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Fame and Fortune and Other F Words:, the director’s cut*

by the.effing.librarian

Compiled from the blog,

from posts April 2007 through March 2008.

* additions, deletions with all new commentary.

©2008, the.effing.librarian, LLC.

No portion of this book may be used without permission, un-

less you manage to do it without getting caught, in which
case, wow, you are clever. But if I do catch you, I’m kicking
your less-than-clever ass.

The majority of this book was previously published at during a period when any
concerned person was free to complain and have your griev-
ance heard by me through your comments. Now that this is
a handful of paper, I guess it’s too late to bitch about any-
thing I say. What? You say you’re going to complain anyway.
Go ahead, but I’m not listening.

As usual, I can’t guarantee that anything in this book will make

any damn sense like it seemed to when I first wrote it.
Special Thanks to those who left comments on the blog during
the first 90 days of the.effing.librarian because I needed the en-

3goodrats (

Christen (

Glen Gordon (

Jenn (

Jessica (

l.b. (

LisaC (

Monster Librarian

Vampire Librarian (

and if you really hate my blog, blame them.



What Makes an Effing Librarian?

Does it matter? Really? I think people and even librarians

continue to have an image of librarians that is both fantastic-
al and perverted. Do librarians really want to read all day in a
dimly lit room? Do librarians really want to tell people to
keep quiet all day? What the fuck? Can’t we just break
down the role of the librarian by asking her what her job is?

The Effing Librarian: What do you do in the library?

Regular Librarian: I catalog and preserve research materials.

The Effing Librarian: For what purpose?

Regular Librarian: For research.

The Effing Librarian: Fuck, really? For whose research?

Regular Librarian: For students, researchers, learners.

The Effing Librarian: And they fucking are?

Regular Librarian: People?

The Effing Librarian: Yes. And what do they do with those

research materials?

Regular Librarian: They utilize...

The Effing Librarian: Use!

Regular Librarian: They use them.

The Effing Librarian: That’s fucking right. People use libraries.

So the answer is that an Effing Librarian is just like a Regular

Librarian, except we drop a whole lot more F-bombs.

It’s unfortunate, but people use libraries. It’s the librarian’s

job to make the library and its valuable materials available
for people to use. All people. Good people and bad people.
We try to make rules to keep the bad people from fucking it
up for everyone else, but those same rules sometimes fuck it
up for the good people, too. Librarians are continually work-
ing to find a balance between open access and preservation.
How do I let this asshole use this thing in a way that it’s still
available for use by the next asshole?

The Effing Librarian’s blog, or the.effing.librarian, as our LLC
is incorporated, is located at http://effinglibrarian dot blogs-
pot dot com. This is where the.effing.librarian attempts to
define the role of the librarian in an ongoing dialogue be-
tween himself and himself, and occasionally some visitors
from the outside world. Surprisingly, people do visit the
blog. On purpose. And not because I lace my posts with tags
like naked librarians, monkey sex, asses, and porn. But adding
those metatags never hurts.

The following is a collection of blog posts from the first year-

or-so from that blog. There may be some additional com-
ments or footnotes or whatever.

But as I haven’t done any of it yet, who knows; it might just

be me getting drunk and training the dog to walk across the
keyboard to produce text.

Either way, you probably couldn’t tell the difference.

Oh, and I might change some stuff in this book form that was
perfectly ok on the blog just because print Copyright law is en-
forced more strictly than what happens on the Web. I wouldn’t
want anyone to feel like I violated their rights. So if it seems like
something is missing, go back to the web site to see all the ille-
gally quoted material and stolen images.

And another note: Blog stuff appears in the Georgia font and
everything else appears in this Calibri font.

Chapter One: April 2007

“the.effing.librarian was dead, but is feeling better.“

posted on Twitter, 10/11/2008.

The Effing Librarian was born on April 27, 2007. That wasn’t
the date of my first post, but it was probably the first post
that reflected the.effing.librarian style. It came in response to
a judge’s ruling that the Neenah Public Library (Wisconsin)
was barred from turning over surveillance video to the police
without a court order that was taken of a man masturbating
in the library.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Whack. Whack. WHACK. OW!

In this case, the library isn't able to release the suspect's

identity to the police unless "someone's life or safety is at
risk." I don't know when the last time it was that I saw
someone masturbate in the library, but the library books
stacks are pretty cramped and some enthusiastic self-
gratification could cause a guy to whack his funny bone on
a bookshelf. And that's not funny. Or safe. So for heaven's
sake, turn over that tape!

Labels: law, libraries, masturbation, privacy


Apparently, Wisconsin is one state that believes it’s a viola-

tion of an individual’s privacy rights if the library records him
in the library exposing his penis. Wisconsin derives that right
from their interpretation of the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of

religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging
the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the
people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Govern-
ment for a redress of grievances, or the right of the people to
undress and fondle the people’s wang.”

Monday, April 30, 2007

Beedy Beedy Beedy

First of all, I want to point out the tag for this item, which
is "metal ass." That's all. Now you've seen it, good.

As for the story, here it is:

Robots - the new librarians 1
Concord Monitor, NH

This story is only about how one library solved its space
problem by storing materials in bins that only a robot can


access. This is another story I got from a Google news
search. Google must love this story because they want to
digitize everything to make it easier for people to access.
With ads.

I don't really have a problem with Google digitizing every-

thing; it'll put these poor robots out of a job, but that's
progress. I just have a problem with not knowing whether
the electronic format is identical to the original. I really
need to see the book or microfilm to confirm that I got
what I got. So I still need that source material. Which is
good news to the robots who can keep their jobs to feed
their robot children and not put them on the streets to
more efficiently steal my car radio.

But that's just one library. Not every library has robots. We
don't. I don't think I want a robot doing my job for me. I
like to get up and move around once in a while. You have
to. Nobody told me that when I became a librarian I'd sit so
much that I'd need a metal ass.

Labels: google, librarians, metal ass, robots

I never received any comments on my first nine posts. And

since I’m so lazy and give up so easily, I’m not sure why I con-
tinued to blog without that feedback.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

What's the point of blogging?

So I've been doing this for a few days and I still don't get it.
What's the point? Am I supposed to become a famous
blogger whose words transform the lives of all who read
them? Am I the expert that the news outlets contact for my
opinion on everything "librarian"?

I don't see any difference between this blog and the web
page I had in 1996. Except back then I had to know html. I
added stories; I could link to other sites. And I added a
guestbook for people to leave comments. In fact, I still
maintain a couple of web pages because they are free.

I still don't know what the point of this is, except that I'm a
true genius and anyone who doesn't read my page and im-
mediately alter their life according to my instruction is a
complete ass.

That post brought my first comment from a total stranger.

It’s fun to write crap, but blogging is supposed to invite feed-
back; without anyone to say whether they agree or disagree
or think you’re an ass, then what’s the point of making that

Thursday, May 3, 2007

What'chu Say?

Porn bill would put onus on libraries2 : Here is a headline
from the Springfield Post-Dispatch in Illinois, and it's the
usual story about how public libraries are supposed to use
filtering software on their Internet computers to block
access to porn sites. The story includes the typical liberal
"wild-eyed assholery" (wow, thanks National Lampoon,
I'm finally able to use that phrase in a sentence) from a li-
brarian about how filtering software violates free speech or
clubs baby seals ("it blocks legitimate access to breast can-
cer sites"-- yes, I believe the software blocks ).

Use software; don't use software. Let old dudes masturbate

in front of the kids. I don't care how you run your library.
The only thing I take offense with is the use of the word
"onus" in the headline. I don't think anyone should ever
put the words porn and onus in the same sentence. Some
words should remain at a distance. The editor should know
this. You don't write, Champion eater swallows most
weiners or Fire marshal examines hoses. And you don't
put onus next to porn. It sounds too much like anus or pe-
nis, and that just gives me the giggles.

Labels: porn, weiners

When I wrote the following post, I think that I thought that

someone might actually read it and get something from it. I
felt like I truly had something useful to contribute to the Li-
brary 2.0 discussion, and that I was entering the library blog-


ging world. I think ten people read it. Okay, four of those
times were me.

Friday, May 4, 2007

I can fly!

In a nutshell, the Library 2.0 movement is the biggest load

of crap to hit the profession in 10 years.

Let me take that back.

Library 2.0 is going to save your job.

Truly, I believe both of those statements.

I believe that the Library 2.0 movement can save the pro-
fession. The image of the librarian is still a bland one. You
know the picture. And for the most part, we live up to the
image. For every "bad ass" librarian blog you read on the
Internet, there are still 50 "Marians" out there weeding
their collections and clipping local interest stories from the
paper, and generally behaving like librarians. Not that
there's anything wrong with that.

But the profession is at a point of crisis. Bean counters

want to eliminate my job. And yours. And since I'm not an-
ywhere near retirement age, I want to keep my job. But
what crisis is causing this? You know how people always
talk about things like paradigm shifts and killer apps, well,
we're getting to the point where computers are becoming

better searchers than we are. Or at least the perception that
computers are better is becoming so prevalent that it is vir-
tually a fact. I don't think the battle is over, but we're defi-
nitely losing it. I was just reading an article on various
searching products: software that can index and search for
documents on the Web, on your computer, on an intranet
server, or on a post-it stuck to the seat of your pants. The
truth is that more companies are devising better ways for
people to find stuff. Combine that with the trend to digitize
everything and soon that shift will happen and all the
knowledge we (librarians) have on finding information will
be moot.

So what do we do if we're no longer the best searchers in

town? How are we going to transform ourselves in order to
remain relevant? Maybe we need to become "helpers."

Have you ever heard the phrase, "how may I help you?"
You'd better learn it now because when your job changes
from information management or information retrieval to
helper, you'll be saying it fifty times a day. Giving good cus-
tomer service is how we’re going to keep our jobs.

"I help people every day," you might say. But the helping is
going to change. You help people find books and articles,
but soon you'll need to help them fill out unemployment
forms online or make immigration appointments (in Flori-
da, public libraries are taking on these duties 3). Even help
them by bidding on junk on eBay. "But I do that already,"


you might answer. No, I mean, really help. Assist. Hand-
hold. We need to become computer and technology ex-
perts. And we need to become friends. Every government
agency sends people to the library to download forms: we
need to do that. We also need to help people to understand
those forms. We need to teach.

And this is why I like Library 2.0. We need to learn about

this stuff.

The hype that everyone is using 2.0 sites is bogus or at

least questionable. A recent story on MSNBC 4 cited data by
Hitwise as showing that less than two-tenths of a percent
of Internet users contribute new content to sites like You-
Tube and Flickr. So maybe your patrons are not contribut-
ing content to the web, they still need to use it to find
grandma's 90th birthday video or pictures of drunken Hol-
lywood starlets behaving badly.

And because of the hype, most libraries are adopting the

Library 2.0 model (see Google links 5: go ahead read a few
links; I'll wait) and allowing librarians to play with the
technology. And this is a good thing. We need to know
what these technologies are because our patrons want to

And this isn't going to end with Myspace, Facebook, Blog-

ger, Second Life,, digg, etc. We also need to


think about the rule that when your parents start doing
something (or if you see it on TV), it's already dead. Im-
agine how dead something must be when librarians start
doing it. Another technology is just around the corner.

We need to follow the money and right now, the money is

in 2.0. As long as companies advertise on these 2.0 sites,
they’ll be around. Unless the bubble bursts like the
one did after a few years (then we can go back to our books
:) ).

But for now, librarians need to embrace this technology

because frankly, we're ugly, and unfortunately we can't just
take off our glasses and let down our hair and become
beautiful like librarians in the movies (believe me, I've
tried). So let us embrace those sexy avatars who are thin-
ner, beautiful, and lead much more attractive lives than we
do (my avatar is a spy in Europe!). Open a Second Life ac-
count and build your virtual body and fly around (did you
know you could fly or teleport in Second Life?). Go to Meez
or Yahoo! and create a cute avatar to represent yourself on
the Web.

I understand the argument that virtual-selves and avatars

are just adding an unnecessary layer to providing service.
But it only takes 10-20 minutes. And your library will
probably want you to do it on work time!

Imagine the transactions you can have with your patrons

after you’ve created your Second Life character:

Patron: (tenth question to real librarian) ...and can you
help me find a biography of Martin Van Buren?

Librarian: (to patron) Why don’t you come visit our virtual
reference desk at our Second Life library and I’ll show you
how to use our catalog?

Patron: No. I don’t think so.

Librarian: But you're missing all the cool animation of the

virtual me folding my arms, tapping my foot and rolling my
eyes in exasperation at your incompetence.

Patron: That's okay. Seeing it in person was enough.

Whatever we need to do to help patrons we should do. And

that’s an idea that isn’t new. Be good at your job and help
people. How hard is that?

Yes, I’ll be the first one to agree that all these Web sites are
crap. But some crap is necessary. And this is that kind of
crap. Besides, a lot of it is fun and there are a lot of libra-
rians who want to help you learn how to do it.

Ultimately, this is an opportunity for us to collectively get

excited about something. And maybe that's what we need,
to get excited. And maybe our patrons will become excited,
too. And they'll love us. More.

Labels: librarians, library 2.0

Sunday, May 13, 2007
Does Porn = Freedom or does Freedom = Porn?

This isn't math: a = b doesn't mean that b has to equal a.

Here's a story about a library6 in California that doesn't
filter Internet access and doesn't want to even though one
patron was arrested for distributing child porn using their
network. Fine if they don't want to filter the Internet, but I
don't understand the logic behind the decision. (Or maybe
I do understand it; read on.)

Libraries share an uneasy coexistence with the Internet.

The story says, "Despite the conviction of one man for us-
ing a public computer at Cabrillo College to share child
pornography, librarians remain committed to unlimited
access to the Internet." Thus, most librarians fight any pol-
icy that would filter access to the Internet.

Now here's the problem as I see it:

Four public libraries report to WorldCat (which is a huge

database of library holdings: your edifying editor; "Excel-
sior!") that they carry Penthouse magazine including Min-
neapolis, Los Angeles, and New York (with SUPERVISED
USE). And Huster is only available in New York with that
same supervised use. White Power, "The newspaper of
white revolution" is in three public libraries. NY, again, su-
pervised; and in Milwaukee. The Stormtrooper magazine;


14 libraries, but no public libraries. NAMBLA Journal: NY,

Anne Turner, director of the city-county library system

(we're back to the original story in California: your geo-
graphic gourmand), summed it up best: "Free access of
information is more valuable than the chance that some-
body would see porn."

But I don't see that any library in Santa Cruz, California

carries any of the above periodicals.
If I offered to donate these magazines to some public libra-
ries, totally free, I wonder how many would accept them
and display them on their shelves. Most libraries have poli-
cies against accepting "offensive" materials. But put the
same material on the Internet and suddenly the librarians
champion free speech.

And now excuse me when I do a 180º turn...

The truth is what Anne Turner says; librarians support
access to information. A librarian could find a good reason
to collect just about any book or periodical that's been
printed. That's the definition of the job: to collect, categor-
ize and archive information in every conceivable medium. I
wouldn't have the job if I didn't agree with the core beliefs.

And I'm sure that originally, many libraries collected what-

ever items they could get. And that philosophy spread to
libraries that were open to the general public. (Really? I
can summarize the entire history of libraries in two sen-
But eventually the public became uncomfortable with cer-
tain topics: sex, hate, extreme politics and other topics
were eliminated from most collections. The people spoke.

Now libraries have collection policies and use reviews in

magazines like Booklist and School Library Journal to se-
lect materials for their patrons. If it doesn't have a good
review (or Oprah's endorsement), the library won't blow
your tax money it.
In essence, this acquisition process is a filter.
And most librarians accept this limitation. You don't hear
many stories about the librarian who fights to get White
Power carried in his library.

Now here is the part where I do another about face and

keep spinning until I fall down.

Librarians accept self-censorship when it comes to books,

magazines and electronic databases, but oppose any cen-
sorship of the Internet. And I think I can explain why.

Librarians oppose all censorship, but the people pay the

taxes that pay for libraries. Until the people tell libraries
that they don't want hate and porn in their libraries, libra-
rians will continue to fight the filtering of the Internet.
(Again, that's the mission of a librarian, access to informa-
tion: your, hell. How did Stan Lee do this
for all those years?)

It's a really complicated position to try to analyze a battle

while it's being fought. The Internet continues to evolve
and libraries continue to reassess their positions on wheth-
er or not to filter.

I don't blame the profession for these problems; librarians

aren't meant to be cops.

Maybe this is what Americans really want. Porn.

Libraries are only an extension of the cultural and educa-

tional services that the government provides for its citi-
zens. If people don't want porn they should say something.
(No, not to me. Can't you see I'm reading?)

You think I'm saying I have the answers; I don't have the
answers. But I seem to be one of the few people asking the
questions that need to be asked.

Excelsior! 7

UPDATE: May 14, 2007. It seems that libraries in Illinois

staged an Internet shut-down to protest mandatory filter-
ing that a proposed Bill would require. Well, I guess dis-
connecting from the Internet is one way to solve the porn

Labels: internet, libraries, porn

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Burn, Baby, Burn

7 famous Stan Lee exclamation meaning, “Fucking A!.”

Here's a stupid story8 by Jim Barksdale and Francine Ber-
man who are two people who can't seem to see the trees for
the trees; or never got the math right; or whatever strained
metaphor you want to apply that concludes that they are

[Note: Jim9 and Francine 10 seem to be bright people, and I

only mock them for funny; don't take personal offense,

They complain that the digital equivalent of the informa-

tional contents of the Library of Alexandria gets lost every
day/month/year. (Yet, they seem to be unsure of how to
feel about the loss, since some stuff is better lost).

They seem to want important digital information saved,

but they can't seem to decide what the important stuff is or
how to save it or even if they can trust anyone to press the
Save button. But they agree that it's important.
If something is really important, you do it. You don't wish
for someone to form a committee.

For a while, I saved some of this stuff. I have an old Atari

St computer and boxes of floppies for it. I have a bag of
DOS OS disks. I have a Windows 95 computer in the ga-
rage with Win95 & 98 OS floppies and CDs stored away.
But I really don't care about preserving this stuff. It's more


trouble than it's worth. Yes, I wish I had an old 5 1/4 drive
to read all the stuff I wrote back in 1992 on those crappy
IBMs at FSU, but if it was really important to me, I would
have printed those files out on paper. Did you read that? I
said paper!

Dummies Jim and Francine continue by mentioning that

the Library of Congress has millions of printed works
which have survived for centuries.

Didn't they read what they wrote??? "Printed works." Why

are we wasting all this money and time on preserving data
in a medium that is designed to degrade and fragment and
disappear? Microfilm lasts for what? hundreds of years?
And paper can last for hundreds. So why don't we continue
to use those?

Even with this blog; if I think I write something really cool,

I will print it out. Which I haven't done, yet. But if I ever
write something worth saving, I will...But dear reader, feel
free to print it all to your heart's content.

Yes, paper takes space and needs to be stored properly, but

so do all the computers that need to be saved to access all
this old data in all the variety of formats that each new
idiot decides is the optimal preservation medium.
And because of all this indecision, I have no faith that we
will ever save anything.

When a future Ken Burns does his PBS special on life in the
early 21st Century, he won't have any source material other
than some text message retrieved from a twelve-year old's
battered cell phone:
()/\/\‡6 ¿00 Þ\/\//\/I) /\/()()3 I()I

And we will be glad we have that (the message is: "omfg u

pwnd n00b lol," for the less l33t of us, or "you nerd"for my

During the Civil War, their twelve-year old boys wrote with
pen and ink:

It is with an infinite sadness that the news of your

recent illness has reached my ears. Yet President
Lincoln's latest speech has strengthened our resolve
to weather this latest unpleasantness of battle with
confidence and stout brotherhood. The cherry blos-
soms are in bloom and I have been inspired to knit
a colorful eye patch for my recent wound.

We have these letters (even fake ones that I just made up)
because people wrote stuff down on paper. If something is
meant to be preserved, then preserve it. On something sta-
ble, tangible, readable.

Publishers print books; librarians buy books; libraries

store books. If people use the books, the librarians won't
throw them away.

This is how we decide what data are important. As obsolete

as you want to try to convince me it is, paper, and the

books made from it, is still more useful than a yottabyte 11 of
formless digital crap. And until these bright minds can
agree on how to preserve this crap, libraries will continue
to do what they always do, collect and preserve.

Maybe you should ask a librarian.

L a b e l s : al e xa nd r i a , d i g i t a l a r c h iv e s , l i b ra r ie s ,

So, how do you like me so far? Yeah, not so much.

It’s disappointing to learn that what you think is funny is only

funny to you and no one else. Or that you might be able to
make people laugh in person, but it doesn’t translate to pa-
per. I think that’s the worst. Sometimes I write stuff that I
think is really funny, but nobody leaves a single lol, and I
wonder wtf?

Mostly, I just tell myself that it’s not me, it’s you. Because I
know I’m hilarious.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Librarians have no sense of humor

11 think of a really really really big number; this would be bigger.

Here is what happens when I try to say something funny at
the library:

"Oh, man, I was attacked by girl scouts in the parking lot

today. They were like little ninjas swarming all around me
waving their cardboard boxes like tiny sai and demanding,
'Buy my cookies. Buy my cookies.' I couldn't get away.
'Okay, I said. I'll buy your five dollar a box, chocolate-
covered, hydrogenated myocardial infarctions...'"

[Coworker blinks. Cricket noises are heard.]

Or maybe not that, but pretend I said something truly fun-

ny. Here is what the librarian thinks:
These words appear to be expressed as a joke; I must
access the pleasure center of mybrain... the Cheesecake
Factory... my cat... my other cat... You've Got Mail... my
other other cat... oh, okay, humor!

This is how you tell a joke to a librarian:" Excuse me; I am

about to tell a joke. Ready? My cat did the funniest thing

Thank you. Thank you very much. I'll be back at 7:30. Try
the veal cutlet.

L a b e l s : c a t s , hu mo r , l i br a r ia ns


Thursday, August 2, 2007

You gotta listen to your heart

So I was taking a shower this morning (really? you've

got to stop doing that; people come close if you smell
nice), and I started wondering about the state of the world.
And I realized that Star Wars is right.

Star Trek pretended to solve all of our problems. And they

were always trying to get other worlds to join the Federa-
tion. The Federation was sooo superior to other cultures.
Even after TOS, some races still wouldn't join up and sup-
port the cause:

“Go to hell, Picard12," you can hear the spacethingy say,

“now when I get sick, I get to stay home, relax, and watch
Zontarian Idol, and you want to take that away from me!
Get off my planet. Do you think your photon torpedoes can
stop me before I plant my three-toed web foot up your
butt? You bald jerk.”

So Star Wars got it right. The bad news is that we're living
on the Death Star. And there's nothing we can do about

Like they said in Clerks 13:

12 the bald, but sexy Captain of the Enterprise on Star Trek

...deleted matter... but it has to do with whether the work-
ers on the Death Star were innocent or deserving of being
blown up at the end of Star Wars: a New Hope.

With all the aggression in the world, this has to be the an-
swer. We all just sell shoes and repair video games and
make pancakes and do research and make coffee and breed
beagles and restock breakfast cereals someplace on the
Death Star.

We're just going through the motions, waiting for Darth

Vader to return:
"Hello, Mr. Vader. Welcome to Starrbuxx. Your usual?"

I just hope he doesn't send his cousin, Darth Chuck14 .

l a b e ls : s t a r t re k , s t a r wa r s

Ever since Gutenberg arranged those first lines of movable

type, librarians have been obsessed with new technology.
But since paper and ink have been the leading technology in
the mass-distribution of ideas, librarians haven’t had much to
get excited about for the last five hundred years.

And now the Internet has thrown open the floodgates of da-
ta storage and transfer, and librarians have been wetting
themselves with joy. From wikis to blogging to microblog-
ging, librarians will invent a need for every new thing.


“Ooh, this site lets me upload one letter at a time and then
randomizes them into unrecognizable patterns.”

And why would I want to do that?

“Because… Look how easy it is!”

Friday, July 27, 2007

Is there anybody in there?

The last time I was in Second Life15, I went to the Live

Free or Die Hard property because the movie had just
opened that week and I was confident that "people" would
be there. But nobody was there.
Well, not nobody, a female avatar sat quietly as if she had
been stood by her date. My avatar wanted to console her
but couldn't (no matter how many times I pressed /me), as
those advancements in AI were years away. Some day,
young avatar, we will meet again. Some day.
I've been telling people for the last six months that nothing
happens there, but thankfully Wired magazine16 has re-
ported the lack of human participation at Second Life, so
now it's official.

15 Second Life is a place on the Web where you run some program and
become a character inside of a virtual world. What can I say about
Second Life that won’t get me sued? Nothing, I guess. Oh, it’s mostly

But don't get me wrong, I'm going back. When things get
crazy at work, it's the one place I can go to get some peace
and quiet.

l a b e ls : a v a t a r lo v e , s e co nd l i f e

Thursday, July 26, 2007

my craptastic life

When you get to be as old as I am, old enough to remember

having a crush on Bonnie Franklin (really? no way, me
too), you wonder if it's time to start having regrets.

Do you regret running home to do your homework when

Jennifer Morton17 called you over to hang out at the swing
set where she was smoking with all her cool friends? Real-
ly? You shouldn't. Because I was there and we were totally
gonna trash you. Jenny had a permanent marker and we
were going to hold you down and write crap all over you.
Man, you're lucky you went home. Nerd.

So I regret not blogging all those years ago when everyone

else started. I wish I'd listed all my hopes and dreams and
published them for the world to see. To spill my heart out
and have you love me. To look at my life and at the key-
board and again at my life and at my shoes and at my lunch
and finally to type, "I just love the sandwiches from Ju-
nio's; they always melt the cheese just right."

17 a made-up person.
Then to click "publish" and settle back, satisfied, knowing
that I'd accurately expressed my thoughts at that exact
moment in my life.

But I never did that. Thank God. I'm blogging now. When
I've been working for a while and I have crap I don't want
to forget.

So if you're going to blog. Screw the posts about the sand-

wich. Enjoy the sandwich, sure. I mean, damn it was a
good sandwich, but blog about something else. And don't
worry, I'm not talking to you; I'm talking to me.
You know, because I'm old and I forget stuff. And tomor-
row I might start blogging about the waffles at Denny's. Or
worse, finish that love letter to Bonnie Franklin:

Dear Ms. Romano, (he! he!)

Bonnie, you are so smart and beautiful…

l a b e ls : b l o g g i ng , b o nni e f r a nkl i n , c r a p t a s t i c

Zombie Chapter

If there’s one thing I take seriously, it’s zombies. When Dawn of

the Dead first played in theaters, I refused to see it. Well, I
didn’t refuse so much as I tried to watch it, but the repeated
leaving-the-theater to change my underpants kept me from see-
ing it. I fear the unknown, and there’s no greater unknown than
how I would react to hordes of undead rising up to feast on the
living. And by react, I mean not pooping my pants.

I look at my library differently than other people look at it.

When most people think of the quickest way out of a burning
building, I look for the quickest way up a zombie filled building.
I look at the shelves for stability and whether I can get up into
the ceiling or grab on to water pipes or anything else I can use
to stay several feet about the ripping and tearing teeth of those
reanimated and hungry corpses.

The trunk of my car is filled with weapons: a crowbar, a hatchet,

a rip hammer. Whenever someone sees them, I don’t say,
“Those are for the zombie apocalypse” because that would
freak them out. I say, “That’s for when those crazy library pa-
trons try to kill us.” And that makes them smile because having
hordes of violent patrons rise up to kill us is so much more be-

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Is your library zombie-proof?

I don't know about you (ok, I do know about you; I know

you enjoy the smell of coconut, love having your hair
washed, and will always laugh at Young Frankenstein:
yeah, I know you), but I'm not getting eaten.

You might dream of a day when the zombie menace is over,

when you can get back to walking your dog at night or
feasting on smoldering orange sunsets from the beach, but
I know that's not happening.

I don't daydream. If I dream, it's of hot baths and ice cold

beer. If I go outside, it's to siphon a few mouthfuls of gas
from the bookmobile to heat some vittles, or to mend the
study carrel barricade, or to serve an ex library patron who
wandered back here looking to get on the Internet or check
out the latest Will Farrell DVD: his tiny spark of memory
telling him that Will was funny once and should be funny
again or that he needs to delete all the spam before it takes
over his Inbox. Whatever his reason, I have the business
end of a shovel with his library card number on it.

And then I have something from 641.59763 that'll give just

the right kick to that other other white meat. Don't you
judge me.

Labels: bliteotw, librarians, zombies

Friday, April 4, 2008
Zombies and mummies and Elvis, (oh, my)

Mini review of Meow, Baby! by Jason. ISBN 1560976950.

Zombies eating people under an umbrella while it rains.

Vampires, mummies and skeletons chasing people then
stopping for photo ops before continuing the chase. A
"Terminator" slapping himself after forgetting to use his
catch phrase. Most of these wordless comic strips by Jason
are pretty funny.

Some of it gets a little sexual (a few panels are a lot sexual),

but otherwise most of these cartoons are great examples
for teens to learn the art of telling a story without words. If
your library teaches kids how to do webcomics, some of
Jason's strips can be really helpful (and most are pretty

I really liked one with the vampire out at a bar, but he

couldn't hook up so he gets a beer and some snacks and
goes home to watch TV; and just as he's nodding off, Pro-
fessor Van Helsing jumps out and plunges a stake through
the vampire's heart. I know I hate it when someone inter-
rupts my nap to kill me.

I remember after I saw The Last Man on Earth with Vin-

cent Price (and not that completely stupid "blockbuster"
starring Will Smith) and wondered what it was like for the
vampires he hunted. Like if they published a newspaper
with headlines like,

"We were completely helpless," reports the lone
survivor of the brutal mid-day attack. "Once the sun
is in the sky and he knocks down the door and lets
in all that sunlight, there's no way to defend your-
self. And the garlic! He it throws through the win-
dow like a bomb, and you don't have any choice but
to run, screaming, into that deadly blinding light.
Look at the burns on my face! I barely escaped with
my life. He's a menace and must be stopped."
Council members have sent good will ambassadors
to the human's lair, but their pleas have fallen on
deaf ears, often meeting a brutal and irrational re-
ply from him.
Many demand a stronger response from our lead-
ers. "We are a civilized race," says the Council
Leader, "why can't we all just get along?"

I'd love to see a movie told from the other side.

One library related comic has a Martian visit the library

then get distracted by all there is to read. But when he goes
to check out his books, he sees the female librarian and
remembers why he came to Earth in the first place, and
steals her from her seat behind the counter: Mars Needs

Labels: comics, vampires, zombies

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
"The Zed Word"

I like horror movies and horror comics and horror fiction.

Don't get me wrong, they scare the crap out of me, and I
don't like being scared. But I like knowing that the scary
stuff is out there to terrify me poopless.

When I was around eight or nine years old, I would wake

up every night and walk through the house with a flashlight
checking for Frankenstein's monster because I thought
that just dreaming about him would make him come find
me. And years later, I remember how creeped out I got
when I read Theodore Sturgeon's "It,"18 with that final line
that read, [Spoiler content removed. Go read it; it’s creepy
as hell].

So I just saw Diary of the Dead, and I liked it. I just don't
get how people allow themselves to get bit so easily in
zombie movies. And how it takes so long for everyone to
figure out that they should shoot for the head. I prefer the
slow zombie theory used in the Dead series; this allows one
to fantasize about surviving the zombie holocaust. Fast
zombies are just a horror wet-dream, creating a new prob-
lem just to piss-off the purists.

But then the virus or whatever created the zombies could

still exist so that all future dead would still rise up. So the
interesting part of either fantasy would be the group of

18Published in Unknown, August 1940. I read it in an Alfred Hitchcock

horror anthology.
people who survived and how they need to deal with their
future dead.

That's what's fun about horror stories; not the creature, but
how the humans deal with the threat. It's fun to think of
crazy new monsters that kill everyone, hell, I do it every
day. But zombies are cool because they are both the known
and the unknown; they're people that we recognize, friends
and family, but they're not the same. So we are torn by that
recognition and the new threat. And that creates the emo-
tional turmoil to drive the plot.

And we try to remember to aim for the head.

Labels: movies, zombies

Thursday, June 19, 2008

forgot to zombie blog

There's a thing called "Blog like it's the end of the world"
(search: BLITEOTW) where you're supposed to pretend
there's a zombie uprising, but yet pretend that it's not so
bad that you don't have time to get on the Internet, log in,
and blog about it instead of running around and scream-
ing, "I told you so! You said it couldn't happen, but I told
you so. Who's crazy now?"

But I forget to blog that day. I think I forgot last year, too.
But I'm not worried. I'm ready for the real zombie apoca-
lypse when it comes.

The trunk of my car contains:

1. crowbar- for prying, destroying stairways, bludge-

2. machete- for slicing
3. matches- for burning
4. Holy water- in case it's really a vampire or Paris
Hilton apocalypse.

So don't worry about the.little.ol.effing.librarian. And

whether it's either a zombie or vampire apocalypse, it's a
good idea to wear a turtleneck. And that's the only time.
Unless your aunt knits. And you're six-years-old.

Remember: turtleneck sweaters deflect zombie and vam-

pire attacks, but look dorky in every other situation. Unless
you travel back in time to 1969 to a party at the Playboy
Mansion, then you're swingin', baby!

Labels: bliteotw, zombies

CAUTION: Slow Undead Children Ahead.

I would like to see a movie where zombies are incorporated into

the plot as a natural part of society. That the dead would rise is
just a fact of life. There would be pro-undead organizations who
want to keep the government from building a fence between
the United States and Mexico which would block to flow of un-
dead from Central America. There would be civil suits against

families of undead who ate other people, and there would be
insurance companies specializing in policies to protect one’s
home and assets against those incidents. The rich could afford
zombie-proofing their homes, but basically, the poor people
would still have to deal with zombies.

There would be zombie laws, like:

you could keep a zombie in your yard like a guard dog,

but it had to be secured on your property;
you couldn't keep a celebrity zombie because people
might exploit famous people by selling their zombified
corpses, so you couldn't own an Elvis or Abraham Lin-
coln zombie, etc.

The Zombie Liberation Army was active in freeing zombies from

imprisonment on people's lawns, so you had to deal with the
reality that you might wake up one morning to find that your
zombie had been liberated during the night and was now out on
the front lawn devouring some child who was on his way to

Roads might be closed if zombies were spotted in traffic.

Zombie disposal is a business now, but you can't really make

much money doing it since families rarely claim their zombified
members to pay those bills and the local governments capped
all clean-up costs due to fraud and over-billing.

Stuff like that. And then within that framework, tell a boy-
meets-girl story or whatever you want to say. But just include
zombies. I think it would be a huge hit. 19

Sorry. There really is no need for a footnote here.
Chapter Something: but it doesn’t matter because the breaks
are arbitrary. Maybe I’ll start doing them by month. So let’s call
this one July.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I ain't no (_E=mc2_) 20

I have a love/hate relationship with language. On the one

hand, it is a cumbersome, unwieldy tool which often makes
me feel clumsy, and on the other, it's a precise instrument
capable of expressing the nimblest thoughts.

People are not like ants that spit up a molecule of a car-

bon+something that tells other ants that there's a hunk of a
cherry Pop Tart on the kitchen counter. And we're not like
dogs that smell each other's butts to learn that one lives in
a ranch-style house with a mocha-colored leather sofa and
a pool.

We're people. And we like to talk. And although using

smell to communicate is pretty damn cool (unless you're
communicating your love for Mexican food), no other crea-
tures have constructed language as complex (and if they
have, they must be hiding the thesauri up their tiny poop-

People talk and people write, and people bat their eyelids,
fold their arms, and wave their hands either comically or
seriously depending on the message they want to express.

20 “I am not a smart-ass .”

And this leads me to why this might matter to a librarian:
we can't help people if we can't understand what they want.

Our capacity to convey messages has been, dare I say, cor-

rupted by language. We don't, as a species, all shake our
asses to communicate the same message. We lost that
ability long ago. Watching me shake my ass now might in-
spire you to want to make love. To view others shaking
theirs, maybe not so much, but damn, it would make the
reference interview hilarious.

And so, it is with some apprehension that one approaches

the role of researcher, of information provider, of librarian.

I'm sure most of us find it difficult to make out what the

patron wants. Some are clear about their needs, but not all.
And if we don't understand each other, how can we help?
This problem has been applied recently to the medical
field. Patients who can't read or communicate with their
health care providers are more likely to die from inade-
quate care.

Holy crap! It's a rare instance of miscommunication in the

library that's caused a patron's death. But again, when it
happens, it's hilarious.

It's hard enough to get a patron to tell me what she wants

clearly and without the preamble: "it's been years since I've
been in the library..." And it's nearly impossible to help the
patron with the crappy phone.

I don't expect I'll enjoy when my whatchacallit beeps and I

see the message: pls hlp m fnd bk wr n pec by leo tlsty. Al-
though in that case, it's only the presentation that annoys;
the message is perfectly clear.

It would be great if we could all understand each other. Not

just at the reference desk, but everywhere.

Language, as it is, is man's creation. And at its purest form

of blasphemy, it approaches the divine.

But I don't compare a librarian's work to God's. I don't

think God could do our job: Sundays off, what a wimp .21

l a b e ls : l a ng u a g e , l ib r ar i a ns , s h a ke m y a s s

Friday, July 20, 2007

i heard about this new internet thingy

ok, here's the thing.

the internet is big. really big. [and to quote Douglas

Adams] "you just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-
bogglingly big it is."22

21 The above rant was inspired by this site: , where the motto seems to
be, "To degrade language is finally to degrade civilization."
22 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

but for as big as the internet is, it's also very small, small
enough to peek at you while you sit at your computer in
your underthings (or underthingies, if you're a fan of bbc

the reason for name-dropping the internet is that she's

both a beneficent and a vengeful mistress. i’ve been read-
ing a lot on anonymous blogging and also on social net-
working and my dilemma is this: how can i make friends if
i refuse to tell you who i am?23

but since i've decided to (try to) be anonymous (as much as

possible), i think i should pass along what i know about

1. create a new email account and call yourself what-

ever you want: i remember that one of my earliest
accounts was under the name, "painful rectalitch"
(that's mr. painful rectalitch, to you.) and i got
spam addressed to "dear painful" and "hello, recta-
litch." oh, how i would laugh.
2. be consistent with your new identity; do not post
pictures to your "real" flickr account and link them
into your "fake" blog (remember people can right-
click and check the properties of a photo to see
from where it originates).
3. if you wish to make friends, you might need to
come clean about some of your real self.

