Why I Just Won’t Shut Up (or, Why I Blog)

I’ve been turning over Bonnie Power’s post “Why do bloggers blog?” in my head for the last two weeks. Every time my fingers have come close to touching the keyboard and writing something about it, my attention span would magically divert itself to something else like video games or social media stuff. In the past, I’ve taken that as a sign that I’m really not up for writing on a particular topic and just moved on. But, alas, her post planted a thought that simply wouldn’t die: why do I blog? In just letting it run its course, here is what I found.

Initially, it felt pretty self evident; I write because I have something to say and I want to be heard. The internet, the great digital soapbox of our time, has the capability of providing that platform for the second part of that sentiment. But “something to say” is just too neat, too tidy; I wanted to say something that would make people think. I wanted to offer something different, something new, something to push people into using their critical thinking skills. It is my desire to fill the role of a public intellectual for libraries, a position that I have not seen much in my travels around the web. It’s only been recently that I’ve found something that captured that sentiment:

An intellectual is not an expert, and a public intellectual is not an expert who condescends to speak to a wider audience about her area of expertise. An intellectual is a generalist, an autodidact, a thinker who wanders and speculates. As Jack Miles puts it in a stellar essay on the question, “It takes years of disciplined preparation to become an academic. It takes years of undisciplined preparation to become an intellectual.”

Setting aside the problems of such a label (and there are some) as well as whether my efforts are taking me there (perhaps, perhaps not), the underlying motivations have not exactly been what I expected. They seem to be rooted in a dissatisfaction with the status quo, the not-always-constructive need to argue, and a nearly unexplainable driving desire to offer differing and sometimes contrarian point of views. This is a writing arc that only seems to have me finish as a human form of Grumpy Cat, forever unhappy with anything. It’s a struggle not to end up in the gutter ball lane of internet humor, the short snarky retort written in Impact font over the picture of an animal. It’s the mantra of “try[ing] to add something worthwhile to the conversation” that keeps me on track most of the time. That ideal has killed more blogs posts than I care to imagine.

I would say that the keyword that has appeared within my own thoughts around why I blog is “challenge”. I want to challenge people to defend their beliefs so as to help make their arguments tighter or see an error in their thinking. I want to challenge people to step up to the plate, to have the courage of conviction to take on the pressing issues of the day, and to step outside their comfort zone to (as they say in the ALA Think Tank) make it happen. I want the challenge of saying something bold, something crazy, and perhaps something unexpected. I want the challenge of people telling me I’m right or wrong and assimilating what they say into either defending or evolving my own positions. I want the ultimate challenge that comes with failing; and failing grandly with an online world that never forgets, so as to take the lessons from it and move on.

I don’t want to squander my youth or my status as a still-new-to-the-field librarian in writing ‘safe’ blog posts, bland ramblings on mundane subjects that fade into the background of the online libraryland noise. I feel a duty to be reckless, impetuous, and antagonistic so as to reap the rewards of wisdom and experience that will shape my writing into my later years. This will ruffle a few tail feathers, but I consider that to be a statistical inevitability.

In the end, I’d like to imagine that I’d be writing this blog even if no one read it. But knowing that I have a following, that my blog posts are shared widely around the world, and that people are impassioned enough to take the time to offer a comment, that makes it so much more compelling to continue to write. I’d like to thank everyone who is reading these words, those who share them, and those who think they are worthy enough for discussion. I am humbled and honored by your attention in this world of distraction.

Connecticut Bill Would Limit Prices of Library eBooks

Good e-Reader is reporting a bill has been introduced in the Connecticut General Assembly that would require publishers to sell eBooks to public and academic libraries at the same rate of the general public. Proposed H.B. No 5614 states:

AN ACT CONCERNING "E-BOOKS" AND LIBRARIES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

That the general statutes be amended to require publishers of electronic books to offer such books for sale to public and academic libraries at the same rates as offered to the general public.

Statement of Purpose:

To require publishers of electronic books to offer e-books for sale to public and academic libraries at the same rates as offered to the general public.

At first glance, I was impressed. If libraries can’t get publishers to play fair by directly approaching them, then perhaps some legislative options are in order. But as I thought about it, some problems have emerged for me.

