Monday, October 29, 2007

Let's set the tone...

A good friend & colleague, the Library Bitch, suggested that I kick off a blog of my own. The L-Bitch generously went so far as to suggest that I re-post, as my initial posting, a piece I'd previously sent to the Library Bitch blog. So, following that very sage advice, here I go.

With a Bitch of a blessing, I am re-posting that afore mentioned piece. It is as good a place as any to start. Please join in and have your say, too. Above all, let's acknowledge the real knee-knocking chaos, lunacy & idiocy that defines our professional world of supposed order.

Now, without further ado, a bit about myself....

I am a librarian.

The librarian at work: For the past several months I have been building Extranets to house financial and government documents relevant to mergers & aquisitions. This has involved my development of taxonomies and a cataloguing system, according to a foreign government regulatory standard suitable to the materials and circumstance, to facilitate access to a specific user group. I have processed many thousands of documents to date, carefully placing each into refined matrices. I grant user access to the Extranets, monitor activity levels, hand-hold or firefight as necessary, continue to develop new document warehouses and process content as it is presented for my ministrations.

The librarian at home: The house needs to be vacuumed and groceries haven’t been done in weeks. The dining room table has a disassembled computer gathering dust, stacks of magazines and various useless flotsam. The bathroom is gross. My bedroom is a mess, with clothing hanging from chandeliers. The cat is threatening to leave unless things shape up. She motions to the old furball she created and I did not clean up. The furball is collecting dust.

The librarian’s concern: In this seeming balance between the highly structured work environment and the completely disorganized home life, I am aware that some latent obsessive-compulsive trait might be rising within my personality. I recently found myself perceiving cleaning duties at home as I might develop and organize at work. This upsets me deeply.

The librarian’s solution: I will keep my work and personal lives separate: order at work/disorder at home. I will listen to my collection of late-70s UK punk at every opportunity. I will not count stairs as I climb here & there. I will not count the number of black Jettas I see during a walk, nor will I sub-group them into model years. I will not avoid cracks or lines on the sidewalk, but I won’t make a point of avoiding them. I will clean my bathroom, eventually, because it’s just gross. Indeed, I will wash my hands after cleansing the bog, but I am aware that I must avoid doing so repeatedly. However, I will not count the number of times I wash my hands because that will just make the OC fear rise again like so much coffee-stomach bile.

G, I am a librarian ... and it's pissing me off....

(Originally posted to Library Bitch, October 24, 2007 12:15 PM)


G said...

Well, it's about damn time.

I can relate.

I personally make an effort, also, to be as unorganized at home as possible (at least that's the story I'm sticking with). I figure being a Librarian in title is more than enough; I need not let it take over other non-work-related areas of my life.

Even at work, I find that I cannot organize, or structure, or categorize, any elements of my daily routine. I just don't want to be like the rest of them - they are too robotic, too mundane, too predictable - and are bitter as a result of the set-in routines that dominate their lives.

Can't do it, LL. Unpredictability is what keeps life interesting. Librarians are smart people, but most of the ones I've met have yet to figure that one out.

Curiousity: how many Jettas, on an average walk? On my average drive to work, I see more Aleros than anything else. I'd count them for you, but I'd feel way too much like a librarian. Can't put myself through that!

Anonymous said...

Being a librarian is a means to an end, not a way of life. That's the thing. Y'know, maybe you guys should try the academic route. Take it from me, it's nice and cushy: decent pay, good holidays, benefits, and, usually (with the exception of a certain university I could name on Vancouver Island)free tuition.
Sure, it's tough working in a profession where social have-nots are the norm and make it to the top because they can spend all that extra time logging OT since they don't have any personal life. And it's hard working amongst coworkers for whom having any life experiences mark you as an "other." And being treated like a clerk by administrators, teenagers, faculty, and the public doesn't go down so well, either, what with the Master's and all. And, yes, you may find yourself giving a library lab in a poli sci tutorial run by an MA student who happens to be the daughter of Skeletor, the freak who taught you computer basics in library school. But it could actually be worse: ...actually, I'm not sure exactly how, now that I think of it. Meeting Craven's daughter was scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Leglib said...

Right on the mark.

How many librarians, unable to find work within the established halls of librarianship, register with Temp agencies to earn their daily bread? Here, their skills are evaluated according to an administrative application:

-- "Can you use Microsoft Excel, Word and Outlook?"

-- "How many words can you type per minute?"

In my experience, the value of the librarian in the non-library-specific job market is assessed according to a common held perspective of the classic 'office secretary'. Why is this the case? (Note: I am not knocking Administrative Assistants. However, I am noting that librarians are not currently trained to be administrative assistants.) After years in university study, such employment makes the realisation of a quality standard of living difficult, especially if heighty student loans have been incurred.

Damn, I could really go on. However, dinner awaits. Coleman Hawkins fills the air, a nice Ontario Gamay is being a-sipped, and sometimes I just have to step away from some frustrating elements of our profession and ... granted ... out economy. It's evening and I've another life to live.

Good to see you, Anonymous. Hope all's well out westward way.