23lower case inspired by e. e. cummings who said, "to be nobody-but-

yourself-- blah blah blah..." Idon’t want to get in trouble for quoting
too much.
4. and this is what i learned today: i installed a statis-
tical counter to see how many people visit my page.
because, and this is really odd and difficult to ex-
plain, even though i post anonymously, i want to be
liked .24 but when i installed my counter (from, it immediately started to track my
own access to my page. i didn't even think about
that; that my anonymous blogging could be jeopar-
dized by ego's need to quantify your attention. so if
you install a counter, don't forget to look for any
settings that will keep others from viewing your sta-
tistics and that will block statistics for your own
access to your page (especially if you blog from
work: you don't need your ip address logged a
thousand times).
5. and since these counters log where visitors link
from and where they click out to, as an internet us-
er, you might want to close your browser window
after you update your blog. i'm not sure about this,
but it makes sense to close out the browser and
open a fresh window to try to minimize any cookie
tracking residue. and then wash your hands.

24This should link to a video of Sally Field saying, “you like me, you
really like me.”
if you have any other tips on remaining anonymous or if
you'd like to present me with a golden statuette for my per-
formance in places in the heart,25 add a comment.

l a b e ls : a no ny mi t y , b l o g g i ng

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Man, I am beat...

I drove to Miami today to do a presentation on some Li-

brary 2.0 stuff, and during the second talk, I just zoned out
and I have no memory of what I said, but I think at some
point I took off my clothes and lay across another libra-
rian's lap and shouted,

"Spank me! Spank me! I'm so fine, you're gonna thank


Or maybe not. Like I said, I completely zoned: what did I

think, it was my birthday?26

l a b e ls : b i r t h d a y, l i b r ar i a ns

25 the last paragraph only makes some sense if you clicked the link and
saw the youtube clip; since anonymity means i could be anyone, today
i'm sally field .
26 Although I was joking about what happened, I received several hap-

py birthday wishes in the comments of this post. My birthday isn’t in

July, but thanks, anyway.
Friday, June 1, 2007

Do we love our Dewey system? Yes, we do, we do,

we do.

Omyfreakinggod! What are these people thinking? This

library in Arizona will not be using the Dewey system to
shelve their books!27

The demise of the century-old Dewey Decimal system is

overdue, county librarians say: It's just too confusing for
people to hunt down books using those long strings of
numbers and letters.

Too confusing???? Have you ever been to one of those

giant-damn-bookstores? I can't ever find anything in there,
so I order everything online. Yes, I browse, but I CAN
difference. The motivation behind browsing is to encour-
age impulse buying. I don't have time for impulses. I got
shit to do and I need the answer now.

Maybe this will help with their circulation for people who
want to wander around and look at stuff, but it will never
help with anyone ever finding anything ever again.

Let's say Google is successful in convincing every publisher

to digitize everything published; then I do my Google
search and discover that the recipe for mole rat with rasp-


berry glace is in a book somewhere in the recipe area. I can
see a picture of the cover of the book on Google, but that
still won't help me to find the recipe in all the 1,200 books
in the section.

So my mole rat will have to wait in the freezer until I can

find the recipe someplace else.

I guess this is what happens when you make up your mind

to destroy your profession; let's make ourselves look as
stupid as possible while we poke around in the stacks not
finding answers. Thanks for nothing Arizona.28

l a b e ls : b o o ks , i d i o ts , l i b ra r i es

Monday, June 18, 2007

I wish I knew what the hell I was doing.

Every week I'm asked about computers and technology and

podcasts and screencasts and blogs and digital photogra-
phy and Internet security and keyboard shortcuts and
ALT-key special characters and dvd rippers and mp3 burn-
ing and DRM stripping and googling and wikis and pedias
and viruses and adbots and rss and tag clouds and cluster-
ing and third-party cookies and pixel integration (ok, I
made that up) and batteries and anatomically-correct ava-

28Am I being too hard on them? No. I didn’t think libraries were in the
business of making folks dumber.
tars (made-up again) and web page design (people still care
about web page design?) and you-know-better-than-to-
ask-me-about-myspace and plain old databases; and I just
have to say, "hey, can't you see I'm busy."

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i a ns

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What's right or wrong with Wikipedia? 29

It's nice of Wikipedia to have an entry on Wikipedia.

As I read the entry, I came across this criticism:

"The site has also been criticized for...favoring consensus

over credentials in its editorial process..."

I don't know what Wikipedia's current editorial process is,

but I think it's pretty open, allowing any registered user to
post and/or edit any entry. And then it would be up to any
one of the rest of us to correct that entry or make a claim
that's it's inaccurate or complete bullshit.

This is the core of the democratic process. Present an idea

and allow the masses to judge its value. And this is what
seems to be good about Wikipedia. The people decide what

29Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia. Really? You don’t know that?

Third-graders know that. Wait. You’re just messing with me. Ha! You
got me.
is right or wrong.

And this is the state of much of the Internet. The people

decide. If I blog something and you blog something and
others blog similar somethings, the Internet will become
filled with our ideas. And if we say similar things, then sim-
ilar ideas will dominate.

Now I trust my own level of susceptibility to stating crap.

But how can I be sure that you don't say complete crap?
And if you or I have more free time to post our crap, then
won't the Internet just be filled with your or my crap? Even
if your intentions are good, are you or I qualified to load
the Internet with crap?

We like to think of a hierarchical chain of knowledge, from

the student to the teacher to the expert. But what if the
opinions of students dominate: are masses of students
qualified to make decisions in this democracy when ob-
vious experts are ignored?

This seems to be the root problem with the Internet and

Wikipedia. Is consensus of opinion good enough to help us
make decisions?

How do you control information? Do you limit what is

known, or, do you dilute the known with crap until the
general understanding of everything is wrong? ...In other
words, is it possible to use Wikipedia or Google or any oth-
er popular informational sources to make people stupid?

The complaint of lack of credentials is what interests me

most. If one is an expert and paid to publish ideas (re-
search, facts, conclusions, opinions), then others must pay,
in some form, to access those ideas. If Wikipedia is free,
then the ideas posted there would be inferior to those of
the expert.

But if consensus is the arbiter of knowledge; if Wikipedia

can alter the perception of people to believe that consensus
is the rule, then the argument is that consensus limits
knowledge because people will accept what's "generally
known" as an expert opinion. If we are all experts, is any-
one an expert?

Does this make any sense?

Teachers oppose Wikipedia because they've seen the bell

curve and know that consensus only equals about a grade
of C+.

An educated person knows her own limitations and says, "I

am not qualified to answer that, but here is an expert

Where do you go for answers? If we define that source as

an expert, then Wikipedia and Google are the experts.

There is the dilemma. People want agreement. Reality de-

mands agreement. If ten of us call something a "chair" and
one calls it "my son" then that person might be labeled as
crazy. But what if ten of us say that the Earth is flat and
one says it’s round? By consensus, the Earth will remain
flat until, when? We fear this kind of power that consensus
can wield because of the scale of information access on the
[editor's note: the chair is not my son.]
Does consensus guarantee that the Internet will eventually
be filled with crap?

Rest easy and read with confidence the words written here:
I am The Effing Librarian. And I guarantee that everything
I say, regardless of consensus of opinion, is complete and
utter crap.

l a b e ls : c r a p , s t u p i d i t y , w i ki p e d i a

Saturday, June 30, 2007

John McClane is my hero.

So, did you read the article last week about librarians being
"digital immigrants"?30 I pasted in my opinion:

This is the current power struggle where the gamer

community is trying to wrestle the role of expert
from the professional community. It seems like this
is a symptom of the gaming culture; kids can play
games and manipulate the virtual world, but don’t
know crap about the real world. To them, every-
thing is mouse-clicks and flashing lights and any-
one who doesn’t get that is a n00b or artard. Did
you ever notice that game guides are huge bestsel-

lers? That’s because the game culture is not about
discovery, it’s about being given the answer. They’ll
say it’s about discovery, but how many people by-
pass the hard work of discovery and buy game boo-
ty with real money? Lots.

It’s a real world, virtual world problem. We (libra-

rians) live in the real world whose relevence is di-
minishing every day. We don’t need to help it along.

Remember that fake Kurt Vonnegut speech about

wearing sunscreen? It goes, “Read the directions,
even if you don’t follow them.” Great advice. Too
bad the digital natives blew that tidbit off. And fyi,
video games are damn hard; I haven’t come across
one yet that let me advance to the next level without
finding the right key or opening the right door—
video games are proof that there's often only one
way to solve a problem.

Not total crap. And there was a debate about who is stupid-
er, the under or the over 30 crowd. The kids say the old
folks are dinosaurs who need to cover themselves with dirt
and the old farts say that the kids are idiots who buy every
hunk of plastic that Madison Avenue (or Tokyo) waves at

And I saw some valid points on both sides. For one, I've
had a crazy life filled with drugs, sex and weeding the com-
puter books (yes, in that order). I could use a well-earned
dirt nap.

So along comes Live Free or Die Hard. And along comes
John McClane to raise my weary head, brush off the dirt
and show me that everything will be all right.
I don't know if you've seen this, but it's basically about an
old fart, techno-dinosaur versus some hip hacker dudes.
The hackers shut down all computer everything: commu-
nication, transportation, and power. And the whole coun-
try shits itself.

But what I liked, and what seems to support my opinion

above, is this moment: McClane has just killed some bad
guys and blowed up sumptin real good--

Matt (hacker kid): Did you see that?

McClane (hero): Yeah, I saw it. I did it. 31

I did it. As librarians, we do it every damn day. I don't

need some kid belittling my career because I don't spend
50 hours a week modding my PS3 to play games with my
iPhone. What John McClane did was to remind me that all
this technology can be wiped out in a day. I can't
rely on it to get things done. But I can rely on me.

Yippee Ki Yay!

l a b e ls : d i e h a r d , d i g i t a l i mmi g r a nt s , d i g i t a l n a -

31, but I’m

sure it’s gone by now.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Are Librarians Cool?

If you need to ask the question, then the answer is


Here are two of the latest articles branding the profession

as "cool."

A Hipper Crowd of Shushers 32(you'll need to log in)

For New-Look Librarians, Head to Brooklyn33

But Librarians are not cool. That doesn't mean that there
aren't cool librarians. I went to library school with a few
people I would call cool. But does that make them cool
(that I could label them as cool)? After all, who am I that I
could call someone cool and have it mean what most
people define as cool?

As an fyi:

I got a tattoo because a Richard Hell song told me

to. Wow, I must be cool.
I skipped a Jane's Addiction concert because the
crowd looked too trendy. Too cool for Jane's Addic-
tion, gosh, my coolness is off the charts!



If none of these things makes me cool, then I don't know
what else to tell you.

But I've been places where, when answering what I do,

someone will look around as if they're thinking, "oh, libra-
rians hang out here; let's go someplace else." So some-
times, when asked, I won't say librarian; I'll answer "scien-
tist." People aren't sure what to make of a scientist, but at
least a scientist could be cool. Hell, maybe that's why the
Library has disappeared from the degree and most schools
only offer a "Master's of Science."

But ultimately, being a librarian isn't cool. I don't know

how long it will be before it is, if ever.

So for now, I tell people I'm a scientist. An evil scientist.

l a b e ls : c oo l ne s s , j a ne ' s ad d i c t i on , l i b r ar i a ns ,
r i c h a rd h e l l

Sunday, July 15, 2007

If public libraries didn't already exist...

Holy crap! How can I tackle this one?34 (Freakonomics

asks whether you could start a public library today.)

First of all, we need to make a lot of assumptions; one, that

people know how to read already.

The reason I say this is that prior to the public library,

most books were kept in private libraries (if the argument
is that publishers would fight against public libraries, then
"subscription" libraries would also be missing from the so-
cial landscape). If my memory of the TV show Christy is
any indicator of the literacy of common folk, then prior to
making books available through public libraries, people
dernt read good.
If people couldn't read, then society as we know it doesn't
exist. No TV Guide, no billboards, no Netflix pop-ups and
no pregnancy warnings on my bottle of Jim Beam.

So we'll assume people read penny sheets or serialized sto-

ries in ladies' monthlies or ribald tales of farm hands and
farmers daughters printed on the backs of sacks of grain.

Initially, if I wanted to purchase a book, I might need to

drop a bucketful of money. Just like when you wanted to
buy certain videotapes and they were "rental" copies that
cost $100 and "at home" copies that were $20, publishers
would discourage me from loaning out the wrong kind of
book. I'm convinced that the gentle nudge of federal mar-
shals kicking in my front door at midnight to confiscate all
my library books and to knee me in the groin would help
my decision to purchase the correct $100 rental copies.

Confused yet? I sure as hell am. And I'm the one writing
this thing. Damn you, Freakonomics! (note: I bet you don't
even remember that back in the day, you had to pay a
membership fee to a video club, like $50 or a $100 just to
have the privilege to rent movies for $3 a day. So your
membership buy-in was similar to contributing a book to a
library to allow you to be a borrowing member; if you
wanted to start a public library from scratch, one of the
methods might be to have your "patrons" contribute a book
to the library. This is why pr0n was so popular with the
mom-and-pop video stores; there were no "rental" copies,
and they could buy and rent all the $29.99 copies of Co-ed
Cuties they wanted. So it's possible that any new public li-
brary would need to stock a whole lot of naughty paper-
backs just to get off the ground.)

But ultimately, publishers would create a business model

that would produce a cheap mass marketed product that
would subsidize any profit loss they estimate lending libra-
ries would suck from their bottom line.

And public libraries would exist. Because frankly, public

libraries sell books.

Hell, I'm a freakin' economist.

(another note: this is one of those hypothetical exercises

that you might write about in school, and if so, this isn't
very good. I probably need to work out a few pages on this,
but dude, I already have my degree. So if you need an idea
for a paper, use anything here and run with it. Run my lit-
tle whippet! Run!)

(another 'nother note: that freakonomics guy is totally off

on this wouldn't need the "permission of the big
publishers to open a public library; you could do it from
mostly public domain titles. And small independent pub-
lishers would spring up over night to fill the needs for
"modern" stories. I don't see any downside to creating a
public library, unless you're trying to control what informa-
tion reaches the citizenry. Alright, I'm done thinking about

l a b e ls : f re a ko no mi c s , kne e me i n t h e gr o i n , l i-
b r a r ie s

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Service Oriented Library Systems: "What the


Okay, I'm way out of my element here. Unless we're dis-

cussing foodstuffs with creamy fillings, count me out of the

But Eric Schnell says 35,

Ok, I'm not that smart. I've been known to get out of my
car and then drop my keys on the ground because I tried to
slip them into my pocket, but that day I forgot to put on

systems-pt-2.html: I’m not going to reprint what he said, but you can
read it wherever he said it. If I remember, I’m stripping out other
people’s stuff. Except note that he uses the phrase, “simply ‘plug it
I don't understand a freaking thing this guy says. But noth-
ing pisses me off more than to hear someone say, "simply
plug it in." Librarians have fallen for that trick too many
times. "Here's your new automated system that works right
out of the box: simply plug it in." Someone says that and I
want to whoop his ass.

So I don't understand what he's saying, but here are some

things I think I understand:
I've heard of thin-clients. You have a server and you have a
client; the client requests something from the server and
receives it. In some ways, it would remind you of the old
dumb terminals you used in 1990.

Now, the server stores data, software, account permissions,

etc. And it hosts our front end interface. To visualize, think
of Google.

If you type "4+5=" into Google, you get page a page that
says, "4+5=9." Google understood that you wanted the sum
of two numbers and delivered it; imagine an interface that
understood your library request and delivered it.

Right now, most libraries use some form of a search box

and drop-down menu combo. You enter a search and click
on subject or author or whatever, to tell the interface which
fields of the bib record to search.

But if you had a search tool that understood the type of

search, then you could eliminate the hassle of clicking and
re-clicking on buttons to find something.

This is what my brain is telling me right now is a cool idea:
I type Charles Nelson Reilly into my search box and hit
Enter. And my search algorithm understands that those
three terms match up with a person's name. Now, if my IP
address matches one used by library staff, the server might
think I'm searching for a patron with that name. If I'm at a
public terminal or on the net (and not logged in as staff), I
won't see patron information. If I enter a patron ID, then
the search immediately understands that I'm searching for
patron info and that's what I get, unless I'm not authorized
to see it. (Now the problem with that example is that you
might not want to store patron information on that server;
I guess it doesn't have to be, but the main server might
store the permissions to access the patron records server.)

If I enter Gone with the Wind as my search, the server

could respond with links to books, videos or magazine and
database articles. If I click on the database article, the serv-
er sends the secure login page for that database.

Now, I'm sure that this isn't the reason for Eric's article.
He's a tech dude, and I'm just a happy-go-lucky kid with
my head in the clouds.

I know that databases are flexible and can be designed to

accommodate any recipe for data recovery, but I don't
know if pre-existing patron databases can be deconstructed
and rebuilt into open-source or non-library proprietary
software. I don't know how the records are formatted.

But go back to the Google example and imagine an inter-

face that filters your search intelligently and either delivers
the results automatically (type dvd pufnstuf and take
that funky trip back to when white cowboy boots were cool)
or sends a login script to allow you to access newspaper,
magazine and database content. Once you're logged in,
type ebert and harry potter and get movie reviews.

I'm not talking about a federated seach, either. If it's possi-

ble to take what Eric says and apply it to what I want, then
that's what I'm talking about. Unless he uses the phrase,
"simply plug it in," then he's getting a FedEx box full of

labels: libraries, service oriented library systems

Saturday, August 4, 2007

What are the overdue fines on that?

So NASA is sending a specially made DVD to Mars that has

the message on it: "Attention Astronauts: Take This with
You." It's a DVD produced by The Planetary Society that
includes a message from Carl Sagan, texts about Mars,
artworks and radio broadcasts.

Is there any due date on that? If it's a high-demand item,

we usually limit the check out time to 7 or 14 days. But
NASA is sending only one copy... doesn't this go against the
nature of space exploration? "To seek out new life and new
civilizations." When you send one dvd into space, doesn't
that mean you think only one alien will find it? And that it
won't be cool enough that the alien will tell his friends so
that they'll want one, too?

Have we given up on the idea that there's intelligent life out


And what's up with this picture?36 If there are Martians,

why would you show them this?

Why do you want to give them these ideas? Maybe up till

now they've been afraid to attack us, but now you're show-
ing them that all it takes is a hammer to split our heads
open? What is wrong with The Planetary Society?
Why are they trying to pick a fight with Mars? And
there's another picture of "Buster" Crabbe from Mars At-
tacks the World: Stop giving them ideas!

And please, put a security strip on that dvd with a sticker

that says, "For Reference Use Only. Not to be taken
away from this planet."

labels: mars, martians attack earth

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The secret's out

36Refers to a picture stored on the DVD showing a Martian whacking

an astronaut on the head with a hammer with the presumption that
much hilarity follows.
Librarians have known for years how easy it is to steal li-
brary books. When we spot those rare early printings of
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets or Interview
with the Vampire, we know exactly why the discard com-
mand in the circulation software is there.

And then it's off to my eBay storefront: STOLEN-FROM-

(How they continue to let me do business with a name like
that, I don't know. But if I'm ever caught, it's the perfect
defense: "Hey, it's the name of my business. They took my
registration fee and everything!")

Drop by and pick up Criterion dvds like Le Charme discret

de la bourgeoisie for $5.99 or that Roy Lichtenstein coffee
table book for $7.99; such-a-deal!

As for most library thieves, the punishment if caught would

be light. No judge would consider harsh punishment in the
name of a library. Libraries are an institution for the public
good; steal from one and you might receive six months of
community service. On the other hand, steal from a store
like Best Buy and they might lock you up for five years of
making the beast with two hairy backs and compulsory tea-
bag parties.

The myth of the librarian inquisitor is just that, a myth. Jer-

37Yes, this is a joke. Tell eBay to put their attorneys back in their cag-
es-- did you really think I had a store there?
ry Seinfeld might be pursued by an inhuman library detec-
tive, but a golem formed from the pulp of masticated cata-
log cards, combined with spittle and Diet Coke and brought
to life, to life, by incantations both arcane and unholy is
just a fabrication recited to small children in the black of
night to eat away their souls.

So steal that book! Hell, the library wants you to. Libraries
haven't received this much positive publicity in years:
who'da thunk that libraries have anything that an-
ybody would want to steal?

labels: books, libraries, steal this book

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I am gone.

The first draft of this post told you where I was going, but I
don't need you all following me around slathering me with
your adoration. Unless there are drinks included. Fruity
drinks with large pineapple rings hanging over the rim...
No? How about a beer? I slave over this hot oven and you
won't even buy me a beer?! Alright, forget it. I'm not telling
you where I'm going.

I don't really have any plans except that I need to get out of
town. And I mean now.

I've been interviewing job candidates for the past two
weeks. This is the process where I get to write down Ha!
on the interview form when I ask the question, "Why do
you want to work in a library?"
Invariably, the otherwise qualified adult answers: "Libra-
ries are quiet. I've always wanted a job in a nice, quiet li-

At that point, the Ha! is added.

It would be awesome if the candidate would explain that

there's some medical need for the peace and quiet:

ME: You have a medical need for the peace and quiet?

CANDIDATE: Um, yes. Um, nervous flatulence.

ME: Nervous flatulence? (writing Ha! again on the inter-

view sheet.) That's really a thing?

CANDIDATE: When I get nervous, I get gassy. You know,


ME: (pausing to write, omg ha ha ha) So you fart when

you get nervous?


ME: Are you farting now?

CANDIDATE: No. Just when I'm nervous.

ME: (yelling) I don't make you nervous?!

CANDIDATE: Oops, too late.

ME: So you'll get all farty whenever something bothers


CANDIDATE: Like clockwork.

ME: How about some kids fighting?


ME: Old dude looking at porn?


ME: Are you loud? You know, because this is a library.

CANDIDATE: You didn't hear anything, did you?

ME: (intrigued with the idea of having my own trouble-

seeking fart-machine to punish library hooligans)
If you can you use Microsoft Word, you're hired.

So like I said, I'm off. And while I'm gone, don't steal my
stuff. I know how many Pop-Tarts I have left in the box.

labels: library farts, library jobs

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

We can't interlibrary loan those videos, but...

Okay. I can't resist this story.

I've always been fascinated with hiding things in books,

and I always get a kick out of seeing the old gun-in-the-
Bible trick in movies: Oh, before you arrest me sheriff and
drag me to prison, can I just get my old family Bible?


And if there's one thing I need to do before I die, it's to hol-

low out a book of my own and use it to conceal something
dangerous. Maybe I'll hollow out a book about guns and
use it to conceal a Bible... nah, that's not dangerous; that
sounds like art.

But there are a couple of people who used books to distri-

bute drugs in prison.38 They smuggled in methampheta-
mine using the library’s interlibrary loan program.

Some people think it's bad enough that books contain


But meth through interlibrary loan? Hell, I couldn't even

get a copy of Dori Stories through my library, who'da
thunk I could get crank stuffed into the spine of my book?

38Oops. Better not quote anything from the Associated Press. They
get a might touchy when you steal from them.

And since we're on the subject of stuffing things inside

things, guess who's 39 back in the news...

labels: books, methamphetamine

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Results of the Poll.

Here are the results of last week's poll:

What do you like best about Library 2.0?

1. blogging and my virtual life

2. the snacks at the workshops
3. learning new things and helping others
4. I don't know what that is. How did I get here? Is
this Google?

And with 100% of the votes, the winner is, Richard Nix-

Congratulations Mr. Nixon!

(seriously, you really care about polls?)

labels: poll, richard nixon

39Wow, I wish I could remember what this story was. The link is dead.
But it sure seems like it would be funny to know what it was.

Monday, August 13, 2007

How much longer?

At what point do you guys give this up? You know, this
whole venting, time-wasting, blogging thing? I have 50
posts on this page, which is about 44 more than I expected
to put up.
I wish I had something useful to tell you, like maybe that
the mothership is near and we should all prepare for its
arrival. Wrap the foil tightly around your heads, and form
the top of the "receiver" into a cone with a base diameter of
9" and 9" high. Don't go cheap; get the good foil. I have
coupons for 55¢ off if anyone needs one.

Buy plenty if Pop-Tarts; the frosted ones interfere with the

anti-matter injectors. Plain cherry are best. Blueberry's
okay, but don't expect to barter with them.

Discontinue your newspapers. You don't need dozens of

papers piling up in your yard. Forward your email accounts
to If you haven't created your
Zorgmaxxl email account yet, do it now! Get on the ball,

And the mothership isn't going to wait around while you

stop at the ATM. Get plenty of singles now for tipping.
We're not coming back to this planet, so don't get stingy
with the tips.

These guys didn't have to come pick us up. They are doing
me a favor. Don't make me look bad, especially, you, Neal!

labels: blogging, mothership, waste of time

Monday, August 13, 2007

The winners of the next four polls

1. Peanut butter and jelly.

2. Hervé Villechaize beats Abe Vigoda. Don't believe
me, ask the ladies.
3. Favorite non-chocolate candy is the marshmallow
circus peanut. Orange in color, banana in flavor,
peanut in shape. It is a miracle.

Now that you know the outcome, please vote accordingly.

labels: poll

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Re: your suggestion

Meredith Farkas 40 has a column in the August (2007)
American Libraries about libraries using blogs to register
feedback from patrons.

I remember our old DRA system which opened a sugges-

tion box whenever a patron typed "sugg" at the prompt (we
had the suggestion box removed from the main menu for
what should soon be the most obvious reason).

Several times a day, I could go into the suggestion box to

learn that one of our patrons desired for the recipient of
the suggestion to, as the message clearly said, "eat my ass."

Not every suggestion was the eat-my-ass message. Some

were the “you-suck” message. Once or twice we got the “F-
you” message, but rarely. I think the problem with the F-
you message is that the F is the high point. Once you write
F, you've basically shot your load. The you is just pointless
after that. Besides, if you were a kid, you might get caught
writing F and that could mean trouble. Write "eat my" on
the OPAC screen and you could always say you're searching
for a book the library doesn't have: Eat My Birthday Cake,
or something like that. Then check around to make sure
nobody's looking and type that a-s-s. Oh, jocularity.

The suggestion box was beautiful in its anonymity. Sure, I

could check the log to see from which OPAC the suggestion
came and what time, and then rush out front to catch some
little gray-haired grandmother giggling to herself, but why?

40Meredith is a popular blogger and author of a book on social net-

working for libraries.
Let her be. The suggestion box freed me from doing any-
thing about the suggestion. The anonymity of the sender
meant the library was accountable to no one.

But then came email. Now the patron sends her message to
the Reference Desk or the Webmaster, and she expects a
response. So now I spend 22% of my day writing back,
"During this time of fiscal difficulty, and due to financial
cut-backs, the library regrets that it is unable to eat your

But now blogging let's everyone join the fun. Patrons log
onto your library site and let everyone know exactly how
they feel. And other patrons let them know how they feel.
And then the first patrons let the other patrons know how
they feel. And the patrons are both suggesting and res-
ponding, freeing me to go back to doing nothing (or my
job: with retirement so close, does it really matter?). If
asked, I would support adding a blog to our library's web-
site. Let the patrons fight our public relations battles for us.

I could have written back to American Libraries and had, I

don't know, 2,500 people see my letter, but posting here,
for you nine people; I know it makes you feel special. But
boy, it would be cool to have them print the word "ass."

labels: asses, blogging, letters

Thursday, August 16, 2007

This is redunkulous

Why is it any good news about librarians is countered with

this goofy image?41

This poor thing accompanies an articled titled, Jobs That

Pay $25/Hour. So why is it that she needs to be the most
comical version of a librarian when each of the other pro-
fessions looks pretty normal? Even the "Senior Bricklayer"
who "Lays and stacks bricks neatly in order to build walls
and various structures" looks like a normal dude. Come on,
his job description sounds like every level worker up to se-
nior bricklayer just throws bricks and mortar wherever he
wants and occasionally seals up infants inside the walls.

This girl is pretty, but look at that hair (?). And glasses.
And frumpy Bess Truman ensemble. She doesn't have ear-
rings, nail polish, or even an engagement ring on her sad,
newspaper-clipping hand. And really, does she need to be
posed in the prime shushing position? Is she a clown? Does
she amuse you?

This is just a symbol of the general lack of respect the pro-

fession has. Hell, even the Mammography Technologist
who mashes your boob past the point of forgiveness gets
better treatment.

I think the media equate "librarian" with "housewife," so

it's a surprise that we make any money at all.

41 There was a picture of a bun-hairstyled woman, the official image of

"A librarian, you say? Why, you must live the life of Reilly
reading all day and eating bon-bons. It must be a joy
when your husband and breadwinner returns home so
that you can let him know how grateful you are for this
lovely house by preparing for him a suckling goose.
What? You microwave popcorn for his repast? You mon-

You get the picture.

Unfortunately, to everyone, we are the freakin’ picture.

labels: effing right i'm a librarian, librarians

Friday, August 17, 2007

We are not babysitters.

Ok, this is freaking driving me nuts. Save yourself the ag-

gravation and don't read this.42

Lani should have absolutely called family services. I under-

stand that librarians like to help people: how they got that
idea, I don't know. I became a librarian because I lost a bet.
I bet that Alice Cooper was a woman. And so I had to either

42, a
story about a librarian named Lani who finds two toddlers left in front
of the library and cares for them for eight hours before their mother
"streak" through the cafeteria during second lunch or be-
come a librarian. And if you know me, you know I'm not
getting naked in front of anybody. I have this birthmark
near my "special place" that looks like a squashed tomato.
It's huge. I don't want to talk about it.

Anyway, this is rule number one: if you take on the respon-

sibility of watching the child, you become responsible for
the child.

With older adults spending hours in the library, medical

emergencies are inevitable, Yoshimura said. She can recall
multiple instances where she has had to care for people
with chest pains, who fainted or are suffering other dire
medical needs. The librarians, trained in first aid and true
to their form as Jacks of all trades, become impromptu
emergency medical technicians.

This is rule number two: if you take on the responsibility of

caring for the sick and elderly, you become responsible for
the sick and elderly.

The minute something goes wrong, you are going to end up

in court. Guaranteed.

Q: Did you, Mrs. Q, have the expectation that the library

would care for your child and not let the serial killer take
him away and eat him?
A: Yes. We have left our child on the steps of the library
several times and the librarian accepted my child into the
library and cared for him. What happened to my child is
the library's responsibility.

Q: Did Mr. X have the expectation of receiving proper

care when he collapsed at the library and died?
A: Yes. Because the library told the reporter that they are
trained to offer medical assistance.

Of course, I'm not a lawyer (IANAL): you see this suit? The
lapels are seven inches wide. You see this Festiva I'm driv-
ing? A Festiva?!! Do I look like a lawyer? But what I say is

Our library policies state:

POL-A029. Upon the discovery that a child, left in

the library unattended while you went off to get
the car washed or catch Jim Carrey's latest mad-
cap romp, has been abducted, the librarian on du-
ty will place a call to 911. When he finally does ma-
terialize, we will not offer the parent or guardian
coffee, or an aspirin. The library does not sym-
pathize with you for your loss. You ass.


POL-A116. If you collapse in the library or are oth-

erwise discovered to be unconscious, the librarian
on duty will go through your pockets and take your

If you continue to baby-sit people's kids, you will become a
babysitter. If you continue to give medical assistance to old
people, then old people will continue to visit the library.

And your library will be filled with old people and kids. Are
you insane????????

labels: babysitters, librarians

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Are we witnessing the death of librarians?

First, let me say that I'm bored with this blog. My intent
was to see how blogs work and to learn how sites can be-
come interlinked and how networks form. I'm not an ex-
pert on that, but I've seen a few things that I didn't know
four or five months ago.
So I'm bored. Normally, when I'm bored I do stupid things
with my hair. But my friends advised me not to do stupid
things with my hair; and without them I wouldn't have an-
yone to drink with, so I took their advice and left it alone.

Then I wanted to post my novel on this site. I like my nov-

el. It's for kids and I think it's pretty funny. Nobody has
ever wanted to publish it, but I still think it's good. But
then I was told not to do that because the point of this blog
is library stuff, which made me ask, "have you ever read my
page? It's about library stuff the way a doughnut is about
nutrition." But I agreed not to post my novel.

Anyway, remember that I'm bored. Whatever follows might

not make any sense...

I think I've been watching too much TV, but I think I've
discovered the reason for why librarians are unhappy with
their jobs.

It has to do with dominance and submission.

The nature of the profession is to classify and categorize, to
analyze data and form conclusions. Is it fair to assume that
the type of person who succeeds at this profession has a
dominant personality?

But we help patrons find information, you say. Yes, but a

doctor helps patients to get well, and don't doctors exhibit
dominant behaviors?

I'm just wondering if all this "social work" role changing is

wrong. Even librarians whom I would call liberal thinkers
start to get all Stalinesque with the rules when it comes to
smelly and crazy people wandering around the library.

When you want to attract families into your libraries, you

create programs to attract families. When you want to at-
tract business-people, you offer services to attract them.
When you want readers, you buy new books. When you
want teens, you provide isolated corners where they can
pile on each other, and you give out free cigarettes.

So here's what I'm thinking. And this is just speculation,

but I think we are on the path toward the destruction of the
profession, or at least the elimination of the customary role
that librarians have played.

What I think will happen is this:

Librarians who make good social workers will become so-
cial workers. They will care for abandoned children and the
elderly and the mentally-ill by establishing daycare centers
in the library. They will consider this proactive. Fewer li-
brarians will be needed at those locations, but more care-
giver-slash-paraprofessionals will be hired. End result:
fewer professional library jobs.

Librarians who are not good social workers will retire early
or find other careers or become webmasters or learn to do
other chat reference or virtual reference. And, again, fewer
professional librarians will be needed.
This is just the natural evolution of the "give em what they
want" philosophy. If the squeaky wheel gets the grease,
then the baby and senior and mental health caregivers will
All this depends on what you believe is the role of the li-
brary. Is that role to provide for the information needs or
for the social needs of the public?
Either way, when a dominant personality is forced to ac-
cept a submissive role, the conflict will cause chaos.

Librarians are dominant. Yes, we serve the public, but tra-

ditionally within a framework we created. Libraries didn't
have to be in separate buildings. Why weren't they built
within schools or hospitals or courthouses? Because the
public library satisfied information needs similar to those
other institutions, but in a way that could be understood by
the general public. We understand these specialized worlds
and we help the lay person to understand it. That is our
professional role. When we forfeit our professional training
(unlike educational, medical and legal professionals) and
accept other roles, then we will become those other roles.
And that is what is happening.

Librarians complain that governmental agencies are neg-

lecting their jobs and sending people to the library to go
online and submit applications for food stamps and immi-
gration appointments and other aid. Why aren't the Inter-
net kiosks located in those government offices? Because in
the game of dominance and submission, we submit. We

We are becoming something that is "not a librarian." So

how can we fix it? I think we need to behave like similar
professions. I think the library needs paraprofessionals
with excellent customer service skills to work at the service
desks. Like receptionists. The paraprofessional handles
direction questions and basic reference, but acts as a
friendly face to make the patron-customer happy. When
something happens that requires the librarian, the recep-
tionist says, "Please have a seat over there and I will get the

And I don't think you can make librarians develop excel-

lent customer service skills. You might have a good bedside
manner, but ultimately, thinking and analyzing makes
people look kind of grim. And why should you be punished
by some patron who sees you thinking and says, "having a
bad day?" And then I think, "no, but if you want idle chit-
chat, I can smile while you talk about your geraniums or
your quilting bee or your grandchildren, but I damn sure
ain't gonna smile while this stupid database is taking for-
ever to give me a list of plant nurseries in Hoboken."
So regardless of the path, I think there are going to be few-
er professional library jobs in the future. If we don't change
to satisfy the public desire for social services, some group
will sue the library until we are forced to change. But if we
do change, then the taxpayers will vote all our money away
because the library isn't providing a safe, family-friendly
place to visit.

Then some company will come along and tell the local gov-
ernment that they can manage the libraries better. They
will hire two to five librarians for each branch in place of
the six to eighteen you have now and fill all the other posi-
tions with paraprofessionals. And like in the doctor's office,
customers will request to see the librarian who will handle
complex request or serious problems in the library. Refer-
ence services will be done through a centralized reference
station run by the company or with a contracted provider.
Cataloging and half of acquisitions will be handled by pri-
vate companies; local librarians will purchase some mate-
rials based on customer requests or local interest.
And again, fewer professional jobs in the future.

Now that I got that off my chest, I think I want my next poll
to be:
Who "shush"ed first?
the patron?
the librarian?


I feel a lot better now. Don't you?

labels: bored, librarians, libraries, social work

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

This is me, raining on your parade.

Is it news to report that when you increase awareness of a

thing that it increases use of a thing?

I guess if I were working for Philip Morris and I made ef-

forts to increase awareness of Chesterfield cigarettes, I
would also want to see an increase in the sales of Chester-
fields. So I guess I shouldn't complain that this paper
(Garbage In, Garbage Out: The Effect of Library Instruc-
tion on the Quality of Students’ Term Papers 43) proves that
promoting the use of library services links to an increased
use of library services.

Here's a section of the abstract:

Library instruction was determined to be effective,

in that students receiving library instruction were


m, Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship v.8 no.1

(Spring 2007) by Susan Hurst and Joseph Leonard. Maybe they won’t
notice how much I quoted.
significantly more likely to cite journal articles and
other scholarly resources than those students not
receiving the library instruction.