First, there is no mention of school libraries. I would hope this is a simple omission or perhaps an expansive definition of what ‘academic’ libraries means (a legal one, not our professional one). School libraries are in the eBook game so they have some skin in this particular venture. It would also be interesting to see how this affects colleges and universities of vastly different endowments (Capital Community College vs. Yale). As it is another tax payer funded institution in general, it should not be left off the list.

Second, there is no mention of terms and usage. Specifically, the practice of limited circulations before licenses expiration (such as Harper Collins 26 checkout limitation) is not addressed. If this bill was to pass, a publisher would be compelled to lower their prices but could tack on circulation expirations. A library may not pay 300% more for a Random House title, but they could be looking at limited circulation licensing arrangements. If there was some meaningful language about usage terms, then this legislation could have some teeth to it.

Third, and possibly most importantly, I am feeling hesitance towards this bill because I believe that the market still has the capability of providing corrections to the library eBook economy. I don’t feel that the pricing schemes are finalized in the slightest. While there is pressure on libraries to provide eBooks, there are also competing pressures to provide other new services to the public. The justification for a $40 to $150 eBooks melts away when that funding can be put into materials and services that will see higher benefit and usage. Combined with lack of ownership as well as incomplete author offerings along with a slowing eReader market, to me it feels like eBooks is settling in as just another thing we have to offer at the library for the people who have the interest and the technology to use it. There is a market correction coming here in the future and it won’t need a legislative act to foster it.

“Perfect is the enemy of good”, as they say, so I still think this bill has potential with some additional input from Connecticut librarians. It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to think that some of the New York publishing executives make their homes in the Nutmeg State so this is certainly on their radar. I’m guessing they’ll be some lobbyists and money dispatched to nip this bill in the bud before it gets out of committee. It’s my hope that Connecticut librarians will mobilize to provide their input on this bill as well as get some of their patrons (read: voting constituents) involved in the process. This is an opportunity that should not be lost.

After this bill was introduced by Representative Brian Sear (47th district), it was referred to the Joint Committee of General Law. Here’s the list of legislators on that committee:

  • Senator Doyle (chair), 9th district.
  • Senator Fonfara (vice chair), 1st.
  • Senator Coleman, 2nd.
  • Senator Witkos, (ranking member), 8th.
  • Senator Kissel, 7th.
  • Representative Baram (chair), 15th.
  • Representative Kiner (vice chair), 59th.
  • Representative Altobello, 82nd.
  • Representative Arconti, 109th.
  • Representative Nafis, 27th.
  • Representative Nicastro, 79th.
  • Representative Orange, 48th.
  • Representative Rovero, 51st.
  • Representative Carter (ranking member), 2nd.
  • Representative Aman, 14th.
  • Representative D’Amelio, 71st.
  • Representative Rutigliano, 123rd.

Their clerk is Angel Morales. Room 3500, LOB (860)240-0470.

That Pew Internet Study

If you get a chance and need something to eat up time on a slow desk shift, check out the latest Pew Internet study “Library Services in the Digital Age” that was released on Tuesday. In looking over the report, parts of the results did not impress me in the slightest as they feel like acquiescence bias; that is, people were responding because, well, who doesn’t like public libraries? Sure, those people who think their tax money should only be used on things they use and that other group who thinks that everything is online. Besides, it’s easy to support them in theory rather than in practice because the latter costs money. Moral support is still the cheaper option.

This doesn’t seem as any sharper example to me in the questions that asked how important the library was to them and their family versus the community. A sizeable 91% said it was either ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ to their community as a whole, but 76% said the same thing about themselves and their family. Even then, only 53% of respondents had visited a library in the last twelve months. To me, this indicates a gap between the qualities of ‘important’ and ‘useful’ as well as the value of a ‘personal’ versus a ‘community’ one.

If you examine this 53% that used the library, the Pew Internet breaks down the results of their activities when they have visited:

While it is excellent news for print materials as well as serendipitous discovery, the remaining activities just drop off from that point. In looking at the middle percentile of visitors, 50% of those 53% who have visited a library in the last twelve months have received help from a librarian. Perhaps this is due to the fact that a bookmobile (one of qualifying locations within the question) won’t have the same resources as a brick and mortar library, but it still doesn’t bode well in my estimation.

If you have some time, check it out. There are some results within this survey that caught my eye and made an eyebrow arch a couple of times.

