informative.
7. Send a free fax to John Ashcroft
Courtesy of the ACLU. You can use their boilerplate message or modify it
with personalized language....
The text they use is as follows:
"As a person who is concerned about the future of our nation, I am writing
to urge you not to relax the guidelines that currently prohibit unchecked
The guidelines prevent politically motivated abuses. In the 1950s, prior
to the implementation of the guidelines, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation began a smear campaign against Dr. Martin Luther King. Over
the next decade, the FBI engaged in concerted and illegal harassment and
surveillance of Dr. King and other leaders in the growing civil rights
movement. Throughout this campaign, no credible evidence of wrongdoing
existed to justify the FBI's activities.
Since that deplorable time in our Nations history, guidelines were
established so that advocacy of unpopular ideas or political dissent alone
cannot serve as the basis for an investigation. The guidelines assist the
FBI in focusing on investigating crime rather than harassing dissenters.
The necessary and legitimate war against terrorism should not be used to
permanently expand unchecked government power or to diminish the Bill of
Rights. An immutable characteristic of our nation is freedom. If we allow
the war on terrorism to take away our freedoms, we surrender what it is to
be an American.
Again, I urge you not to relax the domestic surveillance guidelines.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this important matter."
The place to go to send the free fax is:
This page also contains a link to the ACLU's report on "The Dangers of
Domestic Spying by Federal Law Enforcement."
8. Marginal Librarian 9.2
The new issue of Marginal Librarian is out and worth reading, as always.
By the way, I saw some McGill students at the airport and on the plane
from Dallas to New Orleans, and as usual, they are far more stylish than
American library science students. They put us to shame, they are so
sharp. A previous issue of Marginal Librarian attempted to refute my
claim of McGill students sartorial excellence, with pictures of library
students at a Christmas party supposedly looking bad, but this (partial)
refutation disintegrated under the bright light of the hip, slick web
design that surrounded it. The new issue looks nice as well. (I have
spoken to McGill students and found their minds to be as sharp as their
9. "Best Books of 2001"
Alphabetical list of links to articles from various
publications with their picks for the best books
published in 2001. From Blaine Waterman, a
librarian at San Francisco Public Library.
Subjects: Best books....
From Librarians' Index to the Internet - http://lii.org
10. Librarians Index to the Internet Would-Be Heckler
[PUBLIB] I know what he means!
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 21:05:40 -0800 (PST)
From: "Karen G. Schneider" <kgs[at]lii.org>
To: Multiple recipients of list <publib[at]sunsite.berkeley.edu>
Reply to: kgs[at]lii.org
The vast majority of mail to lii.org (Librarians' Index to the Internet)
is positive, but every once in a while we get a complaint about our
I could not resist sharing this quote from a reader who found us too
"Quite frankly I find your site to be too politically correct, and
pretty much typical for having 'librarians' running it."
All you folks agonizing about appearing so hip should just relax and
know that the truly conservative folks out there see us for the radicals
we truly are! (And if we really wanted to change our image, we wouldn't
be protesting our actual stereotype; we'd be protesting that images to
the contrary, we aren't REALLY like that tattooed lady in the Bacardi
ad--no, despite that stereotype about us being so wild, we're really
Karen G. Schneider
One of those... "librarians"
11. Free PDF-to-Text utility
Brought to us by our generous friends at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
12. Information for Social Change No. 14
"Globalisation and Information" issue
Introduction to this issue
The idea for the theme of this issue of Information for Social Change
(ISC) emerged originally from attending an inspirational Globalise
Resistance Conference in February 2000, at Hammersmith Town Hall and then
reading The Battle in Seattle: Its significance for education, written by
Glenn Rikowski and published in March 2001. Glenn's book focused on the
World Trade Organisation's (WTO) education agenda and the privatisation of
education in England. It also explored the significance of education for
anti-capitalist struggles. ISC members thought that a similar analysis of
information and libraries would be worthwhile.