I think that sounds pretty good. Except for this part:

However, the idea that using more library resources

would automatically improve a student’s grade on
either the term paper or in the course as whole was
not borne out. Term paper and course grades were
virtually identical for each group.

The fact that grades were not affected indicates that

librarians and faculty could work together more in
the future to determine the value of students’ work
and what sources constitute “good research”.

I'm not trying to be a pain-in-the-ass, but if I were a teach-

er, I think I'd want my students to turn in papers with
more common sources (Internet) and fewer unique sources
(databases). Frankly, I wouldn't want to do the extra work
of checking more sources. Having kids use most of the
same sources just confirms my abilities as a teacher in hav-
ing my message understood clearly: I say "apple" in class
and you give me back "apples" (same sources) on the pa-
per. If you give me too many "bananas" (unique sources) in
you paper, then I have to think about whether my lessons
are clear because you're becoming a "free thinker." And I
(the teacher) don't have the time to cultivate too many free

This isn't a Hollywood movie where I can tutor some bud-
ding genius after class and nurture his chess-math-dance
skills; I have my own kid who just got a tongue stud and
wants and Avenged Sevenfold tattoo, and if I don't catch
him when he gets home, he's going out to get a huge A7X 44
nailed into his neck. And how the hell is he ever getting a
good job then?

So, really, I don't have time to track down these journal

articles you're citing. Anyway, you're all gonna get about an
85 on your papers anyway. So just use Google. It's good

I don't know how you can convince teachers to promote

use of the library's resources with these results. And using
the library will never be as cool as smoking cigarettes, so
we can't expect kids to use the library because we say so.
But if we let them smoke in the library? Hmm. Now that
might work. Call Philip Morris and get them to fund that

At least that's what this paper said to me.

labels: libraries, parades, rain

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

44 I make this stuff up. No, I don't have a kid with a tongue stud. And
given my age, I wouldn't have an A7X tattoo. I might have a C&T tattoo
because when I was a kid, the Captain and Tennille rocked!
Effing, This is your life

Who can forget just a few short months ago, the arrival of
Everything was new and bright and beautiful. What's that?
So many colors for my template. Fonts! And now that
we've reached our 1,000,000th visitor (thanks, New Zeal-
and!), we'll take a look back at This Effing Life.

From a little baby, Effing grew and as motor skills devel-

oped, Effing discovered RSS and Twitter for people who
liked the concept of having Effing around, but didn't really
want to visit.

Then Effing learned to speak using Odiogo. Oh, and Eff-

ing's voice was like beautiful music, as if Stephen Hawking
and Leonard Nimoy dropped a hip-hop house track.

Then Effing could walk...and oh, what mischief! How Eff

stole the Fire Chief's hat right off his head! And ruined Mr.
Wilson's prize roses. And started that war with Canada!
What a scamp!

Now Effing's all grown up and in the autumn of life. Past

growing and learning and mating... Mating? I never mated.
Did I forget to mate? Where are the little Effings? Effing,
Jr.? I will find someone. I'll place an ad on the Internet and
find someone this weekend. I promise I will not go gentle
into that good night, not without a struggle. But what will I
wear? I'll call Nancy. I bet she has something; she's such a

So this is my effing blog life, my greatest hits so far (I don't
feel like posting anything new, so read some of this old
crap again):

You gotta listen to your heart , in which Effing makes a

plea to the world that we should all stop the fighting and
learn to love one another. It'll make you cry. Or maybe
punch yourself in the face until you cry.

What's right or wrong with Wikipedia? Where we see that

Wikipedia, like mankind, is doomed to failure.

I can fly! Second Life is the greatest place in the world! Go

there. Now. If you don't, I swear I will kill you.

Burn, baby burn. Even smart people sometimes say dumb

things. But not me.

I hope you've enjoyed my life so far. Really? You have. You

should get a puppy or something because you're wasting
your time coming here. Yeah, a puppy would be nice.

labels: greatest hits, puppies

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Blogging while Drinking, again

Did you ever have one of those moments of clarity when all
the pieces of your life fall together into one grand epiphany
of understanding and you finally "get it"? Me, neither, and
those people who claim they have are assholes.

But I was just reading this45,

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne's

Walter E. Helmke Library is now offering students
a mobile reference service. The program places ref-
erence librarians at specific locations around the
campus to offer students assistance when needed.
Librarians will also be available through online
chat forums, regular email and instant messaging.

And I thought, holy crap, even with all the 2.0 B.S. every-
body wants everyone to learn, the one common element is
the librarian. Sure, the technology changes (a book is
freaking technology), but the librarian is still important.

I think that's why I became one. Apart from all the crazy
sex parties after bibliometrics class.

Now I wonder if this was all someone's plan: that forty

years ago, a plot was devised to create more and more
complex computer technology that the plotters knew would
never be understood by the masses. And these plotters
were librarians and librarian sympathizers. They looked
back through history and saw that librarians were always
there to decipher mysterious and obscure texts; so, who
better to safeguard future documents? And so the plan was
set into motion that would generate difficult and sinister

methods for retrieving these data to guarantee that libra-
rians would always have a place in society. Wow.

Hold on, there's someone knocking at the door. Yeah?

Who? Thugs from the Library of Congress! They have
thugs? The Librarian of Congress sent you? And he doesn't
want me to write about the secret plot to keep librarians
employed? But I wasn't... No, I'm just looking at porn. No,
you can't come in. I'm in my sexy underpants. Yeah, they're
really sexy. Okay! Whatever I was writing about the secret
plot, I'll delete. No, tell James, I mean Jim, he can trust
me. And tell him thanks for the flowers.

Good, they're gone.

I dunno why I think of this stuff. I hope you're amused by

this crap because I'm ashamed.

labels: blogging while drunk, librarians

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I can only remember 3 new things a year.

I hope I can say this without sounding like an idiot, but,

the majority that I know it, learned from the fu-
rious department.
(Sorry. I was playing the Babel Fish game where you trans-
late something over and over into different languages then
back to English to see if you get something funny. Or in
this case, not remotely funny.)

What that means is, most of what I know I learned from
Mad magazine. (Yeah, it sounds worse this way.) But this
is what I'm doing today: translated English appears in
quotes and original English in parentheses. "Division with
it" (Deal with it).

After I read that Beloit college thingy where they list idiot-
ic facts about college students so the faculty can under-
stand their "mindset," I started to wonder about my mind-
set, and I remembered that one of my most important cul-
tural references when I was young was Mad magazine.

It's funny that Mad (MAD) was considered a kid's maga-

zine, but it dealt with (when I read it, don't know about
now) politics and culture. If it really had been for kids, each
issue would just have the banner: Now with MORE
boogers and farts, and the issues would have flown off
the shelves. (Funny, but Babel Fish has no words in
French, German or Spanish for boogers. Isn't English the

My dad used to come back from the "market of chips" (flea

market) with a bag full of ancient Mads. And I would read
parodies of 1960's advertising and television shows and
Eisenhower and Nixon and hippy jokes and movies I
wasn't old enough to see like "An orange of the mechan-
ism" (A Clockwork Orange).

And so I had some understanding of stuff that was impor-

tant to people 25 years older than me.
And I think most kids are the same way.

For example, your parents grew up with Dark Shadows
and you grew up with Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

Martha: (walking in on her step-daughter, Chloe, watch-

ing Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
I remember how that Barnabas used to terrify me when I
was a girl.

Chloe: F**k off, Fartha.

My bonding with my father mirrored that tender scene.

But I still have a lot of that useless information I got from

Mad taking up valuable real estate in my brain.

Is it better to replace my memories of "The Demonstration

Of The Gongo" (The Gong Show) with new ones from
America's Got Talent? Should I trade The Beatles for Fall
Out Boy?

No. So I know nothing about AGT or FOB. I really don't

have room for it all.

I have to fall back on one of those immutable truths: reality

is agreement.

We can both look at the same wooden chair, but we can

have different thoughts about it:
That chair is for sitting.
That chair is for dancing .
Those legs can be made into four stakes for killing vam-
In the appropriate situation, all three are true.

But I don't have room in my brain to remember all three.
So I remember the most important:

"the legs of the chair can be made in four piles as

regards vampiros massacre,"
"as for the foot of the chair to vampiros holocaust
something which relates can make with 4 these
(chair legs can be made into four stakes for
killing vampires).

And that explains why if you come to my house, you have

to sit on the floor.46

labels: memories, the demonstration of the gongo, truths

Monday, August 27, 2007

Interesting Facts from the Survey of the Blogow-

hatsit 2007

I don't have the credentials to conduct a survey that would

get back any results other than "go eff yourself."

46Yes, in this case, not remotely funny. Wow, when I write about
blogging while drunk, I should also avoid editing books while drunk.
This post should have been excised from the collection.
But Meredith Farkas 47 conducted a thorough survey and I
can offer you some of the revealing data, as I interpret it.

1. 37% of you pronounce it "blarg" not "blog," al-

though the true pronunciation is "chumba-wumba."

2. 64% of you blog anonymously while 36% use your

real names but wear a disguise: 33% choose a false
mustache; 10%, large hat and dark glasses; 7%,
Lord Voldemort mask; 50%, leather hood.

3. Most bloggers were born in the Year of the Ox.

Yeah, get out those calculators.

4. 29% of bloggers have missed an important event

due to blogging: 15% of men blogged through the
birth of their child as did 6% of women.

5. 99% of you blog naked.

I hope this has sated your info-lust for your fellow blog-
gers. Now put some pants on.

labels: blogging, survey

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I need to learn to do this, I think. 48

47 Remember Meredith? I mentioned her earlier.

There has got to be a way to create a database(s) where I
(or another) can fill out a form with library event informa-
tion on it, and the event will go into a database, and the
database will create a calendar or the calendar will import
from the database, and then the events will display on the
web site at the appropriate time and then go away after the
event is over.

I also want forms for posts and forms for side bar content
like we have for the blogger template.

Now, this might be really simple, but since my job doesn't

depend on this, nor will it cure cancer, I don't have more
than 3 brain cells working on it.

It's funny how I couldn't have given a crap about this six
months ago, but now that I use it, I want to learn how it
works. I don't mean to whine, but it's late/early, and I'm
tired, and I drew this beautiful picture and I wanted to
share it with you. Because we're buds. But nof bffs; because
that's my mom. You should call your mom; I'm sure she's
sorry for how you ruined your life. She didn't mean any of
it. She thought she was doing the right thing at the time.

I think it's time for the healing to start.

labels: css, mom, xhtml, xml

48 There was an image here, but I removed it for the book since inclu-
sion might create problems or increase costs. But it was just a picture
of a web template with some forms like a calendar and stuff. You’re
not missing anything.

There’s a thing about blogging that nobody tells you; and that is
that it’s lonely. It’s the least social of the social networking me-
dia because people can window shop for years and never make
a contribution to your blog. No one is forced to comment or
join anything to read your stuff. So you type away.

Until the day you need to quit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I think I'm gonna stop doing this on that date.

September 17, 2007.

This started out as a scary, fun thing to do, but now I'm be-
coming driven by the numbers. I keep hoping my Techno-
rati rank will go up (currently at 15). And my subscribers
are pretty good for what this page is, but when the num-
bers go down, I wonder what I did wrong.

And I haven't sold one damn tee-shirt.

(there are no tee-shirts.)49

49I didn’t have any tee-shirts by then. It seems so long ago. But still,
hardly anyone buys one. No, don’t go and buy one now; it’s too late…

Oh, and I never got mentioned in an Unshelved strip.

Can't you guys do something about that?

labels: the end of the.effing.librarian

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Keyword Usage on The.Effing.Librarian

You guys know I ain't nothing if I ain't helpful. So, after a

complex breakdown of usage and visits and after being ad-
justed for syndication and random network pings, we at
the Effing Accounting Room have discovered some inter-
esting Effing statistics.

Most visits to the.effing.librarian were to posts which in-

cluded the keywords: "ass," "no pants," and the "f-word."
And posts which included those keywords also received the
most visitor comments.

The breakdown was as follows:

"ass" 557 hits and 119 comments
"no pants" 1431 hits and 431 comments
"f-word" 793 hits and 117 comments

And if you don't believe the numbers, here's a convincing

Oh, who am I kidding? Go and buy one, you dear, sweet, generous
reader, you.
chart50 which provides the proof. The height of the bar ab-
solutely corresponds to the number on the Y axis; you can't
make that stuff up!

Needless to say, these results are surprising. If only other

publications would adopt these editorial rules: all publica-
tion covers much include one of the three "golden" key-
words. American Libraries will never look the same again.

There are also a host of related words which generate user

visits: "farts," "boogers," drug references, female anatomy,
and the "s-word."
The effect this has on books, publishing and libraries can
only be imagined.

And all you library school students feel free to cite the
study in your next paper. Jobs are plentiful, but a kick-ass
sense of humor is rare.

labels: keywords, study

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Writing is fun.

It's fun to see your thoughts formed as words. And so blog-

ging is fun, too.

50Sorry. The chart is only available online. Something to do with the

digital millennium copyright act.
Being a librarian is an under-appreciated profession.
People don't understand us or don't respect all that we can
do for them. But we do it, and for not very much pay. So we
sometimes need this other stuff to make us happy.

I don't have anything else to say that there aren't 10,000

other bloggers saying already.

But I think this is important: Write a letter to a

friend. Take out a piece of paper and get a pen and write a
letter. And get her to write back.

One day, all these zeroes and ones are a-gonna start a-
feudin and all this electronic crap will go poof. And then all
you'll have is that sheet of paper with those words that your
friend wrote, but unfolding it and re-reading it will make
you feel damn good.

And for the record, when you tell your grandchildren about
me, and I know you will, remember that I'm
the.effing.librarian. I'm not the.elfing.librarian (I know
that guy; he's cool, but I ain't him) or the.arfing.librarian
or the.enron.librarian or the.teflon.librarian (come on,
people, those aren't even close).
So get it right. Those kids are gonna need a role model.

labels: blogging, blogging while sober

I don’t even know what the hell I was thinking when I wrote the
following post. I wasn’t even drunk. But maybe there’s a car-

bon monoxide leak in my apartment. That’s the only way I can
explain it. And I am starting to feel a little woozy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

nothing much happened today

Gather round, children. Come here, yeah you, come sit on

Effing's lap.

A long time ago, way back in April, as I recall, your old un-
cle Effing started up this here blog. And when he started,
he didn't think anyone would notice his foolishness. But
after an ego search on the Googly, he found a mention of
hisself. And that, children, made your old uncle feel awful

(...Later, after old uncle Effing had too much medicine and
fell asleep and the children had emptied his pockets of to-
bacco and French postcards...)

So after that, I felt like this blogging thing is pretty cool. I

got invited to join the Library Links ,51 and again, that felt
And then everything was fine. I was having fun posting
about pimped book carts and library porn.

But then the day came when I got cocky and posted Sh*t.

51 Hey, Jessica!

F*ck. Sh*t. F*ck. over and over until somebody got Blogger
to freeze my site and delete the post. And that pissed me
off. And it frightened me into submission. After all, I en-
joyed posting here and I didn't want to lose it all because
some asshole complains about my language. Maybe I
should have moved over to livejournal with these guys .

Now if only I had thought about this, I could have used

these experiences for some sort of paper on blogging. I
wish I'd kept better statistics and a journal of what I did
and when (maybe I should have kept a blog about this

But I remember some of the stuff I did, and so here are

some recommendations for blog widgets and add-ons and
other crap you might want to do.
First, I love Irfanview for images. I used the metallic filter
make my eyeball pic in my profile look cool.
I also got a photobucket account for hosting photos.

I got a Gmail account and set up my blogger page with that

For my feeds I picked Feedburner. It just seemed easier
because Google owns it. And the stats you get about visits
and hits and subscribers are awesome. It tracks almost
everything that visits your page, human or not.

I thought it would be cool to have a Twitter account, but I

didn't want to keep posting there, so I subscribed to Twit-
terfeed which then required a Yahoo email account and
idproxy for that.

From the Space Age Librarian , I got the idea to use Snap
for link previews (and again, I used irfanview to create the
tiny logo for the Snap window) and Odiogo for mp3s and
podcasts of my blog posts. Odiogo is cool because it con-
verts your text pretty quickly after being posted, and as
long as you remember to use real words and not too many
abbreviations or weird punctuation to confuse it, it sounds
all right. And from The Vampire Librarian , I got the idea
to use Sitemeter. Sitemeter tracks visitors and you can
zoom into the map to see where everybody comes from
(the free version only tracks the last 100 visits).

I use Addthis for bookmarking. And Babel Fish for trans-

lating my page into different languages, but I don't know if
either of those added any benefit.

And I made my effing logo with WordPerfect that I wrote

about here.
And I added the Spring Widget thingy recently.

Stuff I wish I had done:

It would have neat to have ads to earn a few cents, but I've
never heard whether any bloggers make anything worth
And, of course, the tee-shirts. I know everyone uses Cafe-
press, but I didn't want to slave over Gimpshop to make an
image that would look good on a shirt. Uberprints is coo-
ler, I think, but I'd have to buy the shirts and sell them my-
self (not gonna).

Anyway, if any of these ideas are useful, then good for you.
Otherwise, look around and see what everyone else is using
and copy them. Uh oh, the old man's awake.

Hey! Who picked my pockets!

labels: blogging, memories, one of my other personalities


Thursday, August 30, 2007

What does it take to be an effing librarian?

You can google librarian and blog and you can find the:
annoyed librarian
shifted librarian
bad girl librarian
and just tons more.
There are many images for librarians, and most of them
are out to change the image of librarians. (Is that an exam-
ple of something, not irony, but something similar?)

But what does it take to be an effing librarian?

Here's what I mean:

A guy shows me a piece of paper from a site that offers
"free credit reports" and it tells him to log in to view his.
But the website isn't working and all it displays is garbage
So I asked him where he got that site from, and he shows
me a pamphlet from the (U.S.) government telling him to
go to But the site on his paper is
something like annualcreditreportannualcreditreportrus- and I
asked him if he put any information in the site and he said
that he had to put in a credit card number to pay the $1 for
the credit report.

And at that point, I'm reminded that I'm


There was nothing I could do for this guy after the damage
was done but to tell him to call his credit card company
and check to see what charges are being made for 200 digi-
tal cameras on his card right now. And of course, get him
onto the right web site for his credit report.

The world is a scary place and there are always people out
to do you, so you really need to know where your towel is
(wait, that's Hitchhiker). The point is, an effing librarian
knows the world is a scary place, and we want to help, but
our attitude is more like the Sam-L approach, "Do what I
say, motherf**ker, if you want to live."

It's not an attitude that fits every situation, but unfortu-

nately, I'm stuck with it. When you see that scary guy eye-
balling you from across the room, don't panic; I'm there to
save your ass.

And I'm hoping that there are more effing librarians out
there. There's nothing wrong with being an effing librarian.
An effing librarian is in charge of the situation.

What I should do is try to market this as a library philoso-

phy. But I really don't have the time right now. Maybe
somebody out there has been trying to get ALA to publish
their The Modern Librarians Guide to Modern Libraries,
but isn't having any luck. Maybe we should team up to
publish The Effing Librarian : Modern Library Maxims
for a BAD MOFO.

Anyway....get your asses back to work.

labels: books, the.effing.librarian

Friday, August 31, 2007

What the hell is wrong with libraries? (Nothing.)

I think I'm going way back to the original mission state-

ment with this post.

Here's a quote from an article I just found that you might

agree with:

From "Our Public Libraries,"

Our most valuable libraries are not popular, and our most
popular ones are not extensive enough to be strictly called

It's a comparison of different libraries in the area. And if

you're trying to guess when that was written, here is a clue

via style:
(Referring to a specific public library)

It, moreover, keeps pace with current literature in a very

halting fashion, and holds the more recent reviews beyond
the reach of ordinary readers for an unreasonable length of

Any guesses? (click and drag below for answer)

Our Public Libraries (letter).

New York Times; Feb 4, 1870; ProQuest Historical News-
papers The New York Times (1851 - 2004)

It seems that libraries have always been struggling between

being seen as useful and being popular. So, of course I get
pissed when I hear the criticism that "Libraries are not in-
tuitive." And thus, not popular.
I'm tired of hearing this. Grocery stores are not intuitive.
Department stores aren't. But people ain't starving and
people ain't naked.

They have signage. And the people figure it out. People are
not completely stupid. To say that libraries need to change
to become more like bookstores or Amazon just says to me
that you think people are too stupid to figure out libraries.
A library is a place that serves the function of librarianship.
And the role of the librarian is to catalog and organize in-
formation in a meaningful way, that hopefully, can be ac-
cessible to others. The form of the physical library serves
the function. Just like the grocery store serves the function
of getting food into your cart.
To say that libraries need to move away from this form is to
say that there's something wrong with librarianship. That
the model is outdated. But there is nothing wrong with the
effing model.
If you have problems with people finding stuff in your li-
brary, put up some signs52:

(the Spanish is just a guess)

You might say that signs don't address all the subjects that
might be in the area, but when you go shopping, all the
store directory says is "Shoes." It doesn't say they have
sandals or boots or slippers, but they do. People are able to
learn this. All you need to do is get them close to what they
Some people make this seem like it's an impossible step. I
think it's because every librarian wants guidelines. We
want to see something work well before we accept it.

I understand that customers/patrons don't have any rea-

son to learn Dewey. Fine. But some librarians want to
group all their related library materials together into little
domains. (I sometimes want to put all the computer repair
and software and desktop publishing books together, but I
wouldn't think of doing it without the appropriate links in
the catalog and maybe some theme park type map:
"Technopod," "Travelpod," "Investpod," "Craftpod,"
...yeah, right.)

52The original sign listed: “Music and Movies (Musica y Peliculas),”

But guess what, the grocery store doesn't put fresh fish
near the canned fish or near the frozen fish just because it's
all fish. Customers learn where to look and they remember.
We just need to do a better job of teaching them where and
how to look.

Libraries are always trying to chase after their customers

by mimicking other businesses, but they should be working
on what customers want from libraries: ample parking, no
pedophiles, no videos playing on the PCs of people forni-
cating, books on clean shelves, short checkout lines, new
books and CDs and videos that aren't covered with stains
and don't look like crap, available staff to help them when
they need it, and clean restrooms (again, without anyone
fornicating or doing their laundry in the sink).
This is what people want from libraries. Only a-holes want
to walk around the library with a hot cup of coffee and a
chocolate croissant.
Book stores credit some of their success on not being like
libraries; they're bright, modern, convenient places to
shop. That's a great image to copy. But we don't charge fees
for what we do, so the comparison should stop there.
So what about People say they like Amazon
because they find what they want. That's a freaking lie. You
don't find what you want, but you find something that's
close enough. It's just that most people don't know what
they want, so they're satisfied with the results from an
Amazon search. Unless I have an ISBN or other identifying
number, I'm rarely able to find what I want on the first try.
Amazon prefers the shotgun approach in that a display of
"wrong" results with colorful pictures is better than no re-
sults for a bad search. That's because they sell shit. For ex-
ample, Amazon now sells Rosetta Stone language software;
it's what they are promoting right now, but if I do a basic
search for rosetta stone now, look at all the stuff I get:

Books (5,403) Software (212) Music (22) Office Products

(14) Home & Garden (11) Health & Personal Care (4) Video
Games (3) Apparel (3) VHS (2) DVD (2) Beauty (2) Jewelry
& Watches (1) Everything Else (1) Electronics (1)

Jewelry & Watches??? But if I wanted a book, I still have

5000 to sort through, and Amazon uses a Relevance rank-
ing that I don't understand, maybe it's a keyword count,
dunno, but without accurate subject headings, I have no
idea how long it might take to find my book.
If Amazon does its job correctly, you get more hits because
for a retailer, "more is more." But for a librarian to do her
job correctly, "less is more" because fewer accurate hits
means you've cataloged your items properly.
A bookstore's marketing strategy is totally different from a
library's. When libraries adopt online catalogs that mimic
online retailers, which are keyword and recommendation
based and less accurate, then they risk losing one of those
cornerstone characteristics of the profession: authority.
And then the point of cataloging things accurately no long-
er means shit.

Have you been to LibraryThing? Have you seen some of the

tags people are using to "catalog" their books? Look at
Gone With the Wind:
Tags used to describe the book
20th century(16) america(25) american(41) american civil
war(30) american literature(41) american south(22) ante-
bellum(8) atlanta(23) Civil War(250) Classic(178) classic
fiction(11) classic literature(11) classics(100) epic(17) favo-
rite(17) favorites(16) fiction(562) film(16) georgia(40)
gwtw(19) hardcover(18) historical(50) Historical Fic-
tion(191) historical romance(20) history(18) Literature(49)
love(15) margaret mitchell(8) Mitchell(10) movies(9) nov-
el(61) old south(8) own(38) pulitzer prize(42) read(64)
Rhett Butler(13) romance(156) scarlett o'hara(15) sla-
very(23) southern(85) southern fiction(17) southern litera-
ture(11) tbr(10) the south(22) unread(26) war(34) women

I've actually seen posts where people claim that library ca-
talogs will follow this model in the future. If this is the fu-
ture of libraries, is anyone ever going to find anything ever

You know, you people f**king need me. I am rethinking

this whole, ending-my-site business because I don't know
what the f**k you'll do without me. Your libraries will just
be full of porn and dog fights and the librarians will be be-
hind razor-wire fences and bullet-proof glass.
And that's the good news.

So what the hell is wrong with libraries? For now, nothing.

Let's keep it that way.

labels: amazon, libraries, perception of libraries

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

How Evil is Google?

"Just Google Mapquest."

[0verheard in the library at an Internet terminal]

This one of the scariest statements I've ever heard. That

someone would voluntarily invoke the use of an interme-
diary to access something that's available directly. It's like
the people you see, three feet apart, talking to each other
on the cell phone. Why? Because cell phones are such a
part of our lives, we think "cell phone" when we think
"talk." And just like that, we think "Google" when we think
"find it." Even when typing would get you
there faster. (That Google has it's own map product isn't
even part of this.)

There's a scary cover on the September 1-7, 2007 The

Economist . It shows a Google search box with search op-
tions such as "privacy," "antitrust," and "copyright." Since
forever, I've always wondered how they seemingly violated
copyright by using their "cache" to store newspaper articles
which were no longer available from the original publisher.
Through the cached copies, I could always access an article
that I would otherwise need a subscription to get from the
paper's web site.

But hey, I'm no copyright expert.

There's no denying that Google is an enormous, useful tool

for locating and now, organizing and sharing information.
And I don't have the time to list all the things they do and
are planning to do to increase those resources. I'm the eff-
ing librarian, not the informing librarian.

Google controls information. Information influences deci-

sions. Decisions guide the world.

People think good things when they think Google. And

Google displays ads when people search. So the ads can
and probably do, influence what people think. Billions of
people. People that allow Google to build larger and more
comprehensive databases of how to market more effective
advertising to them. People, who, in turn, continue to give
Google more data about themselves.

It's just amazing that when the government tries to amass a

database as huge as Google's, the people rebel.

This is one of those "we can" moments that isn't being

tempered by the "but should we" question.

Ultimately, you need to ask, "can I trust Google?"

And I don't trust anyone with that much power.

[9.06 note: I thought I would get some comments, but

nothing. So then I thought that people are just afraid to
speak out against Google. But that's wrong. There are lots
of sites where you can read about degrees of evil people
attribute to Google. I don't any specific beef with Google
like some people (here's a good link 53); in fact, they pro-

vide me with this nice place to post. But any organization
that gets this big needs to be watched, if for nothing else
but my self-preservation. Hell, I can be squashed when
Google takes a dump, so I need to watch where I sit.]

labels: evil, google

Saturday, September 8, 2007

IM in the library

I just read a thing at LibrarianInBlack that talks about

IM'ing in the library. I brought that up to the tech people a
couple of weeks back and they said, "What? You want to
help people. Sure, we can do it, but you won't like it."

And I agreed. I already have enough trouble with the vir-

tual reference desk where people ignore all the comments
on the login screen about chatting with a librarian any-
where in the state who may not be able to help you with
local problems, and still, every night I get, "where is my
book?" "where is my card?" "where is my baby?" "the dingo
ate my baby;" etc.

Nobody reads instructions and then they get mad when I

say the dingo got away.

So I damn sure don't want a "bell" to signal me that some-

one using the wireless in the toilet wants me to reach over
the door and press Delete because whatever he's doing
doesn't allow him a free hand after holding down Ctrl and
Alt (I'm not even going to suggest the word "StickyKeys ;"
Sir, have you tried StickyKeys? "That's what I'm trying to

In order to for this to be successful at my service desk, I

would need a script like this:

Hello, this is the Alert System Service Library Assistance

Department (ASSLAD). ASSLAD is a service of your library
to assist you with problems and issues and questions and
requests you may have with using the Internet or computer
software. ASSLAD allows you to communicate directly with
a library technician who can assist you with your problem
or issue or question or request.

It is possible that you have initiated the ASSLAD uninten-

tionally or that this request has been generated as a result
of spam-producing software or adware. In order for the
service to differentiate between a real request for ASSLAD
and a false request, the following mathematical question
must be answered correctly; this is a challenge question
that a human can answer but a machine cannot.

Please do not attempt to use a calculator for this chal-

325 is to ¼ as Ø is to __

Please type your answer now.

A correct answer will fulfill the request for ASSLAD and a
technician will assist you.
An incorrect answer will cancel the request for ASSLAD.

ASSLAD,54 indeed. I'm crazy like a fox.

labels: im, libraries

Sunday, September 9, 2007

About the end of this blog.

I just needed to set a date that I would stop this. I have lots
of other stuff I need to do and quitting is the only solution.

You know what's gonna happen. I'll start drinking

and wake up a week later in a jail in Havana (FL, not Cu-
ba). The new scorpion tattoo on my ass will be infected, but
antiobiotics will clear that up. And someone named Roy
will send me flowers every September 25th until I die.

And then sometime later, I'll be back. Just like before.

Who'da thought I'd have room on my ass for another scor-

(And if you can get the guys at Unshelved to mention this

site in a strip, I'll be back sooner. Yes, I'm kidding. Maybe.)

l a b e ls : t h e . e f f i ng . l i br ar i a n

54 I just re-read this and thought that Alert System Service Help On
Line (ASSHOL) would have been funnier...what do you think? …but
ASSLAD sounded funny enough at the time.
I’m really bored with copying and pasting my blog into this doc-
ument. That’s the difference between being a writer and being
just some guy who writes stuff. Writers believe in their work
and they keep going until someone else believes or they die. I
have no faith that anything I ever write will ever be more than
just ink on a page.

So why haven’t I quit? I think it’s my ego that keeps me going.

That voice that says, “Dude, you are awesome!”

Where is that voice coming from? Who is that guy? Because he

is totally right.

It looks like I should start another Chapter

I don’t know what to say about this next post, but I think I ex-
plain it at the end, so don’t freak out reading it, okay?

Monday, September 10, 2007

about the.effing.librarian

How to Kill Your Grandmother

(a little more about me than you might want to know)

First off, whether or not I killed my grandmother is still up

in the air. If anyone knew what I did, they'd decide that I
had done something truly awful. Which it was. It was an
awful thing. I killed my grandmother by rigging a table
lamp to electrocute her when she touched it the wrong
way...or right way depending on how you looked at it.
My grandmother on my mother's side came over from Italy
with my grandfather. As immigrants I assume they had a
hard time finding work and getting by. They never ac-
quired any property other than furniture and other house-
hold items. I don't know if they were happy that they came
to America. They lived in an apartment in what is now or
what later became (depending on how the real estate mar-
ket is going) a bad neighborhood somewhere in New York.
I remember visiting her when I was little. She would make
toast in the oven and invariably burn it and then scrape the
black off into the sink. When no one ate the burnt, dry
toast, she would cover it with plastic wrap and save it for

the next day when no one would eat all over again. I don't
know what my grandparents did for money, but my grand-
father appeared to make furniture which was displayed
around the apartment in the forms of two dark-wood
chairs, a small reddish wooden end table and a multitude
of hand-carved walking sticks and canes in various shapes
and colors. As for my grandmother, she always gave us co-
lorful, machine-knitted booties for Christmas, so I guess
that's what she did.

After my grandfather died, my grandma moved in with us

in ****. My older sisters had moved out on their own so
there was room. Grandma got her own room which she
filled with stuff she brought with her. Stuff she had for a
long time. Stuff that was and smelled very old. Grandma,
like many European immigrants I've met her age, never
became fully Americanized. Her English was only fair
which she spoke with a strong accent. She called lemonade,
lemonada, and said it was in the fridgidaire, which I'm
sure was what her first refrigerator had written on its door.
Her children, though, were fully Americanized. I think it
had something to do with WWII. Being considered Ameri-
can at that time seemed important.
Well, after Grandpa died, Grandma would just shuffle
around the house in slippers. She didn't bathe daily which
was a practice I'm sure she carried with her from the old
days. I don't think it had anything to do with her being a
big, fat old lady.

Let's face it, I didn't like her. I didn't like that after I finally
got rid of my older sisters and my little sister was usually
being cared for till around 5 o'clock while mom and dad
worked, this intrusive, smelly old bulk would lumber
around telling me to get off the phone or keep me from
sneaking girls into my bedroom. So I knew I had to kill her.
But I don't know anything about killing anyone. Sure I
could put a bullet in your head as easy as pie (and I'm not
just saying that), but how do you kill and old woman who
lives in your house and not get caught?
And it wasn't just that I didn't like her that I knew that I
had to kill her. I just seemed like the thing to do. Often
Grandma would sit in her room until she fell asleep in her
chair in front of the bug fights on her crappy old TV. It was
truly a sad thing to view, watching this woman who ap-
peared to be only waiting around for death to come and
take her.

I don't know what it's like to be a mother, to be a woman,

to marry a man, to let him lay his sweaty, hairy body on
mine and huff and puff at me while he pushes his semi-
erect prick into me, to have humans grow in and then come
out of my body, to name them and raise them and to have
them go off and move away and leave me alone with that
man who only dies on me too early and leaves me to live
with some total strangers, one of which I made come out
my body but no longer needs me.
I don't know what it's like, but is sounds very sad.
On one hand, creating life is supposed to be a glorious ex-
perience, a fulfillment of an aspect of womanhood. But on
the other, it's only biology: we're no better than dogs or
spiders. How sad it must be to make a thing which does not
care to be made. No one asks to be made. But still, we are
My mother doesn't seem sad. She has religion. Each day
she prays on her rosary, presumably for her family. Proba-
bly for me. Ultimately, for herself. I guess. She thinks it's a
good thing to do.

But Grandma seemed sad, bitter, tired. My guess is that

between TV shows, naps, and bowls of lentil soup, my
grandma wanted to die. The logic still seems sound. The
results are, of course, what they are: Grandma's dead. And
if someone had to be blamed or credited with shuffling her
off this mortal coil then it should be me.

One day, when nobody was home but Grandma, who was
in the kitchen washing dishes, standing by the sink in ankle
hose, slippers and an enormous house dress, I prepared
the device I used to kill her. I know nothing about electrici-
ty and I know nothing about planning a crime, so I just sat
there with my tools and one of Grandma's table lamps. It
was an old metal lamp and the cord was somewhat brittle,
so I knew it was possible to rig it so it would give someone
a nice shock. Whether it would be enough to kill, I don't
know. I couldn't jam a penny into the fuse box to make
sure the breaker wouldn't trip without someone finding
out. Or at least that's what I think is supposed to be done.
All I know about this is from movies like where Michael
Caine kills his wife by rigging that hanging bulb in the
basement. Really, I have no fucking clue what I'm doing.
Who knows why I even did it. I must be fucking crazy.

I unscrewed the top, took it apart, and got to that dry,

cracked, and in places, gummy, cord. Using a knife, a ligh-
ter, soldering iron, I exposed enough wire to get it to make
contact with the metal interior of the lamp stand. I'm con-
fident the melted cord dried to the metal leaving the cop-
per wire touching the metal.

All the while, Grandma stood just outside the kitchen

watching me. I looked at her. She seemed to start to say,
"What are a-you doing with my lamp?" but stopped.
I took the lamp back into her bedroom and she followed.
Earlier, I took an old rubber sink pad from out of the ga-
rage; I laid it on the nightstand and put the lamp on it. In-

"If someone turns this on and holds the metal like this with
her bare feet on the floor...she could get a nasty shock," I
said into the air. And I got up and left her bedroom and put
my tools away.

For the next few days, I was hardly home because I didn't
want to find her lifeless body waiting for me flopped out on
the floor. Or worse, find her barely alive needing mouth-to-
mouth. But each night I was home for dinner and each
night Grandma was there, too. I didn't know what the fuck
was wrong. I checked the lamp and it was plugged in.

Maybe I shouldn't have told her. Things weren't all well in

my house and my dad was pissing me off fairly regularly. I
got myself fired from the **** and he was mad about that: I
wasn't too happy about it, either. My mom must've men-
tioned it to my oldest sister because she invited me up to
live with her and her family in ****. So I moved in with
them and got a job selling shoes in a big department store.
**** is not that far away, so on weekends I went home to
see my mom and visit friends. Still, Grandma was alive.
Surprisingly, though, she was looking better. She was styl-
ing her hair or at least brushing it. She was wearing actual
shoes, open-toe medium-heeled sandals, and stockings
that didn't sag down around her ankles. She wore a little
make-up and she smelled nice. She seemed happy.

If things were fucked up before then things were all balls

out looney tunes now. I just ate my food and tried to not
look at Grandma. "How is-a you job?" she asked. I ans-
wered "Fine" while staring down at my gnocchi. Grandma
was cooking more now, making her own sauce. After din-
ner, I peeked into her room and saw that the lamp was still
where I had put it. There were a few flowers in a small glass
next to the lamp.

I drove back to **** and went to work and sold shoes and
cashed my paycheck and went out drinking and tried to get
in some girl’s pants and bought clothes like I usually did.
A few weeks later, Grandma died.

"And...," I ask.
"What do you mean," my sister says.
"Well, how'd she die?"
"Mom said she just died in her sleep." Well, fuck me.

