Sunday, July 08, 2007

One of the Wonders

They say I must be one of the wonders,
Of God's own creation,
And as far as they see they can offer,
No explanation.

“Wonder – Natalie Merchant (Website ; WCid ; Wikipedia)

I suspect many IAG readers may have seen references to a recent article in the New York Times (“A Hipper Crowd of Shushers” – [Note: may require registration to access]) that follows on the heels of a piece in the New York Sun (“For New-Look Librarians, Head to Brooklyn”) which also seems to have been picked up by the New York Press (“Too Cool For School”) and is garnering attention in various blogs and other outlets (see below).

The subject of the pieces is, in large part, a group founded by Maria Falgoust and Sarah Murphy, the Desk Set (myspace), "an informal group of librarians, archivists, library science students and other individuals who love books," which periodically has social events in bars in Greenpoint or Williamsburg (i.e. New York City area). The articles focus on the librarians being young, hip, technologically savvy, and contemporary-culture literate. It seems to surprise the press that librarians could indeed be cool, and this issue of journalists' persistently errant standing perceptions (i.e. librarians all wear hair buns and say “shush” a lot) is earning the press a bit of umbrage from libraryland – at least as I judge by reactions among my friends on twitter and in the blogosphere – no doubt for statements like:

And, in real life, there are an increasing number of librarians who are notable not just for their pink-streaked hair but also for their passion for pop culture, activism and technology.” (NYT article)

Silly made-up words like “guybrarians” (I’m male and a librarian, but I’m not a “guybrarian”) aside, I find the overall flavor of the coverage rather pleasing. Librarians, archivists, and museum folks are cool – probably have been to varying degrees for the life of the profession, but it’s nice to see it recognized in words and pictures. And frankly, I think we are seeing a bit of a sea change (and yes, I was in library school in the 80’s – love my classmates, but Rick Block is right: the library science students then weren’t as interesting as they are now) – this new cohort is much more a “let’s try it” crowd versus a longstanding, well-entrenched “let’s wait till we’re sure” attitude that has pervaded the profession for too long.

Coverage in libraryland and the blogosphere I’ve spotted (oh, and you may want to follow some of the linked sites – interesting stuff):
LJ Insider
Suggested Donation

So, we each must be one of the wonders. (Myself, I wonder if IAG can get an invite to a Desk Set gathering and maybe try a few of those Dewey-numbered drinks? I’m guessing the drinks are all good!)


Michael C. Habib said...

I agree.

By the way, the links to other posts on the topic are broken. They all point to the same place.

Eric said...

Michael thanks for the comment and especially for noting the link problem (not quite sure that happened, but I think I've fixed things now).

Eric said...

Additional postings I've spotted:
free range librarian
Information Wants To Be Free
Pop Goes the Library

Eric said...

And even more...

kendrak's attack
Library Juice
Loosing Sleep
LIS :: Michael Habib

Eric said...

And even more:
Annoyed Librarian
Apropos of Nothing
Caveat Lector
Heretical Librarian
PVLD Director's Blog