Thus, I became the editor of this Globalisation and Information issue and
began undertaking some research. I soon discovered that the facts supported
many of the worst fears and concerns that we had. In particular, I found
that the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
(IFLA) had a resolution on the WTO on its web site. Furthermore, various
other library associations also had WTO resolutions and they were all very
concerned about the likely effects of the WTO and the GATS (General
Agreement on Trade in Services) on libraries. The basic fear was that at
some time, in the not-too-distant future, libraries and information will
become commodified and will operate in the market place and that this will
override concerns for the 'public good' (as described by IFLA).
Globalisation and Information is an expansive topic, so the issue has been
divided up into different subject areas. These are 'Globalisation and the
WTO', the 'GATS', 'Libraries' and 'Information and Knowledge'. The section
on 'Globalisation and the WTO' considers the meaning of 'globalisation' and
what the WTO is. This section begins with Bill Lehm's article 'One law for
the rich...' Lehm's article links up the privatisation of public services
with the Blairite 'modernisation' programme. He is particularly concerned
about how restrictive and unjust the law is today, and he says:
"It seems that there are so many Acts restricting your ability to act that
you have fewer ways to act without breaking the law than you ever had
He also refers to the Schengen Information System (SIS) which is a
computerised information exchange system based in Strasbourg. SIS is a list
of people who could be perceived as being 'potential troublemakers'. Later
in the article he refers to Paul Robinson who worked in the University
College London library and was arrested at the anti-capitalist protests in
Gothenberg. Robinson was later given a one-year prison sentence. Lehm
speaks about the unjust way in which Paul Robinson has been treated, and
concludes with a critique of a legal system that favours business interests
against those of ordinary people.
Glenn Rikowski's article provides an analysis of globalisation and an
account of the history and development of the World Trade Organisation. He
also demonstrates a general approach for relating the GATS to the
mechanisms and enablers that ensure particular public services in
particular countries fall in line with the GATS imperatives. Rikowski calls
these mechanisms and enablers the 'national faces of the GATS', and argues
that the GATS change the nature of (transfigure) particular public service
developments so they support the realisation of GATS directives.
Victor Rikowski (who is 14 years old) explores globalisation from a
child's perspective. He feels very concerned about the future of our
planet. Victor is particularly concerned about the HSBC bank that goes into
his school and the extent to which HSBC might make a base in other schools.
Thus, he is focusing on the likely privatisation of our public services. He
fears that the millionaires will rule the millions and that this will have
a devastating effect on our planet (especially in regard to environmental
issues). He concludes:
"As Dave Nellist said..."Help the millions and not the
millionaires"...However, global capitalism continually says, "Help the
millionaires rule the millions", and this has to be stopped..."
There are two articles in the section on the GATS. The first, by Clare Joy
explains how the GATS effects many different areas of our life - indeed, it
covers 160 different services. As Joy says, these services include
libraries, medical and dental services, refuse collection, higher
education, postal delivery, railways, department stores, radio stations,
mobile phones and financial services. She then describes different aspects
of the GATS, such as the 'bottom-up' and the 'top-down' approach. She also
emphasises the point that once a government signs up a service, it could
face a challenge from the WTO if it implements legislation that favours
local suppliers over foreign suppliers. Joy highlights the threat to
democracy posed by the GATS.
Anneliesse Dodds, referring to the GATS in relation to higher education
and libraries, notes that: 'Once HE and library services are placed under
WTO control they will in effect be so forever.' She adds:
"The charges used by many libraries for particular services (book recall,
hiring of music and videos, use of the Internet etc) may also open this
sector to the GATS regulations."
...and refers to the possibility of 'impoverished and biased information
provision.' Dodds provides many insights regarding the WTO and the GATS
throughout her article, and concludes that:
"Universities and libraries are simply too important to be handed over,
through GATS regulation, to governance by a small number of often inept and
ideologically-driven WTO bureaucrats."