We had the funeral on a Tuesday and I wore my new

blue/violet windowpane patterned suit and these hand-
made blue lizard skin shoes that I got on quadruple clear-
ance. Afterward, we went home and sat around then ate.
My mom said she was amazed at the change that had come
over Grandma just before she died. She said that one day
she was just sitting around the house in her slippers and
then the next she was up and about and doing things
around the house and in the yard. Everyone was surprised
by the change. No one said anything about anyone being

Mom said that she thought that maybe Grandma knew that
her time was coming. Then mom cried and had to leave the

The next weekend, I went down to help my dad pack up

Grandma's things. Some of it got boxed up to be given to
the church and some of it got thrown away. The lamp went
to the church, but not before I yanked the cord enough to
pull it away from the inside metal. I think. Looking back,
maybe Grandma changed because the lamp gave her con-
trol over when she could end her life. Whether her change
accelerated her death, I don't know. Maybe.

I guess Grandma knew even less about electricity than I



I once self-published a novel, so I am in Books in Print 55as

both an author and publisher. And I never sold one copy of
it. And you don't want to read it, either. But I did all the
typing and editing and layouts myself, so I'm still proud of
it. But no, you don't want to read it. At the time I wrote it, I
thought it would be a bit hit and I paid for a tiny ad in The
New York Times Book Review. Don't ask me to explain my

55 I don’t know if I’m in there any more; I haven’t checked recently.

thinking. Only a few friends have read it.
But since you're here, that was a chapter from the book. It's
one of the few parts I'm not embarrassed to show people.
Because I call the book "the most offensive book in Ameri-
ca." The point of the story is that a guy gets beaten by a
mob attack and becomes famous for using "the n-word"
when asked about it. And then he continues to insult
people by race and gender and ethnicity on talk shows until
he writes his autobiography, which is the novel. It's a fake
autobiography about his thoughts on his fame written be-
fore fake autobiographies were popular.

And no, I never killed my grandmother.

Another thing: the.effing.librarian is actually in a book on

your shelves right now. (Well, in only about 300 libraries.
It's an old book.)

Now don't all go rushing into the stacks together; the re-
sulting effect of everyone reaching for the same book at the
same time could create a reality-shift which transforms us
all into hyper-intelligent globs of protoplasm arguing over
whether the a sound is the same in both Thomas Mann and
Cannes. But a tidbit of effing's earlier nuggets of wisdom
can be found in The New Official Rules by Paul Dickson.
I'm not going to reveal what page(s) because then you will
find out my real name, and that's not why I'm here. But
you can pull the book from the shelf and give a circ and
thus keep it from being discarded. Because like Tinker Bell,
I can only live if you believe.

l a b e ls : t h e . e f f i ng . l i br ar i a n
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

live nude patrons

I don't complain about patrons; this is not that sort of blog.


Patron (in the car, on the phone): How do I get to the li-
Me: Where are you coming from?
Patron: What?
Me: Where are you now? Tell me where you are and then I
can tell you how to get here from there.
Patron: I see houses.
Me: Icy houses? You need to come south.

[a rimshot sounds in the distance. lost in the smoky room,

someone coughs. thank you. thank you, very much.]

l a b e ls : d o n' t q u i t y o ur d a y j o b , p at r o ns

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Books. Words in Books. Your Words in Books.

Hasn't each of you written at least one post that you think
is worthy of preservation in a book?

Doesn't that still feel special, to get your words in a book. It

does to me. I could have one word in a book somewhere,
and I would own a copy of that book and every night I
would open it and run my finger down the page to my quo-
tation where it would say, "Forts," and I'd laugh myself to
sleep at the typo.

In a recent email, I suggested a project about doing a "best

of library blogs 2007: an annual review of the best li-
brary writing on the web blah blah blah." And the more I
think about it, the more I wish I'd thought of it first.

You know what's so good about the idea? Whoever edits it

is guaranteed to have a post included. The idea doesn't
sound so dumb now, huh.

l a b e ls : b l o g g i ng , b o o ks

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Beware Library Posses

So I'm reading this story from The Detroit News: Libraries

used as hangouts anger patrons. And everything is fine un-
til I see this photo56.

I don't want to pick on a library for a typo. And I don't

want to think that the library didn't have any available dic-

56The photo shows a sign that reads, “Posses a library card (to check-
out materials from the library.)”
But I do wonder why Microsoft Word or whatever word
processor they used had the word "posses" in its dictionary
(so that it didn't spot the misspelling). I guess it's a com-
mon word, although I rarely use it. I just opened Word and
typed "possees" and got back suggestions for "posses,"
"poses," "possess," "posies," and "pusses," so "posses" is
part of the default dictionary in Word (meaning it wasn't
added to the custom.dic file on the computer that made
this document). From what I can find, the base Word dic-
tionary has about 99,000 words and the Merriam-
Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition says about
225,000 words, and according to here, the OED 2nd lists
171,000 words in current usage.

So I guess it's not a big deal to misspell possess as posses

and not have your word processor catch it. But it's kind of a
big deal to have a photo of your mistake appear in the pa-
per for everyone to see.

l a b e ls : h u mo r , l i br a r ie s

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Has the Internet done any good?

Here's an argument by two people I don't know, so I will

comment with complete authority on whatever meaning I
imagined they were trying to impart through my usual half-

assed reading.

Andrew Keen v Emily Bell, Is today's internet killing our

culture? 57

Andrew says: "the very idea of cultural authority is under-

mined, meaning that everybody (ie: nobody) can legiti-
mately determine aesthetic standards or truths."

I agree completely. Here is what's wrong with the Internet:

we don't have time for it all. There's too much.

Humans still live for 80 years and there are still only 24
hours in a day, so increasing awareness (such as the Inter-
net does) only dilutes it. Our awareness has become wider,
but shallower. It's simple math. We do not have the time to
care about all the things that are available to us to know
about. In the past, we were told by a very few what to care
about. We have Shakespeare because somebody decided to
collect all the works and bundle them into a folio and
attribute them to Shakespeare. But if we had the Internet
at the time, someone named Waldo or Lucinda might have
survived in place of Shakespeare. And their work could be
greater or inferior, but we still wouldn't have Shakespeare.
Being told what to appreciate allows us to focus and savor,
and even to criticize and to rebel against. Cultural (in fact,
any and all) authority is absolutely essential for keeping a
society alive.

57 Take Two,, Friday August 10 2007.


Emily says:

"What has changed about the world is that it is possible

now to be a professional artist in some fields without nec-
essarily being much better than a number of amateurs -
and this is where the internet is levelling the playing field
and changing the economy."

Do we want that? Everything truly valuable becomes value-

less. If our labors become worthless, soon we will also be
worthless. Andrew argues that he sees a return to a period
when performers will only be able to afford to perform for
private audiences, that their reproducible labor will be
worthless from unrestricted reproductions. I agree.

I don't want culture dictated by the masses. How many

times have you downloaded a crappy video? And it was a
video that had already been download 10,000 or
1,000,000 times. Logic would say that one million down-
loads can't be wrong, but they are, often they f**king are.

So am I supposed to follow the masses, and choose my cul-

tural entertainments based on the crowd? No.

If the Internet is creating a world of no authority and no

guidance, then I don't want it. Take the Internet back. I
said take it back.

As far as Emily and Andrew's argument, Andrew is worried

about the economy regarding professionals and how the
Internet steals from them. He says, "The digital revolution
fatally undermines the value of the copy..." If so, the only
solution to that is to find a way to pay for these copies or
reproductions, much like you might buy that postcard of
that Magritte you like. If the real thing costs $2, charge 2¢
per download and make that charge as a tax against the
ISP of the user, and use that money to pay the artists.

He also says, "Here's my magic bullet. I think we've got to

fight anonymity." And again, I sort of agree.

The Internet is a place. And so far, it's been a place with

few rules. But that's going to change. My guess is that some
countries are going to put more limits on the data that pass
through. The Internet really is the Wild West, and some
towns are gonna make you turn in your guns if you want to
stick around.

l a b e ls : i nt e r ne t

D on’t say I’m not someone you wouldn’t want to work with.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

question: what does the fashionable librarian


answer: animal skins and a chainmail thong. and close-

toed shoes which are required.


(some librarians in NZ got upset 58 when a "style queen"

offered to give some fashion advice during their national

l a b e ls : e f f i ng f a s h i o n , l i b r ar i a ns

Friday, September 14, 2007

is the virtual you better than the real you?

I don't know if you've noticed, but on this blog I'm a stud.

My masculine form is nothing short of breathtaking. And
when I'm in the mood, my chick side is pretty hot, too.
In Second Life, my legs and arms are muscular, turgid
coiled springs and my BMI is nearly 24. My virtual clothes
fit like pixels on sprites (if that's accurate, dunno).

My wiki entries and bookmarks list sites I wish I had the

time to visit. My Facebook and Flickr photos reveal only
my best side (and not the disfiguring scar from that
botched surgery when I wanted to look like Carol Chan-
ning; such a fool I was. Garbo! That's who I should look
like). And now I can record myself as more cultural and
intellectual on Google by listing my google books.


In the Chicago Tribune, Mary Schmich59 wonders, "I might
not remember a word of those plays by Aristophanes -
hmm, did I actually even read them?"

Are we being truthful about our virtual selves? I don't

mean being anonymous or creating fake identities. I mean
when you finally post under your own name, are you listing
your past and present honestly? Are you truthful with
Google? Because it knows if you lie.

I wonder about our virtual selves. Will it be like that Twi-

light Zone where the guy calls home and his duplicate an-
swers the phone? When virtual society finally crosses over
into The Matrix-like complexity, you might find that your
virtual self, the one created from your blog, Facebook, wiki
and Google book identities is already there, with her own
friends and credit score and life. And she might not be too
happy if you try to interfere.

l a b e ls : g o o g le , i nt e r ne t , v i r t u al l i f e

Saturday, September 15, 2007

this page

This blog has taught me to be a little less of an asshole (in

some ways), but, unfortunately, a little more of one in oth-


In general, I'd still like to learn to be more convincingly

thankful and apologetic. I tend to move around not think-
ing that some people might care about what I say.

I really do appreciate my life; I just kinda suck at express-

ing it. I think some people are too busy living their lives to
take the time to show some appreciation. Thank your
friends and family for being around. If you worship some
deity, but thankful for what you've been given. If you wor-
ship me, send me a freakin note. If this blog is your whole
world, then I think I did pretty good freaking job with it.
Say "thank you" once in a while, you ungrateful bastard.
Yeah, you. Don't even try to hide, cause I'll find you, and
I'm gonna kick your ass. You suck.

l a b e ls : t h e . e f f i ng . l i br ar i a n

I received one “thank you” for that post (and one for something
thanks for writing this blog, you cranky asshole, you. (here is
where I would insert an emoticon for a wink or a smirk, if I was
so inclined. Unfortunately/fortunately, emoticons make me
September 16, 2007 12:51 AM

I don’t want to use her stuff without permission, but it was french
panic who wrote that. Just Google “french panic” to find her.
Saturday, September 15, 2007

How Does Online Gaming Affect Social Interac-


Here's something 61 from Jyväskylä, Finland, the heart of

the online gaming community. You, know, because of all
the vikings and trolls and werewolves (hell, I know nothing
about Finland, except that Conan O'Brien is the Presi-

The article said that some online gamers encour-

age or even demand the forming of social groups.

Yeah. Social interaction is a requirement of the action---

you can move though lesser gameplay as a loner, but to ex-
perience the full depth of the environment, you need to
team up.

I remember playing the MQMPAG (multi-quarter multi-

player arcade game, or "mac-kyoo-empag"; see, anyone
can make up this crap) Gauntlet, and I would jump into a
game with three complete strangers and play until my
quarters ran out and then someone else would take my
place. And not once did I ever form a bond or expand my
social network with anyone.

Go to any pool hall or bar with arcade games or pool tables

and see how many people play a game with a stranger just

62 Tarja Halonen acknowledges the resemblance.
to test his skills. No bond is formed, but maybe a beer is

So now, the social interaction is written into the online

game. The designer, that nerd in his mother's basement,
wrote in the interaction so that someone would play with
him. Yeah, you heard me, nerd.

No, my needs for a social network are fulfilled by The Gras-

sy Knoll Knitters.

Me and the girls sit around and sip our cups of Darjeeling
(with a splash of Boodles for inspiration) and knit beanies
for the emo and sk8ter grrls in the hood. Oh, until Shirley
gets up on her high-and-hard and goes on to claim that a
third man was behind that fence in Dealey Plaza, a 7-foot
albino wearing a Clara Bow wig, and Laverne just can't take
it and jams that knitting needle into Shirley's right butt-
cheek. Oh, those are heady times. Heady times, indeed.

l a b e ls : kni t t i ng , ne r d s , o nl i ne g a mi ng

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I'm gonna be a millionaire.

By now you've seen the story that Tom Cruise has optioned
this blog to be made into a major Hollywood motion pic-
ture. The negotiations were complicated because this blog
is an Americanized version of the popular Korean blog,
악마 사서.

In the film, the treatment by Kevin Smith having been re-

jected, the second draft by Shane Black stripped of all co-
herence, and final shooting script penned by Tom himself,
Mr. Cruise, plays Jock Lembeck, the most decorated as-
tronaut at NASA.

Fresh from his recent divorce, Jock is again butting heads

with his teen daughter, Montana (played by the beautiful
Hillary Duff). She's a stubborn, tough-as-nails, French
horn prodigy on her way toward being accepted into the
great Académie de Klaxon Français in Bon-Bon, France. If
only Jock can convince her to dump her tongue-studded,
bass-playing boyfriend (played by the hilarious Topher

When Ace Textar, one of NASA's new breed of "Podsto-

nauts," an iPod wearing, Blackberry texting top gun, gets
sidelined due to a repetitive stress disorder, it's up to Jock,
recently put out to pasture by the current administration,
to save the day.

An asteroid the size of, oh, what's that country? You know
the one...they made a movie about it... Madagascar! That's
it. Is heading right for earth! Who would have thought it
could happen? So Jock pilots the newest NASA rocket, the
one that Jock designed himself but those blockheads in
Washington would never fund until it was almost too late.

The plan is for Jock to land on the asteroid and divert its

path away from earth. But when Jock lands on the surface,
he finds that his very thoughts can form mass and he's be-
come the master of energy and space-time. With this new
found power, Jock has the ability to have anything he's ev-
er wanted. Will the lure of all this power keep Jock from
fulfilling his mission?

Oh, and blogging and librarians are mentioned some-

where around page 34.
Sounds great, huh? Thank God I took the points on the
back end; this thing is gonna make billions.

[ok. this is all fake. don't sue me.] 63

l a b e ls : b l o g g i ng w h i l e ar t a rd ed

Monday, September 17, 2007

Never give the people what they want. Punto.

Nobody wants another breakfast cereal.

Nobody wants a mango-kiwi wine cooler.
Nobody wants 161 different kinds of coffee.
Nobody wants more Howie Mandel.

63Yes, this is made up. I’m sure Tom Cruise would never consider
suing anyone for anything.
We have these things because people really want to be told
what they want. We have these things because of advertis-
ing and promotion.

Libraries need to do a better job of promoting our services

instead of pandering to the whims of the people. Business-
es that do a better job of promotion will have the people
demanding that you buy lots of crap for them.

If our library gave our patrons what they wanted, we would

have one huge standing order for pit bull books, and draw
the anime way books, and porn fiction, and sex tricks your
mom never knew, and gamer programming, and witchcraft
spells to replace all the books the people steal, and lots and
lots of empty plastic cases where the cds and dvds used to

People have never known what they want. never. For proof,
do the New York thing where you look up at a building and
point. Say, "Oh, my God, look at that." (Actually, that prob-
ably worked better, pre-9/11.) And people who otherwise
had very important things they should be doing, will stop,
and look. Because they really didn't want what they
thought they wanted two seconds earlier and this new
thing might be better. Your interest in the non-existent
thing is advertising, and it works.

If people are told to act like animals, they will. If all you
offer at your library is porn on the Internet, then budget for
the inevitable stripper pole, because that's coming next.

The historical social benefit from libraries has been that

people who want to better themselves have a place where
they can go to do it. Why do you want to fuck with history?

Never give the people what they want. Give them what they
need, but tell them it's what they wanted. It's like telling
your mother you want pancakes for breakfast, but she gives
you oatmeal; she knows if you're hungry, you'll eat it.

l a b e ls : d o n' t e f f w i t h h i s t or y , l i b ra r i e s

Here are a couple of those posts that I still think are hilarious,
but I couldn’t explain why to save my life.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Remember, Daddy loves you

Hey, baby. How ya doing? Listen, daddy is just going out

for a while, but I'll be back.

No, no, no. Don't cry. Daddy isn't going anywhere. I'm just
going to the store to get...something for work. I just need
some supplies for work, that's all. No, mommy and
daddy aren't fighting. Sometimes mommies and dad-
dies get loud when they talk, but that doesn't mean they're
fighting. The gun? I know mommy had a gun, but that
doesn't mean anything bad. Yes, it was loud when she shot
me, but that was just a noise, like thunder. And you're not
afraid of thunder, are you? No, of course not. And see,
mommy just shot me through the hand. See, the bullet
went straight through. You can see Barbie through the
hole. Peek-a-boo. Now you see her, now you don't.

OW! What the f-? No, I'm not yelling at you. No, baby, I'm
not mad. Just just just don't put your finger in dad-
dy's hole.

Listen. I need to go out now. Now you go to bed and get

some sleep. I'm just going out and I'll be right back. Yes,
I'm taking all the money out of your curse jar.

l a b e ls : t h e . e f f i ng . l i br ar i a n

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Our little secret.

This is my secret message to you. No, I don't care about

those others; they mean nothing to me. You're the only one
I've ever done this for. I would have given up long ago if it
wasn't for you. Those others think it was for them, but they
never understood me, or knew the real me. It was only ever

You keep me going. Here, I wrote a song for you.

you're my special one - you're why I'm a blogger.

you make me forget that I'm a lonely cataloger.

my special one, we've shared our dreams and lives.

you're the only one I let handle my archives.

I knew you'd like it. I'll see you here again in October. It
will be our secret place. Just me and you. See you then. The
others can go screw themselves. I don't care if they ever
come back. But you're different. This place is our secret
and no one will ever find us. What? Yes, yes, you can be the
town sheriff and I will be the saloon girl. But don't be so
rough next time. You can still see the spur marks when I
wear shorts.

And fyi, my safe word will be shamrock. And don't pretend

you didn't hear it.

l a b e ls : i a m s u c h a n a s s , t h e . e f f i ng . l i b r ar i a n

At some point I quit blogging, but not really. Just so you’re not

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Good News

I'm not back, yet. I suppose for some of you, that's good
news. You can delete my feed from your browser or what-
ever goofy thing you use to get here because I stopped writ-
ing this blog. Yeah, it was in all the papers. But that's not
what I'm talking about.

Do you ever read the news over there on the left? Well, you
should. I know you go to LISNews64 and you read the
blogs, but you should read some of the general news stories
that show up on a basic search for library news.

There's a lot of cool stuff going on out there, not hugely

important stuff, but good stuff nonetheless. There are sto-
ries about retiring librarians looking back at long fulfilling
careers; there are stories about library programs, and new
partnerships and literacy initiatives and book displays.
This is good news. And there's lots of it out there. You
should read it because it's good to be a librarian. It's effing

So, no joke today. I told you, I'm not back. What? You
think I'm here to entertain you? Did you just say, "Dance,
you effing monkey, dance"?

I'm starting to feel like Robin Williams. He has to be the

saddest guy in the world. He keeps trying to be a serious
actor, but people won't let him stop being funny. I could
see him on Leno, at the most serious moment in his life; he
walks out on the stage carrying a sword as if it's an offer-

And Jay says, "So what ya been up to, Robin?"

And Robin says, "I just came back from Heaven where I
had an audience with God. And He told me that I had been
chosen to be His judgement and His vengeance here on

64 is a popular library news blog.

Earth." And the entire audience uncomfortably and simul-
taneously shifts its weight.

Jay senses his audience's unease and tries to prod a joke

from Robin. "What about that scandal with the President?"

Robin raises the sword which bursts into pure, white fire.
"I'm serious," he pleads. "Hear me. I come from the Lord,
your God, to punish the wicked and purify the guilty. With
His sword and His flame, His judgement will be final."

Jay laughs nervously. The feeling of betrayal from the au-

dience is palpable.
Robin senses it, and has a complete change of heart.
"About God. Heaven is so high, that was the only way I
could see Him." He presses his thumb to his index finger
and pantomimes smoking a joint. "Oh, yeah, the Big Guy
has the best shit in the universe."

The audience is laughing. And Jay looks relieved.

"Now you know how to tell that God has a messed-up sense
of humor? He created us, but he put a waste-disposal facili-
ty near the snack bar."

The audience rocks with laughter, even though Robin has

told this particular joke many times.

Slowly the sword's flame dies out as Robin continues his

routine. When it is completely extinguished, he drops it
onto the stage. And deep, deep, down below, Satan can be
heard cackling.

So when I come back, I'll try to be funny. For now, I'm try-
ing to save the freaking planet from total destruction. It
should only take a couple of weeks. Because I'm awesome.

l a b e ls : no t b l o g g i ng u nt i l i t e l l y o u o t h er w i se ,
t h e . e f f i ng . l i br a r ia n

Thursday, September 20, 2007

porn is my life.

We share this common bond, meaning you and me, that we

deal with porn and perverts all day long at our libraries.
We filter, but they get the porn emailed to them. We pro-
vide privacy screens to keep others from viewing the porn,
but they refuse to use them ("I'm not porn stingy: I share
my porn with everyone!").

So recently, we had another branch open with 50 Internet

computers. And we kept telling them, "wait till you guys
open because then you'll know what crap we deal with
every day."

But when they opened, there was no porn.

We ask them about privacy screens, but they don't need

them because there's no porn.
We ask about bypassing the filter when adults want to view
their Constitutionally-protected porn, but they never need
to bypass the filter because no one at their branch looks at


Why do the porn people come here and not go there. Their
building is brand new. They sell Red Bull in the vending

Oh, well. I guess I have to accept that porn at work is going

to be part of my life for a long, long time. And not just on
my birthday cards. There's a woman here, who Photoshop's
The Wiggles into the most offensive positions. When I get
married, she's doing the invitations.
And what are you doing here anyway. I told you I quit. And
look, now I'm up to 100 subscribers.

What do I need to do to get rid of you people?

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i e s , p or n

Friday, September 21, 2007

amazon test for cloudy goodness

I just saw this widget from and I thought it

would be neat to see what products they might recommend
to you based on the content of this blog.

The Internet is starting to freak me out with its intercon-

nectedness. When I tell people in our computer classes that
deleting cookies will help to keep them anonymous on cer-
tain web sites, I'm beginning to think that's no longer true.
Many people now connect through a static IP which can be
logged beyond any cookie transfer, and if your PDA or
phone carries a GPS and you use it to surf, third-party
agreements and complex privacy policies can have compa-
nies tracking (and compiling databases and personalized
usage algorithms?) every moment of your life.

And I need to do my part to help. So I put the Amazon

thingy here to give companies more data. And since this
page is so full of crap, it'll just be gigo 65 misinformation. It
might be a fun experiment, or maybe nothing. But it's free,
and I'll keep it for a few days to see what happens.

l a b e ls : a ma z o n , w i d g e t s

Friday, September 21, 2007

Why free public libraries will disappear

Here's a story about Washington D.C. library "computer


The library has Internet available to the public, with use

limits, but some people have figured out how to get around

65 Garbage in, garbage out.

the limits to stay on the computers all day.

When a “professional” person complained about

the abuse by the homeless and the students, the
librarian told him to go use the Internet at the
copy story down the street.

So the library has 3 main groups of people: two groups of

non-property-tax payers and one group of (presumably)
property-owning and tax-paying professionals. And the
librarian chooses to piss off the one who pays her salary

Or maybe they have other funding. Maybe the big tobacco

companies or or the NRA writes the
checks. I don't know.

A big chunk of our budget comes from local property taxes,

so I try not anger the ones who pay them. Living out of my
1974 Buick LeSabre, and washing my library work clothes
in one of three 5-gallon pickle buckets in my trunk (I won't
tell you what the other two are for), I appreciate that others
own property and are willing to pay for public services. If
you want to be a smartass to someone, do it to the stu-
dents. They have their whole lives ahead of them; they
might as well learn now that it's going to suck. A lot.

l a b e ls : i nt e r ne t , l i b r ar i a ns

Sunday, September 23, 2007

We are what we view

Here are the results of the Amazon widget test thingy:

You might not think this is important, but there's some-
thing here, something Big Brotherish, something that's
going to get bigger in time.

Based on the content from this page, Amazon's widget is

supposed to display relevant products, but it seems to be
stuck on porn because for three days it showed: a book on
Adult Website startups, a dvd for some movie about an
amateur porn star killer, an autographed gay porn dvd, "ski
porn," a porn for women book, a band called the porn
kings, and a motley crue autobiography.

There are other keywords like libraries, computers, NRA,

GPS, and pickles that could have caused Amazon to
change its ads. But it didn't.

Now, whenever I post here, a copy of the post gets sent

back to my Gmail account. And when I open that post,
Gmail applies ads to my mail based on keywords from the
message. And to their credit, the people at Gmail do not
show me any ads for any "porn" items based on my blog
posts. When I open the message for the "Porn is my life"
post, Gmail shows no ads, which is cool. But some of my
other posts return ads for tax-shelters, and jokes and

This is what got me started thinking these deep, deep


Radar Online has a fiction piece called “Scroogled” 67
which includes an exchange between the "author" and the
"customs agent" about keywords in emails generating ad-

You might not think much of this, but adwords are tools
for identification.

Since the United States produces nothing, I think we

stopped making actual products in 1988, we've become a
full-blown ad-based economy. Advertising is being applied
everywhere. Boxers have ads painted on their backs. Sports
scores on television are bordered by tiny logos. Every event
you have attended for the last ten years has had a corporate
sponsor. The fairways and greens at the PGA Nissan Open
are color-keyed within a six percent tolerance for Hex
#009933 (green) and respond with a digital image for the
2007 Z. Tiger Woods' pants are always keyed as #FFFFFF
(true white) so that the Nike logo is always digitally sig-
nalled at the correct angle even while he walks or bends.
(Don't panic; that last part was made up.)

Whatever you search, whatever email you receive, the ad-

words tagged for you, define you as a person. In the past,
you might have received a fifty-cent off coupon for a future
purchase of English muffins that came out of the receipt
printer when you purchased a loaf of bread; and like most
of us, you threw that out without a thought. Maybe if you
paid by credit card, that coupon signaled the bread compa-

ny, who considered contacting the credit card company to
create some partnership. But the effort involved was too
great and the cost too high, so the partnership withered
before it had time to bear fruit.

But now, these adwords promise more to the companies

who use them. The Internet makes this possible; the mas-
sive unconscious, seemingly random clicking of the masses
has been tamed by silicon and mathematics into new
meaning. To Amazon, my site was a porn site (and anyone
who logged into their Amazon account carried the porn
virus with them if they viewed my page). Google, for now,
is blind to my porn habits. But that may be a conscious
choice which can be reversed at any time.

If not now, adwords will soon define who we are.

You'd better make room on your CV:
Education: Whatsamatta U.
Job Experience: Werked in a Liberry.
Most Recent Google Adwords: coffee, bikes, surveys,
hawaii, porn, jobs, magick, analytics, teachers, metal.

I hope you get the job.

[p.s. I'm glad some of you decided to leave and that my

subscribers have gone down... I'm too much of a neurotic
to feel like I deserved all that attention. Now, it's just my
real friends... I love you guys, sniff.]

l a b e ls : a d wo rd s , i nt e r ne t


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Never Trust Anyone Under 30.

Here's more crap I think about. Someone named Sarah

Long wrote this 68:

She wonders about kids who are raised in the digital world.

But here's what I'm thinking: Never Trust Anyone Under


I see librarians in the future divided into several factions.

There will be the "digital kids" who wear their "question
authority" tee-shirts, but buy every new thing they're told
to get; there will be the librarians who sold out and work in
the Coca-Cola Branch of their library; and there will be
"us." We will be the ones who remember the texts before
digitalization and who guard the past for the future.

When the Great Digital Conversion (GDC) happens in 2021

and all paper documents are converted to digital, nobody
will ever know what the originals looked like.

Reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer will look like this:

Tom appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of

Behr whitewash and a long-handled brush. He sur-

veyed the fence, and all gladness left him and a
deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit which
reminded him to take his Cymbalta.

At first, the whitewash from sponsored by Sherwin-

Williams, but Behr won the last bid, so they got the insert.
Possession of the previous version with the Sherwin-
Williams text is a class two misdemeanor.

So future librarians will be modern hippies, pirates, revolu-

tionaries-- whatever you want to call us. And this will be
our lives:

we live by night, scanning for clean terminals. we jack

into slow servers, the forgotten servers, too slow for video.
and that's where we meet. there's me: bartleby, and the
brontes: katherine and phil. and there's ralph e. on the
west side and ishmael (she's a she) up north. we run the
lines for survivors: unaltered texts from personal hard
drives, archived from before the project gutenberg dele-
tion, when all the original files were trashed. and we pro-
tect it all. we have novels, text books, a dos version of
frogger; the original nu aux oranges by matisse; adless
search results in html from hotbot; whatever we can find
that's original and sponsor free.

Join us. We have a hell of a bowling team.

l a b e ls : d i g i t a l i za t i o n , l ib r ar i a ns , t h e f u tu r e o f
l i b r ar i e s


Friday, September 28, 2007

yes, i'm disappointed

Not one of you has signed up for the bowling team. Yes, I
know it won't exist for another 15 years and it's also just in
my imagination, but I gotta reserve the lanes now.

And I had to lock in the team name. And no thanks to you,

I had my mom pick one. The bowling shirts have the cutest
little kitty balanced on top of a bowling ball and it says, The
Alley Cats. It's so precious, it'll make you puke.

FYI: For those of you new to this site and don't understand
what's going on, I can only tell you this: on a good day, you
might read something that's kind of like a prose Zippy
comic with disjointed logic and surreal references that
could only be inside jokes between me and myself.

On a bad day you get posts like this one. And I'm not sorry.
If you visit a site called effing anything, you deserve what
you get. Now go away. I need to watch some TV and steal
ideas from old Snagglepuss cartoons.

l a b e ls : t h e . e f f i ng . l i br a r ia n p r e t e nd s t o b e i m -
p o r t a nt


This post was never published. I intended to draw a Zippy car-

toon with this script:

With apologies to Bill Griffith

The last post referred to this site as a prose Zippy...that's

not really correct. If you read Zippy you know that the illu-
strations are often superfluous since Zippy is pretty clear
on his needs and desires, and he's pretty much all narrative

Once again, Zippy encounters a giant wiener dog

hot dog stand mascot:69

Panel 1.

Zippy: I'm confused about the Emmy's. Critics say I should

lower my opinion of Ryan Seacrest based on his hat size.

Panel 2.

Zippy: Sir, you are no Whoopi.

Panel 3.

Giant Wiener Dog: Forget about Ryan Seacrest. Embrace

your inner Bert Convey.
Zippy: Thank you, Giant Wiener Dog. Zippy out!

69 The comic strip would have appeared here.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Our library campaign

I've been noticing more and more stories about libraries

trying to change their image by abandoning the shhh. No
more shushing patrons in those libraries.

Our library adopted that policy a few years ago. We didn't

drop the shhh all together, but we modified it to fit our cus-

Now, we say, Shhhit, Fool. Let me show you how to do

that. 70

It seems to apply to almost any situation, from using the

copier to tearing pages out of the legal forms books.

We've branded all of our signage with the "Shhhit, Fool"

logo. Let us know what you think!

Wait, did I say this was our official library policy? If by

"official" I mean "secret" and "that I just made up," then
yeah, that's what I said.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i e s , s tu f f i ma d e u p

70 The logo is out there on the blog, but it doesn’t look that good.
October 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It might seem like I'm back, but I'm not.

There's still an emptiness in my spirit, in my soul.

Yesterday, a pretty young woman asked for a book on

pregnancy, and with my characteristic feigned enthusiasm,
I swatted the keyboard to kill the usual amount of time be-
fore walking her to the six-eighteens.

(ok. you're right. that was gross. so I deleted it.)
ok, I'm a pansy for deleting it. i shouldn't let readers con-
trol my writing (based on the article here that i haven't fi-
nished reading) -- so here is the delete text, but in white, so
you need to drag over it to see it.

The following text was in white on the blog, and pretty much
invisible unless you selected it.

And when I handed her one of those, your pregnancy,

minute-by-minute books, I casually mentioned that we
have a "don't let scabies eat your babies" book. "Hmm,
where is that? Did you know that your unborn little slacker
in there can get scabies. It's because I didn't wash my
hands. And the temperature inside you is the perfect incu-

bator for the little buggers." And the look of horror on her
face when she dug into her purse to find the bottle antibac-
terial schmootz, reminded me how much my Colgate-
Palmolive and Johnson & Johnson stocks have appreciated
this year and how that will help my retirement. And maybe
her little brat can absorb that fear right through her blood-
stream and clean his hands 100 times a day after he's been
spawned. Cha-ching! Man, those margaritas, rocks, no salt,
aren't just going to buy themselves.

Now we’re back to normal text. I thought the above “joke”

was too mean or gross or something and beneath my usual
hilarious level of quality. But then I realized that there never
was any quality.

Normally I would smile and feel my spirit soar like the

great eagle. But it only hopped like the tiny frog. I don't
know what's wrong, but I need help.

So help me. Help my tiny frog to become a great eagle,


l a b e ls : no t b l o g g i ng u nt i l i t e l l y o u o t h er w i se ,
p a t r o ns

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I need my Library 1.0

Here is what my memory cube tells me I need to do today:

Post Nov. calendar on web page and update sche-


Do Stats!

Finish email. (I answer email reference for our library

system. Yes, the whole thing, but it's not a lot of work.)

Submit application for mentoring. (I have been asked

to mentor another professional librarian to help guide
him/her on her path to enlightenment; HaHaCough!)

Print posters for branches.

And that doesn't include my usual 3 hours on the Refer-

ence Desk.

So, yeah, Library 2.0 is great stuff, but Library 1.0 is still
kicking my ass.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar y 1 . 0 , l i br ar y 2 . 0

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I think everyone should see The Paper Chase 71. It's not re-
ally related to my point, but sorta. It's a movie about law
students and it came out in 1973 and there ain't one freak-
ing computer in it. It's interesting to see how much of our
world was established without computers or any electronic
devices. People met in person 1 or 2 times a week and
things got done. Nobody needed to text anyone 37 times to
finalize a plan.
Almost every law, every test case for every decision was es-
tablished prior to 1940. The whole world was settled prior
to 1940. On paper.

Yes, I know that the world is growing and continually

changing blah blah blah, but so many good ideas came to
us without a single electron sparking a single phosphores-
cent molecule on a computer screen.

How many devices do I need now to express an idea to

another individual?

And here's another thought about digitalization: an almost

infinite quantity of documentation can be accessed using
computers; “almost infinite” in that more is being
processed all the time.

Now, I don't know about you, but before the Internet, I

would search 4-5 books for an answer and do a quick scan
of the Reader's Guide, and I was done with my searching.
Whatever I found by the end of that search was what the
patron got. Seriously, who the hell has time to review hun-

dreds of thousands of documents? Now, when I search for
something, someone always comes along behind me and
searches the net again and says, "but did you find this?"

To participate in today's world, I need an account here, but

I also need an account there. I need a login name, a screen
name, and a password. I need to keep my accounts active. I
need to update my account if my information changes. I
can finish a phone call in 80 seconds, whereby one or more
queries are received and one or more responses fulfilling
the queries are given. A similar series of questions and res-
ponses might take 11 minutes using an electronic "chat"

For all the time the modern world claims to save us, I have
less time to enjoy the pleasures of it.

Paper is my friend. I could lose a 500 page electronic file

with a mouse click, but I'd never lose it's print counterpart.

The only time I ever lose a sheet of paper is when I take an

office memo and accidentally on purpose wipe my ass with
it. Which is every day. Sorry, can I get another copy
of that?

l a b e ls : p a p e r

Thursday, October 4, 2007

You're allowed to comment on old shit

Go ahead. Every comment gets emailed to me, so I'll see
it.72 So if you read something from a few weeks back and
you want to let me know what you think, do it.

This isn't like a newspaper where you might seem crazy if

you wrote today to the New York Times about their edi-
torial of March 15, 1860:

"Your thought-provoking comments on Monsieur

Thouvenel's statements on the state of the Euro-
pean nations has provided me with quite an event-
ful evening of enlightened discussion with my col-
leagues, each of us pederasts and debauchers. An
earnest thanks to you."

Write that kind of stuff here and you'll fit right in.

l a b e ls : c o mme nt s , l e t t e rs w e g e t le t t e rs

Saturday, October 6, 2007

it's a George Carlin world

A while back, the fire alarm in the library went rogue and
summoned the fire dudes.
While I watched the front door, a woman arrived with her

72 Go and visit the web page and send me a comment now. If this is
the future when you’re reading this, then you probably have wi-fi built
right into your pants.
son and tried to enter the building. When I told her that
she couldn't come in, she asked, "Why?"
"The fire alarm went off and they're checking the
"But I'll just be a minute."
"No. There's nobody allowed inside the building."
"Because they're still checking the building."
"Because the building is ON FIRE!"

Ok, the building probably wasn't on fire. But I wasn't al-

lowed inside, so nobody else is allowed inside. Especially a
woman and her kid. Was what she had to do so important
that she would wander around an empty building with
nobody there to help her and possibly be surrounded
by flames??? And with her kid. These days nothing is dan-
gerous. Nothing is forbidden. And that will be our down-
fall. Even Frankenstein's monster (yes, the movie version),
an undead creature composed of decomposing flesh and
with an abby normal brain, knew that fire was bad.

I don't think I've ever been comfortable with my place in

the world. I've often been comfortable with my place in
bed, on the barstool, and sometimes at work, but never in
the world.

