Wednesday, August 26, 2009, GONE!

We can no longer open our evrlibrarians blog. It has been used in a reprehensible way by we know exactly what kind of people. The last time I and the evrlibrarians blog administrator opened it was sometime after July 25, when were thinking about a possible blog entry. Two weeks ago when I made my “out of the blue” blog, I noticed on my dashboard that the other blog is no longer there. It was only this week that the administrator of the blog has time to check on what happened.

We hope everyone will remove their links and bookmarks to as soon as possible.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The lure of librarianship

My brother, my number one fan, has a mathematics degree. He is at the moment a lowly cook, lowly meaning long and hard hours and small pay, in a Condé Nast type cruise ship but he feels he’s at the end of that particular road. He plans to enroll in library science when he comes home this September.

I have discouraged him.

I’m sure my brother would make a fine librarian. He is very intelligent and has become very good with people, what with his experience in open kitchens. Am I afraid my brother would make a better librarian than I? No, certainly not. I already know he is a better person than I am. So what’s with this feeling of sadness every time I think about him being a librarian?

Mostly I think it comes from my general experience as a “stamp-in, stamp-out” kind of librarian. I don’t know if the term is understood by everyone, I just made it up. Or it is an approximation of the term my brother’s Sociology professor in college thought about librarians. That all day long librarians do nothing else but stamp due dates and stamp returned on books. And it has been my life for the last five years of so. The bulk of my job is exactly that, that when I was interviewed for the supposed promotion, one panel interviewer seemed shocked at the kind of work I do. She said it is all mechanical and routine that it could be assigned to a student assistant. Unfortunately the reality of being a librarian in a government owned university is so very different from all the wonderful theories learned at library school. For student assistants in a university such as ours do not have any other compensation but the hourly rate they would earned at the end of the month. They are not even obliged to end their one semester contract if at the end of say two months they feel they can no longer fulfill their duties. So the librarians in our university do the actual circulation procedures, unlike in other universities.

One time when my brother visited me at work he saw exactly what I do. He laughed and reminded me of his professor’s sarcastic comment, that librarians can even stamp books with their eyes closed. My brother said “you may not be closing your eyes but you’re certainly not looking at what you are doing and yet you seemed to be doing it right”.

And this does not discourage him. He thinks that librarianship is still at its infant stage in the Philippines and he wants to be in the forefront of its development. He talks about what his mathematical abilities might bring to the library profession. He says he knows there are already dozens of kinds of library databases and other computer software dedicated to making library work and research easier and faster, but he knows too that he can improve upon them and maybe even come up with an original program of his own.

Maybe I do envy him for being able to easily shift between worlds. Because had I the ability I too would want a mathematics degree.

Whatever else I feel or think about his plans, I am utterly certain he would be an excellent addition to the rooster of librarians. And whatever type of library he will end up working for, he would definitely have to grow back the hair and lose the nose ring.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Out of the blue

I’ve been in a funk.

I have been a member of Facebook since early last year. But since I am not really a very sociable person and the few people I know were not on FB, I sort of abandoned that pursuit. Then sometime this year I found out that friends and acquaintances are already members of that social networking. So I started adding friends one at a time, deliberating for a very long time if it is good to add this person and that former classmate.

Then the paranoid thing I did on FB.

I opened two new gmail accounts. I added one to my sister’s account. I made the other a friend of the first account. It made that second account two friendships away from me. This second account is used to check if from that separation my profile and my wall postings are visible to the general public. The wall postings are. Then I realized why do I care if my wall postings are accessible? I am blogging aren’t I? They are more a window into my mind and heart than these wall posts, so I sort of forgot about those accounts.

Then an unexpected thing happened, somebody requested to be added to my list of friends. I did not know that person but he’s a friend of an acquaintance so I accepted his request. It was also around this time that I remembered those new gmail accounts and lo and behold when I checked the second one, two requests for friendship. The slide into the funk began then because I actually know those persons who requested to be added to that made up persona while there was only ever one request for friendship to the real me and that from somebody I did not know.

This certainly made my cynicism rose to the surface. It was partly my fault of course because I also did not put my real name on that profile (or I change my real name after it received no requests for friendship) but it has at least more personality because of the wall posts but nary a request from really literally dozens of people I know in that social networking. It was I who made all the requests. While this made-up name with a beautiful photo and zero posts received requests from friends. So what’s the draw? Aside from the beautiful photograph attached to the made-up name there was nothing on that account, therefore to my book boring. Maybe those girls think that he’s lonely with only one friend ever on his list? Or maybe girls on the prowl for boyfriends and husbands are hoping to make this beautiful male one of their prospects?

I was actually repentant for a time, not using my real name on my real account, until I recalled all the one-sided friendships I’ve made all these years. You know the kind—a friend in need is a friend indeed or whatever that cliché says. And it was never I who was in need, rarely ever. And so I said to hell with friendship.

Ironically, it was the unknown person who requested to be added to my list of friends who took me out of the doldrums. Rather it was a post on his wall, directed to who knows whom but it made me laugh out loud. It made me realized there are people who have greater relationship problems than I ever had and that sentimental and romantic outpourings if not constructed with correct grammar become ridiculous.