Ruth Rikowski opens the section on 'Libraries' with 'The Corporate
Take-over of Libraries'. She begins with a brief glimpse at the history of
the public library service in the UK and then proceeds to illustrate how
this is under threat with the GATS. Rikowski shows how the corporate
takeover of libraries can be placed within three categories -
commercialisation, privatisation and capitalisation. She provides some
examples to illustrate how this is already happening. PFI has been
introduced into various sectors, for example, and income generation has
been taking place for a number of years. Within this framework, Rikowski
then considers Best Value, library standards and the Peoples Network -
which are all mechanisms that will enable the GATS to take effect in our
public libraries. She then highlights the fears and concerns of various
NGOs and library associations (such as IFLA and the Canadian Library
Association) in relation to the GATS. Rikowski concludes with some thoughts
for the future, emphasising the need to think as well as take action.
Fiona Hunt considers the WTO and how it could effect libraries. She
presents a possible scenario whereby a public library is supported by local
taxes. An information services company then enters the market and demands
the same level of subsidies and tax support that the public library gets.
She argues that the government would probably cut or eliminate public
funding in order to avoid these types of claims, thus she holds the same
opinion as Dodds in this respect. She also argues that the GATS could
affect the professional qualification requirements. Hunt concludes her
article by expressing the concern that perhaps, in the future, only the
rich will be able to afford information and then makes various suggestions
about what people could do to try to stop all this from happening.
- http://libr.org/ISC/artic les/14-Hunt.html
The section on 'Information and Knowledge' begins with Shahrzad Mojab's
article 'Information, censorship and gender relations in global
capitalism'. Mojab begins her article by dispelling the myth that the
Internet and the Information Superhighway will solve most, or at least
many, of our problems, particularly in relation to censorship. She then
notes the mechanisms that have been put in place to curtail our liberties
since September 11th 2001, and says that:
"This includes a well financed machinery of surveillance, which allows the
government to wiretap telephone calls, read faxed and e-mailed messages,
computer files, and every other communication of any and every citizen."
She speaks about women and censorship in particular, and says that not
only does it deny "women access to information, but also limits their
participation in the creation of knowledge, and denies them the power to
utilize knowledge." Shahrzad speaks about the need to challenge patriarchy.
Returning to globalisation, cyberspace and women she notes that:
"The cyberspace is much like the realspace that creates it. The fact that
many individual women or groups can set up their own websites does not
change power relations in the realspace."
She concludes with some suggestions about what to do in the future. This
includes creating theoretical and empirical knowledge about gender-based
censorship and making this knowledge available to policy makers.
Alex Nunn invites us to examine the knowledge economy and, allied to this,
the extension of 'commodification to ever more areas of life to the point
where even our own bodies might be the vehicle for capital accumulation.'
Nunn alerts us to the current pre-occupation with the 'knowledge economy'
and notes that:
"...the 'knowledge cacophony' is actually an attempt to mask the reality of
a continuation of capitalist social relations and the extension of
commodification to ever more areas of social life."
Later, Nunn refers specifically to higher education (HE), saying that it
can be seen as the 'lynch pin' of the knowledge economy strategy. He refers
to Public Private Partnerships and Private Finance Initiatives in higher
education, the reduction of state funding and the encouragement that
universities are given to look for private sector sources of funding. He
cites the University of Phoenix as an example of the direction in which HE
might be going. This is a private for-profit university that offers
distance education through an online interface. Nunn then warns us about
the dangers posed to the public library service through the implementation
of the GATS. As he indicates:
"Public libraries could find themselves in ever more competition with for
profit knowledge institutions and if the GATS framework were extended to
libraries then that competition would be intensified through the ending of
public subsidies to public library provision."
Patrick Ainley invites us to consider the concept of the 'Learning
Society'. He says that the government and the CBI define the 'learning
society' as 'one that systematically increases the skills and knowledge of
all its members to exploit technological innovation and so gain a
competitive edge for the services in fast-changing global markets.' He then
describes how we are witnessing 'rampant qualification inflation' as it
seems that more and more people want and need to get qualifications, and
that this is leading not to a 'learning society' but to a 'certified
society'. In the 'Learning Society' today: 'knowledge and skills are
individualised and limited to portfolios of information and competence,
while learning is separated from leisure and popular culture. Education and
training's main purpose becomes social control outside of work and managing
organisational change within employment.' Ainley says that what is required
is a re-establishment of the central role of education, science and the
arts in society to 'stimulate thought and develop new knowledge and skills
to deal with a rapidly changing reality.' He concludes by noting that 'only
information combined with democracy can provide the knowledge and skills
necessary for survival in a real 'Learning Society.''