Having more comfortable spaces for reading, working, and relaxing: 59% of Americans ages 16 and older say libraries should “definitely do” this”

And then on the other hand:

At the same time, people have different views about whether libraries should move some printed books and stacks out of public locations to free up space for tech centers, reading rooms, meeting rooms, and cultural events: 20% of Americans ages 16 and older said libraries should “definitely” make those changes; 39% said libraries “maybe” should do that; and 36% said libraries should “definitely not” change by moving books out of public spaces.

Then there is this:

GPS-navigation apps to help patrons locate material inside library buildings: 34% of Americans ages 16 and older would “very likely” use that service and another 28% say they would be “somewhat likely” to do so.

I can’t wait to help someone because an app told them that a book was RIGHT HERE when a simple shelf read would tell them otherwise. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Apple will make the app. It does make sense in Dewey non-fiction as well as Library of Congress headings, but my library is so small that a navigation app would be like using a Garmin for a Hot Wheels speed track.

Perhaps this is one of those ideas that doesn’t scale down well, but I do think it would be a hoot to record authors giving directions. Just imagine someone walking through stacks when they hear Neil Gaiman’s voice in the app saying, “At the next set of stacks, go straight. Your book will be halfway down on the left.”

It’s too bad Q&A NJ virtual reference was killed in New Jersey because:

Online research services allowing patrons to pose questions and get answers from librarians: 37% of Americans ages 16 and older would “very likely” use an “ask a librarian” type of service, and another 36% say they would be “somewhat likely” to do so.

After the news out of Digital Book World’s conference about how people don’t use Amazon to find books, I guess people just like to think that they do:

“Amazon”-style customized book/audio/video recommendation schemes that are based on patrons’ prior library behavior: 29% of Americans ages 16 and older would “very likely” use that service and another 35% say they would be “somewhat likely” to do so.

The final thing I’ll quote from the report:

About half of Americans (53%) say that libraries should “definitely” offer a broader selection of e-books. Some 30% say libraries should “maybe” do this, and 5% say libraries should “definitely not” do this.

Better keep on working on this one. Either this broader offering runs through the publishers (possibly kicking and screaming), around them through sites like Smashwords, or over them by making a system that allows us to work with authors directly.

Oddly enough, the “definitely” and “maybe” groups closely correlates to about the same percentage of people who think the library is important or somewhat important to themselves or their family. Perhaps I’m just showing my own bias on the subject here, but compared to some of the other “what color would you want your unicorn?” kind of library wishlist questions, at least this one is something that can be acted upon in the very near future.

I don’t know what the future of the public library holds (I know what I hope it will hold), but based on these results, our patrons are expecting a little bit of everything, even if it contradicts itself.

Content vs. Container (The Library As a Whole Edition)

For those of you who recall the “content vs. container” discussions of recent memory around eBooks, that was just small potatoes to what is being reported online these days. Why argue whether a book is really a book if it is online or an eReader or written on a grain of sand when you could be engaged in a meta discussion on the “library as an institution” scale? Why limit ourselves to arguing over one type of typical library material when it could be expanded to, oh, the identity of the library itself?

Exhibit A is a “no books” school library in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. School Library Journal had an article about this private school covering grades 7-12 that emptied out its library in favor of collaborative spaces. Here’s what happened to the print collection:

Before distributing the library’s print stacks to local centers and donation sites in Africa, says Skinner, she had teachers comb through the physical books and pull anything they wanted for their curriculums into classrooms. Then she allocated additional funding towards purchasing new and used fiction books in physical form, since her students, Skinner says, actually prefer to read this genre on the printed page like many adults do. These titles, too, went into classrooms.

So, there are books in the school but they are distributed throughout the classrooms. The article doesn’t mention if there is any system in place to track the books from the classroom shelves nor if there is a way for students to be able to ‘borrow’ books from other classrooms (either fiction or non-fiction). The principal of the school does point out that they rely heavily on the multitude of local public and academic libraries for books that (presumably) they don’t have on campus. It’s not clear as to whether this is a partnership with those libraries or an unfortunate parasitic relationship upon the publicly funded local library system and public universities. I wouldn’t want to guess how taxpayers and alumni would feel about their local library or campus library being used as a book resource center for a $12,000 a year private school, but I think that is a whole other can of worms.