I worry that the Assholes have found me. To be honest,

they found me a long time ago, and I did my best to keep
from their view. But they seem to be back with new vigor. I
don't know if people have gotten stupider or if I've become

like a Dean Koontz character who inherited some hyper-
sensitive sight that spots all the Asshole people.

A few days ago, a guy gets his bike stolen from in front of
the library because he didn't lock it. While I was outside
looking for clues of the crime (don't ask why; he called af-
ter the theft and asked me to look), another guy parked his
bike and did not lock it. "Hey, hey, hey," I said. "Somebody
might take your bike if you don't lock it to something." And
I told him about the bike that was just stolen. But he as-
sured me that he was more clever than a thief and he
wrapped his cable lock around his bike to make it look like
it was locked.

Don't ask me to explain this. By this time, my brain had

ceased talking to me, with me looking for stolen bike clues
and watching a guy wrap a cable around his bike to make it
appear to be locked. My brain doesn't think I'm doing a
very good job of protecting it from witnessing stupid shit.
It helped me get through library school and look at the
thanks I've shown it; I work at the public library where my
job continually forces me to throw out all logic and submit
to the whims of some of the, ummm, nicest, taxpaying
good-hearted library patrons (I think my boss is reading
this). So, no, my brain doesn't talk to me very much any-

You know, on second thought, what if this behavior is the

best that the Assholes have to offer? Maybe they're doing
the best that they can, and I'm just missing the message. In
an Asshole World, behaving like a total asshole would be
the highest compliment.
So what's my role in this? If I find myself in the presence of
an Asshole, how should I behave? Is being polite to them
the same as rudeness to us? How much of an asshole do I
need to be back to them to show my appreciation? Because
I can do it. I can be a Total Asshole. If that's what it takes. I
think I'll start right now.

l a b e ls : a s s h ol e s , l i br ar i e s

Here is a post that made it onto a legitimate news site. And it’s
still there today.73

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Playing Scrabble with Shakespeare

There's a song out that I hate, and I just had to Google the
lyrics to find out that it's "Girlfriend" by Avril Levine. I'm
sure it's a fine song for all the kids to dance to, but this is
what makes me nuts:

In a second you'll be wrapped around my finger

'Cause I can, 'cause I can do it better

That double "cause I can" drives me crazy. Because Avril is

a literary genius and I think that she could have come up

with something else, anything else, to fill that beat.

Does Avril stutter? Is it bad for me to hate a song that

might be about a girl with a speech impediment? What
other reason is there? It's three lousy syllables. I've heard
the song maybe twice, but it makes me think that she loses
her train of thought and forgets what's she's going to say
then realizes that it's going to be hard to rhyme with "fin-
ger;" um, zinger, flinger, Corporal Klinger, so she gives up
and says some nonsense.

It's like when I took the English class and we read a poem
where the author (maybe Keats) used the word "pelf" to fill
the rhyme with "self."
I said, what the hell is pelf?
Pelf comes from Old French pelfre, "booty, stolen goods." 74
It is related to pilfer.

Okay, it's a word, but it's damn suspicious if you ask me. It
makes me think that all those old poets just made up stuff
when it suited them. And getting to the title of this, I'd hate
to be playing Scrabble with Shakespeare.

William: K-L-O-N-G.

Time-travelling Me: Dude, klong is not a word. You can't

just make up words.

William: Ahem.


Thou mayest shake thy fist in pro-test.
Thy shouts may ring ere long.
Not four nor five nor six days of rest.
Wilt thouest quit till klong.
There, now it's a word. It means a week, a whole week long.
Klong. Triple-word score. Take that! I win. I'm Shakes-
peare, motherfucker.

l a b e ls : l a ng u a g e , s ha ke s p e ar e

Thursday, October 11, 2007

the banality of chit-chat

So I've been watching some of the new television shows

and I've decided that I don't care any more. I'll still watch
The Office and Monk, but I don't care much about anything

I think it's because I've had my fill of meaningless chit and

pointless chat. I tried to watch The Bionic Woman, but her
puny arguments with her sister are driving me to drink.
More. And on a school night. I felt this way last year with
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip; it was just people talking at
each other like they were conscious of the audience listen-
ing (until the audience stopped and the show was can-

I used to think the dialogue in How I Met Your Mother was

clever, but now it bores me. What happened to shows like
M*A*S*H (the early years) and Moonlighting and Buffy,
The Vampire Slayer? I feel good about Pushing Daisies,
but it's only been a few shows, so we'll see if they can keep
up the clever banter. I think that's the key; I want to hear
clever banter that feels natural for the show.

"But the characters are just like you," I can hear the televi-
sion network publicist cheering. Really. If I wanted to
watch characters just like me, I'd look for a show where the
protagonist puts on a cape and crams his giant ass into a
pair of Batman Underoos and jumps from the couch to the
love seat and back and forth until he falls down and bangs
his head on the coffee table.

Do you have a show like that?

l a b e ls : t e l e v i s i o n

Friday, October 12, 2007

Library Conspiracy - The Movie

Starring: Denzel Washington as Dexter Crane, MLS, MFS

(librarian and forensic scientist), and Dennis Miller as the
Expositional Eunuch.

(I think there was an interview where Dennis said all his

roles were as expositional eunuch whereby the hero would
bounce theories off him, and Dennis would respond: "You
think there's some person/company out there that's kill-
ing/burning/destroying/ these tenements/libraries/nuns?
That's crazy." And he never has a relationship and some-
times gets killed or just disappears... ah, here is the
source... 75)

In one possible future.

As the social reform movement expanded to include libra-
ries, more and more library buildings were being used as
homeless shelters during and after hours ("after all, what
good is a closed building when it could be used for helping
the homeless") and librarians were being "reeducated" to
support the new movement.

But as libraries were being reformed into "social network-

ing" places, complete with condom distribution, clean
needle exchange, private video and meeting booths, show-
ers, free food kitchens, and medicinal marijuana clinics,
the public perception of libraries was growing darker.

Until one day a homeless man is found murdered, his

naked body displayed in a bizarre contortion, his hand
clutching a Fodor's Amsterdam. "Personally, I prefer
Lonely Planet," Dexter mused.

As Dexter delves deeper into an ever-expanding conspira-

cy, he confides his theories to EU, to which EU responds:

News of Los Angeles (CA) July 28, 1995 Author: Janet Weeks Daily
News Staff Writer
"You think there's some company out there that's killing
nuns, I mean the homeless. That's crazy."

But Dexter was sure. His training as both a library scien-

tist and a forensic scientist told him there was a connec-
tion. He just had to find. And that meant he would spend
the day Googling for answers.

Imagine a company pushing an agenda to make libraries

tools of social reform, but their ultimate goal is destroy
the traditional mission of libraries so that they can move
in and privatize all the libraries in the country so that they
will be run under their rules and not by librarians.

This is what Dexter imagined. "Imagine an unabridged

dictionary pressing down on a human face, forever," he
paraphrased. "Someone has to do something to stop it.
And that someone is me. As soon as I get back from lunch.
Today's soup is cream of chicken with wild rice."

l a b e ls : c o ns p i r a c y t h e o r ie s , de nze l , l i b r ar i a ns

Friday, October 12, 2007

FBI violates rights, says lawyer

A lawyer complained that his “accused” terrorist client had

his rights violated when FBI agents looked at a public li-

brary computer to view the history that the “accused”
scumbag visited.76

Ok. Umm. I don't know how to explain this, but viewing

the history on a computer is what everyone does. If the li-
brary didn't use some administrative setting to flush the
history and cookies between users, then all history is fair
game. This is not a violation of privacy by the government.
This is a function of people who are too stupid to delete
their history and a position of the library that the history
and cookies are not important enough to delete between

Kids don't understand the Internet, and now lawyers and

worse still, accused terrorists don't understand how the
Internet works. Browser history, cookies and temp files are
the same as garbage; again, IANAL, but legally, they should
be the same as garbage.

You need to watch what the hell you're doing on the Inter-
net. And if you don't log out of your email and someone
else is able to access your mail, it's not their fault that you
are an idiot. And it's not their fault that read your mail. Or
that I used your account to send threatening messages to
George Clooney. Damn your handsomeness, George Cloo-

l a b e ls : i nt e r ne t , l i b r ar i e s , s t u p i d it y


Saturday, October 13, 2007

nekkid ladies reading

l a b e ls : b o o ks , re a d i ng

Yes, there was a post here, but it isn’t any more interesting than
“nekkid ladies reading.”

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Why 2.0 is a pain in the ass

This is either about 2.0 stuff, or it's a pointless rant. You

tell me.

Library 2.0 is a pain in the ass because the Inter-

net/wireless/cell phone is a pain in the ass.

Here is a traditional library/customer transaction: The cus-

tomer arrives at the library and requests some information.
The library person searches the library or her brain and
presents that information to the customer. The customer
leaves and the library person goes back to eating popcorn
or playing solitaire or tattooing Keith Haring babies on a

This continued for millions of years. With the minor varia-

tion that some libraries would package information and
pay some postage to have it sent to the customer through
the mail.

Later the transaction included using telephone lines, so

people would call the library for information. This new
technology expanded the possible customer request to in-
clude demands for rush service, since the customer was too
busy or important to visit the library in person. The library
could decide to fax or not to fax.

With the arrival of the Internet, libraries now had to decide

how much or how little service to offer to their customers.
Email, chat, Web searching, online databases, gopher serv-
ers, Usenet, freaking everything was now available, if it was
online. I remember back in 1995, downloading a Mac arc-
hived (zipped) file from a Unix server through a telnet
connection (or that's what I remember doing -- who the
hell knows; you just kept typing until you got the file).

But now the resources and formats and transfers are vir-
tually unlimited. If your library's mission is to utilize the
latest technology to satisfy customer requests, then how do
you decide which technologies to use?

Can you go to and print out what's

there and fax it to me?
Can you scan that and email it to me?
Can you give me a list of all the dvds in your library?
Can you convert that to a pdf and email it to me?
Can you download that file to my flash drive?
Can you upload my resume?
Can you burn that to a cd/dvd for me?
Can you find me everything you can about Whangdoodle
and print it and mail it to me?

If you never faxed, will you scan and then email? Do you
decide what you will do based on time, or on money?

In some ways I want to see the privatization of public libra-

ries. Because I want to know what the real dollar value of
my knowledge is. (But on the other hand, how can I trust
the private sector to pay me what I'm worth. And I'm not a
good salary negotiator.)

I don't think librarians refuse service based on anything

but fairness. If you arrive at my library, I will help you until
I feel that you're being abusive. As a free public servant, I
put limits on how much you can get from me. Some people
think this is a characteristic of a bad attitude. But how can
it be? If the customer asks a question and I give an answer,
I should expect that the customer will act on this new in-
formation. If the customer continues to ask questions, re-
gardless of how few customers are in the library, am I
wrong to cut him off even though I'm still here and availa-
ble and being paid the same salary? Obviously, the custom-
er wants to kill two birds with one stone, but what about
the customer who wants eight or fifteen birds? Do you
identify this behavior as abusive? And if so, do you do any-
thing about it?

Do you provide any and all services available to your cus-

tomers regardless of how much time the service requires or
how much cost in supplies (paper, long distance calls,

So 2.0 opens the door to so many opportunities, and by

opportunities I mean problems. Libraries hate to say "No."
But in the past, saying no was easy because it came out as,
"we don't have that" or "that's not available." I'm a huge
proponent of librarians continuing to learn, but I also be-
lieve that we (the library) should be compensated for our
work. If the private sector charges $80 an hour (last news-
paper I checked charges $40 per half-hour) for research, is
there a point when the library should charge for research?

I know I'm paid to be at my job. Regardless of my work-

load, I get paid the same. Whether I'm eating a box of En-
tenmann's chocolate doughnuts, or photocopying all the
pharmacies in Atlanta from the yellow pages, I still make
my ten bucks (or whatever; I said I'm a bad salary negotia-
tor) an hour.

So if I have a reason for this it might be because the Inter-

net has changed what libraries can do to serve their cus-
tomers. In the past, there was a definite point when the re-
search ended and the customer was satisfied that all avail-
able resources had been tried. But today, where is that
point? And even, should there be a point?

l a b e ls : l i b r ar y 2 . 0

About here is where I should make some comment about that

last post. But is there anything I didn’t say? Fuck, you people
are needy. Let me just get back to copying and pasting.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More of why 2.0 is jealous of us and wants to kill


First of all, holy crap! The State Department of the United

States of America has a web site that's not about scaring
the crap out of Americans who want to visit foreign lands?
I swear, all I thought their site would say is, "Americans,
Everything Wants to Kill You." And then tell you all
the shots you need to survive stepping even one foot out-
side of our borders.

But no, they have lots to tell us that doesn't involve Infec-
tious Diseases, Pandemic Influenza, Foot & Mouth Disease,
or Chemical/Biological/Nuclear Incidents, and one of
those things is that books are okay.

There's an article this week about Nancy Pearl77 (the mod-

el for the library action figure with super-shushing pow-
ers), "Information access is vitally important, but it is only
part of what a library does," Pearl said.

Everyone says how libraries need to go to the people, to

push content and feed their programming, and to open

their websites to public comments, but there's always
another opinion that says to not forget the basics.

“More programs, book discussions, poetry readings, politi-

cal discussions -- all those can bring people into the li-
brary,” Pearl said.

We see people using MySpace and Facebook in the library

every day; this proves that people want social interaction.
They want to talk to people and they want to share with
people. They might not want those things from librarians,
but that's a chance we'll have to take.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i e s , l ib r ar y 2 . 0

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Old librarians never die, they just get discarded.

Based on some research or something, 78 people like to use

search engines. According to the numbers, they search and
search and search, millions and millions of times a day.

On the most basic level, people feel satisfaction when they

enter some search terms, like bison and orgy and get back
some results. Oh, I'm so clever, those people think, because
I put two words together and found all this stuff.


And those people think librarians are idiots because when

they come into the library talking about bison orgies, we
tell them we can't find anything in the library about that.
You must be an idiot, the people think, because I just went
to Google and typed that in and found all sorts of stuff.

We have a woman who calls all the time and does this exact
thing. "Robert," she'll say (to someone named Robert, since
that's not me) "type in 'the magistrations of love.'" And
"Robert" will type it in and find nothing, and when he tells
her that, she becomes a little sad.

But this is the most important thing: Robert doesn't find

nothing; he finds nothing relevant to his understanding of
his customer's request. He probably found a hundred
crappy links.

Librarians understand that finding one million results

might still mean we found nothing related to the request.
Librarians are that fucking smart! But the library custom-
ers (bless their little hearts), think that one million results
are better, in every single way, than fifty results.

More is more.

Dennis Miller 79 said, two of shit is still shit. But where is

Dennis now? The world has forsaken his pithy wisdom for
a double helping of turd stuffing.

79Remember Dennis as the Expositional Eunuch back in the Library

Conspiracy – The Movie post? Yeah, same guy.

People love searching because the search tool never judges.

Since the goal of the search tool is to show ads, the custom-
er is guaranteed to find something, anything. For example,
I just googled the keywords, masterlink gorge lambchop
toboggan hero polygon timeshare, and still got a hit.
But in the evil library, we often send customers away emp-
ty handed. We should learn from the search tools and al-
ways give them something, anything. Every information
desk should keep a paperback copy of how to make balloon
animals or Dave Barry advice or a dvd of Le Déclin de
l'empire américain . And we can smile and hand them that
thing that can fill their time until they die. Because that's
all anyone really wants.

Sweet, sweet death, where all our fines are waived.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i e s , se ar c h i ng

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Did your library buy any of these?

I mention several books here that I am legally required to never

mention again, so I will block out the series name in the next
paragraph, just so you know that’s what I did and that you’re
not suddenly suffering from some ocular disease where all the
letters turn into Xs.

Amazon has this for a description: "The XX XXXX XXXXX
are the antidote to blah technical references that can poi-
son women’s enthusiasm for technology topics."

I just want you to know that, as a female, I agree that bor-

ing computer manuals have always held me back from be-
coming tech-geeky. That's why I keep sheets of Hello Kitty
and Strawberry Shortcake and Spice Girls stickers around
to girl-up my gear. For example, my All-in-one Microsoft
Office guide has a big image of Bubbles (from The Power-
puff Girls) on it, because she's like, my patron goddess, be-
cause I can be really sensitive like her, but I can also be re-
ally tough.

So now I love that a publisher is finally trying to attract me

by making books pretty. Because what's the point of work-
ing in the library if it can't be beautiful and sweet and cool.
If only the whole world could be pink and smell like cotton
candy and be soft like puppies.

l a b e ls : b o o ks

Monday, October 22, 2007


This guy 80 says that public libraries should be subject to

the same free-market forces as other businesses; offer

goods and services at competitive costs and provide good
customer service to ensure repeat business. WTF?

This is the problem with the world. Everything is based on

economics. What's the cost-benefit ratio of a librarian? I'm
sure it sucks. What's the cost-benefit ratio of a lawyer? It
sucks more, but who's going to take on lawyers. So let's at-
tack librarians. Some poor bastards (bastardesses?) who
just want help others find information. And not starve
while doing it.

This (I just had to delete all the Cartmanesque 81 refer-

ences I used to describe him) university student (hey, why
do we have so many professions teaching in universities?
Let's put all the instruction on the Web for one-tenth the
cost) bases his theories on video rental stores and how the
free market offers consumers low costs and endless variety.
Hey, the free market is $90 a barrel oil! The free market is
child labor in Asia! The free market is people like you who
don't want to pay taxes that support libraries.

Let's privatize roads, so each one-mile stretch will have

another toll booth for some other company to get their cut.
Let's privatize cops so you can get your credit score rated
before they decide to show up.

Then he finishes with the statement that the free market

has always been good for children.

81Eric Cartman, the fat kid on South Park who curses almost as much
as me.
No. Free libraries have been good to children. The free
market puts them in factories and whore houses.

Libraries are free because society needs them to be free. So

that everyone gets a chance to come through the front
door, equally. Try getting half our patrons through the
front door of most businesses. And we do this for about
$150 a year in taxes. And Blockbuster and Netflix are $18 a
month. I think that's more. Add in book rental fees, Inter-
net access, print and online newspapers, magazines and
reference sources, directory assistance, legal forms, and
guess what? Maybe you're right. Maybe we need the free
market to step in so the public can know just how much
money they save with free libraries. Thanks for the educa-
tion, dude.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i e s

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Knowledge by Consensus: A historical perspective

[note: this is sort of a continuation of this: What's Right or

Wrong with Wikipedia? (June 2007)]

You know I'd do anything for you guys, so last night I time-
travelled back to see a version of Wikipedia from long ago.

Yeah, now I know I could have just used the Wayback Ma-

chine,82 but I didn't think of it last night, okay? Besides, the
time travel was way cooler.

The only problem is, that before I left, we were all unicorns
living in a world of peace and harmony. So I must have
disrupted something in the fantasy-alchemy-reality-time-
space (or farts) continuum, but this isn't so bad, right?

Wikipedia in the year 1200

The World

This page is currently protected from editing until disputes

have been resolved.

orbis terrarum est campester

orbis terrarum est rotundus

il mondiale Ÿ piatto

il mondiale Ÿ rotondo

The World, she is round.

The World is Flat.

82 allows you to see archived versions of web

Maybe I'm just too much of a fan of hero mythology be-
cause I usually believe that everyone else is wrong, and one
person will rise up to save us. And that person is me, ob-

l a b e ls : f a r t s , w i ki p e d i a

Friday, October 26, 2007

I blog. Therefore, I am nothing.

I can get really emotional sometimes. I try to remain calm

because I'm aware of this defect. So I'm usually calm, calm,
calm, calm, crazy motherfucker, calm, calm.

It's like that Jurassic Park movie when Jeff Goldblum talks
about the oohing and the aahing, but then comes the in-
evitable running and the screaming. My goal when writing
for this page is to keep the oohing, minimize the scream-

So I don't write about issues. Or dumb patrons. Those are

real-life things that can make me crazy. So I try to avoid
them to stay sane. Think calm flowing waters. Think Tele-
tubbies. Think Zamfir, master of the pan flute. Ahhh.

So I'm really glad you blog issues. I have professional views

on what's appropriate for kids to read and I have personal
views on how people should behave in the library, but I try
not to express them here. Here, I make up crap that helps
me to express general philosophical views.

But all you guys who blog on real issues, work issues; keep
it up. And thanks for coming here to watch this monkey
dance. Now throw me a freaking quarter, or I'll bite your

l a b e ls : b l o g g i ng

Friday, October 26, 2007

Why I am a slave.

I deleted the quote from Everything is Miscellaneous by David

Weinberger which said, information should be given to users to
allow them to find the value. Smart companies should allow this
free labor to create new uses for their data.

And that is why I am a slave. Companies are letting me do

all the work for free while they increase market share by
becoming more visible.

It's like when kids started wearing t-shirts with company

logos on them, and I'd ask if the company paid them to
wear and advertise their product, and the kid said, no, I
just like the shirt. It didn't seem like a big deal, but it's
evolved into another aspect of them against us. The corpo-
rations slowly conditioned us to accept our role. Sure, they
might pay a celebrity to wear a corporate logo, but millions
of us do it for free.


The companies own the tools and trademarks, but say, look
how cool this is, and then we play, and they get rich.

This is not some paranoid conspiracy. This is just the truth.

And there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Facebook 83 was just valued at 15 billion dollars. Why? Be-

cause people use it. And people populate the site with per-
sonal data. There is the value. But how do the users share
in those billions? The billions that couldn't exist without
them? Do the billions in any way relate to the utility? Is
Facebook a better product today than it was last year?
Search engines are the same way. If Google is worth 185
billion, again, most of that is from current and future reve-
nue based on people using the search engine and viewing
ads, the shareholders gain from that; but what of the users.
You could argue that the quality of the product is the bene-
fit to the users, but is that really a satisfactory answer? The
Internet exists with or without Facebook or Google and the
other search tools. I don't need a search tool to find eBay or
Overstock; I saw the ads on TV.

As librarians, as experts in information retrieval, I can see

why everyone thinks we are unnecessary, that they can
make sense of this disorderly "digital pile" of data them-
selves. Disorder is just as natural as order, so most people
think order is just as easy as disorder. But the Internet is
like a game of 52 Pick-Up; it's like a thousand games of 52
Pick-Up. Disorder is too easy. One of the ideas from the

83 Facebook is MySpace for older kids.

book seems to be that from this seeming disorder, will
come order. And I don't doubt that. But I have little faith
that any of us will see the same benefits that the informa-
tion holders will.

The new world of digital data has no logical place with no

definite location. Is this information? People are free to tag
this data however they wish, without experts restricting
how the data are categorized. But people are lazy. A search
for DSCF0001, a generic identifier for a digital picture,
turns up over 150,000 items. So people are not renaming
their digital photos with any significant file names. How
many more people are tagging their photos with "fun" or
"omfg"? And that doesn't account for all those who can't
spell. And even with a free spellchecker such as the one
built in to this text editor, I let misspellings slip.

One part of that video shows the line, "together we created

more information than the experts." But do we own it?
Without the search tools, will you ever be able to find it?
Information has become a true commodity, and the value
of that commodity, unlike traditional commodities, relies
on it being endless. Information is no longer just valuable
because only a few people know it, but also because many
access it. What are we paid for this labor?

I'm not saying this for nothing; people need experts. If

there is no future for librarians, will I become some kind of
techno-terrorist raiding the world's information archives?
"Information needs to be free," we will cry, "and if it will
not be free, we will destroy it." I think there's a novel in
there somewhere.

I haven't read that book, yet, but I wanted to get some of

my ideas out so I wouldn't forget them. And anyway, this is
a blog with no pretense at being anything except my own
crazy thoughts. You don't come here for enlightenment;
you can go pretty much anywhere else for that. You come
here because you thank God you're not me. And you come
here for the pie.84

l a b e ls : p a r a no i d r a nt , s la v e r y , t he d i g i t a l w o rl d

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Real Question. Fake Answer.

Q: You carry The Futurist. Do you have any other maga-

zines like that?

A: How like that?

Q: Magazines that predict the future?

FA: We have TV Guide. It tells what will be on TV all next

week. It's amazingly accurate.

l a b e ls : f a ke a ns w er , r ea l q ue s t i o n

84 Today’s pie is strawberry-rhubarb. Yum!


Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Effing Librarian answers the mail.

Hey, effinglibrarian, you never complain about your li-

brary? Where do you work? Maybe I want to work there.

Hey, don't think because the effing librarian don't bitch

(excuse my French) and moan about the workplace, we
don't got no problems. We got problems. The kids that
come in here, you can't even tell the boys from the girls
with the long hair and the bisexual clothes. And that music,
if that's what you call it. Don’t no one listen to The Mills
Brothers no more?

And get this: the place is filled with women, you know, la-
dies. Who knew. You ever work with a bunch of gals? Then
I don't have to tell you. Sheesh. The plus side, the men's
room is always empty.

I didn't think there were gonna be so many ladies working

here. This place is filled with big heavy shelves of books,
computers, puppets... hey, don't laugh about the puppets.
You ever have a big Folkmanis golden retriever fall on your
head? Yeah, it ain't so funny when it happens. And no, I
didn't scream. I was just surprised, is all. You'll be laughing
out the other side of your face when it happens to you.

So all in all, this place ain't so bad. So if you think you got

what it takes, sure, I can put in a good word for you. Me
and the boss are just like that.85

l a b e ls : a d v i c e , e f f i ng ma i l

Monday, October 29, 2007

Why the Internet sucks, part 1000

Ok. So here's me searching for Saw4 and code because I

liked the first three Saw movies and I wanted to view the
hidden "see what I see" clip from their website. And the
first site in the Google list is, YouTube - SAW 4 CODE
CRACKED ON WEBSITE! And I thought, cool, now I'll see
the hidden video.

Now before you watch this video,86 don't. Don't watch it

unless you want more evidence that the Internet is just a
huge waste of time because some of the people who use it
are morons. If you just want to see the hidden video on the
Saw 4 site, click this link 87 and enter 1026 by clicking the
number pad on the screen.

85 I’m this finger here, the middle one.

86 If you have trouble viewing the video in this book, you might need
to upgrade your Flash player.
87 The link is probably dead, but it was:
I think it took me 26 words to tell you how to view the hid-
den video. The completely pointless video here,88 takes
about 5 minutes to do the same thing. What's really funny
is that the kid who posted this video could probably hack
my entire life in 22 seconds and steal every penny out of
my bank account, but he doesn't seem to understand even
basic communication skills. Like remember some of the
early PowerPoint presentations you saw where the presen-
ter had bullets flying in from every corner of the screen and
letters rained down from the ceiling? Some people pursue
technology for its own sake; they'll burn 1,000 trees to
send one text message.

All I wanted was the code, not a five minute step by step
procedure for looking at a web site.

l a b e ls : i nt e r ne t , w h y t h e i nt e r ne t s u c ks

November 2007

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Librarians Opposed to Surveillance Lack Catchy


from The Washington Post 89:

"Hell No, we won't let use of the collections, print or elec-

tronic, communications on library servers and computers,
be subjected to surveillance unless the courts have autho-
rized it!"

"Hell No, we won't let use of the collections, print or elec-

tronic, communications on library servers and computers,
be subjected to surveillance unless the courts have autho-
rized it!"

"Hell No, we won't let use of the collections, print or elec-

tronic, communications on library servers and computers,
be subjected to surveillance unless the courts have autho-
rized it!"

As a 1960’s style protest chant, t just doesn't have the right

rhythm, you know.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i e s , p r i v a c y

Monday, November 5, 2007

What's in your nerd bag?

I have a "nerd bag." It's what I take with me when a friend

calls for computer help. I like my nerd bag: it's like a heavy

dyn/content/article/2007/11/01/AR2007110102233.html. By Ellen
Nakashima, Friday, November 2, 2007
duty travel notebook case, but without the notebook pc.
In it's place are these:

60 gig usb drive loaded with crap

external dvd/cd burner
anti-static wristband
RAM (why do I have so much RAM?)
assorted cables
PC screwdriver tool kit
usb thumb drive
holy water (sorry, that belongs in my "vampire apo-
calypse" bag, but it has been known to cure the
Windows BSoD - you just empty it onto the MB and
buy a new PC; but mostly it's good for slaying the
undead and other vile creatures)

All I need is a can of compressed air, and I'd be ready for

any pc emergency. Except then my nerd status would be
certified. So in place of compressed air, I'll carry a flask of
Jim Beam. I'll just get one out of my "date with Lindsay
Lohan" bag. Hey, there's holy water in there, too!

l a b e ls : c o mp u t e r s , ne rd s

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Creation of Order

Some people believe that there is an order to the universe

which has escaped us until the creation of the Internet.
They believe that the Internet forms a "great chain of be-
ing" among all users that can reveal ancient mysteries
within the random data. All it takes is the right algorithm
to see through the data to find the answer to life, the un-
iverse and everything.

And the data creators are part of this chain: the lowly blog-
gers are part of this chain.

Huh, didn't you hear me? I'm a creator, dammit! I can help
to discover the truth to life, the universe and everything.
We create the data which reveals the truth, order through

But didn't someone once say that a monkey typing infinite-

ly will eventually type all of Shakespeare's works? I guess
the math is here 90.

So now I'm a monkey?

The arbitrary and random nature of the Internet becomes

ordered through agreement. If we agree that something is
important, it becomes important.

I've been blogging for a few months and I've had visits
from lots of people, but only a few come back. Even though
I have a catchy name that gets lots of random search hits,
only a few come back. So out of the chaos of the Internet,
some order has formed. A few people have agreed that this
site has some use. If I were to use math to link and analyze
visits, I might calculate some social network created by this

site. And if I could define this site, I could form a theory
about that network and maybe even form some conclusion.
But I would need lots more data. So I guess I need a cat-
chier name. The.monkey.effing.librarian.

But anyway, I'm reading that book, Everything is Miscel-

laneous 91, and of course, I can't read one sentence without
thinking some thought that gets me sidetracked. And here
are the things that I thought about after one or two chap-
(after reading Chapter 2) Alphabetization is useful because
it is ordered: A comes first. So I know that when I park my
car in the Mickey lot, that after I enjoy a day of waiting on
long lines for $75, and I go out to not find my car for a half
an hour, that Mickey will come after Donald and Goofy, but
before Minnie.

Other than that, alphabetization has no real meaning. But

some people mistakenly attribute an importance and value
to each letter which corresponds to a number. A is better
than B because it comes before B. But that value is not
supported by the real relationship between A and B.
For the same reason, Dewey is useful because it defines an
order. Someone might argue that 297.122 is less important
to Dewey than number 220 because it has more numbers
after the decimal, because 220 is a higher-order number,
but that's assigning a value to the numbers that isn't part of
their original intent. Within the Dewey system, the number
defines a location, not a high-low value. And it's just as
easy for me to forget a 3-digit number as a 7-digit one with

several people asking me for help on my way through the
stacks, so shorter numbers aren't always better.

My mom used to have an arbitrary way of organizing

canned goods: all the corn went together, including the
creamed corn and even the succotash because it has corn;
the carrots went by themselves; and all the green vegeta-
bles went together even if the green beans were French cut
or regular. But no one tried to change it because we knew
where things were. Why should the carrots get room all to
themselves? Didn't matter. You learned the system if you
didn't want lima beans.

People want order. That's why people love tagging on Li-

braryThing; because most fiction was never given subjects
or if given subjects, given bad subjects: you might see
Flowers in the Attic given the subject, "Families - Fiction"
and nothing else. So people are out there attempting to
create order by filling the Internet with data.
So we need to keep blogging until such time that order is
discovered, when it reveals itself to be a glorious and har-
monious grand, unifying truth.

And then the planet will explode.

l a b e ls : b l o g g i ng , c h a o s , or de r


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

What good is your social network?

I was just reading something that had me thinking about

the social networks of my grandparents.
From what I remember of my grandmother, she would
have spent a lot of her time talking to a neighbor or local
grocer, and most of her time at church.

And that had me thinking: the social networks of my

grandparents were smaller and more intimate. In this fake
effing life, I've met only a few people whom I would like to
see in person (so that they could tell how hilarious I am
and then buy me a beer). Even in my real life, in my Face-
book, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Second Life, and Ning
networks, I've made no friendships or shared intimate rela-
tionships with any other real people.

My grandparents had social networks filled with those they

needed and loved; and they were promised, if they streng-
thened them and cherished those in the networks, that
they would be judged worthy of getting into Heaven.

In my current networks, someone might send me a funny

picture of a cat.

l a b e ls : f a ke l i f e , re a l l i fe


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Library 2.0 owes it all to a stripper.

Ahem, Burlesque Queen.

We here at the Effing Labs have thought long and hard

about Library 2.0 and realized that everything about it can
be explained by watching the movie Gypsy, starring Nata-
lie Wood. We've been evaluating the components of Li-
brary 2.0 92and realized that everything we once thought
was new, can now be traced back to a film made in 1962
and even to the Broadway show from 1959 if you want to
get picky.

So to redefine Library 2.0 as it is now understood, we'd like

to introduce Library Rose Lee™.

We've heard librarians complain about change. But Library

Rose Lee is based on the second oldest profession, so it
isn't really about change; it's about giving the customer
what he wants, about putting it out there and bringing to
him, or her, one glove at a time.

Library Rose Lee is for the customers. You can't be

afraid to let it all out if you want to get paid.

Library Rose Lee is constantly changing, in front of
everyone, taking it off, taking it all off.

Library Rose Lee is about technology and having a

gimmick. As Electra (the stripper with the lights) says
about her use of technology:

"Me, I uh... and I uh... And I uh...uh...uh... But I do

it with a switch. I'm electrifying and I ain't even try-
ing. I never had to sweat to get paid. 'Cause if you
got a gimmick, Libr'y girl, you got it made."

Library Rose Lee is political. As demonstrated in this

speech from Gypsy to her Mama, all the tenets of the Li-
brary Rose philosophy are there, the constant change, the
play, the virtual world, how completely and melodramati-
cally she's adopted it, and how if you don't buy into it, you
might as well go back to Vaudeville:

"I'm moving. Maybe up maybe down. But wherever

it is, I'm enjoying it. I'm having the time of my life.
Because for the first time, it is my life. And I love it.
I love every Second Life of it. And I'll be damned if
you're going to take it away from me. I am Library
Rose Lee and I love her. And if you don't, you can
just clear out now."

Some people say that using Library Rose Lee is to have no

talent, but to have no talent is not enough. As Gypsy says,
"if you're real good, I'll make you feel good. I'm very versa-

Library Rose Lee is about change, about putting it on and
taking it all off, day after day and night after night, over
and over again.

Library Rose Lee™ is a trademark of Hallliburrton, We

Own the World. Be Glad we let you Live in it®.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar y 2 . 0 , p a ro d i es

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"Because you don't."

I just want to make a general statement about librarians,

but I want to use a semi-fictional example:
A guy asks for help on one of our computers; he's having
trouble sending his resume as an attachment.
So I go over and check what's happening, but what he tells
me he isn't able to do isn't really what he wants to do.
One of the things he wants to do is open an attachment,
which he keeps telling me he wants to download. At which
point I tell him that he's already downloaded it, and I ask if
he wants to actually see what he's downloaded. Yes he

So I look at the file extension, “.qqq.” And I say, Oh, that's

a "Quze" file; those only work with the OS/Q operating sys-
tem.93 The person who sent it, uses OS/Q, but here in the

Yes, I know there is no such thing as the “qqq” extension. This is
usually called, “giving an example.”
library we use Windows. It says here that there is a viewer
for that file, but we can't install programs on library com-
puters, so let's check to see if
we can convert that into something our computer can

Oh, it can convert it to a .ppt file which we should be able

to open in PowerPoint. It looks like that person sent you
some kind of presentation. And when we open it, it's some
information about a company.

How do you know how to do this? He asks, like I just

turned a lemon into a gold bar.

"Because you don't."

Librarians are the most poorly marketed asset of any or-

ganization. Not only do we need to know what we know,
but we need to know what everyone else might need to
know. I don't own a laptop or a PDA, but I can get yours,
the one that I've just been handed that I've never seen be-
fore ten seconds ago, the one you've had for the last six
months, to connect to the Wi-Fi in our library. I can find
the job listings or the contact information on the web site
that you've been scouring the pages to find without suc-
cess, five seconds after you ask for my help.

But I don't need to tell you; you're a librarian, and you do

it, too.

I will say it again, just in case you are someone who can do
something about it:
Librarians are the most poorly marketed asset of
any organization.

Now, I wanted to make that point about librarians, but I

also want to finish that story which is unrelated to my
point. If you feel good about being a librarian, you can stop
reading now. Otherwise, continue:

As I'm helping him, I notice that he's in a job search. And

the resume that he told me to attach to his email is filled
with his skills, which say, "expert in database design, pro-
gramming languages, up-to-date on wikis, RSS, metada-

And then I feel like I'm in a Hitchcock movie where Hitch

pulls the camera back while he's zooming in and you get
that sense of irregular movement, like you know you're
standing still, but your eyes say you're not. And I realize
that this guy isn't just ignorant, he's a liar. Either he's lying
to me or he's lying to his potential employers. Either way,
the game is off and the helpful dial gets turned down to ze-
ro. But that's okay because he got what he needed.
Me, I'm a little less okay, knowing that this guy could be
out there somewhere, knowing less than me, but making
twice as much. And that's when I took up smoking. Crack.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i a ns

Monday, November 12, 2007

Evolution: I don't think so.

Please forgive this outburst.

People are assholes.

If anyone ever asks me if I believe in God or some other
higher being who is responsible for us being here, that is
the reason for my belief in Him or Her or It.

Why are people such assholes?

I will continue to doubt the theory of human evolution so
long as no one is able to catalog the asshole behaviors of
this planet's flora and fauna. Where are the porpoises who
are pricks? Cockknocker clown fish? Dickhead dalmatians?
Shitbag boa constrictors? Where is that asshat American
Beauty Rose? And I don't mean that monkeys are assholes,
but which monkeys? Which sea lions? Which oaks? (And I
don't mean the ones from that Rush song because that was
all of them.)

