Friday, December 12, 2008

The Blog known as Annoyed Librarian

Library Journal picked up a blog known as The Annoyed Librarian a few months back. I was familiar with it in its earlier days before it became so prominent. I always liked its sardonic tagline: "Whatever it is, I'm against it." Whoever is writing this blog remains anonymous, but there is much speculation over who she or he really is.

Now that this blog has such a mainstream imprint, it is amazing to watch the flurry of comments every post attracts. As far as I'm concerned, "The Annoyed Librarian" could just as easily be Betty Crocker. This personage could be entirely concocted, a pastiche of various writers introducing library controversies. What's important is that this blog opens up a forum for our profession.

Apparently librarians need to let off a lot of steam; there is a thick vein of sarcasm and dark humor displayed in the daily comments. Also, we get defensive. Public librarians think academic librarians don't understand them and vice versa. The great Annoyed One provokes us, asking questions such as: "If there are no reference librarians in 20 years is that good or bad for society?" That is bound to get a reaction from most of us! Other controversies: library closings, gaming in libraries, banned books, etc.

There is tone of mockery to "The Annoyed Librarian", an irreverance that I find both fascinating and repulsive. I'm not sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for every post, but when I peek in on the blog, I almost feel like I am driving by the scene of an accident. Whose feelings can we trample on today? I read through the comments looking for someone who speaks back with respect. I'm not sure that happens often enough. Instead there is a tit for tat atmosphere. Possibly this novelty will wear thin and "The Annoyed Librarian" will become passe. But in any case, it is interesting/commendable that a well-established mainstream periodical such as Library Journal, allows this wild, chaotic, black and white and every shade of gray, purple, red and blue cacophony of a blog to exist. After all, it's the American way.

photo by KAO: John Runnels Sidewalk Art, Houston, with Shadow

1 comment:

Don Wentworth said...

K: Interestingly, I only have 5 library related items on my reader. One is "the Speed of Light" and another is, yes, "The Annoyed Librarian."

I agree that much of the controversy is intentional provocation. For someone with so many opinions frequently s/he seems on the fence. The comments are difficult to get through and I am always looking of someone with a measured response as you are. I think it hard to find a way through all that sarcastic/defensive AL armor though. I enjoy the provocation, the reaction not so much.