“Bookless” school libraries aren’t new after the Cushing Academy removed a majority of their print collection in favor of collaborative work spaces and digital resources and eBooks back in 2009. They retained some of their print collection but shifted their focus towards providing literature and textbooks in any format. As of time of publication, it would appear that they have not reverted on their decision.

Exhibit B is “bookless” public library in Bexar County, Texas. It is the start of a countywide system outside of San Antonio and, well, if you ever wondered what kind of library a judge would build, you now have your answer. From the MySanAntonio website:

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff is an unabashed book lover with 1,000 first editions in his private collection, but even he sees the writing on the wall.

Paper books have lost their allure, and future generations may have little use for them, Wolff contends.

So when he embarked on a mission to create a countywide library system, he decided it should be bookless from the start.

Today, after months of planning, Wolff and other county leaders will announce plans to launch the nation’s first bookless public library system, BiblioTech, with a prototype location on the South Side opening in the fall.

If you want to get an idea what it looks like, go into an Apple store,” Wolff said.

Yeah, that’s right: an Apple store. It’s not a terrible vision considering how Apple is noted for its in-store customer service. But nothing in that store is inviting me to get so comfortable that I should pull up a chair and take some time to check my email and social media stuff. Granted, the purpose of the store is to draw you in, take your money, and then toss you again, so it may just take inspiration and not implementation from the Apple store kind of model.

But wait! There’s more:

Inspired while reading Apple founder Steve Jobs’ biography, Wolff said he envisions several bookless libraries around the county, including in far-flung suburbs.

“It’s not a replacement for the (city) library system, it’s an enhancement,” Wolff said.

“People are always going to want books, but we won’t be doing that in ours,” Wolff said.

I presuming he means physical books because there is a passage further down the article that mentions eBooks.

Commissioners will decide whether to seek a contractor to complete the design of the library and another to provide e-book titles; hire staff; and create a seven-member advisory board.

At least $250,000 will be needed to gain access to the first 10,000 book titles, Wolff said. Costs for design and construction aren’t set, but the county will save by using a county-owned building.

We wanted to find a low-cost, effective way to bring reading and learning to the county and also focus on the change in the world of technology,” Wolff said. “It will help people learn,” he said.

As to the first statement I highlighted, I’ll be very curious where they will purchases titles at an average of $25 a pop. Given that Douglas County just spent $40,000 for 10,000 titles from Smashwords, I don’t think it’s an impossible prospect. By the time this experimental branch is built, who knows where eBooks will be in the library universe. However, given its current trajectory, I think their number is rather optimistic. 

As to the second statement, it has been a long time since I’ve seen the terms “low cost” and “world of technology” appear in the same sentence especially in light of the Apple store mention. Something just doesn’t seem right about that at all to me. Perhaps the Devil is in the details, but that’s going to be one hell of a Devil (pun somewhat intended).

So, with these recent examples in mind, it brings us around to the question: what makes a library a library? Is it the contents of the collection or the purpose of the mission? This might be the Super Bowl of navel gazing for the librarian profession, but it may well be worth re-examining in an introspective fashion.

If I accept the concepts offered by St. Louis Park, Cushing, and Bexar County, then my living room could be designated as a library. It has a desk, a internet connected computer, Wi-Fi access, a bookcases with a small selection of books, DVDs, and game materials, a couch (otherwise known as a social collaborative space), and a table with four chairs (a group collaboration area). It is “staffed” by a librarian, yours truly, and despite being a relatively small apartment I still get questions as to where the bathroom is.  What more would I have to do? Could I post hours and then apply to join my library system? The original library for my town started in someone’s apartment back in the late 1800s, so it wouldn’t be anything too strange when you consider the history. But is it a library?

If I reject those concepts of a library, then what is required to satisfy that ideal? How big of a collection is needed? And of what materials, either physical or digital? I presume it would be contextual to the type of library and community it seeks to serve, but even that gets mired very quickly. Or is it centered around reading and literacy? Or research and knowledge seeking skills?

What do you think?