I want someone to drive down my street and point and say,

"that palm tree can kiss my ass" and give me a good reason

Why is there such a disproportionate share of shitheads

among Homo sapiens?

Because God in his infinite wisdom, gave only man free

will. Every other creature has a predetermined DNA that
ensures they tow the line. You can argue the evolution of
plants and animals all you want, but how are we here?

If you look for proof in the Bible stories, when God made
Adam and Eve and they screwed up and ate the apple, why
didn't he just blink them out of existence and make two
more idiots to follow his rules? Because that was the goal!
He probably made a thousand other Adams and Eves who
did exactly as they were created to do, and they got blinked
out, or left on other planets or tossed into a volcano. Maybe
he came from another planet and was tired of everything
being the same and sat down at his Sears and Roebuck's
Little Science Whiz chemistry kit to make something dif-

Until someone lists all the other asshole plants and animals
on this planet, I will continue to believe that we are special
and were created by some overworked bastard who should
have taken a sick day in the middle of the week so that he
wouldn't have produced such sloppy work. Until then, I
will continue to argue that there is a God because the ac-
tions of you and me and everyone else prove it.

l a b e ls : e v o l u t io n , g o d

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Boy saves librarian.

7th-grader saves librarian who was choking. 94

So this school librarian started choking on an apple and a

13-year-old boy performed the Heimlich maneuver on her
to save her life.

When faced with a blue-faced librarian, gasping for air and

at the verge of unconsciousness, he calmly put his arms
around her and gave two under-the-diaphragm abdominal

He didn't laugh. He didn't grab his cell phone and take pic-
tures or a video. He didn't go through her purse and steal
all her change for the vending machine.

I could learn something from him. Maybe next time. Now I

need to go buy a soda.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i a ns

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Instant 2-point-Opinion Generator

Mash-up any of the following terms for your own personal,

unique statement about the impact of social networking
and 2.0 technologies on the future of the Internet. It's fun
and educational, too!


la chose qui fait le chien rire
mashed (or smashed)

Let's test it to see how it works:

"The impact of social networking on the future of the In-
ternet is both pro-dividual and synergistic. Persistent
transversable metalogues have smashed traditional
communication and given birth to 'it' by impactivating
and empowering."

Isn't that fun!

Use this handy tool for your next presentation. Need to nail
that next job interview? Memorize three or four of these
buzzwords. Hell, write 'em on your wrist in permanent

Soon you will be the "go to" gal when news editors need a
trendy library spokesperson. Alternate black marker and
correction fluid on your fingernails and then cover the

white with hot pink highlighter.95 Spike up your hair and
get that eyebrow pierced and you'll be on your way to Hol-

Alright, forget it. You're a librarian. Who you gonna fool?

l a b e ls : i a m s u c h a n a s s , l i b r a r y 2. 0

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Knowledge by Consensus: a Social perspective

I am not lying. I've seen with my own eyes, people doing

the "Webster's dictionary defines blah blah as..." but using
Wikipedia. We know how cliché that's become, so that
when you attend a presentation and the speaker says,
"Webster's defines leadership as.." you open your program
and start to draw cartoon characters having sex. I'm pretty
good at drawing the characters from Unshelved 96 doing it.

So now that Wikipedia has become the de facto expert on

everything, does the triteness counter get reset to zero? Are
speakers now free to dust off old papers and replace "Web-
ster's" with "Wikipedia"? When did Wikipedia become the
boss of everything? If you base your loyalty on popularity

96 A comic strip about librarians,
then it's had the corner office with the private bathroom for
about 2 years. So I guess Wikipedia is the boss of me.

And speaking of expertise by consensus, what up with the

"I hear it's excellent" artards? Someone came in looking for
the dvd for the movie Wristcutters: A Love Story (which,
as of 11/2007, is not available on DVD), and her reason for
requesting that the library buy it was that she heard "it was

Again, I'm not a smart guy (or gal or dog), so saying that
you heard that something is excellent means absolutely
nothing to me. You'd sound more interesting if you'd said
that you heard it smelled like feet.
"It smelled like feet?"
"Yes, like feet."
"That sounds interesting. Tell me more."

Mathematically, saying that you heard that a thing is excel-

lent means that there is a thing that another entity made a
critical observation about its quality. So you are at least
once removed from the critic. So if the critic has a 50%
track record for rating things as excellent that I also rate as
excellent, then your opinion that the thing is excellent is
half crap.

Why do people think that making a claim that they heard

something was good rubs off on them and makes them
good? If I like a movie and Roger Ebert likes the same
movie, does that make me a film critic like Roger Ebert?

This is why the idea that we are all creators in the 2.0 un-
iverse pisses me off. Simply pointing at a beautiful thing
doesn't make you beautiful like the thing. The beauty is
supposed to transform you to make you more beautiful.
Simply pointing at the Mona Lisa while sucking a sesame
seed out of your teeth does not transform you.
Knowledge by consensus is less important to me the lower
you go on base needs. Yes, practically any opinion is valid
for recommendations on where to get my car's oil changed.
Your preference for Wendy's over Burger King (you're ter-
rified of the creepy king) is of equal unimportance. So yes,
you may be an expert in those areas.

But not culture or art. Or any higher learning which re-

quires critical thinking skills. I seek experts. In some ways,
I am an expert. But not on this blog. But in the kitchen and
in the bedroom, rraawwr.

I don't want to be confronted by anyone who wants to ar-

gue that Wikipedia is the new expert because everyone says
so. Because then I'll have to do this:
Me: "What is your name?"
LB: "Lester Balls."
Me: "Well, Lester Balls, I'm opening a new page on Wiki-
pedia and entering, 'Lester Balls is an idiot.' Now, Save
page, and there, your own page on Wikipedia that says you
are an idiot, and now the whole world knows."
LB: "Wha? Huh? M.. W.. Wikipedia? I'm.. I'm famous! I'm
on Wikipedia! I'm famous!!!"

And then I will kill myself.


l a b e ls : i d i o t s , w i ki p e d i a

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Buy. More. Crap.

Now that the holidays are here, it's a perfect time to buy
some crap. And not just any crap, "effing" crap. Buy one.
Buy five. Be the envy of naked people because your boobs
are covered and warm. It took me about nine minutes to
create these designs. I hope someone checked the spelling
because I didn't.

But don't take it from me; hear it from 3, that's 3 satisfied


"This is the best effing crap I've ever bought."

"I love this crap."
"This sure is great crap!"

If you won't buy some crap for me, buy it for the children.
And remember, if you don't spend money, the terrorists
win. (I'll use that line as often as I want.)

l a b e ls : b u y s o me e f f i ng c r a p

Thursday, November 22, 2007

New Feature!!!

I know how bored you get when you arrive and see that I
haven't posted something new in the last 2 hours, you
know, because I have a job; but I can't post continually be-
cause if I sit in one place too long somebody might find me
and make me attend a meeting...(aaarrrggh).

So I wanted a link to display a random post, and I found

one. There it is over there. You don't see it. Okay, right
here. 97 Now you can click and read a classic post selected
for you by magic. Read an old post and pretend it's new.
No more digging through the archives to locate that histor-
ic gem from yesteryear. Simply click and find a golden
moment to share with your loved ones. What a wonderful
gift from me to you at this holiday season.

Now you can look back to yesteryear and read posts from
the 1970's when Effing tried to mimic the comedy stylings
of Woody Allen by randomly inserting references to "gu-
lags" and "Norman Mailer" into his posts. One click could
return this gag from the hilarious post, "Allen and Diane,"
a one-act sequel to the film Annie Hall:

Diane: I can't sleep with you. I'm seeing someone

Allen: Who? Who? How could you do this to me?
Who is he? Normal Mailer's doorman? Some es-

97 javascript:randomPost(); seriously, make with the clicking!

caped dissident from a Soviet gulag?
Diane: No. As a matter of fact, he's a carpenter.
And he's gay.
Allen: Gay? Like deliriously happy? And he's a
carpenter? He's a gay carpenter? Does he only
make queen-size beds?

See? Isn't that pure genius? Well, click on that "random

post" link and see what's in there.

l a b e ls : a g i f t f o r y o u , t he . e f f i ng . l ib r a r ia n

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Real Library Wow Factor.

The Wow Factor.

According to Designing Better Libraries,98 we need to find
our Wow Factor.

One characteristic of delivering good user experiences is

that it typically results in return business. Whatever that
experience is, it is something the user wants to experience

again. The idea of the Wow Factor 99 is another way of de-
scribing a good user experience.

But libraries already have a Wow Factor:

Wow. There are some really creepy people here.

Wow. There is a nasty, offensive smell over there.
Wow. Those parents just let their toddler wander off while
they use that computer.
Wow. I didn't know he/she/it could do that (referring to
the Constitutionally protected adult video playing on the
computer monitor).
Wow. I am really really afraid to walk out to my car alone.
Wow. I don't think I ever want to go into that bathroom
Wow. I can steal stuff from here every day.
Wow. All those girls are leaving their MySpace pages open
for me to access their passwords.
Wow. I have got to stop paying taxes for this.
Wow. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

What these "marketing epiphany" people don't understand

is that libraries are funded, at best, to maintain existing
services to keep up with growing populations. We don't
have money for comfy chairs or selling robust Colombian
coffees. We have to clean poo off the carpets, thank you.
We need to promote library services, not adopt book store
services (unless you want us to start charging book store
We teach early literacy. We assist adult learners. We offer

cultural and educational programs. There is never going to
be any way we will ever be able to compete with Amazon or
Barnes and Noble.
The fact is, we already have the loyalty of our patrons; the
ones who need us, find us. But we need to seek out the rest
who need us. As long as your mission is to educate, you are
never going to attract Little Miss Forever 21. And if we
make pretty libraries, will we still be able to fulfill our mis-
But if you come in my library when I'm on the desk in my
new Spring Stella McCartney floral dress, you'll swear
you're in the purtiest liberry ever. Wow.

labels: libraries, wow

Here is a post that brings me lots of hits from searches, but I

don’t know why. The link you would see if you clicked on The
Middle is a picture of someone flipping the bird with “happy
workers” on one side and “not so happy workers” on the other
and the word “librarians” running down the middle finger.
There, aren’t you glad I filled you in?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

That's the finger I use to describe my job.

AL 100 has some comments on Librarian Happiness that
was "reported"101 in Time magazine (as if these stories are
ever news).
According to a chart in the print edition, Librarians fall
right in the middle of being neither happy nor unhappy.

The Middle.

Yes, I'm happy with my job.

(Thanks to Mad 102 magazine for the original cover.)

labels: happiness, librarians

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

why 2.0 represents the loss of hope

I just finished watching a not-very-good movie, but one of

the characters said this:

People just want someone to love. If they can't have that,

give them something to hope for. If you can't give them
that, then just give them something to do.

AL is the Annoyed Librarian; don’t mind her. Although, I hear she
When we create a world where everyone spends their time
blogging and tagging and commenting and linking, we're
just giving them something to do because we've lost hope.
Hope is the thing with feathers 103 which isn't the same as
the ability to fly in Second Life.

Never mind that we can't find love.

I don't mean to give your day a kick in the ass, but log off
now, disconnect from the Web and connect with another
person. Go down the hall or cross over to the next cubicle
and say, Hi. Or offer to get someone a cup of coffee. Or ask
how the kids are doing.

Because I'm the egocentric ass that I am, I have enough

love in my life: I love me. But if you're like me, you didn't
come here to make my life better, you came here to make
your life better.

So that's my advice. Leave. Close that Second Life window.

Log off Facebook. Tell Meebo you are unavailable. Then
call your mom or your spouse or your kid or your comic
book seller. No matter how many times she hears you say
you love her, one more time ain't gonna hurt.

And send me some effing love. Not that I care.

Labels: library 2.0, real life, the church of


Emily Dickinson. No, wait, Mötley Crüe.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another degree of Slavery

This is cool. Adobe is going to make a free version 104 of

Photoshop available on the Web.

I can't wait. Since I already work for Google and Facebook

and LibraryThing for free, I need another company to ex-
ploit my labors.

Obviously, the trend it to have us use programs that in-

crease visibility for corporations (free advertising), yet al-
low them to maintain brand solvency. We edit photos
which tag them with the product information and possibly
unique markers which allow for the company to build a
searchable database of items, and we do this work for free.
Then the corporation can use that database to expand its
capital by quantifying the value of the assets in dollars. We
labor for no payment; they profit. I think that's slavery. Or

We are told that use of the product is payment. My profile

in Facebook allows me to meet other nerds. My Gmail al-
lows me to update other nerds on the progress of the
Watchmen movie. And all these things have a specific dol-
lar value to these companies that is not equal to the utility
provided to me. If Facebook is valued at $15 billion and

there are 15 billion users, I guess I don't feel so bad that my
profile is worth a dollar: I shouldn't feel that they exploit
me then. But if the number of users means that my profile
is worth $250, I want my cut. In cash.

So I look forward to another company exploiting the work-

ing class. Because soon we will rise up. Rise up. Rise up!

Well, not me. I just had one-too-many beers and I'm feel-
ing sleepy (yes, I know it's 7 a.m., so what.) But you go
ahead. I'll catch up later. Power, baby.

But as far as the program is concerned, I'm looking for-

ward to it. I need help. I suck at using layers. I can only
think one-dimensionally.

I really want to use the program to edit all of my Kate Jack-

son photos: remember, she was the smart Angel, Sabrina
Duncan. I always wanted to be smart like her, except I
wanted Farrah's hair. And now that I'm a beautiful, suc-
cessful librarian, both my wishes have come true.

Labels: photoshop, slavery, web 2.0

Thursday, November 29, 2007

S3kr3t Transmission

I think I received a secret transmission during a Library
2.0 interaction with a patron. Either that or he was playing
a game while chatting with me. Dunno.
Here is the message:
ya n!99@
thx u
b6e tooom nigg@

I would think most of those are random keystrokes, but

maybe he was firing or driving or something else while
talking to me. Either way, I think I was invited to a party,
so I better go get ready. I hope I don't wear the same outfit
as someone else: that would be awkward.

Labels: games, partay, web 2.0

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tina Fey is our Queen.

Tonight on 30 Rock, Tina was called a "sexy librarian."
She's the perfect choice to represent librarians everywhere:
she's witty and uncomfortably modern, and without the aid
of cosmetics, she resembles Ernest Borgnine.
(Which is exactly how I look except for the Farrah hair.
See! That's me, exactly.)

All hail our queen!

Labels: librarians, tina fey

Friday, November 30, 2007

Google finds way to make more Billions "$$$$$"

This was a story about a new Google product where users can
remove links from search results or bump links up higher in the
search results list.

Ok. Google is a search tool. Google is an email provider

that displays ads based on keywords from our messages.
And Google is an advertising revenue data aggregator, al-
lowing buyers to bid on valuable keywords culled from
search histories.

At some point, the growth of those revenue streams reveal

a terminal cycle when expansion will flatten (please,
please, please: remember that I make up 92% of this stuff -
- I know nothing about business).
They have lots of other products, but what makes more
sense than allowing someone to vote up or down the re-
sults of their searches?

Google can only evaluate a search result based on linking. I

link, you link, everywhere a link-link. So when I search, I
see the most popular results first. Google's ability to sell
ads is limited to my search terms. That particular stream of
revenue mining has started to flatten out. Yes, the number
of users continues to grow, but the predictable future in-
come is already calculated. And apparently, Google didn't
think it was enough.

So what this allows them to do it give you the power to

dump bad links from your search results: these are possible
black holes on the search ether. So when you dump a link,
that opens room for another link to move up, opening up
more positions for salable ad keywords.

And not only will this create more visible links, this could
become a huge, worldwide game if Google opens it to the
general index.
Imagine how much longer people would search if they
could vote various links up or down?

Especially with the 2008 Presidential Election near. Can-

didates could recruit armies of students or librarian blog-
gers to vote for their pages and against their opponent's.
Sure Digg does this. But only Digg members Digg anything.
Whereas the whole world Googles.

This decision could generate tens of billions of dollars in

advertising revenue.

I think this is a win/win for everyone, since I believe that

the Internet is just a huge craphole anyway. Except for millions of products available 24 hours a
day. (This post sponsored by And Dvdtalk .
And Gamecouch. And PMWF. (If you click on these links, I
make a penny!) (not really.)

[note: I just found this cool article from the NYT 105. It
looks like real people care about this stuff, too: "The only
business plan in sight is ever more advertising. One might
ask what will be left to advertise once everyone is aggre-
gated." I guess Google just answered that; give us the op-
portunity to make more data. Sponsored by Doritos, "We'll
Make More". Another damn fine product.]

Labels: advertising, blog whore, google

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Effing Librarian goes to Washington.

Now that I've seen that New York Times op-ed piece ("Pay
Me for My Content"106) on how Facebook, MySpace,
Google owe us payment for our labors,

"Most of the big names in the industry — Google, Face-

book, MySpace and increasingly even Apple and Microsoft

105 Ja-
ron Lanier, November 20, 2007.
I already cited this guy; once is enough.
— are now in the business of assembling content from un-
paid Internet users to sell advertising to other Internet us-

I'm wondering if there are already law firms out there filing
documents in preparation for a huge class action lawsuit
against the social networking sites, anticipating that gigan-
tic payoff.

If so, based on my blogging, I'm looking forward to being


Lawyer: The Effing Librarian. Is Effing your first name?

Me: Morfle lorfle forfle torfle.

Lawyer: Could you please remove the paper bag from over
your head?

Me: Mmmf. (I remove the bag partway so my mouth is ex-

posed) Could you repeat the question?

Lawyer: Is Effing your first name?

Me: I'm afraid I can't answer that on grounds it may in-

criminate me.

Labels: facebook, google, myspace, slavery

December 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Future of Not Reading

based on the future of reading 107:

[powerful movie trailer voice] "In the not too distant


I just got a message on my phone: Where is your PapI-


[powerful movie trailer voice] "August Treadmill has

learned a terrible secret..."

I'm August Treadmill. The PapIrus is my reader. I downed

Harry Potter meets Anakin Skywalker, the tenth Harry
Potter book, and loaned my reader to my mom. What I for-
got is that downloading is a two-way street. PapIrus logs
anonymous user data and periodically uploads info like my
location and current page on the screen, and time powered
on/off, stuff like that. What I didn't realize is that PapIrus
has a contract with Google for data aggregation, and since I
just logged into my Gmail account at work (one IP) and my
mom is at her house reading Harry on my PapIrus (differ-
ent IP), they know that I'm not the one reading the "book."

Which is a violation of the TOA (Terms of Agreement).

[powerful movie trailer voice] "A secret which could

cost him, ..mmm... $800!"

Two seconds later, my phone rings and my mom tells me

that the PapIrus reader just flashed an unhappy face with
the phrase "acceptable use violation" and then turned itself
off. Shit. My $400 PapIrus with all my marketing ($120)
and tech books ($250) just went down the crapper.

With the libraries gone, I'm going to have to buy a paper

copy of Harry from India for $30 and have it shipped as
porn since the importation of copyrighted texts is a felony.
Maybe it'll be here in time for mom's birthday.

The libraries disappeared because people stopped caring.

Yeah, people are stupid. That's why my car is loaded with
cans of baked beans and a manual can opener. I'm just
waiting for the end of the world. Bon appétit.

[If you are a company developing a portable e-book reader

and would like to use the name PapIrus, I am willing to sell
you the name for $5,500. I sure hope you're that gullible
because I would have settled for $32.50. Ha, ha, ha.]

Labels: big brother, conspiracy theories, the future of libra-


This next story is based on some goofball philosophy about how

librarians should behave, how they should acquire some Zen-
like purpose when helping patrons. I don’t want to quote too
much, so I trimmed it down to one sentence.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Master.

“Cut to the heart of the problem.”108

People hate being treated like this. I should know because

this is what I do and people hate me.

People do not seek wisdom. Or I should say, Americans do

not seek it. Since Andy's approach seems sort of Eastern.
Americans want pretty packaging with convenient, basic
utility. The knife should cut as advertised at least once. The
can opener should open cans cleanly 45% of the time. But
the knife should look good in the drawer and feel good in
the hand, and the can opener should be colored to match
the microwave oven or refrigerator.

Americans do not want challenge. That is why librarians

worry. Is our catalog too difficult to use? Which federated
search product should we buy?
Libraries are the living representation of their communi-
ties. That's why so many idiots argue that librarians should
look like the residents in their communities (that is so
amazingly stupid, offensive, racist, sexist, and every-
Andy Barnett,
thingist, I can't even begin).
But people want what makes them comfortable. The want
libraries to match their native environment, whether it's
the Home Shopping Network or a flea market.

This is what my patrons want:

"Why, that's a beautiful pin you're wearing. That little
Pom just seems to leap right out at cha."
"Why, thank you. That is so kind of you to say so. That's Jo
Jo. He's my best friend."
"How's Jo Jo doing?"
"He's passed on."
"Oh, I'm very sorry to hear that."
"Goodness, you are the best librarian, ever."

And the patron leaves happy. And I did nothing.

That's why I believe libraries should have greeters,

volunteers who chat with the patron until the librarian can
see her. The librarian should always be hidden from pa-
trons, like in The Wizard of Oz (the movie). Patrons should
feel the same way about seeing the librarian as they would
visiting a doctor, lawyer or loanshark.

This is why I am adopting a child. Ok, more like a volun-

teer, but I'm getting a kid to work with me at the reference
desk. I will sit there in my black tunic with a clean-shaven
head (sorry, Farrah hair, we both knew it couldn't last).

My child assistant will greet each patron with the words: "I
interpret for Master."
After the patron tells my assistant what she wants, he will
lean to me and whisper some nonsense in my ear.
Then I will search. My assistant will then say, "Master says
the cookbooks are on aisle twelve. Come, Master will lead
After I find her cookbook and she thanks us, my assistant
will finish with, "Also, Master says, 'Nice pin.'"

I'm sure this will work. It had better; I just shaved off all
my hair.

Labels: librarians, philosophy

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Hip College Library.

We all know college kids are followers; they do what every

other kid is doing. I'm not sure why, maybe in high school
their parents made them shop at Sears, but as soon as kids
get to college they decide that they want to be different, so
they make themselves look like everyone else. I don't think
they intend to look like everyone else, but they lack a varie-
ty of role models, and they're afraid of appearing clueless,
so they do what everyone else is doing.

And this is the genius of Mardi Gras. Why else would girls
flash their boobs in public for a handful of plastic beads?
Because everyone else does it.

So libraries, particularly academic libraries, should use

that same formula to get kids inside. Topless babes! (Kid-

No, libraries should seek out hip kids and give them library
jobs. Every kid needs money for books and most kids get
campus jobs if they can. Well, why do libraries continue to
hire smart kids when they can hire cool kids?

When some kid tells you during the interview the she
knows LC, why don't you ask her: "Sure, but do you know
TMZ? Or Pink is the New Blog?" And "Can you shelve and

Libraries need to stop seeking out the geeks, nerds and

dorks, and especially the geeknerdorks.

Fill your libraries with hip, clueless kids like Best Buy does,
and they can walk around not doing work, but attracting
the other slightly less cool kids. There must some law to
support this: any given event will populate with increasing-
ly less cool people until it becomes a library (let's call that
Effing's law of something).

So we need to turn this law around. Free your thinking.

Free your mind and your ass will follow. Break the top-
down geeknerdork hierarchy and get those kids in your li-

All right, forget it. Those kids would just mess everything
up, anyway. And they wouldn't invite us to their parties.

Labels: libraries
Monday, December 3, 2007

Poisoning Google

I didn't realize Google was sick, but I see an article on


I always leave the Status bar turned on because I use it the

same way as "caller ID." When I teach my basic Internet
class, I tell the students that it's a good practice to look at
the Status bar to confirm that the link they want to click is
going to the place they expect. Now I wonder if this
"Google cloaking," (which tricks the search engine into dis-
playing the wrong URL on search results) also displays
false info in the Status bar.

It's been so long since I've seen a bogus search link. I've
been using the Internet so long that bad links become in-
visible to me. Besides, who clicks on links that say uykkjil- or links that are 300 characters long?

Anyway, I guess that's why I continue to teach the same

classes month after month. As long as the Internet remains
an effed-up opium den, I'll always have a job.

Labels: internet

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Future of Libraries, a pain in the...

So I just flew back from a library in the future and boy are
my arms tired. But seriously, ladies and germs...

In libraries in the future, there are computer screens

mounted on stands about 2 feet high. On the side of each
monitor (or "vid") is an attached wand or stylus about six
inches long.

When I grab the wand and wave it at the vid, a "librarian"

(a pale, thin dudette of about 18), approaches:
"Hey, hey, hey, grandpa. What do you think you're doing?"
"I'm just searching the catalog."
"Searching the catalog. Yeah, right. And President Britney
is my girlfriend. Bend over, and let's just get this probe up
your ass."
"Up my ass? Why? What happened to the mouse?
"Mouse? Man, that's old skool. Nope, all we have is the
Gerbil. Now bend over, pops and let's get this over with."
The Gerbil is inserted, but I don't complain. (Hell, I gradu-
ated from library school.)

"Watch the screen. Images will flash by. Temperature-

based search tools deliver the highest accuracy. Social
norms, paranoia, embarrassment; all these things kept
people from telling the librarian what they truly wanted.
Libraries suffered for years trying to design the perfect in-
terface for searching. And then we found this. When you
see what you want, tiny fluctuations in rectal temperature
indicate we've found your requested item without the em-
barrassment you might feel from approaching the desk and
asking some stranger for help."

"This Gerbil up my ass avoids embarrassment?"

"Look around. Everyone does it."

It was then that I noticed that everyone was doing it.

"Is this a Microsoft product?"

Labels: the future of libraries, the.effing.librarian meets the

ideal woman

This next post is kind of a rant that doesn’t seem to make too
much sense. Yeah, for the most part, I’m not reading these
posts as I copy and paste them into these pages. But every so
often I look and think, what the fuck? But I know I mean well.
I’m just trying to figure shit out, and that’s not always an orderly

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Straight Dope.

I just want to mention The Straight Dope.

I'm guessing that most libraries have one of their books on
the shelf. With all the competition on the Internet, I'm sur-
prised they still do what they do. But since they do it so

well, I guess my surprise could be surprising (to you or
I read this yesterday, "Why is the alphabet in alphabetical
order?"110 and it had me wondering about, well, pretty
much everything. This is the part that got to me,

"The point isn't what order the alphabet is in, but

that it's in order at all."

And this is what enrages me about the state of the Internet.

It doesn't seem like anyone wants to organize it anymore.
This would bother me when I saw that .org domains were
sold to porn sites or squatters. I always thought that (dot)
orgs were for non-profits, and foolishly, I continue to be-
lieve that non-profit organizations need to be charitable or
poor. I think huge organizations like the NFL are non-
profit (IRC, 501 (c)).

And then with the dawn of search engines, I thought I’d

found order. But not really. Results changed from day to
day, and I had to learn to save the text of pages (or whole
pages) of things I wanted to keep or use later.
This has become worse now that search rankings are di-
rectly tied to ad sales. When I watch TV, I'm pretty much
guaranteed a certain percentage of commercials. When we
see pop-up ads spiraling around in the corner of the TV
screen, we complain. But the Internet does this to us and
we accept it. And the way ads are sold and results are dis-
played only reinforces my fear that the Internet will never
have any real order, that we are at the mercy of the data


This is why the notion that "we are the creators" makes me
angry, you know, that whole Time magazine, "you are the
person of the year,"111 and they put a freakin mirror on the
cover. How mystical, like the crappy end of Circle of Iron
112 when Cord learns the secret in the book. Oooooh. Look

into the pages. You must think I'm high.

The purpose of this philosophy seems only to create chaos.

Again, the Internet-based economy is only as valuable as
its content: corporations have real business to attend,
therefore they've assigned us the task of feeding the Inter-
net with useless crap to aid the chaos. Then they can say
that only they can bring order to the madness. Isn't the the
game plan of any coup or revolution?
But libraries have order, we say. Libraries are all about or-
Yes, they tell us, but your order is all wrong.

"The people will tell you how to order your information." It

makes me feel like I'm watching some historical drama
about Cardinal Richelieu or something else with corrupt
government and underhanded bureaucracy.

So the order that I imagined has probably never really ex-

isted. And that sometimes makes me angry, like now. I

Fuck you, Time:,9171,1569514,00.htm
A very cool movie, in spite of the clichéd ending.
once hoped that I could be part of the solution. But I am
trapped in the maze of the problem.

Well, at least I recycle. Don't tell me that that's a scam, too

113. (Damn you, Penn & Teller!)

Labels: chaos, internet

Here’s a post borrowed from my other blog at LISNews:

December 2, 2007.

Amazon Kindle - Will Your Library Buy it for Patrons?

You know in a month some library will publish how their

Kindle program is a great success, and all you other libra-
ries suck because you don't have one. So the libraries that
purchase and loan to patrons will do what with their priva-
cy policies? Libraries delete patron borrowing records
when books are returned and borrowing records are pri-
vate and often protected by State statutes. And the Kindle
libraries will turn those privacy policies over to Amazon.
Why don't you just burn down your libraries right now be-
cause "freedom to read" and "access to all" mean nothing.
If the federal government wanted this kind of access to pa-
tron reading habits, we would fight all the way to the Su-
preme Court, but if a public company wants the same
access, we say, "wow. that's really convenient." We need to

Yep, apparently it is:
draw the line somewhere: if you buy this for your library,
you suck.

If you don’t know what a Kindle is, just visit and
they will tell you, whether you want to read about it or not.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Amazon Kindle

I already put my comment on the new ebook product on

lisnews ("Kindling"), but there are other things I was
I don't really have anything against new products. I under-
stand that we no longer live in the 1950s when the strength
of the American middle class was to save money. Now we
need to spend as quickly as possible and keep money mov-
ing around so no one can ever truly understand how much
we owe to China. So buy a Kindle if you want one, or even
if you don't. But please buy something. Uncle Sam wants it.

But about Kindle: does it have a speaker to listen to the

downloaded books. My Adobe Acrobat reader "reads" to
me in a slightly retro sci-fi voice (currently "Michelle") that
isn't close to a professional dramatic reading, but it gets the

job done. Does Kindle do this?
I see from these specs that the answer it no.114

"It also has an SD slot for additional storage, or for storing

audio (either Audible books you've downloaded on your PC
or MP3 files for background music) and a headphone jack."

Is it difficult to include a tiny speaker in later models for

that long drive? If it's able to download news and websites,
I might want it to read to me.
At $399, would I be happier spending another $100 for a
low-end notebook/laptop? But that could weigh 7 lbs. and
be 3 times larger. For libraries, the laptop could be the bet-
ter choice, so I find it odd when I hear opinions like this
one 115:

"Ward (Peter, library director of the Lindenhurst

Memorial Library) said that if the prices go lower
and more patrons want it, "then certainly we will be
required to get it."

Required to get it? I don't think any library should ever be

required to purchase anything, except soap in the bath-
rooms for our patrons to wash their clothes in the sink.

I can't stand manufactured demand.

It has a headphone jack, which is close, but not safe if I’m listening
in the car. If my car stereo has an input jack, then that would let me
listen to my Kindle in the car.

I wish I could find an article I read once (from around

1981) about punk rock that referred to a new band named
"Bloontz." (Oddly, there was a real band named Bloontz, so
I think the name in the article was a coincidence.) I think
the point was that the guy was tired of hearing about a
new, great band about every week and Bloontz was the ge-
neric name for them. It was about not being a sucker for
trends, about being true to yourself, and included the re-
minder, "Marilyn Monroe died for your sins." 116

Labels: ebooks, libraries, trends

A lot of my time is spent teaching computer classes to people

who will never use a computer with any amount of success to
accomplish any task. They will always get beaten by imagined
complexity run amok. Computers are not complex, just like
people are not complex. The key is to focus on one result at a
time. You can get anyone to do anything as long as they don’t
have too many options.

I really don’t know what this means other than that MM wanted to
be more than she was and was very unhappy. But I’ve remembered
for many years.
Thursday, December 6, 2007

My day so far.

Pick up the mouse.

Pick it up.
Lift it up in the air.
Lift it up.
Lift it up.
Lift it up.
Lift it up.
Lift it up off the table.
Just lift it.
Now move it here and put it down.
Yeah, down.
Right here.
Yeah, right.

Labels: computer training

Monday, December 10, 2007

I apologize to the gamer librarians!!!!

I'm sorry for saying you are deluded, that teens don't like
you. I'm sorry for saying you are uncool. And I'm really
sorry for taking your lunch money all those times in middle

Because I just saw the video (well I was able to watch 5:00
of the 8:30 runtime) of the online, instructional game, De-
fense of Hidgeon: The Plague Years 117. And now I know
there is something worse than DDR, something much
There's a thing called The Storygame Project 118 from the U.
of Michigan that was mentioned on the shifted librarian.
And they say it's a game. That's the word they use: game.
You move around a board visiting libraries and doing
homework. For real. You visit little pixelated libraries and
then research the questions they give. The goal seems to be
to have the least amount of fun possible until the day you
can visit a real library and have even less.
With all the research going on, you'd think someone could
have googled the word "game." Okay, my bad; Wikipedia
says this: "A game is a structured or semi-structured activi-
ty, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes also
used as an educational tool." So I guess fun isn't necessari-
ly required.

So play your game, young researcher. Maybe you can quali-

fy to be called Lord Researcher, Defender of Hidgeon, ad-
mired by all, until some drunken knight pulls your pants
down in front of all the ladies.

So forgive me, gamers. I didn't think there could be any-

thing worse than a 35-yr. old librarian slinging a plastic

guitar controller with a Fall Out Boy faceplate. Well, ac-
tually there isn't. That is sad.

Labels: games, libraries

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dumb thing I almost said.

A man came to the desk and asked for a Bible.

I took him back and showed him a few, but as I turned to
walk away, I reversed and said that there were a few more
in Reference if he didn't find the one he wanted. And then I
heard my brain start to form the words I didn't say:

"Do you want the Rick James Version?"

I wonder if Dave Chappelle ever did a sketch on that:

1. "It's the Rick James Bible, bitch!"

2. "What did the bitch get when the Rick James
Bible hit her in her mouth? A Revelation!"

[ok. that's enough.]

Labels: bible, dumb things almost said, librarians

Wow. This next post is long. But I think the punch line is worth
the effort.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

People hate librarians enough to take it all the way

to the Supreme Court.

This is very cool. 119 Here is a Supreme Court media page

where you can download mp3 content of Court arguments
to your iPod and rock out. Or you can listen to the audio
while text scrolls by and images of the participants display.

I figured I would read some of the Supreme Court, U.S. v.

ALA case because we filter and I wanted to know the ar-
guments for and against filtering.
[Assume I'm listening to the audio now... most of
this post is BS, but for your reading pleasure, I will sur-
round the text of my jokes with the word Baboon.]

What's interesting is how nervous Teddy (May I call you

Teddy?) gets when Justice Souter asks about unblocking
the porn filter for library staff. It's like he knows that Sou-
ter is opposed to the notion of hindering librarians from
viewing any material at their desks, to review any website,
and he's pooping himself in fear that this line of question-
ing is going to kill his argument.
It's at about the 14:00 point.

And Justice Stevens, also dissenting, says this about get-

ting around the funding portion of CIPA: "Well, you... you
could have it on a separate phone line, it seems to me."

Thank you Justice Stevens. You incredibly old dude. If we
used phone modems, I would be all for allowing unfiltered
Internet on those terminals. Because it would take so long
to download any video and most hi-def images that the
question of filtering would become moot. But this was
2003, so maybe he got to his CompuServe account on a
33.6 modem with his People PC computer.

Let me take a moment to make fun of another old person:

Justice [Baboon] GINSBURG: "With regard to disabling
the filter, this would require carrying in buckets of water,
building a fire, and pouring the water in a vat or other such
container in order to produce the steam required to re-
move the filter?"
TEDDY: "Something like that." [Baboon.]

[back to the show]

Here's a cool game: listen to the audio and every time Ted-
dy says, "reasonable" everybody takes a drink. (But first,
everybody take two drinks so we can all catch up with Aus-

It's interesting that Scalia sees the possibility for porn, spe-
cifically kiddie porn, to enter the library as a reason to
block all Internet access, and Ginsberg sees that any block-
ing of legitimate research as a violation of free speech.
And at one point Souter (dissenting) says this, "Can you
require them [librarians] to exclude certain materials that
it would be illegal for them to have as... as an abstract mat-
ter? Sure, I suppose. But the... the tough question is, can
you require them necessarily to exclude a great deal more
about which they make no decision whatsoever and which
would be perfectly legal for them to have?"

Which means, can a librarian make a judgment about ma-

terial on the Internet with first observing that material?
Souter doesn't seem to think we can. But if someone said,
hey, don't go west on First Avenue because there's lots of
crime in that neighborhood, that's a judgment made with-
out direct observation but from previous observations and
also not based on the neighborhood as a whole but on a
pervasive dangerous element. But we find those judgments
about unsafe neighborhoods valid in real life. How many
librarians do you know who have denied purchasing from
Loompanics (or Paladin Press) simply because of the repu-
tation of the publisher? Librarians routinely make judg-
ments on appropriateness derived from experience and
training. I understand that Souter is questioning why the
filter is making these judgments, but the librarian selected
the filter... I guess his concern is that filters are imperfect
and the librarian is at the mercy of the statute to utilize a
poor product.
I like Souter because he asks good questions.

Interesting bits:
JUSTICE O'CONNOR: "General Olson, what does the
record disclose is the percentage of lawful material that is
excluded under these software programs as opposed to ma-
terial that is unlawful for the library to--"
Wow. How do even measure something like that without
outright lying?

