Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out

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"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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Library Juice
witty, insightful, and readable
a friendly, nostalgic style...a fun read
Library Journal
Have you ever been at one of those conference dinners where one of the participants (you know the kind-the ones who speak their mind and tend to make a lot of folks uncomfortable or angry) wants to discuss "the cultural image of the librarian and how it can be changed," or "is it really important to have an ALA-accredited degree," or "why libraries need to be more diverse"? In this situation do you think, "Here we go again, spending time on a topic on which there is no agreement and no forthcoming solution tonight anyway, so why don't we just have another beer and talk about tattoos?" Of course this discomfort should automatically indicate to us that these topics are worth examining, and we should appreciate those librarians who force us to explore them more deeply. So let us salute editors Roberto (Univ. of Georgia Libs.) and West (editor of for revisiting a classic work in alternative library thought and giving voice to the issues discussed by today's outspoken librarians. This sequel to the 1972 anthology Revolting Librarians is a collection of short essays, cartoons, poems, and haiku. The essays by such contributors as Toni Samek, Sanford Berman, and Utne Reader librarian Chris Dodge cover a range of topics, from the failings of library schools to what it means to be a librarian. In an early chapter, the editors pay homage to the contributors of the original book (Berman, Elizabeth Katz, Art Plotnik, and Marilyn Gell Mason, among others) by including a "where are they now" section. One of the most striking aspects of this volume is that not all of the authors dwell on the negative aspects of librarianship; some even seem to like their jobs. This thought-provoking book is recommended for library schools and professional reading collections.-Tim Daniels, Lib. & Information Ctr., Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786416080
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/7/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 229
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

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 She lives in a rural area of Central Vermont where she teaches basic computer skills.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Don't Blame Us; or, We Like You All in Different Ways 1
Introduction: Revolting Librarians Rides Again 5
I Still Revolting After All These Years: Words from the Original Revolters 17
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
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