Library Jawn

This is a jawn about libraries
by Poliana Irizarry

Apr 30
boom-swagger:

libraryjawn:
Image of white text on a black background reads:

Librarians are there:
To help, aid, assist. To teach, collate, enthuse. To catalogue, index, arrange, organise. To find, discover, promote, display. To interest, intrigue, amuse and amaze. To instill wonder. To help children, adults, old people, the underprivileged, the rich, the poor, those with voices and those without. To protect resources, to archive them, to store them, to save them for the future. To provide differing viewpoints, to engender thought, conversation, research, fun. To provide the best answer possible, to match the answer to the enquirer, to provide just enough information without overwhelming the user, but enough to always help. To better a local community, a company, a school, a college, an organisation, a country, the world.
Google is there:
To make money.

This image has been shared with me by a handful of well-meaning friends, but I disagree with its sentiment. I’m here to make money, too! Sure I find my work very fulfilling, but fulfillment doesn’t pay my rent. That quote puts librarianship on a pedestal — it seems like a nice idea, but it’s that attitude that fuels library budget cuts & closures. After all, to be martyred is to be killed!
And which of us doesn’t use Google products? Like it or not, I visit Google Scholar, Gmail, and Google Translate (and more!) daily. Anyway, pitting librarians against Google doesn’t even make sense — I know so many librarians who work for Google & other database vendors.

maybe i’m being naive, but i didn’t see this as a black and white argument, or even a versus argument. good librarians will understand that google is an important part of the information landscape and will adapt to include it in their resources. and google does do good things. 
but i also work with google on a day-to-day basis as an online marketer, and google’s main goal is making money, not furthering education or spreading information. i won’t say that those aren’t goals, but with the push to use adwords and analytics, as well as their data-mining practices, they definitely have a profiteering agenda. i use all their products personally and professionally, but with one eye on my privacy. 
honestly, i saw this as more of a good definition of a librarian, one that people may not always think of. the google part was just an afterthought.



Librarians use Google. Google has librarians on staff. Of course it’s not a B&W argument, but that’s what blogger Phil Bradley  made it. And thus, a meme was born. It’s not a matter of Us VS Them at all, but the internet must have its battle, right?


I posted this on Tumblr before checking my dash & seeing it had already been trotted out by nevvar — then I took a look at the reblogs (ugh…you’d think after being online for almost twenty years, I’d know to not read the comments). I learned the age-old librarian stereotypes have indeed followed us here. How disappointing, considering the young age of the average Tumblr user! Librarians are still seen as spinster-bitch book fetishists, concerned only with shushing people who dare invade our dusty stacks.


This image pits librarians against Google, when really it should be comparing us to each other. Successful librarians use whatever media we can as tools for outreach, because just like the clicks on Google Ads, more active library patrons equals more money. More money means we can provide more services, sure, but we must not forget we are in the business of information, just like Google. We take many statistics in order to justify our annual budgets: number of patrons in the building, number of page views to our website, number of times a particular database is accessed, number of times an item is checked out (and for how long), etc. Those stats are our bread & butter (and yes, most libraries use Google Analytics)! 


However, my biggest problem with the image is how it seeks to turn the librarian into some sort of charitable saint. That is dangerously classist Ivory Tower rhetoric, harkening back to the days when librarians mostly really were old white ladies. I think this image reinforces both the Wage Gap and the ideal of the highly educated doling out scraps to the masses.

boom-swagger:

libraryjawn:

Image of white text on a black background reads:
Librarians are there:

To help, aid, assist. To teach, collate, enthuse. To catalogue, index, arrange, organise. To find, discover, promote, display. To interest, intrigue, amuse and amaze. To instill wonder. To help children, adults, old people, the underprivileged, the rich, the poor, those with voices and those without. To protect resources, to archive them, to store them, to save them for the future. To provide differing viewpoints, to engender thought, conversation, research, fun. To provide the best answer possible, to match the answer to the enquirer, to provide just enough information without overwhelming the user, but enough to always help. To better a local community, a company, a school, a college, an organisation, a country, the world.

Google is there:

To make money.

This image has been shared with me by a handful of well-meaning friends, but I disagree with its sentiment. I’m here to make money, too! Sure I find my work very fulfilling, but fulfillment doesn’t pay my rent. That quote puts librarianship on a pedestal — it seems like a nice idea, but it’s that attitude that fuels library budget cuts & closures. After all, to be martyred is to be killed!

And which of us doesn’t use Google products? Like it or not, I visit Google Scholar, Gmail, and Google Translate (and more!) daily. Anyway, pitting librarians against Google doesn’t even make sense — I know so many librarians who work for Google & other database vendors.

maybe i’m being naive, but i didn’t see this as a black and white argument, or even a versus argument. good librarians will understand that google is an important part of the information landscape and will adapt to include it in their resources. and google does do good things. 

but i also work with google on a day-to-day basis as an online marketer, and google’s main goal is making money, not furthering education or spreading information. i won’t say that those aren’t goals, but with the push to use adwords and analytics, as well as their data-mining practices, they definitely have a profiteering agenda. i use all their products personally and professionally, but with one eye on my privacy. 

honestly, i saw this as more of a good definition of a librarian, one that people may not always think of. the google part was just an afterthought.

Librarians use Google. Google has librarians on staff. Of course it’s not a B&W argument, but that’s what blogger Phil Bradley made it. And thus, a meme was born. It’s not a matter of Us VS Them at all, but the internet must have its battle, right?

I posted this on Tumblr before checking my dash & seeing it had already been trotted out by nevvar — then I took a look at the reblogs (ugh…you’d think after being online for almost twenty years, I’d know to not read the comments). I learned the age-old librarian stereotypes have indeed followed us here. How disappointing, considering the young age of the average Tumblr user! Librarians are still seen as spinster-bitch book fetishists, concerned only with shushing people who dare invade our dusty stacks.

This image pits librarians against Google, when really it should be comparing us to each other. Successful librarians use whatever media we can as tools for outreach, because just like the clicks on Google Ads, more active library patrons equals more money. More money means we can provide more services, sure, but we must not forget we are in the business of information, just like Google. We take many statistics in order to justify our annual budgets: number of patrons in the building, number of page views to our website, number of times a particular database is accessed, number of times an item is checked out (and for how long), etc. Those stats are our bread & butter (and yes, most libraries use Google Analytics)!

However, my biggest problem with the image is how it seeks to turn the librarian into some sort of charitable saint. That is dangerously classist Ivory Tower rhetoric, harkening back to the days when librarians mostly really were old white ladies. I think this image reinforces both the Wage Gap and the ideal of the highly educated doling out scraps to the masses.

(via snack-tray)


  1. look-im-blending reblogged this from everyoneneedsanollyollyoxenfree
  2. everyoneneedsanollyollyoxenfree reblogged this from libraryjawn
  3. libraryjawn reblogged this from snack-tray and added:
    Librarians use Google. Google has librarians on staff. Of course it’s not a B&W argument, but that’s what blogger Phil...
  4. librariangirlmx reblogged this from libraryjawn
  5. snack-tray reblogged this from libraryjawn and added:
    maybe i’m being naive, but i didn’t see this as a black and white argument, or even a versus argument. good librarians...