Jonathan Rutherford begins his article by saying that we need to consider
the alternative to the marketisation and privatisation of our public
services and alerts us to the fact that we need to take seriously Blair and
Brown's commitment to the marketisation of the welfare state. He then goes
on to emphasise the importance of knowledge in today's globalised economy
and notes, as people like Nunn have, that universities are now being funded
more like commercial organisations. Rutherford argues that:
"Neo-liberal capitalism geared to the pursuit of profit, is incapable of
the kind of sustainable development necessary for effectively and equitably
managing and distributing the intangibles of knowledge creation. Knowledge
is a public good, but knowledge capitalism is avaricious in expropriating
the cultural meanings, symbols and knowledge it requires to increase its
productivity and create new markets."
Universities have all too easily become prey to 'knowledge capitalism' and
yet, concludes Rutherford, in the future there is a need to 'nurture and
sustain learning' within the public sector 'where ideas can circulate and
develop free of exchange value'. Thus, both Rutherford and Ainley offer us
some hopes and ideals for the future, although it is important to emphasise
that it is the roots of the social universe of capital itself that need to
be exposed and understood before it is even possible to really begin to see
hopes for a world beyond. Without this, the ideas of radicals and critics
will just be subsumed within capitalism itself (if they are thought to be
The issue concludes with an ISC statement on State Terrorism, Censorship
and Repression - drafted by Martyn Lowe, and information about Libraries
under Fire, a session to be held at the forthcoming IFLA Conference,
Glasgow, August 18-24, 2002.
This Special Issue has addressed many developments and trends regarding
the business takeover of libraries and information. Any comments would be
I would like to thank Glenn Rikowski and Matthew Mezey, for the help,
advice and contacts they have given me throughout the production of this
Special Issue. Finally, I would like to thank the UK Library Association
for the financial support that they have given for the production of this
issue of Information for Social Change.
The Information for Social Change website is at http://libr.org/ISC/
For additional information on the GATS and libraries, see the report
of the Canadian Library Association, at:
and Steven Shrybman's IFLA paper titled Information, Commodification and
the World Trade Organization:
13. SRRT Resolution: Libraries in a Time of War & Emergency
Passed by SRRT Action Council on January 19, 2002
Whereas the current policies of the US Govenment, invoking a
'national state of emergency' in its so-called 'war against
terrorism' invokes an over-broad definition of terrorism and
terrorist, encourages the use of unconstitutionally obtained
evidence, practices the unconstitutional refusal to inform
'suspects' of what crimes they are being accused of, employs the use
of racial 'profiling' in the determination of suspects,justifies the
denial of due process to suspects, illegal detention, the
mistreatment and unequal treatment of prisoners who are suspects
and claims the right to the use of torture to obtain information
Whereas, more specifically, libraries have been enlisted to assist
in and enable the use of racial/ethnic profiling in identification
of 'suspects'; the surveillance of individuals based on arbitrary
criteria, the turning over of confidential library records on the
presentation of a mere search warrant (in violation of our Library
Bill of Rights, our Code of Ethics and policy manual's specific and
detailed elaboration of this issue (52.4)); the practice of allowing
individual librarians/library workers, on the basis of own personal
judgment and without even informing library management, of informing
on individuals to police agencies for any practices deemed on an ad
hoc basis to be 'suspicious' (in effect turning librarians and
library workers into an information para-police), and public
libraries are being suggested as local interrogation centers for
mass round-ups of foreign nationals for questioning, all thereby
implicating libraries in the commission of these government
violations of rights and norms of legality
Whereas security measures are being widely proposed for institutions
which would, as applied in libraries, encourage the abuse of
authority, arbitrary and unequal treatment of patrons, loss of
users' privacy rights, regimens of invasive surveillance, and the use
as evidence of material read or accessed by individuals, a
developoment which would destroy libraries as centers of free inquiry
Whereas the practice of the Abridgment of the Rights of Foreign
