Vlogging: ‘Library 101′ and the AL

I’ve never videoblogged before and I’m not sure I’ll ever do it again, but it was fun to try. Please see embedded YouTube video below.

Links mentioned in the embedded video above:
http://davidrothman.net/category/library-20/
http://www.libraryman.com/blog/essays-on-101/

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Excellent response from Sarah Glassmeyer (video embedded below):


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18 thoughts on “Vlogging: ‘Library 101′ and the AL

  1. David, I’d like to hear more about the connection you make between disagreeing with LJ’s publication of the AL, and the use of the Mover & Shaker title in promotion of ones own work. I’m not sure I get the connection there…it’s certainly possible to disagree with the editorial decisions of a publication (which I do, often), but still be honored that you were nominated by your peers for an award.

    Care to elaborate? Am I missing something?

  2. Hey Jason. :)

    First, to be named a Mover and Shaker is NOT an honor.

    The Academy Awards are voted on by members of the Academy, so one actually IS voted upon by others in one’s line of work. The Movers and Shakers are *selected* by LJ editors. “Nominations” are just a way of getting their attention and saying “Hey, this person’s activities might make an interesting couple of paragraphs!” One can be named a Mover and Shaker by LJ after having been nominated by one person. ANYONE can convince at least one person he/she works with to nominate him/her.

    This isn’t your peers recognizing you, this is a trade magazine’s editors deciding (based on very little information) that you’re interesting enough for a couple of short paragraphs.

    Second, I like to see people put their money where their mouths are. If you publicly stated that you opposed South African Apartheid and *didn’t* divest, I’d think you a hypocrite. If “Movers and Shakers” are serious about the wrongness of LJ publishing an anonymous and nasty columnist, they should stop lending LJ any credibility by association with them. They should stop propping up this trade magazine by acting as though this award matters (after all, it is acting like this “award” matters that makes it matter at all).

    Does that make some sense?

  3. Ooh. Steve Lawson said it better than I did:

    “I think that there would be a bit of a disconnect if the same person is saying ‘LJ editorial standards are crap because they publish the AL’ and ‘I am proud to have the LJ editors’ seal of approval as a Mover and Shaker.'”

  4. David…since I said something like this on a FF mention of your vlog, let me say it here too: THANK YOU. I’ve been bothered by the feeling that I should say something about this whole kerfuffle–and what you said, on all counts, comes so close to what I would have said that I’ll probably skip it. As you know, we don’t always agree, so this isn’t a fanboi message. (There might be things I’d add…but maybe not.)

  5. Hmmmm. I suppose I’ll just disagree. I was honored to be included as a M&S, not because of Library Journal, but because of the company that I was being included with. The fact that I was on a list with Dorothea, Sarah Houghton-Jan, Michael Porter, Jenica Rogers…well, I _am_ honored to be included with them, as I respect them. There are dozens of people who were M&S’s that I don’t know, and even some I may disagree with…but that doesn’t lessen my feeling of being pleased at being included with those that I respect.

    I also happen to be more understanding than some in libraryland regarding self-promotion…again, perhaps I’m not the right person to be critical of that particular issue.

  6. Jason-

    First, I have no problem with self-promotion (obviously). The problem is when the self-promotion is so strong that it subverts (or replaces) an actual message.

    Well, of course people like Jenica and Dorothea rock. A lot of people who were named Movers and Shakers rock- after all, they did something cool enough that it got the attention of an LJ editor. That doesn’t legitimize the ‘award.’

    At first, you said it was an honor because you were nominated by your peers. Now you’re saying it was an honor because there were other people named Movers and Shakers who you admire, regardless of the fact that the M&S *isn’t* recognition from your peers.

    I think anyone working in libraries feels pretty damned delighted to receive any kind of recognition at all, especially when one is recognized in good company. Still, I think we have to look past our need for recognition in order to avoid hypocrisy.