Unintentionally funny bits from Pauly, the mystery person

who refused to be photographed:
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: "What... what cases are
you relying on to say that the libraries would be required to
engage in... in conduct that is presumptively unconstitu-
PAUL M SMITH: --This Court's whole series of cases in-
volving the public forum doctrine, Your Honor, which I
noticed was... was not really mentioned by my colleague,
Mr. Olson.The Internet, when it comes into the library, is...
all of the information available on the Internet, as diverse
as human thought...
immediately available to the patron. It is the most pure
form of public forum
that you can possibly imagine.
PAUL M SMITH: Applying the Court's general holdings
in... in a whole series of cases to try to decide whether this
is a public forum, a designated public forum, created--
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: --You conclude that... you
conclude that a library
is a designated public forum.
PAUL M SMITH: --The Internet terminals in the library
are a designated public forum, Your Honor.
JUSTICE BREYER: Is it also a public forum if it's a public
school library?
PAUL M SMITH: The... the case of a public school library
is a... is a more difficult case.
JUSTICE BREYER: I just want a yes or no answer. On your
theory is it or is it not a public forum if it's in a public
school library?
PAUL M SMITH: I think, Your Honor, I can't give you a
yes or no answer.

JUSTICE BREYER: Well, I need a yes or no. You either do
think it is or you don't think it is.

This is where Pauly lost his case.


JUSTICE BREYER: --then if it is a public forum, the ele-
mentary school, Addison Hill Elementary School, has to let
the worst possible pornography go over the computers that
come into the public school library.
PAUL M SMITH: Certainly not, Your Honor.
PAUL M SMITH: Certainly not.
JUSTICE BREYER: Well, but I... I need to know fairly spe-
cifically because I don't want if there... if... to me frankly
if... if your theory of it means that every public school has
to have a computer attachment which bring this material
into the school, I suppose a lot of schools wouldn't have
computers at all in their libraries. And... and that is worry-
ing me.
JUSTICE SOUTER: What would your response be if... if
you start where Mr. Olson started and said, you don't have
to go through all of this? All you have to do is walk up to
the librarian and say, I'm an adult. I want it unblocked.
And it will be unblocked.
Where... where does that leave your position?
PAUL M SMITH: Well, it's not clear that the librarian
would say yes. The librarian certainly doesn't have to say
JUSTICE SOUTER: I... I think Mr. Olson's suggestion was
that the librarian, absent some extraneous reason, would
say yes.

Pauly Greatest Hits medley: "Plus, you have a stigma prob-

lem, very much like the one-- There's a stigma problem
very much like-- You have to deal with the stigma -- Either
that is something that has got a lot of stigma to it -- if it
turns out that people wouldn't be stigmatized by that..."

So ultimately, the entire filtering issue comes down to the

"stigma" of asking the librarian for help. And this is the ba-
sis for this case; people hate us so much that they can't
bear to ask us for help even if that help allows them to
watch videos of people screwing. I have never felt so re-
viled before. And I've been punished by nuns.

Labels: librarians, supreme court

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Interesting use of 2.0 technologies.

The Maydupp Library District 120 in Indiana has initiated a

new service called, "Dusty Books for Rusty Memories." Pa-
trons between the ages of 60 and 75 are entered into a Cir-
culation database and every time that patron visits the li-

This is a story that I maydupp.
brary and checks out materials, a random "dusty book"
(one that hasn't circulated in the past six months) is placed
on hold in the patron's account. When the patron receives
the message the material is on hold, she will often come in
to claim the item and check it out, not remembering when
or why she placed the hold.

According to Peggy Newton-Figg, the division manager,

"older patrons are very trusting and we are usually able to
charge these extra books to them without any argument.
The patron is often confused by the selection, since it may
not be a subject or by an author she's ever heard of, but
usually writes off the confusion to having had a 'senior

Using this new service, the library as been able to increase

circulation by 300%.

In an age when libraries are attempting to form new bonds

with their patrons through blogs and other social tools, the
Maydupp District favors a more traditional approach.
"Many social networking utilities fail because the general
public are not technologically-savvy enough to be ready to
participate," Newon-Figg added. "We remove the stigma
associated with new things by removing the patron input
completely. We think of this as Library 2.0 for Dummies.
In this case, participation is not a participatory event."

So far the project has shown positive results within the age
group. According to research on people over 75, most
Americans just don't want to see anyone that old driving on
the road, or in supermarkets, or in line at the bank, so the
library decided to use that age as a cut-off. Because anyone
older should really just stay in bed.

Labels: libraries, library 2.0, stuff I made up

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

On Fame.

Britney vs. Uncle Miltie: no competition.

[brought to you by a Time article 121 on kids who take a class

on the art of being famous, or "famo" as they call it, like
you'll get famous using a word like that, unless they pro-
nounce it with the short a / long o, then that might sound

There's fame and there's fame. If you know any history

about America and television, then you know that back in
1948, 1949, 1950, 1951 there was Milton Berle, Bob Hope,
Lucille Ball, and Red Skelton. At 8:00 on any given night,
you knew exactly where 50 million Americans were and
where they would be for the following hour.

There will never be, and I say never given that we are never
enslaved by space aliens as media-hungry as human beings

who force us to watch Neptunian Idol, a time when so
many people share the exact same collective popular con-

You can say Madonna is famous, but if there were a way to

condense her fame, to search into the memories of people
and quantify the variety and depth of memory, I don't
think she could compare to someone like Jack Benny. If
you were in front of your television week after week, know-
ing, absolutely knowing, that if you missed something, it
would be gone forever, you would watch and you would
pay attention. Even with my television watching expe-
rience, I could never extrapolate my pop culture saturation
to understand the mindset of people who shared those
original live television experiences.

I remember staying in front of the TV at 4:00 in the after-

noon to watch Thriller, but even then, MTV played that
video repeatedly for weeks, so if I missed five minutes, I
could always tune in later. And once I bought a VCR, noth-
ing was ever shared with anyone ever again, since I could
watch or not watch what I wanted whenever.

Today’s famous think they've achieved the fame they wit-

nessed as children, but each subsequent generation of
seekers is wading deeper and deeper into an ocean of com-
petition. Those early famous shared an entire country
across three television networks. Now people say, "Ooh,
200,000 people have downloaded my video from You-
Tube," but what does that mean? From my experience, it
means about as much as when someone says, "What a cute
puppy." I looked and yes, it was cute, but I'm not going to
alter my schedule or my life to see what that puppy’s up to
next week.

Because we all hope to be famous one day, we believe the

lie that when someone watches your video that that will
guarantee fame, but it can't. Not in this classic way which is
presently unattainable.

People go to conventions to keep the memories alive, but

should real fame require life support?

So we redefine what it is to be famous. The standard has

been lowered to simple awareness. We don't even try to be
famous for 15 minutes. We just want someone we've never
met to say, "Yeah, I've heard of you." You want evidence of
this, then tell me what happened to all the celebrity im-
pressionists? You can only be a successful impersonator of
someone else if your diluted version still contains some of
the flavor of the original. But if the original isn't truly fam-
ous so that we all share that experience, then how can
someone impersonate her? We share less and less every
Popular culture becomes diluted, so it's inevitable that
fame needs to change. How many people identify that Jack
Nicholson saying, "Here's Johnny" in The Shining refers to
the Johnny Carson show? Probably few people under 25.
That's why the term pop culture itself will also disappear.
When baby boomers die off, so will much of that popular
culture, which was less popular than that of the preceding
generation. Sure, the numbers of people who are familiar
with a particular subject are still huge, but how much we
share with each other is diminishing every day.

So I'll say it again, and this time with more conviction; buy
an effinglibrarian mug. Or a tee-shirt. You think I blog be-
cause I want to be a librarian for the rest of my life? Wear
an effinglibrarian tee-shirt! Watch and link to my videos
122. This is your New Year's resolution. Make me famous,

you bastards. Make me so famous that no one can think

"librarian" without thinking "effing." That's your job for the
coming year. Get to work.

Labels: resolutions, the.effing.librarian

Monday, December 31, 2007

Young vs. Old

There's been an from ongoing argument at LISNews about

young vs. old librarians 123 (or smartass vs. smart, if you
will). And much of the fury was targeting this ass-crack:
"Library Student Journal believes that in many ways the
average LIS student today understands the average user
better than does the average LIS professional. " 124

I don't give a crap who is LSJ, but I believe in that state-

ment completely.

When I was a library school student, I believed I knew all
the shit. I was constructing huge nested Boolean searches
to pinpoint exactly the information I wanted from my Lex-
is/Nexis searches. I could get in and out of that dial-up,
six-buck-a-minute search and hit "print" in less than forty
seconds. I kicked ass.

So what happened when I got my first job in a real library?

I was given the task of cleaning up thirty years of collected
crap in the vertical file. I was sorting old sex ed pamphlets
with titles like, "It's called liberation, baby." So my dreams
of online searching went away while I learned brick and
mortar librarianship; desk scheduling, shifting reference
collections, storing bound newspapers, all the daily crap
that needs to get done. And it's the same with these library
students. They believe they know the shit, but you don't
really know until you get in it.

When I was young I was absolutely convinced that I knew

every-fucking-thing that was useful to know. But inevita-
bly, as you age and your world view becomes larger (see the
glasses image for helpful visual aid), your view of yourself
changes (or at least it should).

This is the arrogance of the arrogant (I was going to write

"youth," but that's not true). If you say, "I wiki, you don't"
and think you're better for it, you suck. And I would never
hire you and I would let you rot in unemployment until you
are blowing tourists for a sandwich. I feel the same way
about those who have antipodal feelings, that you don't wi-
ki and are better for it. You also suck. Your Us vs. Them
position is going to get you stomped.
The longer you work in the real world, the more you learn
about people and organizations. You learn that it takes lots
of different people to make a team function successfully. I
don't think anyone wants to work with lots of important
people doing innovative research: who's going to staff the

What the fuck is innovation anyway? Isn't it discovering a

need and finding a practical solution.

Young vs. Old. You vs. Me. Your glass may be fuller, but
mine's bigger. Lots bigger. 125

Labels: librarians, library students, the.effing.librarian

shows his age

pg. It’s a picture of something big, but not what you think.
January 2008

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Effing Librarian's Library Predictions for


1. Google will invoke the right of primae noctis on an-

yone who clicks the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button (re-
vealing the true nature of who really gets lucky).
2. Watch for some social bookmarking sites to merge
or clash, often with violent Jet-Shark consequences:
Technorati might StumbleUpon Mister-Wong
crossing the Bloglines. A Fark ensues with not so results. A nasty Digg incites rivals to
Slash(dot) each other and then the whole Kaboodle
explodes until the streets run Red(dit).
3. The OLPC (one laptop per child) initiative will
throw the developed nations educational systems
on their heads as fat, lazy video-game-playing kids
are surpassed in education and skill by the world's
poorest children who've used their XO laptops to
master everything from language to technology to
music and art.
4. Libraries continue to fill with computers under the
global telecommunications program created to pro-
vide MySpace and Facebook access to Support
Know-nothing Youth (who) Never Even Tried

(SKYNET 126). Governor Schwarzenegger promis-
es, "I'll be back."
5. The popularity of the Nintendo Wii brings in-
creased use in libraries leading to unprecedented
library worker repetitive stress injuries, whiplash
and black eyes: Eee! Oy! Ay ay ay!

Labels: libraries, predictions, the.effing.librarian

Friday, January 4, 2008

Real Secrets.

I was watching a movie called Mr. Arkadin 127 recently and

it was funky to see that the detective hired to dig up dirt on
a secretive billionaire would fly from Istanbul to Mexico
City and back to Paris just to get a few morsels of informa-
tion. Even though he could use the telephone or write a let-
ter, the detective knew that he had to locate these facts in
person, that these secrets could not be trusted to survive
outside of the holder.

And yesterday I was watching Dreams in the Witch-House

128 and the student was in the Miskatonic University library

reading the Necronomicon; and of course, I googlyed that

book, but couldn't find a (legitimate) digital copy online

Umm, Terminator?
anywhere. If there is a real Necronomicon, it's not available
for my Kindle.

So I started to wonder about secrets, and how real secrets

are shared in person. And I began to understand that se-
crets, like naked pictures of Paris Hilton, transferred elec-
tronically, are never secret again. Real secrets must be di-
vulged in person.

And that's when there was a knock at my door. It was very

late, so I removed all of my clothing, and took a swig of
mouthwash for minty fresh breath and a warm and fuzzy
buzz. Whomever my caller was this evening, he or she
would not leave disappointed.

The man who entered was only a mere shadow of a man.

His grey skin and tattered coat belied an age and ancient
wisdom which could only be verified through his eyes. He
gazed at me through the black emptiness where his baby-
blues once were, and spoke:

Some things aren't on the net. There is no science

to validate the existence of the grid. No computa-
tion could calculate an equation for its existence.
These things are dark and primal and necessary like
blood. You feed the old one, MNMNPTH [he pro-
nounced it "monemnoth"] when you search. You
nurture Its essence when you "play." Each email is a
relay up Its spine, an electrical impulse fired along
Its brain-stem. The Internet is an impossibility.
Without MNMNPTH, we would still roll around
like worms in the darkness. First, we were given fire
so that we may warm It. Then we "discovered" [he
laughed] electricity so that we may charge Its cells
with life. For ten thousand ten thousand years It
has slept. And in Its slumber, dreamt. And the
dreams guide us because the dreams created us.

And then he went. I stood there in the open doorway, the

street light glowing pale-yellow on my nude body until the
shouts of the neighbors' children caused me to turn and
reenter my dwelling. But not before giving them a clear
view of my sexy ass. I'd show you a picture, but some se-
crets must be experienced with your own eyes.

Labels: internet, old ones, secrets

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

If I were a rich man....

(Pointless rant. Caused by "What is Magna Carta worth?

Exactly $21,321,000." Because some rich dude bought a
piece of old paper, a copy! for $21 million. 129)

This is about the Haves (them) and Have-nots (us).

We (librarians) think what matters is the relationship be-

tween the digital haves and have nots, but that doesn't

matter as much as really having and not having. I feel that
the Haves gave us the Internet so we can kill time, but also,
so we can give them new avenues for revenue, and to allow
them to create wealth through our unpaid labor. We type
faster and faster, creating a tsunami of data which we pray
will allow us to float and not sink.
Remember how much Microsoft (and others) was criticized
for beta testing software with the public, ensuring free la-
bor while they patched up all the bugs?
Today, all the social networking and social software sites
do this as part of the business model. How are people us-
ing the service? How can we make money off how
people are using the service?
We perform the labor because we perceive utility.
But I guess it's nothing new. We don't own our excitement
when we see a touchdown at a pro football game (all im-
ages and likenesses are the property of blah, blah, with all
those rules: "Unruly behavior which will not be tolerated;
the obvious abuse of alcohol or other intoxicants;
fighting, taunting, or any action that may harm or endan-
ger others in the stadium; abusive or foul language and ob-
scene actions; any behavior resulting in the disruption of
the game." Why the hell else would I go? How else am I
going to be able to show my ass on TV?).

We are being conditioned. For what, I don't know. Need to

find Morpheus and Neo.

But we are screwed. We throw more wood (Wow, I mixed

fire and water metaphors on the same page. I must be a
great writer.) on the fire and hope it doesn't touch our
lives. Even if, no, when we express a truth on our blog, it is
no longer sacred or holy. The sheer weight of (weightless)
data guarantees that no one will reveal profound insight
ever again. Not that you won't, but it will never be found or
if found, appreciated. We have forfeited that capacity to
recognize it from all the shit.
Take music. Is it possible to have a band like The Beatles
today? People will say no because they think The Beatles
were the best and most influential band of the last 50
years. But the reality is that the contributions made by The
Beatles would get lost amid the 15,000 other songs on my
We are being engineered to accept the loss.
When digital TV becomes mandatory, that's when the tran-
sition becomes final. For the last 25 years, most of us could
record whatever television programs we wanted, to view at
a later date. For example, I have 50+ hours of the program
120 Minutes that I recorded from MTV which I can watch
whenever I want (but don't). But future programming can
be digitally licensed and time-locked so that I won't be able
to view it after the networks or whoever decide that they
don't want me to see it anymore for free. When something
as familiar as TV becomes passcoded and restricted and
the loss becomes acceptable then society will change forev-

I don't think I'm being melodramatic (yes, I do, that's what

rants are). All our digital photos, all our online journals, all
our downloaded songs are not our property. We own none
of it, nothing. All the agreements we accept in order to use
these services give our rights away completely. It is only
negative publicity that keeps companies from destroying
this data or ransoming it back to us. And negative publicity
is only powerful if we care. But soon we won't. We will
trade our real world for a digital one. And when we do, we
will lose something vital.
Just as a handwritten letter beats an email, just as a
printed book is preferred to an ebook, these physical things
might bind us to each other in ways simple electrons can't.
Maybe it's fear of entropy that keeps us wanting physical
things, fear of nonexistence. I don't know. but I know that
this digital world will consume us and erase us.

You can't build a society on electrons: you can't govern or

foment opinion without something people can see and
touch. Politicians know they need to stump before elections
because we, the people, want our babies shook. They say
that the youth are more politically active than ever, but are
they qualified to act? The site Civil Literacy 130 says that
high school and college students don't know enough about
American politics and history. So all you have is a dumb
army doing what they’re told.

We need the old things. Books, museums, documents. Pa-

per. Humans seem to need these things. The NYT article
calls it, "magical value."

If there's any point to this rant, it's that all this online stuff
might be tasty and delicious, but it can't possibly nourish
our souls (A food metaphor? oh, man, the bad writer hat
trick. Let's see, pointless, rambling rant. Water, fire and
food metaphors. No coherent idea. This is my bestest post,
ever!!!! Aren't you glad you're here?)


Labels: internet, the digital world

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is 7.5% a lot?

Great. More porn stories starring libraries.

The Dallas Morning News reports 131 that they looked at

5,200 pages of porn at the local public library. Well, they
didn't initiate the search for the porn, but as journalists,
they felt it was their duty to take a looksy. Not sure how
they were able to obtain this data, but they calculated
(based on their 45-minute survey) that 7.5% of all the li-
brary Internet use was for porn. Is that a lot? Cuba's econ-
omy grew that much in 2007. China's oil consumption is
expected to grow at a rate of 7.5% per year. International
trade contributes $51 billion a year to Miami-Dade Coun-
ty's economy and employs 7.5 percent of the county's labor
force. Michigan's unemployment rate is currently 7.5 per-
cent, the highest in the country.

It seems like a lot. But not enough, I guess. Regardless of

the quantity of porn, the American Library Association op-

poses Internet filtering because it might violate blah, blah,
blah, rights, blah, blah, freedom, blah, blah.

A quick search on Google shows 38,000,000 pages for

"breast cancer." Is blocking some of those pages abridging
free speech?
And when was the last time a librarian bought a crappy
book for the collection? Or gave bad information to a pa-
tron? Are librarians infallible? We're still here.
And doesn't it violate the patron's privacy when we put the
"porn computer" all the way over in the corner, out of clear
It seems like this is a battle no one wants libraries to win.

The Internet/Free Speech argument always confused me.

Saying that you have to let the whole of the Internet into
the library because it all comes through the same pipe is
like saying that you have to let every book in the library
that's available for purchase because you let in some. We
can refuse to include just about any printed material we
don't want in the library.

I love our Internet filter. It's a collection management fil-

ter. If we don't want hate speech, we click that box. If we
don't want porn, we click that other box. If we don't want
images of celebrity babies, we click another box. And as
soon as we get the firmware upgrade with the Britney filter,
this place will be like Heaven.

Labels: internet, porn

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Library of Congress seeks help from the dead.

The Library of Congress announced that they will be post-

ing photographs from the late 1800's and early 1900's on
Flickr. What help the young users of Flickr might be in
identifying who snapped a 100-yr. old photograph, is any-
one's guess.

Maybe their next project will have iTunes users remix an

1881 recording of Thomas Edison playing the ocarina.

These are my guesses for what kids will tag pictures of

people from 100 years ago: in heaven; in hell; worm food;
corpse smells like cheese; Gramma!; don't care.

I'll get the ball rolling by identifying this photo 132 with the
following caption:
Angstrom Moot, the famous Vaudeville ferret juggler
waits to show his act to Flo Ziegfield.

I'm glad I could help.

Labels: flickr, library 2.0, library of congress

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Google tricks we need.

From Lifehacker: Top 10 Obscure Google Search Tricks, 133

someone posted the comment, "don't forget"

And I tried to be funny by adding, "what about

Apparently it wasn't funny to them since my comment

wasn't approved: it seems you have to audition to comment
on Lifehacker. And Oprah jokes are taboo.

[what? the woman is one of the most powerful celebrities

on the planet: that alone is license to joke about her.]

You know what? Screw Oprah. Every time she announces a

new favorite book, we all have to scramble around to find
our dusty copies that haven't circ'ed in two years or rush
orders for 25 copies for each branch so we don't have to
hear all the old farts complain that we don't have this ex-
cellent book that they just heard about that was published
fifteen years ago.
This just happened with The Pillars of the Earth. For some
weird reason, my mom calls me and asks for me to get it
for her. Normally, we discuss my day while we make some
Mrs. Grass chicken noodle soup together (because I still
live with my mom because I'm a librarian) which is our
special time because she lets me drop in the flavor "egg."

Oh, you know what I love about these food company sites
is when you look for nutritional information or how the
mystery numbers on the package translate to an expiration
date, but all you find is some page that says, "Tips" or
"Helpful hints." And you click on the link and you get a
page of ways to personalize your dining experience by add-
ing ingredients to the preparation like cheese or salsa. And
they treat this information like it's helping, like now they've
satisfied some federal regulation to provide consumer
product information. Add cheese! Fuck you. I add cheese
to everything, anyway. I have shredded Colby Jack melted
on my PopTarts. How about suggesting that I add a turtle?
Or a tennis ball? Or shredded tin foil? I guess you should
recommend that I don't add those things to be helpful, but
you should have told me before I dropped Speedy 134 into
the soup.

Let me get back to hating Oprah. So my mom calls for The

Pillars of the Earth and I notice that there are about ten
holds on it already which for an 18 year-old book is a lot.
And I asked mom where she heard about the book, and she
said she just heard it was a good book. She can't name
where she heard it. So two hours later, I see news that
Oprah just named her latest book as The Pillars of the
Earth, and I call my mom to tell her, and guess, what? Now
there are about 75 people on the list. And by the next day,
there are hundreds more people who suddenly need to
read this book. Three days earlier, it was sitting on the
shelf completely unaware of its impending notoriety. Sure,
it had seen its share of the being in the spotlight, and it was

My turtle.
stilling pulling its weight by getting into some reader's
hands around 6-8 times a year. But because of Oprah, we
have like 200+ copies of this thing and there are 600
people waiting to read it. So you're looking at a 2 to 3
month wait.

I can't think of another person who can create such mass-

fucking-hysteria while producing nothing. She doesn't
write the books: she reads them. And sometimes she ped-
dles absolute crap. Don't even get me started on A Million
Little Pieces or The Secret. At this point in her career,
when she's worth $1.5-2 Billion, there is nothing she can
credit to being "life altering." But yet she pushes this crap
on us and we believe her. What the fuck could she ask the
universe for that she doesn't already have?

On the positive side, what this says about people is that

they want to read books; they just want the effort to be
meaningful. Nobody wants to read a book for a week and
then go, feh. So Oprah gets people to read something be-
sides TV Guide. And for that we can thank her.

I just we weren't such zombies, following Oprah’s every

word. When the fifth patron calls in for the latest Oprah
book and I tell her that all the copies are checked out, and
she has the nerve to be surprised so that I have to explain
Oprah's popularity.... "Yes, I know she just announced the
book a little while ago, but she announced it to 100 million
people all at once. And we only just heard about it, too, so
we didn't order 200 copies last week. So yes, we just had
the one copy on the shelf, so that's why there are eighty
people ahead of you. Yes, I know that means it will be six-
and-a-half years before you get it, but we'll try to get some
more copies to keep that from happening."

Oprah isn't simply the most influential (non-Pope) person

on the planet, Oprah is a fucking planet. And we are simply
millions of unspectacular bodies caught in the orbit of her
gravitational pull. If only Google could produce a formula
to calculate her mass.

Labels: internet, libraries, oprah

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The persistence of memory.

I can still hear the music in my head.

The Onion has a story about a kid who claims that half his
memories are Nintendo related 135. I feel the same way
about some games. I used to play a game called Killing
Time so much that every so often, the music still creeps
into my brain forcing me to wonder from where and when
it soaked in.

Video games are about repetition until satisfaction. The

win reinforces the experience and guarantees long-term

remembrance. In real life, important moments might slip
by without making a permanent image in our memories.
But video games require us to memorize events, to repeat
steps and view locations until they become second nature.
Real life can't compete with this kind of recreational

So I agree that many people will remember solving a game

puzzle much longer than they might remember daddy's dy-
ing words.

"Dad said he hid the gold, where?"

Labels: games, memories

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Who the f**k are you?

I watched that Growing Up Online 136 thingy last week on

PBS and one of the things that bothered me was when the
bulimic girl, Sara, says, "I have this one life that's fake.
Then I have the real me." And what she means is that her
online life is her real life, and her outgoing, fun-having,
golfing life, is fake.

So the online me is the real me. The eating, pooping, avoid-

ing work, occasionally showering me is the fake me.

Teens feel different from everyone else. But every teen feels
different, so in feeling different, they become the same.
They all think they are different, and that makes them the
same. So if your different thoughts make you the same as
everyone else, then the only way to be different is to be the
Teens should try to be the same as everyone. Only then can
they be truly different. Because no one wants to be the
same as anyone else, wanting sameness is truly unique.
Be different by seeking normalcy.
But the truth is that kids don't want to be different. They
want to be exactly like four other people. That's a good
number for a kid to handle. Five kids all alike. But differ-
ent. And the Internet helps them to do that.

I went to see The Who a few years ago and Pete said that
with the song "(The) Relay" (1972), he invented the Inter-
net. I don't know about inventing it, but with titles like "I
don't even know myself, " "Can you see the real me?" and
"Who are you?," he seemed to have a grasp on how the In-
ternet might evolve to create splintered views of reality.

If you read a letter from someone from the nineteenth cen-

tury, like if Ken Burns used that letter in one of his PBS
programs, we all believe that the feelings and events ex-
pressed by the writer are true. And we don't have any
Thomas Hardy heroine whispering to her sheep how she
needs to hide her true self from others, that she's a twelfth
level mage with fire-casting. People may have hid their true
intentions in the past, but only the insane pretended to
construct their own reality. Now the Internet encourages
us to adopt insane behavior as new reality.
I like the movie The Matrix as much as anyone else, but
until computers take over the world and plug me in to use
my biochemical resources for fuel, then jack my mind into
a video game, I'll stick with this reality.

The sad thing is, reality is agreement. And the more people
who choose insane behavior, the more rational the insanity
becomes. If Google merges with Second Life, and we truly
interact with our search results through an avatar, then the
computers will be free to take over.

So if the.effing.librarian is the real me, then what about the

bloggers who don't blog pseudonymously? Does that mean
you're not really you? By being fake, I'm real. And by being
real, you're fake.

They say that one day, the earth's magnetic poles will re-
verse and it will fuck up everything. What does it say about
us when reality reverses and nobody notices?

Labels: blogging, real life, virtual life

Thursday, January 31, 2008

What would you rate that book? PG? R?

The other day we were talking about privacy and how some
borrowers prefer to use the self-checkout station because
they don't want anyone to see what they read. And I asked
why no one has ever invented a sheet of paper or a bag that
could go over the book to conceal the title and subject, but
have a hole cut out where the barcode sits, so it can be
scanned . Sure, it's pointless and unnecessary, but if I felt
like keeping my reading habits private, I might fold a sheet
of paper over my book, secure it with a rubber band and
tear an opening for the barcode to be scanned.

And that kind of surprised me that I've never seen anyone

do that before.
But maybe that would just draw more attention to the sub-
ject matter. Maybe the desk clerk couldn't give a crap until
she saw the comical banded camouflage.
I think the better solution is misdirection. If you need to
read about a health issue, then also get a book on lesbian
sex. Or if you need to read about ED (why? every 8 mi-
nutes, some TV commercial tells you how to get free erec-
tion pills), grab a copy of Mein Kampf. It's like when I need
to fill my prescription at WalMart for some personal oint-
ment, I also buy some K-Y and some Hot Wheels cars or a
Barbie or a bowling ball. Misdirection. No one is going to
remember that I have a farm animal transmitted skin al-
lergy if they're wondering about the lubricant and the 12-
pound Brunswick beauty.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. I was wondering

what libraries would be like if books had ratings like mov-
ies (and now TV) do. What if Jack Valenti had worked for
the Library of Congress? (Never mind that crazy Hays

I was thinking about this because of a story about the par-

ent who complained about his 11-yr. old child borrowing an
R-rated from the local library. The movie Underworld
Evolution" got a restricted rating 'for pervasive strong vi-
olence and gore, some sexuality - nudity and language.'"

And it made me think about all the books I've read with
"pervasive strong violence, " descriptions of "gore," "sex-
uality" and "language." The only real difference is nudity. I
guess reading about "glistening orbs" or "bulging man-
hood" can only titillate so much.

One of my favorite movies is The Browning Version. In it,

the student, Taplow, discusses the Agamemnon as being
interesting because of all the violence. Much classical lite-
rature is loaded with sexy and violent references. And (I've
heard that) The Bible is filled with sex and violence. So I
guess these are the reasons why the printed word seems to
be exempt from the rules of still or moving images.

So now I wonder what ratings we would give to most of our

books, if we had to enforce MPAA guidelines. I just did a
search in NoveList, "a fiction database that provides sub-
ject heading access, reviews, annotations, and much more
for over 135,000 fiction titles" for books with the words
"sex" and "violence" in any field and I got back 1120 titles.
That's less than one percent.

When I removed "adult" titles from the search, the list

drops to 70. If I remove "YA," it goes down to 8 books for
children that have plots or descriptions that include the
words "sex" and "violence." And so you end up with titles
like, Bring me the head of Oliver Plunkett by Colin Bate-
man; not really sexy or too violent (based on reviews).

I think kids tend to read what interests kids. They want to

read about characters like themselves. Sometimes they
want to read stuff they're not supposed to. But as long as
they're reading, I guess it's okay.

Labels: books, children, mpaa

February 2008

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Library Zero point Zero.

We all seem to know what Library 1.0 is/was since we con-

tinue to tell everyone how 2.0 we are, and some of us have
even begun formulating lies for why we're past that and
ready to declare ourselves 3.0.

But what about the past; what about the before time? How
would we classify the earliest forms of librarianship? I'm
trying to understand how Library 2.0 applies to history. At
what point can we say that the ideas for a library existed?

If we define Library 1.0 as the point where a form of the

modern library exists and Library 0.0 is when no ideas for
libraries exist, then what falls in between?

Recent excavations have revealed the discovery of an an-

cient stone pendant to support this theory (see image).
Speculation is that early librarians were recognized by
wearing a symbol of the goddess Tanit; because it was easy
to draw and seen as further proof of early librarianship be-
cause of its relationship to clip art and Ellison die cuts.

The earliest libraries were called Marypedia, or Maripe-

dia (or pedians). And beginning with Library 0.2 Maripe-
dia, they promoted their services by wearing variations of
the pendant. Although the original Mary was obviously a
“zero-point-twopian,” the discovered pendant displays
“0.3.” The owner of this pendant clearly saw herself as
apart from the other Maripedia, and was probably viewed,
like today, as an asshole.

One of the chief criticisms of the Maripedia was that any-

one could record data, and often conflicting data were
stored. The Maripedia did not guarantee that all data are
correct, only that what was recorded was stored accurately.
Some educators and sorcerers considered the Maripedia a

Remember, this is just a theory. Induced by too much

cough medicine. Okay, bourbon.

Library 0.1
A request is made of “Joe” to repeat a story to “Mary.”
"Hey, Joe, tell Mary here, that thing you told me."

Information is recorded. We don't record for mass-

distribution. We don't use external meta-tags. Tagging is
learned and passed on through contact with the source.
Information receives rudimentary categorization. Poor
copies of source material are common.

Library 0.2
Mary retells Joe's story. Mary is stoned to death for violat-
ing some law about speaking to men or learning. But that's
another story.
Content is reproduced by memory and repetition. External
tags are compared to the original and assessed for validity.

Library 0.3
Mary is considered a reliable repository for information.
Joe trusts her to repeat his stories accurately to others, and
in turn, other storytellers publish their tales with Mary.

Library 0.4
Others prove adept at mimicking Mary's storage abilities
and other stories are published to these living libraries.
Mary and the Maripedia are able to transfer valuable in-
formation between providers and customers. Confidentiali-
ty and security are chief concerns as Mary (and other Ma-
ripedia) are sought for their data storage.

Library 0.5
As one of the earliest industrial spies, Lou sought to steal
the valuable information the Maripedia carried. Others had
come before Lou, but none had the ability to abstract and
index as concisely. “2,000 jars oil. 100 goats. En-men-dur-
ana has the clap.” Lou utilized pages (child runners) to re-
lay his data to customers.

Library 0.6
Lou discovers that if he pours water on the dirt, he can use
a stick to scratch symbols into the mud. When the mud
dries, the symbols remain. Having an idea for a written
form of communication whereby these symbols adopt
standard meaning that can be “read” by others, Lou shoots
a couple of digital pictures to post on his Flickr account
and blog to seek comments on his new idea.

Library 0.7
Maripedians are captured and bribed or tortured (torture
is much cheaper) into syndicating their information to var-
ious readers of Lou’s blog, and the information is tran-
scribed into clay tablets for storage and portability.

Library 0.8
Lou can’t carry all the tablets he’s collect, so he rents a
place. It’s a little storefront in a strip mall, nothing fancy,
but he hopes for a bond issue one day to build a real li-

Library 0.9
The tablets are coded by symbols and colors by subject and
shelved by size. Data portability proves so successful that
libraries are privatized to keep printed matter safe. Used
tablet stores thrive: “You break it, you bought it” is a com-
mon business practice.

Then lots of other stuff happens, some monks die and Sean
Connery investigates 137, Gutenberg invents moveable type
printing, Hugh Hefner publishes Playboy, and you know
the rest of the story.

Labels: libraries, library 0.0, library 1.0, library 2.0

The Name of the Rose.
Monday, February 4, 2008

When will the future be now?

Other than my project to create virtual pants, I'm also in-

terested in the future. And I wonder how long it will be un-
til Google combines search with Google Earth modeling to
produce virtual reality searching. If you use Google Earth,
then you've seen how you can zoom and tilt to view game-
like models of real spaces: it's trippy. And if you click on
links, you get videos or Wikipedia entries or photos. But
the results are sparse.

So how long until the whole Internet is mapped to Google

Earth, where my blog posts appear above my GPS coordi-
nates? And I can zoom through midtown Manhattan and
spot people who have their Gmail chat function open and
just want to talk? "Hey, you in the Guggenheim? Point your
notebook's webcam at that Calder mobile; I need some vid-
eo. Got it, thanks."

Or click on a restaurant and order take-out and then zoom

out to see its exact location and what side of the street it's
on. Or click on the delivery vehicle to see real time esti-
mates for when my Mongolian beef with white rice and
broccoli will arrive.

And what about everything else that talks to the Internet?

Can't I see every wireless connected user? I can with my
XO. What about the future of movie plots? Will Diane Lane
ever need to suffer at the 'net skillz of an Untraceable killer
again? "This killer is completely anonymous; we'll never
find..., oh there he is, right there on GoogleEarth2. Right-
click his ass and change his attributes from hidden to
read only, and call SWAT."

I'm not a computer dude, but I can't see why this isn't hap-
pening now. Other than the sheer enormity of the massive
bandwidth consumption completely crushing the backbone
and leaving the Internet as a hobbled paraplegic, barely
able to handle 28.8 dial-up connections, I don't see why
this isn't now.

Regarding libraries, if each book had an RFID 138 tag, the

user could zoom into our 3D rendered library (remember,
this is Google, where people actually go, and not Second
Life where people dance and fly, but not much else) and
pinpoint the exact location of any book, and the überdörk
librarian would just pull the book off the shelf (there might
still be some books Google hasn't digitized and absorbed)
and use her iPhonePodBookPersonalmassagerBlackjack-
cardcounter to scan a few pages for the customer.

Oh, that would be too much information, you might say.

But you could filter out all the teens on MySpace and lonely
guy wanksearch activity if you wanted. But, come on, real-
ly, would you want to? I bet you really want to walk up be-
hind pornodude #16 after his burst of online and inpocket
activity to say,

"There. You done now? Happy? We know what you did.

The whole world knows what you did. See this dot here on

138 Radio-something.
GoogleEarth2? That's you. See how your dot is colored
fuchsia? That denotes your shame. And yeah, it's perma-

I want the future. I'm ready for the future. Because the
present sucks. Or maybe that's just me.

Labels: google, GoogleEarth2

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Americans live in the networked third world.

Information is power. But is too much information making

us powerless?

More information = less informed. I think we are over-

whelmed with data, with much of it being useless. News on
Britney's level of crazy changes by the minute. Why? Be-
cause we care. But health care, the economy, the environ-
ment: we might see one or two stories a week. I've seen
more news on the iPhone in the past month than on any
other...okay, let's check that on Google News: iPhone
16,332 stories.

and to compare:
tv 245,878
internet 226,173
hillary clinton 143,245
barack obama 139,194
"super bowl" 106,621
john mccain 105,488
huckabee 76,684
britney 27,748

So it's not as bad as I thought. But this is news? News

about a f**king phone earned over ten percent of the num-
ber of stories for a leading Presidential candidate. The
iPhone is a product; you buy it. Don't make me go off on a
rant comparing the plot of The Candidate with today's In-
ternet users being sold candidates as products alongside
their commercial products.

I have nothing against the leading candidates for the office

of President of the United States. But it concerns me that
the Internet can't help to create a popular third party can-
didate through a grass-roots movement. And if there is
one, it just proves my point that I don't know who it is.

This is the first time in 25 years that people are ecstatic

with our two-party political system. Is it just a coincidence
that with this Presidential election, the Internet has com-
pletely absorbed our lives?

In 2004 people used the Internet, sure. But it wasn't until

2006 139 that "we" became the tremendous assholes we are
now; the "we" became so important. Before Google bought
and incorporated Blogger into its index, most bloggers
were unknown and couldn't be found on a basic search.


