Hipster Librarians and Hero Archivists

by Sally J.

Hipster Librarians

Many, many people sent me a link to the New York Times article about hipster librarians. Even my mom sent me a link! Libraryland is in a bit of an uproar about it, especially the cracks about shushing.

Here’s my take:

It was in the Style section. The NYT Style section doesn’t care what librarians do all day. What they want is to showcase real people in funky clothes. I know plenty of hipsters with library degrees and you know what? They all have a FABULOUS sense of style that is uniquely their own. So huzzah to them, I say.

Here’s my favorite part of the article: Librarians recruit at bars. Well, duh. Here’s what a bartender said during an American Library Association conference: “I love the librarians! They drink like fish, tip well, and never cause trouble like the shriners.”

As for recruiting, we know a librarian/archivist when we meet one. I’ve said before that entering library school felt like coming home. There are lots of things we have in common, incuding a very serious dedication to public service. Which leads me to my next bit of news…

Hero Archivists

What does an archivist do? Well, lots of us preserve government documents and serve them up to the public. It’s fundamental to open government and participatory democracy. We do not take this responsibility lightly.

Over at hangingtogether.org, Jim pointed to a Maureen Dowd column that calls archivists “the new heroes” in DC. The column was titled A Vice President Without Borders, Bordering on Lunacy. Here’s the clip Jim shared, complete with (regrettable) nerdlinger stereotype:

“I love that Cheney was able to bully Colin Powell, Pentagon generals and George Tenet when drumming up his fake case for war, but when he tried to push around the little guys, the National Archive data collectors — I’m visualizing dedicated “We the People” wonky types with glasses and pocket protectors — they pushed back.

Archivists are the new macho heroes of Washington.”

Dude. It’s always the quiet ones you have to worry about. I thought everybody knew that.

TV is Dead. Long Live Internet TV!

My neighborhood has a wonderful 4th of July parade. This year, we were filmed for a wonderful new website called storybridge.tv. Are you sick and tired of the “if-it-bleeds-it-leads” kind of coverage you get on local news? Me too. So were Katy Sai and Jeff Olsen, who left their network jobs to create a beautiful alternative.

See our parade (including a brief interview with yours truly) at this link:
http://storybridge.tv/chronicles/012
(Run time = 4 minutes)

Practical Archivist as a Simpsons Character

No, I’m not going to be on the Simpsons, sadly. I made my avatar online last week and just had to show it off. To understand how excited I am about my new avatar, you have to know what a super ultra mega Simpsons fan I am.

  • I started reading Life in Hell by Matt Groening (“rhymes with complaining”) back in the 80s — thanks to Madison’s weekly The Isthmus.
  • I watched the Tracy Ullman show in part to see his cartoons that were the transitions between the show and the commercials.
  • My husband and I have watched The Simpsons together since it debuted. Back then it was our Sunday date night. These days, we watch with our kids.
  • I quote The Simpsons the way Miss Marple talks about the people of St. Mary Mead. Allegorically.

So, yeah. Crazed superfan would not be an overstatement. I’m a wee bit excited about the movie. Envious? Make your own Simpsons avatar here.

[Thanks, neatorama. You rock.]

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