    If you publicly criticize the LJ editors for their AL support, I think you should put your money where your mouth is. But we can disagree. :)

  7. Nicely put, and I agree with most of what you said. Especially the stuff you said about Library 101 – Michael and I have heard some of what you said from more than one person, too … all good, because it helps us craft a better message should we do this again. So thanks for that.

    As far as the M&S/LJ/AL thing goes … I see both yours and Jason’s points. Like Jason, I was pretty tickled to be included, because of the others already included – to me, it IS a type of “good job” recognition. But my view of that award changed drastically a few months after my award was given – when LJ decided to pay for anonymous ad hominem posts, and to brand it as LJ content. Pretty unprofessional move from an organization I used to respect.

    What have I done since? Other than mentioning when some of my friends get the M&S thing (ie., Jason, et al) … I don’t link to them or mention them on my blog. I also don’t comment at LJ. To be fair, I’m not sure there has been a reason – not sure if anything I’d actually WANT to blog about from LJ has crossed my path recently. But it’s something I think about.

    Not that that’s any big thing – I’m just one blogger in a heap of smarter bloggers, authors, etc. But it’s what I do … primarily because of LJ’s stance on paying for anonymous namecalling, etc. So for me, it’s much more than not feeding the troll.

    And, very off-topic – it was Logic Express, not GarageBand. Sheesh!

  8. I wrote a comment, but got an error message. It will be impossible to replicate now with a cranky 6 month old on my lap, but I’ll just say that I agreed with everything you said (esp. the 101 stuff, which I didn’t understand when I was asked to write an “essay” for it – sometimes you do things because someone is a friend and you want to support what they’re doing — and still don’t understand) and absolutely loved your insightful, entertaining, funny, and wicked smart vlog! It was everything a vlog post should be and I hope you’ll consider doing it again.

    Seriously, you are one of the awesomest people in libraryland.

  9. This jokesy vlog is almost as self-indulgent as Library 101. The criticism of library 101 is accurate, but is it really any less severe than the AL’s? Of course the AL bashing at the beginning takes the edge off, but is patronizing criticism any better than sincerely annoyed criticism? And the exhortation to the masses not read or comment at AL, what’s that all about???

  10. Hi Fusty-

    I think it *is* different from the AL’s criticism because I signed my (actual) name to it and because I didn’t make an ad hominem remarks.

    There was no “exhortation to the masses not to read or comment at AL.” I advised (only) those who don’t like her/his/their work to not comment in the comments section of her blog or link to her blog from elsewhere.

    Hey, if you like her/his/their stuff, go ahead and read it. If you feel like commenting on her/his/their stuff, please do.

    Since I don’t like her/his/their nastiness and I don’t think LJ should publish a pseudonymous author, I won’t be giving LJ the traffic or Google juice- but that’s just me.

    Thanks for the comment!

  11. Nice video. Lost in all the back and forth between everyone seems to be the importance of libraries in our culture. Instead we are focusing in on the proper ways to hold public debates.

    Clearly Libraryland is forming into two camps. The keep the library like it is, and the what the hell is the library going to be in the future.

  12. Perhaps I was overly grumpy, and thank you for responding in a more gentlemanly tone than I deserved! I think people make too much of AL’s pseudonymity. Indeed, it has its advantages; it focuses both her and our attention on what she says rather than who she is. And, ironically perhaps, much of the criticism and debate might be milder, or silenced altogether, if we knew who she was; I’m not sure I’d bother to read her at all if she was a person rather than a persona. And is she really so nasty? She attacks schools and trends and cliques, but I don’t really see that the “ad hominem” charge is valid…perhaps I’ve overlooked it. And finally, it must be acknowledged that LJ, via the AL, has succeeded in directing a great deal of attention to important library issues. What other library blog has that kind of readership, or comment-frequency? Much of it is trash, but much is not. Her latest post on the 101 thing (In Which I resist etc.), for example, is I think a sober defense of solid library principles. Thanks for your civility:)

  13. Hi Royce-

    Hopefully, nobody in libraryland doubts the importance of libraries. That shouldn’t be a debate we need to have.

