Revolting Librarians Redux

Radical Librarians Speak Out

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About the Book

“Revolting librarians aren’t defined by what they are, they are defined by what they do. In fact, it’s not even what they do, but how they do it”—Katia Roberto and Jessamyn West, in the Preface.
This compilation of witty, insightful, and readable writings on the various aspects of alternative librarianship edited by two outspoken library professionals is a sequel to Revolting Librarians, which was published in 1972. The contributors, including Alison Bechdel, Sanford Berman, and Utne Reader librarian Chris Dodge, cover topics that range from library education and librarianship as a profession to the more political and spiritual aspects of librarianship. The contributions include critiques of library and information science programs, firsthand accounts of work experiences, and original fiction, poetry and art. Ten of the original librarians who wrote essays for Revolting Librarians back in 1972 reflect upon what they wrote thirty years ago and the turns that their lives and careers have taken since.

About the Author(s)

Katia Roberto is the Head of Monographs Original Cataloging at the University of Georgia.
Jessamyn West is a community technology librarian and a moderator of the massive group blog MetaFilter.com. She lives in a rural area of Central Vermont where she teaches basic computer skills.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Katia Roberto and Jessamyn West
Introduction by Celeste West; ; Illustrated by Katherine West
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 229
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1608-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0504-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgments      v

Preface      1

Introduction      5

I. Still Revolting After All These Years: Words from the Original Revolters     17

Elizabeth Katz      18

Marilyn Gell Mason      18

Art Plotnik      19

Sanford Berman      20

Jana Varlejs      24

Judy Hadley      26

Elspeth Pope      29

Reva Basch      30

Noel Peattie      33

Paul Axel-Lute      34

II. Library School Is Revolting      35

Getting the Letters: Library School Redux      36

Accreditation: What’s All the Fuss?      38

Dykes to Watch Out For: Food for Thought      42

Why Mo Is Going to Library School      43

What I Really Learned in Library School      43

What Library Schools Still Aren’t Teaching Us      45

III. Sex, Drugs, and Will You Please Be Quiet—Our Revolting Jobs      54

Labia Lumps, Chunky Discharge, and Other Things They Never Taught Me in Library School   55

The Other Side of a Balanced Collection      57

Failures in Neo-Corporatism: A Random Walk through a University Library     59

Taking a Stand      61

Are We So Progressive? The Value of Professional Children’s Librarianship     66

I Was a Teenage Anarcho-Terrorist      68

IV. Creatively Revolting Self-Expression      72

The Growing Web of Catastrophe: The Story of a Mad Librarian      73

Young Somali Women in the Library      76

Personas Non Gratas; or, An Archivist’s Classification of Problem Patrons     77

Another Day in the Life of… Reference Librarian      78

Weather Report: Hale and Drivel (or Matt Hale Visits My Library)      79

A Librarian’s Suicide Note      80

Song of the Reference Librarian      85

V. Our Revolting Issues      87

Radicals Defending Tradition: An Appeal to the Baby Boom Generation      88

Old Maids and Fairies: The Image Problem      92

Library Ethics and the Problem with Patriotism      95

In the Stacks and in the Sack: An Undercover Look at Librarians and Erotica     100

Librarians! Into the Workers’ Corner!      104

My Life as a Librarian Exposed! Personal Websites and the Librarian Stereotypes    112

Revolting Vocabulary: Mental Health and Language in Revolting Librarians     117

Silencing Sandy: The Censoring of Libraries’ Foremost Activist      120

Libraries to the People, Redux      128

Libraries—It’s a Good Thing      136

Pioneering Progressive Library Discourse      137

“Check Out Those Buns”; or, What Do You Say to a Male Librarian?      142

Status Quo/Revolution: Language to Silence Dissent in Librarianship     144

VI. Day to Revolting Day: Our Stories      147

What Do Radical Librarians Do? or, Which Way to the Black Bloc?      148

Maimonides in the Stacks; or, Digitize This!      153

Diary of a Revolting Librarian      156

Library Service to the Insane      162

The Lost Language of Libraries      163

Damage Noted: Journal of a Public Librarian      164

High Calling/Low Salary      171

“Being a Cataloger Is Better Than Gutting Fish for a Living Because…”     173

VII. Unclassifiable      176

Astrology and Library Job Correlation      177

Why Librarian: The Musical Is Doomed Before It Starts      193

Stuck Between a Rock and Another Rock: Job Title Worries       194

Hey, Book Wranglers!      197

A Bit More Than a Year of Library Reading: A Revolting Bibliography     198

See Also: A Collection from Our Contributors      203

About the Contributors      207

Index      213

Book Reviews & Awards

“thought-provoking…recommended”—Library Journal; “witty, insightful, and readable”—Library Juice; “a friendly, nostalgic style…a fun read”—Booklist; “useful, funny, and insightful bits and observations on the current state of librarianship”—Progressive Librarian; “excellent book…required reading for every in-coming library student…absolutely invaluable text”—Blue Ear; “buy the book…read the book…giftwrap it and send it to your library director”—ExLibris News; “invest in a copy posthaste…these essays, personal stories, comics, poems and arguments challenge us to think and to expand our horizons”—Info Career Trends; “recommend[ed]”—Counterpoise.