Can we all just get along?

People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids?…It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not, it’s not going to change anything. We’ll, we’ll get our justice….Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out.

-Rodney King

Found this in the referrer logs – and while she gets the title wrong, she is talking about me.2

* Subject: [LM_NET] Gen :Share: blogpost on librarians

“When Good Librarians go Bad” – a post today on a blog I’m not familiar with, by
someone I don’t know.

Please don’t email me about this – I have lots of thoughts, but no time right now
to “talk”. Just wanted you to see what a colleague whom I really admire sent me.
There are several omissions in his thinking; you may not agree with much; you may
get in touch with your inner rage (I’ve got bigger targets right now – Goldman
Sachs, are you listening?) and pick apart the whole thing.

My quick take? He’s got some good points and we all benefit when we see where the
holes are in someone else’s thinking. Especially when there are probably a lot of
people thinking similar things. And I agree that if you take the NEIOG (Not
Everything is on Google) stance as the main justification for librarians, then you
shouldn’t be surprised when people say, “Oh, yeah, well not everything is in

Unsettling, even though he is not talking about SCHOOL librarians (maybe he thinks
of them as media specialists and is not sure what they do).

Melissa Techman, MLS
Librarian/Curriculum Technology Integration Partner
Broadus Wood Elementary School,
185 Buck Mtn. Rd,
Earlysville, VA 22901
Twitter: @mtechman


I’d respond to the “holes in my thinking” were they outlined.

I’m not sure why my earlier post would be unsettling to any librarian or media specialist3.

Maybe Ms. Techman would care to expand a bit on both the holes, what might inspire a release of librarian (or media specialist) “inner rage” and what exactly is the unsettling nature of my earlier post? I know she’s busy attacking Goldman Sachs but . . .

I am honestly curious. I think I’m advocating that the Internet and libraries are both good and ought to be used appropriately. I’m against zealotry on either side. Maybe that’s what’s so unsettling.

1 source

2 I did have this post titled “Attack of the Killer Librarians” but considering how overly zealous things seem to be already, I went the Rodney King route. May Jim Groom damn me for a hippie.

3 By the way, I’m quite aware of what a media specialist is and what they do. I’ll dismiss the condescending nature of that comment.

Comments on this post

  1. Melissa Techman said on March 27, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Sorry, Tom, for being so unclear in my post on LM_NET – and assuming that anyone reading it would have read some of my previous posts. If your 3/25 comment was on your blog when I sent my email to LM_NET, then I didn’t read it – and that would have cleared up a lot for me, so I apologize.
    I also apologize for my haste and sloppiness.
    No need to list and discuss omissions. After reading all comments, including yours, more carefully, the only omissions have more to do with what I want to see, not with what you said.
    I wanted people to see the post, because some of these straw man arguments for libraries need to be more widely discussed. And I knew some people would get mad and I didn’t want them to bug me. Background for this is several people feeling they have to leave LM_NET because of harassment. So when I said….”in touch with inner rage”, I meant and didn’t say clearly: “Hey, you people with the urge to yell at me, turn that on Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, AIG, whatever…”. (We lost a large part of our net worth in the last 6 months, may have to sell our house – that’s not my first rant at those who looted our economy.)

    More lack of clarity on my part:
    1. This old poster was not the first sign of defensiveness from librarians, as they felt less valued by society. What is unsettling is how ALA, grassroots efforts, studies and surveys, etc. have not, in 20 years or more, been able to define our skills and value so that the public gets it. I’m betting if you type my last name in the LM_NET archive, you’ll see several posts on that topic.

    2. Coming from the public library world (I did the alternative licensure path for K-12 endorsement), I have always thought that the term “media specialist” was a misplaced gee-whiz term from what? the late 70’s? If you had asked me what it meant before I got my MLS, I would have said a Professor of Media Studies. Back we go again to how our professional organizations can’t put together a successful strategy to educate the public, or advocate for our profession.
    So I didn’t mean to sound condescending; it was a poke at all the librarians I deal with who don’t see that there are tons of people for whom “media specialist” is a meaningless title (and I blame ALA, etc.

    3. The context currently for almost all discussions of libraries and (in LM_NET)school librarians is ” Times are hard, we’re losing our jobs, let’s all preach to each other about how great we are. Oh, and hey, circulation is way up so we’re bound to get more funding!”
    I have a job for this coming year, but underneath is thin ice. In schools, it’s a real shame that art, music, library, gifted are seen as icing on the cake. Good school librarians, as I’m convinced you know, teach a lot of things that students need. And in my school, if it’s not explicitly on the SOL test, my teachers don’t really want to think about it. Last night, a group of us presented technology-rich lessons to a work session of our school board and we are doing good stuff! Our superintendent, Pam Moran, really does get it about the importance of opening up digital avenues (unblocking almost everything!) for students to learn, create and communicate.

    4. Zealotry is probably a good word and the fact that you are against zealotry is not what is unsettling. What is unsettling to me is that I think the people who value libraries are often unorganized and don’t act to help them (I’m NOT talking about you – for all I know you sign petitions and speak at hearings, etc.) What is really unsettling to me is how unsupported I feel by ALA. And I am pretty sure that you are someone who knows that there are many kinds of librarians, and in your post you say that you like books (a lot!) and libraries.

    If I could find it, I would send you my losing essay in the “Why Libraries Matter” Contest. A USAID Library in Uganda is the reason my father came to be a foreign student at UNC Chapel Hill. I was reading at 4 and lived for books that could get me through some boring years at school. A medical librarian helped us with amazing resources when we were raising a son with a rare and serious retinal disorder. I don’t think I’ve crossed the line from passionate library supporter to zealot though – and I’m not saying you imply that! But I love libraries and am so dismayed at …. see above.

    Apology accepted? We can definitely get along!

  2. Tom said on March 28, 2009 at 3:07 pm


    Without question and no need for an apology anyway (it was quite a traffic spike). No of the librarians who commented got too riled up- although if I’d replied that librarians were not the information experts I might have had to fear for my safety from Leslie. I certainly read the LM_NET post with some presuppositions that colored how I took some of the comments. The Internet is good for arranging those kind of mistakes.

    I appreciate you taking the time to respond so thoroughly and kindly. We seem to have a lot in common.

    Maybe we’ll meet up at a VA conference some day.

    Thanks again,