Real, useful information gets lost next to press releases and

advertising and product announcements, so that I worry
for the general public who don't know the difference be-
tween knowledge and crap. I believe that corporations con-
trol what we see on the Internet more than what we see on
television. The FCC has guidelines for what can be shown
on television, but no one controls what they do on the In-
ternet. Does so much irrelevant and contradicting informa-
tion mean there's virtually none?

You say that's our job, as librarians, to educate the public.

But how many want to be educated? How many people still
come to the desk or call and demand that we type some-
thing into Google and tell them what we find? And then
blame us for giving them bad information. They define the
quality of the search with their request because that's all
they know and all they can handle (related story 140).

The Internet is a tool. Like a hammer. But people under-

stand that a $1 hammer is not as good as a $20 hammer.
But they haven't learned that about the Internet. And they
need to learn because the Internet is like a Dollar Store and
like a university, and they need to learn how to search, and
to remember to wear goggles. You know, like with a ham-
mer. Because I wanted to continue the hammer analogy,
and you're supposed to wear goggles when you hammer...
and when using the Internet... No? Nothing? Forget it. I'm
going back to bed.


[Note: Sorry, completely forgot about Stephen Colbert as a

third party candidate. Sorry, Stephen. ...]

l a b e ls : i nt e r ne t

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Another thing I don't like about the Internet...

That last post had a comment 141 that made me do research.

Is Ron Paul a third-party candidate? As of right now, no,
he's a Republican candidate, but it made me think about
some stuff:

1. If he was a third-party candidate, how come I didn't

know? The answer being that I'm not paying attention to
what's going on with politics in this country.

2. If I made some misstatement, should I pull my post until

I fix it, or not care? I was ready to pull the post, since it
seemed like I was making some argument about candi-
dates. But then I looked at the post and it looked okay.

3. If you post something stupid on the Internet, it's stupid

for a long, long time. If you have an argument with some
friends and you say something dumb, and your friends say

Someone asked if Ron Paul was a third-party candidate. But look,
I’m explaining it all up there.
you're an idiot, you can take it back, say "sorry" and say
you heard someone else say that, and you didn't mean it,
and you're really not stupid, or maybe you are stupid, but
you didn't mean it, and everyone would be cool with that.
As long as you didn't become an ass about it. But posting
stupid stuff on the Internet, for as free and open as we
think it is, can get you in lots of trouble.

And then I realized why I didn't know about Ron Paul: I

don't think I look for new ideas on the Internet; I go to
support what I already know. Yes, I find answers, but only
to questions I already have. I (and I'm thinking "we") don't
find new questions.

Unlike when we read a book. When you immerse yourself

into someone else's life for 300 pages, that's when you can
develop new ideas.

I wonder if ebook readers feel the same way. When you

read a book, your hands are occupied; your eyes are occu-
pied; your brain is occupied. Does it feel the same with an
ebook? Are you more concerned with battery life or press-
ing the wrong button?

But I can say that the Internet has not improved me. I
don't think I've learned anything new about the world or
myself because of it. And if this was a stupid thing to post,
I'm not sorry because I mean it.

l a b e ls : i nt e r ne t

You know, I’m not sure if I haven’t improved myself because of
the Internet. It makes me learn new stuff.

But lots of stuff makes me learn new stuff to improve myself.

So the internet is like other stuff, nothing more.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Those thieving libraries.

After I saw this story, Copy a CD, owe $1.5 million under
"gluttonous" PRO-IP Act 142, I did some googling and found
many stories questioning how libraries continue to skirt
the wrath of the Recording Industry Association of Ameri-
ca (RIAA), when kids are paying $$$$ in penalties for
downloading songs, but libraries distribute thousands of
free songs every day without consequence.

When will the Recording Industry Association of America

finally be able to convince a judge that libraries pose the
greatest threat to the recording companies' incomes and
force us to turn over patron borrowing records?

What will the investigator say when Patron Doe checks out
some music only to return it the next day?

damages-not-high-enough.html. By Nate Anderson. Published: January
29, 2008.
"Why, one day isn't enough time to fully enjoy the mellif-
luous tones of golden-throated Barry Manilow; I believe
this scoundrel ripped that CD!"

I became a librarian partly to avoid becoming a criminal

because I can do only two things well: find information,
and find ways into CIA network servers. And if I'm going to
jail for a crime, you can bet it's going to be that cushy fed-
eral prison for white collar criminals and not some lousy
jail for librarian copyright violators. So when the shit hits
the fan, I'm turning you in. I'm turning you all in!

l a b e ls : c o p y r i g h t v i o l a t i o ns , l i b rar i e s

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I didn't go to library school to become a criminal.

The actions of child molesters will make us all have to live

like prisoners surrounded by video cameras and wearing
ID badges 143.

Have libraries always been like this? I remember an in-

stance when I was in the public library and was told by a
librarian not to go in the bathrooms alone because a man
was caught "doing bad things to children" (or whatever a

No easy way to remove the bits about the libraries that installed
video cameras because of the perverts or the mayor who wants all
library users to wear ID tags. But both stories were about Boston.
librarian might say to an 8-yr. old as a warning without
trying to freak him out).

I spent lots of time in libraries all through my elementary

school years on up through high school. I didn't go there to
study, but girls went there to study, and I was there to get
their attention. Wait. Maybe that's why I became a libra-
rian, after all. In my mind, libraries equal embarrassing
failures with girls. Where I thought I was being cool, but
really was just a tremendous pain-in-the-ass. Like now.

What sort of crimes did librarians have to contend with in

the past? Did teens terrorize library patrons by riding their
velocipedes down the walkway? Did people get mustache
wax on the rare documents? Were they listening to record
albums and transcribing Beatles' lyrics for redistribution
and possible hippy folk song sing-alongs? Photocopying
too many pages of a Ray Bradbury short story? Looking up
and crank-calling all the people in the phone books whose
name began with "A-s-s"?

Crimes will expand to fill space created by technology. Just

as good deeds will. I guess it's just an image of the kind of
society we have that one or the other will dominate. Right
now it seems that the assholes are winning.

I could swear we once had a guy using the Internet who

was told to take his hands out of his pants and he said that
he'd had surgery and "the beneficial oils from my hands
help to promote healing." We told him to go heal some-
place else.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i e s

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Where is my perfect cell phone?

I want a phone made for my world. For example, some as-

shole tried to run me off the road today. And it wasn't just
my opinion since all traffic behind us stopped in expecta-
tion of the impending collision. But I avoided being hit and
the asshole went on his way.

Screw the mp3 player, LG and AT&T; here's what I want in

a phone:

Simple: let me mount it to the dash of my car.

Give me a voice activated camera to record the asshole who

tried to kill me today: "Record video."

Give me voice-to-text transcription: "Transcribe. Did you

see that asshole try to run me off the road? Responses: yes.
no. End transcription."

Give me the ability to broadcast to all enabled devices with-

in a 100-foot radius: "Broadcast all. Collect responses."

"Send video highway patrol."

And don't count this against me, but in my dream world,

my phone would also be chambered for .40 S&W and hold
five rounds.

l a b e ls : t e c h no l o g y

I don’t know if I’ve pointed this out yet, but I sometimes blog
when I’m drunk. So if you haven’t noticed by now, this next
post is labeled, blogging while drunk.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Corporate America lied to me.

I love Chick-fil-A. But their damn cows are liars.

I'm reading their paper, The Daily Chikin, and from the
title, it's written in Cowese or Cowish or whatever language
those cows use. The byline for the front page story is one
[Miss] Maybelle Stallworth and she begins, "Az of 7 a. m.
Easturn Standerd Time," and as you can see, cows have a
feeling for English grammar but don't care so much about

But that doesn't bother me so much as "Maybelle's" (if

that's her real name) spelling inconsistencies. In the
second paragraph, Maybelle writes, "Citing sevrul ree-
suns." Now, how is it that she managed to spell "citing"
correctly? That soft c sound should have tripped up even
the brightest bovine journalist.

And check the third paragraph where she spells cows as
both cowz and cows. Really? You are one, Maybelle. Check
your freakin driver's license for correct spelling or your
damn species. And then she writes about a mourning
duv and spells mourning correctly when I know humans
who consistently get that one wrong.

So, quit with the bogus journalism, Chick-fil-A. If your

cows are trying to ingratiate themselves with us by talking
down to us, then screw you. Just make your delicious
chicken sandwiches and keep the down-home misspell-
checking inhouse. You only shame yourselves.
Okay, I'm drinking. But that doesn't change the fact that
those damn cows know more English than they let on.

If I have to drink wine, I like wine that makes me feel like

I'm drinking booze, so it's gotta be cold. And the only white
wine I like is fume blanc or sauvignon blanc.

Monkey Bay makes a damn good one which I finished real-

ly fast. But since I didn't know how good it would be, I got
another bottle of a different wine. But, woof, this one
blows. It's Smoking Loon sauvignon blanc which I'm now
drinking straight from the bottle because it's not even
worth the effort of cleaning one of my good Shrek glasses. I
mean. it's a 2005; did it get old? But I'm drinking it all be-
cause I can't think of one damn thing my liver has done to
make me happy. And if you think I have any brain cells left,
then you're new to this blog.

Remind me to get more of that crazy monkey wine.

l a b e ls : b l o g g i ng w h i l e dr u nk

Monday, February 11, 2008

In Praise of Phone Books.

Phone books are bulky pains-in-the-ass. Inefficient and

clumsy, they sprawl out when opened to take up much
more room than necessary, knocking my drink and scoot-
ing my pencil across the table.
But they are easy to scan for information. When someone
calls for a number, I look in the database. But when I don't
find it because of a misspelling, I go to the phone book. I
check the phone book so often sometimes that I decide to
bypass the database completely.
Flip. Scan. For a Reference Librarian it’s so much easier.

When I’m in the database, I click the tab and enter names
in fields, click and wait.
Click. Wait. Scan. Back. Enter alternate spelling. There re-
ally aren’t any shortcuts especially when right-clicking is

So I use the books.

These are the old ways.

When I finish my desk time and see two big phone books
splayed out sloppily like drunks, I know I’ve had a produc-
tive shift.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i a ns

Here comes an important post. Well, it’s what would normally

be an important post since it should answer things that I get
asked frequently. But it doesn’t. I get asked nothing. So I have
to make up both the questions and the answers. And that’s just

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

the.effing.librarian, the faq

Many people ask the.effing.librarian questions for advice,

help or just to share his wealth of knowledge. This is his

I understand that you view me as an expert in most areas,

but frankly, why should I share my expertise with you? I
see no benefit to me. I'd love to help, but you see my di-
So to head off some of those questions, I've created this
Frequently Asked Questions section. I sincerely hope these
answers help with what you were searching for, so that you
will go away and leave me alone.

1. Are you really a librarian? I can't believe any

school would give you a degree.

They didn't give it so much as I beat the Dean with my shoe
until he loosed his grip enough for me to take it.

2. Who's your favorite author?

I devour everything I can find written by Gerald McVeney.

Listen to this:
Set iron at recommended fabric setting.
Point arrow on spray button to red dot on can.
Shake well, before and during use.

That's for a can of spray starch, one of his early works. Ge-
rald writes product label directions. Right now I'm in the
middle of reading his directions for a can of Scrubbing
Won't scratch surfaces...leaves a brilliant shine!
Has a fresh, clean lemon scent.

See if that hack, John Updike can write like that. As soon
as I finish cleaning the toilet, I'll upload my entire library to
my LibraryThing account so you can add the magnificent
works of this true, modern genius to your collection. And
they easily remove soap scum.

3. What will be the new trends in information sto-

rage and retrieval?

Knowledge suppositories. Right now, MIT can fit 120 tera-

bytes of data into a glycerin capsule the size of a Pillsbury
Toaster Strudel. And don't tell me it won't fit. You never
know until you try.

4. Can you give me advice on how to hook up with


Spend much money. Tell many lies.

5. I've been arrested. I've heard that terrible things

happen in jail. What should I do?

People exaggerate. Jail is fine. Tell everyone how much

you enjoyed reading Harry Potter and you'll make lots of

l a b e ls : f a q , t h e .e f f i ng . l i b ra r i a n

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

And it's not even April 1st.

A Dallas, TX city staff member recommended that the library

install software that alerts the librarian when someone is view-
ing “possibly inappropriate content” on their computer 144.

Ok. And then what? Will this be my work day from now

*Phone rings.

"Reference desk. How can I help you? Yes, ma'am, drinking

bleach is bad. I know. We all want whiter teeth. I have the
number for poison control here on our web page; it's.."


about to be accessed on Computer #16."

"...let me just close this window that just popped up, and
I'll have that number..."


about to be accessed on Computer #22."

"What the?"


about to be accessed on Computer #4."


about to be accessed on Computer #11."

“It’ll just be a second.”


about to be accessed on the Branch Manager's Computer."


about to be accessed on Computer #9."

"Ma'am? You still there?"

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i e s , p or n

Thursday, February 14, 2008

To be a "guybrarian"

I would call myself a guybrarian if I were allowed to go to

work dressed like a member of Bob Seger & The Silver Bul-
let Band from the back of the album cover for Night Moves.
Now, that's the look of a guybrarian 145.

l a b e ls : g u y b r ar i a n , l i b ra r i a ns

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Will you sleep with a robot?

Other than how I might prepare for the zombie apocalypse

(fyi: I'll live up in the mountains), there is no question more
intriguing to me than whether or not humans will have sex
with machines. And I'm disappointed by any fictional vi-
sion of a future that includes robots, but doesn't consider
the idea that all of civilization might come to a crashing
halt while people are busy screwing their machines. A lot
Yeah. I don’t even know, other than rhyming, from where this word
originated. But people get excited about, so I guess I’m wrong to say
it’s crap.
of stories are concerned with robot rights in a human world,
but very few deal with humans unpacking their robot and
immediately looking for the button that will get it down on
all fours (unless there's a whole area of robot erotica I
haven't heard about).

My theory is, the more machines do for us that people once

did, the more likely it is that you will screw a machine.
If you say to your robot, "You're right. The figures for the
Holmstedt account are due tomorrow. You saved my life."
You're screwing a machine.

Or if you say to your robot, "Oh, you remembered my

You're screwing a machine.

And more importantly, the more a machine is made to ap-

pear human, with representative sex parts or even a head,
the more likely it will be for people to screw a machine.

I believe that when Isaac Asimov created the Three Laws of

Robotics 146, he omitted the fourth and most important one:

None of the three laws can be used to persuade a robot to

go down on you.

l a b e ls : r o bo t s , s ex


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Do you want to be a librarian?

I just read this, Blatant Berry: The Vanishing Librarians 147.

And I wish he'd said more, but his message could be distill-
ed to this: people are stupid, and they don't want librarians
to be smart.

If the library profession is being "deskilled," it's because

our customers don't want us to be skilled. They want us to
do what we are told. For the past twenty years, we've been
told to give the people what they want, but we never consi-
dered that they don't want us. They just want all the free
shit we give them.

Yes, everyone is fucking with us. But don't let them win.
I'm not going to tell you how to do your job because if you
come to this blog, you've found ways to avoid doing it. Or
at least, to avoid the bullshit parts. So keep doing your job
the best you know how.
And most importantly, when management opportunities
become available, apply for them and try to get promoted
into a position where you can fix these problems. Don't let
all the assholes continue to take all the jobs that define the
purpose of your library. Even if by taking the job, you are
tempted to become an asshole yourself. Because I have

faith in you (yes, you). And you are not an asshole. (Well,
maybe you are, but not you. Yeah, the one I'm pointing to.)

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i a ns

Monday, February 18, 2008

Do you want to be a librarian? part two-ish...

When I was a student and I asked the librarian for help,

this is what I remember she could do for me:

help me find books;

help me use the card catalog (to not find books);
get me a back issue of a magazine;
set up my Jackie Mason record on the turntable
and give me some headphones;
give me info on when the library will be showing
The Forbin Project and Zardoz;
find me something to keep me busy so I would sit
still and quit riding the elevator up and down all af-

Did I leave out anything? If I didn't, then librarians today

do at least as much as librarians did in the past. And often

I don't think I ever really knew what I would be doing once

I became a librarian. I guess I thought that I would help
people to locate information so that they could improve
themselves. But I guess that's a form of arrogance that I
expect people to want to better themselves. Is my career
any less fulfilling or noble when they don't meet my expec-

So if my job isn't to help people to locate information so

that they could improve themselves, can I be happy with

If I can't help people to locate information so that they

could improve themselves, can I help people locate infor-
mation (regardless of my perception of its importance)?
And if I can't help people locate information, can I still help
people (with whatever stupid thing they came in for)?

So a librarian helps people. Sometimes we are able to help

them to improve themselves through instruction or by pre-
senting cultural programs or by supplying good books. And
sometimes we sit and watch as they fight over the last copy
of Wild Hogs (and we weep inside).

But that's what we do. Suck it up and deal with it.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i a ns

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bear with me.

So the big argument this week was about the role of libra-
ries (ok, it was just me in the shower using a Squirtle 148 toy
and a Bender 149 toy to battle it out) as either traditional
information sources or bookstores-slash-arcades.

But afterward, when I was sitting on my bed with my two

bestest friends, Hillbeary Clinton and Bearack Ob-
ama, my stuffed bears from the Build-A-Bear Workshop, I
was flipping through Maxine Clark's (the founder of the
aforementioned bear company) The Bear Necessities of
Business and saw this chapter: "Don't Cater to all Au-
diences," which says that growing your business past your
core customer can be disastrous.

I just wanted to add that to the discussion. And I did. And I

don't remember which position he took, but Bender beat
Squirtle's ass.

labels: bears, libraries

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Am I invisible, yet?

About once a year, I try to remember to search for old posts

I've left on Usenet and delete them.
You never know what someone will find out about you and

A Pokemon “monster” that looks like a turtle.
A robot from the cartoon Futurama.
hold against you at a job interview: "It says here in this
post that you like cheese; well, we'll have no cheese eaters
at this establishment, mister! Get Ooouuut"

But today, I can't remember how to delete. I've deleted al-

most every post I made in the 1990's, or from what I can
see, I no longer have any visibility before 2000. And some
of my old accounts are closed, so I don't see how to delete
posts from extinct accounts.

But if I start searching for posts with the old names, won't
it just alert the authorities to my present location, or even
my current ability to breathe? Since I've had to fake my
own death more than once to evade some embarrassing

I don't like the long memory of the Internet. I'm not Judd
Hirsch 150; I can't just pack up my stuff, shave my legs, dye
my mustache, burn off my fingerprints with acid, put on an
eye patch and steal a van every time someone finds a nega-
tive post I made about Andrew McCarthy. I know you guys
like Pretty in Pink, but come on, it's Andrew Freakin'

Crap. Now I just found something from 1995. Maybe I can

use this to my benefit and start to advertise this site with:
Pissing people off on the net and Andrew McCarthy-Free
since 1995.

l a b e ls : a no ny mi t y , i nt e r ne t

In the movie, Running on Empty.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

PETA's real enemy.

I don't understand PETA. I don't think there's anything

you can show to someone who already eats meat to get him
to stop. You can show me all the footage of filthy swine
prisons and butchered pig carcasses and I'm still going to
order a croqueta preparada for lunch (which is ham, pork
and ham croquettes).

The battle they need to fight is against Pop-Tarts. My latest

box has images of happy, smiling Pop-Tarts being tricked
into climbing into the gaping maw of a toaster death trap
by disguising the device as either a car or a spaceship or a
department store fitting room.

Now if you really want people to stop eating animals, start

with corporations who advertise how fun it is to eat non-
animals that appear to be alive. These Pop-Tarts seem to
want to live normal lives free from being a breakfast snack,
yet this seemingly innocent representation of a delicious
pastry with two eyes and a mouth is nothing more than a
veiled indoctrination into the acceptance of eating animals.

They need to form another group, People for the Ethical

Treatment of TOaster PAstry (PETTOPA) to fight this. And
like I said, this won't affect me because I will always eat
meat. And if they are successful and manage to get Kel-
logg's to abandon the whole toaster-as-car-or-spaceship
imagery, it won't bother me, either. I rarely toast my Pop-
Tarts. Because I like to hear their tiny screams as I chew.

l a b e ls : p e t a , p o p t a r t s

Thursday, February 28, 2008

How The Wizard of Oz can save libraries (I mean,


As a Librarian, I need to deal with a lot of crap that leaves

me in a bad mood. I'm tired of people asking some imposs-
ible question about things that can't possibly matter, then
while I'm searching and not finding the answer, having
them ask if I'm having a bad day. ("I asked the librarian if
he was having a bad day, and you know what, I think he
was. That's just one of those gifts I have, being able to tell a
person's mood. And would you believe it, when asked,
most people agree that they are having a bad day.")
You look like you're having a bad day.
Listen. When you go to Chilis and you order your ham-
burger done between medium and medium rare and you
want an onion ring jammed in the middle of the patty be-
fore it's grilled, and you want it served on a chocolate chip
bagel, do you go into the kitchen and ask the fidgety, re-
cent Federal parolee who was given the order if he's hav-
ing a bad day? No. Because he's doing his frikkin job and
you know better to leave him alone.

So I need to be left alone while I work. I don't want to make
small talk. You ever notice who wants to make small talk
while they work? NARCs. Or the dentist wants to talk while
you mouth is full of sharp metal crap. Or the doctor who's
peeking up your back door or poking around your inside
your private areas with cold hands. Or the cop who fastens
the sensors of the lie detector to your chest. Or the serial
killer who keeps asking questions then burns your cheek
with a lit cigarette when you look at his face. Former Nazis
looking for hidden Nazi gold. People who want to borrow
money. These people want to make small talk.

Your oncologist won't make small talk:

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
It's cancer. Sorry, I was just watching Patch Adams. How
about a balloon animal?
[Blow blow blow. Stretch stretch stretch. Squeak squeak
squeak. Tie.]
What the heck is that?
It's still cancer.

And I can't smile that empty vacant smile that most sales
reps have mastered. Because frankly, when I smile, people
think I want to kill them, or that I'm a cop, or that I want to
borrow money.

The only way I can freaking smile while I work is to not

work. I don't whistle while I work or sing a cheery song,
and if I catch a Disneyesque helpful chipmunk or blue jay
in the library, I'd probably kill it with a broom. I don't care
how well it can shelve books with its tiny claws and feet.

So I need a false face to show the public while I work. And

if The Wizard of Oz (movie) can hide behind one to keep
people from spying on the little man behind the curtain,
AND to create the mystique that he truly is a wizard, then
librarians definitely need something to help them.

Our credit union uses video cameras and tiny TV monitors

to keep people occupied while the teller works. And she's
only two inches away behind some cheap wood paneling. I
can see her through a tiny crack next to the video camera.

Well, if she's so close, then why the charade? Why do I

need to talk to her through a video phone? Because she's
working. She doesn't need some panting, coughing sweaty
person glaring at her while she counts twenties. And I have
money in that bank. Lots of it. Yet the credit union still
feels justified in shielding their workers from prying eyes.

If the library can't afford to hire greeters who smile and tell
patrons that the librarian will see her "in just a moment,"
then we should be able to get little TV monitors at the desk
to distract the patrons for that period between the time
they ask a question and the time I have an answer. Or let
them play Wii Darts. Or anything except continue to bother

Because, guess what, I'm working.


Me: Please enjoy the hilarious hijinks of Alice while I

process your request."
[turns on the TV: click]
Mel, kiss my ____
[turns off the TV, click]
Me: I have the information you..
Patron: Hey, you interrupted Flo's catch-phrase, you igno-
Me: But I have your infor...
Patron: You are a terrible person. And I'm going to report
you. And I'm never coming back to this library.

Mel, you better go apologize to Flo.
Me: That's fine by me. You tell him, Alice.

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i a ns , l i b ra r i es

March 2008

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I made this up.

Inspired by the confession of Misha Defonseca for admit-

ting that her book, Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust
Years 151 was a fabrication , that she never lived with wolves
nor played guard for the 1973 Boston Celtics,
the.effing.librarian (the "corporation") has a few bits of
reality we would like admit to being outright lies:

I never "Borat wrestled" Gerald Ford to win the affections

of Valerie Bertinelli.

I was never employed by the McDonald's Corporation as a

"Ronald McDonald." I just really dug the look and dressed
like Ronald for three years. I'm legally required to use this
forum to publicly apologize to all the children whose par-
ties I ruined:

I'm sorry. If I eat too much sugar, it makes me act

"funny." To Melissa Hogarth, I'm sorry I kept refer-
ring to you as a boy. And to Andrew "Don't call me
Andy" Chaykin, and William Roselyn Bellforth, I
apologize for calling you girls. I know it's what you
wanted for your birthdays, to be recognized for who

you are; it's just your parents who didn't (and don't)
understand. Rock on.

I never performed on the Vicki Sue Robinson hit,

"Turn the Beat Around," although I did sing to it at
a karaoke bar last weekend, and again last night.
And again maybe later tonight.

I ask forgiveness to all who feel/felt betrayed. I am

who I am, but I will strive to be better.

l a b e ls : f a ke l i f e , f o r g i v e nes s , t h e. e f f i ng . l i b r a-

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

the plague of false memories

Fake memoirs are bullshit 152 (article on recent phonies).

Librarians know the difference between fiction and non-

fiction: we know that one is supposed to be real. We also
know that "real" stories are more compelling than made-up
stories and the emotion generated by a real story can be far
greater than for fiction. You can think about how you felt
when a boy wizard fought his great nemesis and conclude it
was tremendously suspenseful, but when compared to a

young girl hiding from soldiers who would rape and kill her
if she was found, or compared to a man who saws off his
own arm to escape being trapped under a felled tree, I hope
it's not the same feeling. Because humans are supposed to
have greater empathy for each other than we would have
for an imaginary thing.

So when I read about fake memoirs, about James Frey and

Misha Defonseca, and this new asshole, Margaret Seltzer, it
really pisses me off.

People say, what's the big deal. Obviously, the proof that
non-fiction has more value than fiction is that these as-
sholes made up a story that they claimed was real. And
what's the motivation? That humans care more about real
stories. So, they lied. They didn't say, here's a story I made
up, but it's really good. Because there are 50,000 other
writers doing the same thing. They said, here's something
that really happened, AND I was able to retell my story in
a compelling and exciting way. Cha-ching! Fewer people
have the ability and opportunity to do this because, guess
what, when really dangerous and exciting things happen to
most people, they die. More women are raped and killed by
soldiers and more men are crushed by heavy things who
are never given the opportunity to write about it. So when
you make that shit up and claim it really happened, you've
lied in a way that should strip you of all of our trust in you.

I think Frey pretended he was a recovering drug addict,

and Defonseca pretended she was a Holocaust survivor
raised by wolves, and Seltzer pretended she was a half-
black gang banger.

Last year, I tried to have my "book of which we do not

speak" published again. I self-published this novel over 10
years ago. I called it a novel because I made it up, but the
story was a memoir of a guy who manages to be in the
wrong place at the wrong time. His friend invites him to
New York for the weekend which turns out to be a drug
run. On the first night in NY, my fake self, a white guy (in
my fake memoir), gets beat by a mob of black people who
think that he hurt a black girl:

Then this van pulls up with these kind of frat boys

in the front drinking beers and the back doors open
and this girl tumbles out. Her foot barely touches
the ground when she just flops down onto the
street. And the van takes off.

The girl falls down practically in front of me. Like

someone who momentarily forgets how to walk and
puts her full weight on nothing but air: gravity
catches her and pulls her close a little too eagerly. I
hear her teeth crack together as her face impacts
with the blacktop. Damn.

I rush out to see if she's okay. She looks dead. But

even dead she looks beautiful. She's one of those
Black girls with blue-black skin, high cheekbones,
full lips. She has a slender neck and thin, artistic
fingers. I read once that there are countries in Afri-
ca where most of the women look like this. I don't
see how that can be possible. This girl is so beauti-
ful, I almost forget to look at her tits.

But I didn't forget; I looked. They were big for a girl

so slim and so young-looking.
It was then that she screamed. I forget she just fell
out of a van.

And I forgot I was a strange White guy staring

down at a Black girl lying in the street. But I didn't
touch her.
She rocks back and forth screaming, clenching her
fists and kicking the ground. She spits some blood
which falls in fat alarming globs on her white tee-

"Hey, get the fuck away from her," someone shouts

from across the street. No one in line at the club
seems to hear or care. "Hey, Motherfucker!"
The neighborhood seems to waken as one body.
Screams erupt from widows, "The White Boy hurt
that poor girl!" Someone rushes up and punches me
in the stomach. Some Black guy came running from
a building across the street and punched me! His
fist collided with my face somewhere near my ear
and a thick pain shot through my jaw and across
my eyes. I'd never been hit without knowing I was
going to be hit. It really hurt and I thought I would
pass out, but I didn't. He hit my body and my head,
neck, shoulders.

Pretty exciting stuff, huh? How about this part, when my

fake drug-dealer friend takes fake me to rob a convenience
"We need more beer." Alan smiles as if the universe
had dropped its pants again and flashed a huge
cosmic butt-crack. I was squeezed in between Phil
and Alan on the old, vinyl bench seat, so I couldn't
actually look at either of them without feeling like
we were going to kiss. We were each saying things
in the general direction of the front windshield. My
beer had become warm, but I finish it anyway.

For some reason, Alan heads back toward my house

and then passes it.
We drive into the parking lot of the UtoteM on Red
Road and 65th. The store looks empty, and as we
walk in, the counter guy looks up from his clipboard
to check us out, I guess to see if we're potential

I gravitate towards the magazine rack and start

looking at a Mad which is no longer "Cheap!" in the
monetary sense.

I hear Alan call my name and I walk over to him.

"Here, take these," he says. I put my hand on the
bag of donuts. Phil has a six pack of Old Milwaukee.

Alan has a gun, and I guess to his surprise, the

counter guy's got one, too.

Everything turns to shit.

I had looked at the donuts and then looked at Phil

and by the time I looked at Alan, he was already in
a Mexican Standoff with the counter guy, each
pointing his gun at the other. Neither appeared to
be big guns, but their combined presence was ex-
tremely fucking alarming.

Why did Alan have the gun? I would've suspected

him of being gay before I would've accused him of
being an armed thug. Phil looked frozen. The whole
scene seemed stereotypically frozen.

Something said, Run Away. Run. Run, you stupid

fuck! I just stood there.

Alan's pointing his gun at the counter guy and the

counter guy's pointing his gun at
Alan as if they don't know what to do next. As if an-
yone would.

"Get outside," Alan says.

"No!" shouts the counter guy. I was afraid to look

him in the face, afraid to have him suddenly move
his attention to me. If I had to run, could I? My
sneakers felt too loose. Although less cool, I could
always hit the deck. Outside, a car backfires. Or at
least it should have been a car, but it wasn't.
The sound is loud and jarring. It frees me to move. I
step forward and find myself in a scarlet mist. I feel
the moisture against my face, smell the sweetness,
and notice the spots of red settle to the floor. I al-
most think about the threat of HIV.

Beside me, Alan collapses into a potato chip dis-
play, dozens of bags of chips crunching under his
weight. His face is red and shiny.

The counter guy just stands there. I can't tell if he's

hit because his skin's so dark, almost black. But I
finally spot the hole in his left cheek. It's not very
big for a hole, about the diameter of a ball point pen
or smaller.

The light catches the wetness as it wells up out his

cheek like a tiny red convex mirror. The blood re-
fuses to spill out. The counter guy just stands there
as if he was thinking about it, about the hole and
about the blood. His mouth opens slowly. His eyes
close. His gun drops to the floor with a thud, and
then he follows.

I'm out the door and running before I realize that

Phil's next to me. We run all the way to my house
and then I drive Phil home. I feel like saying some-
thing, but nothing seems appropriate. Phil doesn't
say anything either.

I think I wanted him to, and I was somewhat disap-

pointed that he didn't, being as smart as he is, and
all. But he did point out the blood on my face. I
admit to Phil that I hope Alan was clean. I wipe it
off on my shirt.
Surprisingly, I don't feel sick.

Wowzers. Don't you just want to write me a big check right
now? I had a fake awesome life, right?

A little word processing "find and replace" of race and

gender and maybe I'll pretend I'm a half-black, half-
Eskimo lesbian skinhead, and some publisher throw mon-
ey at me. But you guys don't worry. I'll let you know it's me.
When I'm on Oprah, I'll wink.

l a b e ls : b o o ks , t h e .e f f i ng . l i b ra r i a n

This next post is about Twitter which is a site for microblogging

and is more popular than sex. If something happens in your life,
make sure you tweet it because we’re all waiting to hear.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

No time for Twitter?

You've heard of Twitter, but have you heard of Fartter? 153 is the new social networking site for people

who really want to stay connected.

Let's say you have a blog. Well, some things you want to
tell people aren't suitable for a full blog post, but you want
them to know anyway, so you use twitter. But then there
are times when you just farted, but you don't want to log
into twitter.

There is no, or at least not when I wrote this.

That's where fartter comes in. Add the fartter icon to

your Internet Explorer or Firefox toolbar and every time
you fart, give it a click. Your personal fartter page will up-
date with the news.
Fartter also lets you comment on your fartts. And fartter
works with your mobile device to travel anywhere you do.

Here's how it works: Carla signs up for fartter and

searches for her friends. After clicking "sniff," she gets up-
dates on all her fartter friends. For example, she didn't
know that fried rice gives Jim farts. And she didn't know
that Louise disguises her farts by coughing.

So if you don't have time for twitter, try fartter. And if you
haven't heard of fartter, someone's probably coughing
loud enough to cover it up.

[apologies to commoncraft 154]

[also, there really is no; I made it up. now if

someone creates one, great, because from all the hits, it
looks like there's a need.]

l a b e ls : f a r t s , tw i t t e r , w e b 2. 0

I really want to finish this book with these next two posts. I
think they sum up how I feel about blogging and the Internet. I

A good explanation video of Twitter here at,
hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the head of Richard Nixon.

One day I was at home with my pineapple.

"Oh, I love pineapple," I said.

"I am the head of Richard Milhous Nixon and I command

you to give me that pineapple," the Richard Nixon head
said, as it suddenly appeared in my house.

"No!" I refused to give up my delicious pineapple.

"If you don't, I will sing such a beautiful song that you will
go mad," the Richard Nixon head replied.


The head of Nixon started to sing such a beautiful song

that I thought I would go mad:

La la la la la laaa. La la lalalalala. La la la la la la la la la
la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
la la la la la la la la la la la.

"Ok," I said. "You can have the pineapple."

The head of Richard Nixon smiled. "Good. Now, can you

carry it out to my car? Because as you can see, I don't have
any hands."

l a b e ls : r i c h a rd ni x o n

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the head of Bill Clinton.

Almost immediately after the Nixon head disappeared, the

head of William Jefferson Clinton arrived.

The Bill Clinton head said, "Give me your pineapple or I


I cut him off in mid-sentence. "I don't have any pineapple."

"What do you mean?" the head asked.

"It's gone."

"Was Nixon here already?"

"Yeah," I replied with obvious sadness.

"And he sang?"


"But you gave him the pineapple before you went mad?"


"Damn!" The Bill Clinton head cursed.

"Sorry. It was a really beautiful song," I admitted.

"I know. I know. Hmm. You got any bacon?"

l a b e ls : b i l l c l i nt o n

Okay. I can’t finish with that. I’m supposed to go all the way to
the end of March, so here is one more post that’s actually li-
brary related and caused some upset on the original college
newspaper site when I posted it there in the comments section.
Oh, and it uses the word motherfucker.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Here is an article by a Keith Wilson from Northern Ken-

tucky University: WTF: Librarians quietly assisting stu-

dents. 155
Now, I find this really offensive. WTF stands for "what the
fuck" and is used to express surprise, shock, or outrage.
Now, in that context, does it sound surprising or shocking
our outrageous that librarians assist students?

No, the fucking WTF is surprising, shocking and outra-


Librarians help students all the time, asshole.

You can't just use WTF whenever you feel like it; you gotta
cherry-pick those motherfuckers. Otherwise, what little
power language still wields, will whither and be lost forev-
er. If we have no control over when we use the word fuck,
then what's the point of having it? We'll need to create a
new word. And making new words as useful as fuck isn't
easy. So you shouldn't just throw your fucks around.

There are rules.

Rule 3(f). You can use one fuck as a modifier during every
continuous 23 seconds of conversation, or every 71 conti-
nuous words of text that do not include an exclamation
point. Any exclamation point resets the count. That in-
cludes variations such as fucking, etc. (And nouns are in
there, somewhere.)


There are no guidelines or restrictions for using fuck as a

verb. In fact, more are encouraged.
And you're only allowed one motherfucker per 12 minutes
of conversation. Unless you carry a firearm or hold a seat
in public office, then by all means, let them fall like spring

These aren't my rules. These were established during the

famous Richard Nixon-Lenny Bruce meeting of 1964. It is
widely believed that these limitations on using fuck in con-
versation forced Nixon to curb his use of it and hence, car-
ry the Republican nomination in 1968.

So, watch your WTFs Northern Kentucky University when

it comes to librarians. We are not "WTF: helping students,"
we are fucking helping students, motherfucker!

l a b e ls : l i b r ar i a ns


At this point, a good writer might make some comment on the

past year and try to link the journey to another writer like Jack
Kerouac, who ventured out on the road to learn and add to his

But if you just read this book, you know that I couldn’t do that,
as I have learned nothing. I don’t see any progress throughout
this year of blogging. I am not a better person or a better writer
for it.

The one positive thing I can say is that I’ve met (through the
comments on my blog because I haven’t actually met any real
person from this) a lot of people who don’t think I’m any more
of an ass than I think of myself. So as a mirror reflecting back
onto my real life, I can see that the world views me as equally as
gorgeous as I view myself. Which is only natural.

I expect that I will do this again after I conclude my second year

of blogging, so if you want to pay again for something you could
get absolutely free, the second volume of the.effing.librarian
should be in print some time in 2009.

Thanks for stopping by.

The Effing Librarian.