Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Long live the anonymous Annoyed Librarian

I occasionally visit the "The Annoyed Librarian" blog, and have included it in my handy dandy Netvibes list of library blog rss feeds. I think some of AL's comments about web2.0 and other consensual trends that drive our profession are spot on, and often hilarious. I'm also a bit envious of all the attention she gets; for example, 175 people commented on her excellent post, "Librarians, Amuse us to Death", while only one person bothered to commented on my own post which made some of the very same points a good month before she did - about libraries neglecting their public duty, Huxley and Orwell's respective dystopias, etc.etc. (also, her post wasn't illustrated, while mine had a prominent and interesting picture in it!) I did not realize until very recently, however, how annoyed some librarians are by the AL, and what a contentious issue her anonymity is. A few weeks ago the blog was picked up by Library Journal, and is now hosted there. What a change of AL characteristically put it "Just think, a few weeks ago I was sitting in my lonely writer's garret writing the AL. Now I sit in my beautiful new corner office on the thirtieth floor overlooking the park looking for things to be annoyed about. Selling out to the Man? I highly recommend it!" The other day as I was trolling through my Netvibes list to find something to blog about (my life in a nutshell), I stumbled upon some speculation about who the AL really is. Evidently, that discussion has been going on/off for some time, but resurfaced with a vengeance with the publication of a special issue of Journal of Access Services that consists entirely (except for intro by Wayne Bivens-Tatum) of contributions by the pseudonymous blogger. To get a sense of what the debate is about, see posts at Free Range Librarian , Academic Librarian and Being a professional, certified librarian, it took me about 20 minutes to figure out who the AL is - and my first thought was to publish that information here - not out of malice, since I really agree with much of what she says and find much of her writing entertaining (though I don't share her contempt for "liberals"), but to generate some traffic for my own blog. Why should a handful of celebrity bloggers hog all the attention? However, after reading some of the pompous, self-important screeds of those who rage rather than chuckle and/or reflect, I realized one commenter was probably right: Once “he” is unmasked it will be like one of the old wrestlers who aren’t so interesting anymore once they’re revealed to be a boring old bald guy. So, my lips are sealed, and long live the Annoyed Librarian. (I will send her an email and ask her to link to this post, however. But if she doesn't , that's OK too...)

1 comment:

  1. I can understand the concerns about anonymity. I'm not a big fan of it except when it's necessary. But once you get past that issue (and I don't believe its worth as many words as some have given it), reading the AL's posts is quite enjoyable. Even when she aggravates, at least it's, as you say, cause for reflection. =)