#sweatervestsunday at ALA Midwinter 2013

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From the Office of Intellectual Freedom press release in American Libraries:

ALA Midwinter 2013 attendees – and all fans of intellectual freedom – can take a stand for the freedom to read (and for fashion!) by participating in Sweater Vest Sunday!  All day on Sunday, January 27, 2013, help spread the word about the importance of reporting challenges to library materials by wearing a sweater vest to your meetings, lunches, programs, and special events.  On site in Seattle, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) staff and volunteers will be passing out stickers and postcards to Midwinter attendees. And at 2:45 p.m. at the ALA Member Pavilion in booth 1650 on the exhibit floor, everyone is invited to a group photo of librarians showing off their sweater vests! 

I’m delighted and flattered that the campaign I devised over a year ago is making a comeback to emphasize the importance of reporting material challenges to the ALA. The statistics are still bleak and reflect how underreported these incidents are in the library world. Collecting data is of vital importance as it shows challenge patterns as well as frequency and underlying rationales. By holding a Sweater Vest Sunday, I hope it encourages people to spread the word about reporting challenges to their colleagues both at the Midwinter Meeting and back home.

I’m sorry I will not be attending, but I’ll be wearing one in solidarity. You can also join the Facebook event for it. Again, reporting challenges is important. Be sure to share it with your friends and colleagues.

For more information, please visit www.ala.org/challengereporting.

How to Troll Librarians and Make Money in Five Easy Steps

 

librarianship-is-a-art

It’s pretty simple, really.

  1. Make a list of professions that includes librarians as the “best” or “worst” profession based on some vague criteria.
  2. Write a one or two paragraph justification for their inclusion on the list. Be sure to incorporate as many stereotypes as possible to ensure maximum outrage. (Good: “With everything now online…” Better: “These shushing people…” Best: “Surrounded by musty old tomes…”)
  3. Place this list on a webpage surrounded by ads. The more ads, the more profitable your link bait will be. Ad quality doesn’t matter so long as their checks still clear.
  4. Wait for the inevitable outrage.
  5. Profit.

There’s an article that is now making the rounds about the “least stressful jobs of 2013”. I won’t link to it directly, but putting everything in quotations into The Google will take you to it if you are still curious. As you can guess, librarians are on the list. While we’re not #1, the fact that we are on the list has caused some, ahem, stress.

The most prominent reaction to this non-stress stress was on Twitter through a hashtag appropriately named #librarianstress. What @bitchylibrarian and @winelibrarian started as satire was rapidly hijacked by other librarians expressing the stress that they feel on a daily basis. From difficult customers to hostile workplaces, I don’t believe there was a stone left unturned in the airing of the grievances. It even showed up as a top trend on Twitter briefly that afternoon as the number of tweets picked up the pace. Even as some (including myself) still played up the satirical elements, it was impossible to ignore the outpouring of statements and sentiments.

In taking a moment to look back on what happened on Friday, there are some observations I’d like to make. First, I found it remarkable that some people would actually chide others for saying that their job was stressful. It was rather judgmental and ironic for a profession that takes great pains to not do that when it comes to other people’s preferences, viewpoints, and opinions. This is a principle most commonly captured in collection policies and most succinctly summed up in the phrase, “Every reader their book”. It was a bit disconcerting to see tweets saying “Oh, your job isn’t stressful, stop whining” next to ones detailing personal harassment, confrontation incidents, and hostile workplaces. Yes, I will concede that such chiding could have been aimed at some legitimate whining, but without aiming it towards those direct comments it became inconsiderate generalizations. I would hesitate to tell anyone else their librarian position isn’t stressful without spending some time doing it.

Second, this kind of reaction touched upon a wide array of insecurities. Some of these are pretty close to the surface in the form of job security within tightening budgets. It’s hard to plan for a uncertain future, especially with some facing a constant struggle to keep their jobs. The threat of unemployment can wear down anyone over the course of time. Other tweets expressed a deeper concern relating to societal perception of the library as a institution, librarianship as a career, and the benefits that a library (be it school, academic, corporate, or public) provides their service community. Even minor slights like this article (and others like it) brings that feeling to the fore, eliciting a response to push back. It is part of the inherent reactive nature to the profession where services and highly sought materials are not always foreseen. The first instinct is to counter the notion presented, but it needs to be tempered with some objectivity.

These kinds of link bait web articles really shouldn’t be taken as gospel. It’s a list, a poorly written one at that, without research or merit. Should we take the word of a website using unknown methodology and specious rationale? This is the kind of stuff we warn our students and members of the public about and educate them in regards to evaluating sources for accuracy and authority. It suits the profession poorly to be taken in by the same drivel that we tell others to ignore in their own search results.