Nationals is specifically invoked in our policy manual (58.3) as
unacceptable to the Asociation, even allowing that ALA will "address
grievances of foreign nationals when the infringement of their
rights of free expression is clearly a matter in which all free
people should show concern," calling for resolutions or other
documents attesting to such grievances [to be] brought to the
attention of the Excecutive Board and Council and the ALA
International Relations Committee"
Whereas the conduct of the government in this declared domestic
state of emergency is also in violation of the United Nation's
Universal Declaration of Human Rights in general and so-called
Article 19 in particular, and in violation of our policy (58.4), which
states along with the Declaration, "everyone has the right to
freedom of expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions
without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and
ideas regardless of frontiers, and violates the intent of our
resolution on Human Rights and Freedom of Expression" (58.4.1)
Whereas ALA specifically opposes Governmental Intimidation (53,4),
going so far as to state that "ALA encourages resistance to such
abuse of government power, and supports those against whom such
government power has been employed"
Whereas we urge ALA to condemn the establishment of 'secret
military tribunals' here and abroad, with the power to try or
sentence or execute civilians or military personnel, as an odiously
undemocratic practice which undermines the rule of law on which
democracy is based
Be it then resolved that the Social Responsibilities Round Table
(SRRT) of the American Library Association (ALA), on the basis of its
own commitments and those of the Association as a whole, opposes and
encourages ALA formally by resolution of Council to oppose the
conduct under any circumstances of enforcement of "homeland
security" through abridgements of fundamental rights (including the
right to be considered innocent until proven guilty); government
intimidation; illegal obtaining of evidence, illegal search and
seizure, racial profiling; denial of due process; mistreatment of
suspects and prisoners; the curtailment of free speech; the exercise
of free expression and punishment for legal advocacy or expression
Be it further resolved that libraries will remain centers of free
inquiry and debate, in which dissent to government policy is not a
suspicious activity and where free access to information is assured
(53.1 - 53.8 -Library Bill of Rights; 50.3) under conditions of
legally protected confidentiality (52.4), and places where
information of a critical nature relative to government policy will
be pro-actively provided, where information about rights relevant to
violations of one's civil liberties under the state of emergency
will be readily available in as many languages as possible and
where policy debate is encouraged without prejudice.
And be it further resolved that SRRT opposes and urges ALA to oppose
the practice of government and military censorship with regard to
information about the state of emergency, the war in Afghanistan,
and the actions taken in pursuit of its changing goals in the
region; encourages the major media to exercise its mandate and forgo
self-censorship; and defend the use of Shield Laws (53.5) to ensure
a free press always threatened in time of war and emergency,
as well as restrictions being arbitrarily placed on government
materials ordinarily made public in the interest of 'national
And be it further resolved that SRRT opposes and urges ALA to
formally oppose as policy the establishment of any and all secret
military tribunals, domestically and abroad, where free speech, due
process and equal treatment before the law, (including the 'law of
war' and other internationally recognized protocols) will be
denied, and opposes as well all other measures which, even in
so-called states of emergency, suspend the principles of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other legal protections of
the rights of peoples, such as guaranteed in our Bill of Rights.
14. Browsing Room (zine review)
After I reviewed Library Bonnet (Library Juice 4:45 -
http://libr.org/Juice/issues/vol4/LJ_4.45.html#14 ) I got an email from
Chris Dodge, the librarian at Utne Reader, telling me about a library zine
he likes better, called Browsing Room. So I contacted the author, Tara
Moyle of Richmond, Virginia (formerly of DeKalb, Illinois), and ordered
Browsing Room #1 (there is no #2 as yet) arrived in my mailbox a few
days ago, looking like an attractive little book. It's about 4" by 5.5"
and runs 70 pages in length, and has a color photo on the cover, of a
stuffed chair comfortably illuminated by daylight coming through a window.
Let me tell you what is in this zine...
