Right on time for his birthday, I thought it would be appropriate to go with a Dr. Seuss quote for my blog banner this month. The blog banners that I have made so far can be found (and downloaded, they are all under Creative Commons licenses) from my Flickr account.
I also think it’s a bit of a sharp relief to some of the more serious discussion that I’ve been aiming for in my posts as of late. But I really need to be careful not to have too much silliness. The idea that librarians are a silly profession has been floated over on the Annoyed Librarian’s blog. I’m simply thankful that the profession has a well combed stereotype of no-nonsense hair-in-a-bun book worm frowning shushers to counteract any possible notion that we are possibly silly or even potentially fun. While I am concerned that the video in question may be the first time in the history of mankind a child has been coached on camera to say things that they have no possible way of knowing the definition, it’s comforting to know that the threshold measurement for silly in librarianship has been lowered to the point where it can also exclude the possibility of silly hats, ugly shirts, and all but the most droll humorous wording in our advertisement flyers. The online librarian community should be an uproar, limiting the damage of this damning video by unlinking from blogs and sites that show it, for this one short highly edited lighthearted conference ceremony video could give the populace the idea that we are not serious professionals worthy of their tax money. I mean, look at it! It’s as if the videos of Rob Lowe having sex, Marion Barry smoking crack, and David Hasselhoff extremely drunk eating hamburgers combined into one giant “librarianship is serious business” Waterloo. This could possibly be the worst thing to ever happen to the library ever. Nevermind that we invite people everyday to use their imaginations through our materials; we are merely the dealers and should never ever be the users.
Did anyone watch this video and think that the era of serious weddings was over? Um, NO. And neither will that video of a three year old “digital native”.
But I digress.
Keep these words by Roald Dahl, spoken by his character Willy Wonka.
“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”
As for those who are appalled by this (dare I say it?) cute video, if you are really taking this video that seriously, you might be due for a little nonsense right about now. Because if you are considering this video as a real issue, then you are ignoring the hell out of actual serious issues such as reaching out to the community served, advocacy on issues of support and funding, and education as to the mission and materials of the library. And, quite honestly, articles and posts regarding what it means to be a serious librarian (or, apparently more importantly, what is not part of one) creates discussion that resembles a circular firing squad; it is to the benefit of no one.
In case anyone still wants to press the point about how the VALA video is such a detriment, please first consider this video before responding. I think it sums up my thoughts on your position in the most succinct and correct manner.