I understand the worry here, but I highly doubt that such dubious interent postings will result in actual erosion of public opinion. Even those who are ignorant of the value of libraries adjust their estimations after any sort of actual investigation; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “Oh, I didn’t know the library did that!” when I’ve told them of a service or material. While these personal anecdotes are not universal evidence, it does give me hope that people change their minds when faced with new and accurate information.

In the meantime, don’t feed the trolls.

Censorship in Greenville

I’ve spent part of the afternoon and evening trying to unpack this story about a book removal at a library in Greenville, South Carolina. Neonomicon, a graphic novel written by Alan Moore, was challenged by a parent back in June after letting her 14 year old daughter check it out from the adult section. By the mother’s own account, she had leafed through the book before allowing her to check it out (I guess people don’t read the backs anymore). When her daughter asked what a particular word meant, the mother did a proper investigation and found the content to be (for lack of a better term) unsavory.

Fast forward to December when the decision was made by the Executive Director Beverly James to remove the book from the system. This decision overruled an internal review committee that had voted to keep the book. (Note: the articles are hazy here because one says they voted to keep it and the other says they provide recommendations for the director to make the final decision. I can’t tell which is the actual procedure.) Otherwise, the challenge process had been carried out as per whatever policies they have in place.

Normally, I’m disappointed in the result but respectful of a challenge process. Such policies are there for a pretty obvious reason and should carry out an objective review (I am hopeful enough that something like that happens). Greenville apparently gets an average of three challenges a year. Over the course of the last twelve years, they have removed a total of five items. You can see the other four items that have been removed in this time period in the side bar of the article. They are as follows:

  • Southern Dreams & Trojan Women (adult novel): challenged author’s character and his use of the book to gain a teaching position at a private school. Withdrawn from the collection for lack of literary merit or patron interest.
  • Memoirs of a Survivor (unrated foreign film): challenged on the basis of sexual content involving teenagers. Removed on the rationale of being not appropriate for the library system’s collection.
  • Film Geek (unrated film): challenged on the basis of sexual content. Removed on the grounds of not enough artistic merit to keep it in the library’s collection. (Here’s the IMDB content entry for the movie.)
  • Secret of Loch Ness (foreign film for children): challenged for strong language better suited for an adult audience. Withdrawn because of the poor technical quality of the dubbed-in English and lack of the content’s appeal to adults.

I can’t say I’m really upset by any of the reasons given, but I’m not thrilled about them either. Something still doesn’t sit well for me in this case. Here are my problems with this story.

First, if you watch the short video in the latest article, Ms. James talks about how material is removed all the time and then goes on to give standard weeding examples. Not how the material has been removed under similar circumstances drawing on examples of the previous twelve years, but the very mundane practice of regular collection removal. This is not a parallel situation. It is one thing to remove a book because it doesn’t circulate anymore, it has fallen into disrepair, or that it is making way for other material; it is quite another to remove it on the basis of a challenge for its content. I don’t know if Ms. James answer was simply dodging the question or conflating weeding with book challenge removals, but her answer stinks.

Second, as reported in the article, Ms. James read the book and stated that, “it was disgusting”. While she didn’t call it pornographic or obscene, this simple statement raises a giant red flag for me. It feels like that was the moment where librarians principles and practices around intellectual freedom fell apart. Whereas the Greenville collection policy states, “The library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some. Only individuals can determine what is most appropriate for their needs,” and that the library has other titles that contain sex and violence, one cannot take back their own visceral reaction to the material. The title was doomed from that moment forward, regardless of what the committee determined. The objectivity captured in the collection policy went out the window for a book in which “the pictures gave her pause”. The ideals of the policy lost out to the shocked reactions to the content by the person who had the authority to make a final decision.

In one sense, I don’t think the outcome is unusual. Librarians are not robots, but the same human beings carrying around their own biases and beliefs. It’s a lot to ask someone to suspend these innate characteristics and become detached and objective in evaluating a piece of material. Sometimes it happens, other times it won’t. I wish I could say that we could draw a lesson from this story, for I don’t really see any aside from “don’t be an Alan Moore graphic novel in the Greenville Public Library”. It’s just a shame, a real shame.