The first two pages are autobiographical, a letter to readers telling us
what she is doing. This is, in my opinion, an example of the weakness of
most zines - they assume we care about the writer for no particular reason
other than that they are who they are. Now, if the writer has an
exceptionally interesting, unusual life, beset by odd or amazing
circumstances, or, if the writer happens to be a friend I haven't spoken to
in years, this would be reasonable. Otherwise, it represents an
unrealistic expectation (for me). But Tara is only in keeping with
the zine genre in writing about herself so much, so I can't fault her. It
probably wouldn't bother most zine lovers. (I should note now that the
majority of the writing in this 70 pager was interesting to me.)
The dedication of the zine, on page 3, is "To all library employees,
everywhere," and it is library employees who will most appreciate this
zine. The first item (the most autobiographical of the lot) is "A Day in
the Life of a Technical Services Employee," and it was by far the least
interesting to me. It describes everything she did during one day at work.
I think this one could have been left out, or at least not made the lead
article. But Tara's writing is not bad, and some may enjoy this intimate
glimpse into another person's life (and workplace).
Following some some nice color-xeroxed images of her library, the next
item is "DeKalb Public Library as breeding ground for artistic
self-actualization: a mini-drama in three acts." Although also
autobiographical, this story is where the zine starts to pick up the
momentum that made me read the whole thing without putting it down. It's
about psychological test that was given to the library employees and how it
justified all of her quirkiness by showing that she is an "originator," who
is comfortable with and a bringer of change (unlike her fellow library
employees, who are all sticks-in-the-mud). I liked what this said about
Tara, and enjoyed her feeling of vindication, but I didn't like what it
said about librarians in Tara's eyes. (Tara doesn't have an MLIS, and at
the time of the zine's writing she had just decided NOT to get one, but to
get an MFA in creative writing instead, because she "wants to be surrounded
by ideas and art instead of information.") Anyway... it's hard not to
identify with a creative person telling a story of not entirely fitting in
and finding a positive reason why not.
More items include a tip to watch the video Puss in Boots, about library
cats; "Teacake," about sewing and midwestern womanhood... "Notable
libraries of the world"... a small, funny item about kid's versions of the
apocalyptic, born-again "Left Behind" series... "Sex in the library (to the
tune of Love in the Afternoon): An unrequited library love story," which
contains no sex, unless you count graphic descriptions of a heavy crush...
"The Libraries of My Youth: a rambling, unedited filler piece," actually
much better than the title indicates, a nice reminiscence... "Library
Fashion," about how librarians all wear cardigans, sensible shoes, long
skirts, etc. - my other least favorite part of this zine, really
annoying... "Bearsuit: a dream that may or may not be related to working at
a library," about wearing a bearsuit to her first day at her new job in a
fancy store and wondering whether it was appropriate attire...
"MAMLSMFABAMLSM.... or you think you have a mish-mosh career? you read
this," about the path she took to non-librarianship and where it goes from
here... "The Library Redeemed," about great CD's and other things she found
in her library (though why the library needs to be redeemed is left
unstated and is like the white elephant in the room)... "The Library as
Healer," the best thing in the zine, in my opinion, about how the library
cured her of Chi depletion (republished in this issue of Library Juice)...
"Some books I came across while working at the library that I might not
have otherwise read"... "Library Web Sites"... "The Most Frequently Banned
Books in the 90's"... "People's Fave Things About Libraries (excerpts from
a small survey) - a great little piece, the bulk of which is made up of
Tara's own favorite things about libraries, which she describes with
tenderness and intelligence... "The Patrons I Love," also described with
tenderness and intelligence, the other best part of the zine... "Library
Ghost Stories"... "Library Field Trip: Naperville Public Library,
Naperville, IL," a review in which her one complaint is that the "fiction
tree" in the YA section, which has "leaves" with booklists by category, has
no category for "freak"... "Cool Facts" about libraries, and an epilogue,
where she tells us where she's at.
Is this thing worth the $2 cover price? Hell yes!
You can order your copy of Browsing Room from:
2621 Stuart Ave., #34
Richmond, VA 23220
L I B R A R Y J U I C E
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