Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Annoyed Librarian, Redux

I love a woman who can piss me off one day, and then make me do a fist pump the next: Protect Your Children from the Classics!
Annoyed Librarian, I think I'd like to have a martini with you.

In the spirit of the thing, a few of the books I was assigned at my small, conservative high school.  Never mind the Shakespeare; it's too easy:

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald: Infidelity (is anyone faithful in this book, except Gatsby?), murder (not just one, but TWO!  And that's those that are explicit...), flagrantly flaunting the articles of the U.S. Constitution (rum running, anyone?), animal abuse, domestic violence, organized crime, sexism

Lord of the Flies, William Golding: What isn't up with this book?

The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri: I suppose it's fair to say all of the deadly sins are represented?  I always felt like the way Dante handled Beatrice was also slightly blasphemous, given the contemporary climate.

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck: Animal abuse, ableism, murder, lying, classism, sexism, violence, racist language, swearing

Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau: This book is down-right unpatriotic!  All citizens should stand behind their country during a time of war.

The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood: Menage a trois, sort of (and Gossip Girl thought they were being all revolutionary), sex slavery, sexism, terrorism, rape, homosexuality (not that I feel this belongs in a class with the former list, but this is the sort of thing conservative parents get all freaked out about), infanticide

Proof positive it doesn't matter what you say, but how you say it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Annoyed Librarian-- Right Back Atcha!

I recently discovered the Annoyed Librarian blog on Library Journal's website, through a link to her post regarding MLS/MLIS programs, and the lack of jobs due to ratio of graduates to available positions.  Not like the AL gives a hoot, but I found several posts very thought provoking, and wanted to respond to some points:

The AL positions herself as being critical of this particular trait in librarians.  Obviously-- she's the Annoyed Librarian.  While I value the position of someone within the field posting critical observations of the profession, like many Americans and the current political culture, don't talk smack if you aren't gonna act.  Of course, the anonymous nature of this blog makes it difficult to know if AL is doing just that.  In the librarians I have known, as an avid library user, and the librarians I am meeting through this program, this chirpiness comes from a genuine passion for the profession and the idea of libraries themselves, revealed in their acts locally and nationally, professionally and personally... of course, the AL also feels that--

I didn't realize once I became a librarian I would have to give up my right as a citizen to speak out on these things, such as the war in Iraq-- and now, the escalation in Afghanistan.  As a professional organization, the ALA should absolutely take a position on such things.  Thinking about my chosen track of children's librarianship, the above two current events and NCLB are three of the most relevant issues shaping the future of my profession.  With the money spent on two concurrent wars, education in all its manifestations (libraries) is again shortlisted, legislatively and financially, and this revelation of priorities devalues my profession and the quality of life for those living in the U.S.  I think the ALA would be negligent in not taking an issue on these things.

This is a reoccurring theme in the AL's posts.  My immediate response probably isn't appropriately chirpy, but wait for it-- I'll get there.  Of course these programs are a racket!  Aren't all forms of higher education?  I know right in the middle of that sick feeling behind my sternum and the stack of statements from Stafford and Sallie Mae how much of racket they are.  Now here's the chirpy part, succinctly expressed in a fluffy cliche-- a racket is what you make of it.  Most of the people I have met in my program are bright, articulate people, and could enter a racket of a program where the resulting income would be quite different from the path they have chosen.  Yet there we are, standing outside the Art Department on campus getting all excited about realia and non-conformity in library programs.  I could go through this program with the minimal effort, but I'm so damn excited about the whole thing I procrastinate writing about libraries by reading about libraries-- and then writing about it here.
Yesterday the department hosted a panel for those of us interested in following the thesis track, and the chair of our department mentioned something that really resonated with me.  The people admitted into this program aren't necessarily the brightest, but those that have a passion for libraries (I knew there had to be a reason there was no mention of my abysmally low GRE Math score).  Not a passion, like "I like to read," but a passion for an institution that provides access to information, takes steps towards an enlightened citizenry, and maintains social ownership of knowledge is more important than the commodification of it.  

Now let me keep this passion in mind while I write page after page for finals week. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Haute (Dog) Couture!

In general, I am against dogs in sweaters-- I mean, they're dogs!  They have fur coats already, right?  But this speshul snowflake (I named the second sweater this in homage to my hypocritical feelings on dogs in sweaters) is too cute to be shivering for the next three months.

This is an exact pattern (Little Black Dress with Pearls) from My Savannah Cottage.  Ms. Abby's momma loves those pearls, so I figured she probably does, too!

This is based on Need for Tweed from Lion Brand Yarn's free pattern database.  I had to adjust the size for Abby, as the smallest size was still too big, but it came up a little short.  By the time I knit her next sweater, I won't need to adjust the size at all-- she's growing like a weed!