Greg McClay and Annoyed Librarian have already weighed in on today's New York Times librarian article. In case you haven't seen it yet, the piece discusses the "increasing number of librarians who are notable not just for their pink-streaked hair but also for their passion for pop culture, activism and technology." There's so much red meat on offer in this article that snarky comment on my part is mandatory.
Our story begins as follows:
ON a Sunday night last month at Daddy’s, a bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, more than a dozen people in their 20s and 30s gathered at a professional soiree, drinking frozen margaritas and nibbling store-bought cookies. With their thrift-store inspired clothes and abundant tattoos, they looked as if they could be filmmakers, Web designers, coffee shop purveyors or artists.
In other words they look and dress just like the rest of the urban dwelling liberal herd. I, for one, can't really criticize the clothing part, but I am more than happy to comment on the pathetic penchant for self-mutilation as self-expression. I think Theodore Dalrymple put it best:
What is striking about these “tattoo narratives” (as the author calls them) is their vacuous egoism. The interlocutors speak, and appear to think, in pure psychobabble, that debased and vague confessional language that allows people to imagine they are baring their souls when in fact they are exposing their shallowness. This is something the author does not notice because she herself belongs to the psychobabble culture. One cannot but feel sorrow for people who think that by permanently disfiguring themselves they are somehow declaring their independence or expressing their individuality. The tattoo has a profound meaning: the superficiality of modern man’s existence.
Alright, now that I've gotten my loathing for tattoos off my chest, back to the article:
“Did you try the special drinks?” Sarah Gentile, 29, asked Jennifer Yao, 31, referring to the colorfully named cocktails.
“I got the Joy of Sex,” Ms. Yao replied. “I thought for sure it was French Women Don’t Get Fat.”
Ms. Yao could be forgiven for being confused: the drink was numbered and the guests had to guess the name. “613.96 C,” said Ms. Yao, cryptically, then apologized: “Sorry if I talk in Dewey.”
That would be the Dewey Decimal System. The groups’ members were librarians. Or, in some cases, guybrarians.
Yeah, because nothing makes librarians look hip instead of nerdy like assigning Dewey Decimal numbers to drinks. "Guybrarians"? Wow, just wow.
“He hates being called that,” said Sarah Murphy, one of the evening’s organizers and a founder of the Desk Set, a social group for librarians and library students.
Ms. Murphy was speaking of Jeff Buckley, a reference librarian at a law firm, who had a tattoo of the logo from the Federal Depository Library Program peeking out of his black T-shirt sleeve.
An FDLP tattoo??? I am now officially embarrassed to be a government documents librarian.
Since then, however, library organizations have been trying to recruit a more diverse group of students and to mentor younger members of the profession.
“I think we’re getting more progressive and hipper,” said Carrie Ansell, a 28-year-old law librarian in Washington.
Yes, the library profession is trying to become "more diverse", and its efforts are paying off. Soon, the old, graying, dour generation of liberal and leftist librarians will be replaced by a young, hip, creative generation of liberal and leftist librarians. Give it up for diversity, baby!
How did such a nerdy profession become cool — aside from the fact that a certain amount of nerdiness is now cool? Many young librarians and library professors said that the work is no longer just about books but also about organizing and connecting people with information, including music and movies.
And though many librarians say that they, like nurses or priests, are called to the profession, they also say the job is stable, intellectually stimulating and can have reasonable hours — perfect for creative types who want to pursue their passions outside of work and don’t want to finance their pursuits by waiting tables. (The median salary for librarians was about $51,000 in 2006, according to the American Library Association-Allied Professional Organization.)
I think a woman I went to library school with put it best when she said that "librarians are surplus intellectual labor".
Alright, here's the part you've been waiting for:
Michelle Campbell, 26, a librarian in Washington, said that librarianship is a haven for left-wing social engagement, which is particularly appealing to the young librarians she knows. “Especially those of us who graduated around the same time as the Patriot Act,” Ms. Campbell said. “We see what happens when information is restricted.”
Ms. Campbell added that she became a librarian because it “combined a geeky intellectualism” with information technology skills and social activism.
Jessamyn West, 38, an editor of “Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out” a book that promotes social responsibility in librarianship, and the librarian behind the Web site librarian.net (its tagline is “putting the rarin’ back in librarian since 1999”) agreed that many new librarians are attracted to what they call the “Library 2.0” phenomenon. “It’s become a techie profession,” she said.
The cycle perpetuates itself. Librarianship is now so politicized and laden with left-wing group think that it attracts people looking for such an environment. As for "social responsibility in librarianship", what can I say that I haven't already said before? Considering how that term is usually defined, put me in the social irresponsibility category, thank you very much.
To sum things up, the library profession has apparently made itself "hip" and "more diverse" by recruiting people who are indistinguishable in look and thought from the typical young urban ultra liberal. Yeah, sounds awfully hip and diverse to me.