    I tend to think that almost any dichotomy is too simple to accurately describe anything in this complex world and tends to oversimplify both one’s own position and that of those one disagrees with.

    Fusty-

    Ask anyone who knows me- I’m frequently more grumpy than called-for. :)

    I think that the AL frequently makes good points, including in her last couple posts. But that last post isn’t “a defense of library principles.” If you think it was, please tell me *what* principles were under attack and *in what lines* the AL defended them?

    I think I have proven that it is possible to criticize the substance and presentation of something without resorting to nastiness or personal attacks. I think her/his/their readership would grow if the pseudonym was set aside and the writing, while remaining as opinionated as ever, was more professional and less nasty.

    Lastly, we should know better than to call something “good” simply because it is popular. We know that popularity does not equal authority or quality. More often, I find, popularity is the result of catering to the lowest common denominator.

    And of course, we can disagree on all of this, Fusty- but the civility with which we disagree is important to the profession. Thanks for the comments!

  14. My mistake – you’re right, no defense of principles in the “In which I resist…” post, but it was the one before it (Shiny Toys) that I thought had some merit. I think AL’s point there is that one must recognize what it is that is essential and immeasurably important about libraries, and stick with it. That “it” is hard to define but it has to do with literacy, reading and education, and an underlying conviction that public libraries, like art museums and orchestras and other cultural institutions, contribute in some hard to measure way to the creation of a free and democratic society. To me, the 101 video…and much hype about libraries/librarians…strays too far from that. It brought to mind the point made in Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library that the current decadent state of our public libraries reflects the state of the (consumer) culture at large.

  15. Over at the YouTube page for the video, I had a great exchange with Alison Miller, who had some good points and criticisms to share. Since I seem unable to aggregate responses to what I do automatically all in one place, I figured I’d just copy and paste that exchange here:

    MillerLibrarian

    Are you serious? Talk about feeding the trolls – How is your video different/more appropriate than anything that you speak of? Frankly, your comments are more embarrassing to me, as a professional and library user/promoter/supporter…I’m sorry for you. And, I’m also putting my name on it Alison Miller

    davidlrothman

    Allison-

    Well, I didn’t reply in anyone’s forum but my own, I didn’t link to those who I think should not be encouraged, I never even used the alias of the pseudonymous blogger at LJ. I did not call anyone name.

    I’d be interested to hear more specifics about what exactly embarrassed you. Perhaps with some more specific feedback, I can do better next time. :)

    Best,

    -David

    MillerLibrarian

    David~ Wow – great way for dialogue. My comments come because I felt that your video was similar in it’s content/delivery to those that you mentioned. After watching your video, instead of seeing your point, my immediate reaction was defense. Perhaps embarrassment was a strong word, but this was related to your acronyms and such. I like that you expressed your opinion, but felt that it criticized (perhaps subconsciously) those that don’t feel the same way.

    MillerLibrarian

    I hope that these comments are clearer and again, I am very impressed with your response and openness for dialogue – I was afraid that this might come back to haunt me…I hope that it won’t!Best~
    Alison

    davidlrothman

    Hey Alison-

    Yeah, probably some of the acronym recitals were a bit over-the-top. This was my first attempt at a video blog post. If I do more of them, perhaps I can dial the obnoxious bits back a bit.

    I have to disagree with the assertion that my content resembled that of the pseudonymous blogger at LJ because I wasn’t nasty and didn’t make personal attacks…and I sign my name to what I say (as did you- well done!)…

    davidlrothman

    Now to your point of if the video criticized those who disagree with me: I think it is impossible to write/perform an opinion piece that does not imply confidence in its own perspective. I’m not sure how to compose an opinion piece that would not annoy people who disagree with it. Does that make any sense?

    -David

    MillerLibrarian

    Yup – makes sense! And I definitely cannot criticize your attempt at a video blog post – haven’t done one myself, but I think that they can be effective. Point well taken on the opinion piece! I have a different perspective now :)

    Best~
    Alison

    davidlrothman

    I’m so glad. :) Thanks for the comments, Alison!