Enough Barbie, ALA Sucks. Still.

This is a response to "Is the Association Ripe for Rebellion?" by Jim Rettig, in american libraries. Can't find it? Lemme google it for ye.

(fine, it's here: http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/features/01042011/association-ripe-...)

Before I start my rant, I want to be very clear that I personally think Jim Rettig is not part of the problem. However, I feel it necessary to dissect what he's stated. This should not be construed as a personal attack, since it isn't.

First things first, if one is hearing the same compaints "again and again" they're endemic as in epidemiology. A consultant, such as moi, will tell you that the same problems over and over mean your organisation is either heavily change resistant or is not experiencing an influx in new membership, or possibly both. (There are other reasons, but those two are high on my culprits list.)

"The most helpful thing ALA can do is provide an environment in which members can continuously refine and redefine what participation means—an environment with not just appropriate tools, but also with enticing incentives."

I perhaps beg to differ. What ALA could do is offer membership amnesty for a year or two. That's right, no damn dues. That will force lazy whippersnappers like meself to put up or shut up, since you've effectively robbed us of complaint #1. We understand the importance of access for our Patrons, but we don't afford our colleagues the same.

"It should be possible to join one of the Association’s 11 divisions without joining ALA."

Heaven forfend! Would that we could be involved in a small fashion before having to ante up, or that we could support a cause we identify with sans backing a less palatable horse.

Abby Johnson, cited in Jim Rettig's article queries (and I realise this is rhetorical; if ALA wants your opinion, it'll give it to you.)

"what is it that you want out of ALA, anyway?"

I'm fairly confident that I could write a book about that topic.

How about a National Salary Recommendation? How about Salaries and Status Related Policies that don't simply parrot Federal, State, and Local law? How about not getting charged for the privilege of speaking at an ALA conference? (Your mileage may vary since they're so very inconsistent on this.) How about sucking less at website construction? How about a code of ethics that one can follow without the assistance of a ouija board? How about meaningful lobbying at the National level starting with welcoming new members instead of trying to press old friends inappropriately in front of their constituents? How about a meaningful stance on workplace censorship?

But above all else, how about not reacting to constructive criticism like the Wicked Witch of the West?

"It doesn’t care about librarians, just about libraries."

"Words! Words! Words!
I'm so sick of words!
I get words all day through;
First from him, now from you!
Is that all you blighters can do?
Don't talk of stars Burning above;
If you're in love,
Show me! " (My Fair Lady for those living under larger rocks than this troll.)

Alternatively, "What have you done for me lately?" Even on the Library front, what? What actions?

"It spends too much time on issues that aren’t relevant to libraries."

Iraq War resolution anyone?


And, um, anyone notice how long that took?

"It’s a mouthpiece for left-wing radicals."

I could just say "Ditto." I could also say "Defence of pr0n". However, I will bear my bleeding heart and affirm that yes, I am a screaming lib that is so far left as to not be on the table. That said, I have seen conservatives, who yea, I disagree with, be needlessly shouted down. Were I a conservative, why would this be attractive to me? Would I participate if I were beaten down for doing so?

"It doesn’t do anything for me."

Yep. Fix it.

I like the part where you can't comment on american libraries articles beneath the article itself. Go, go, web .01!

As far as ALA Connect being the "Library world's communication tool" I feel like this is a Bushism. If we say it enough, it'll be true. Why do we have logins for everything in this day and age?

I think the real chestnut here is the assumption that folks haven't tried to change ALA. That the naysayers, like me, haven't bothered to participate. That we haven't dissented. I for one have. I feel like I'm beating a long dead horse here. I also feel that asking me, and everyone else that's fed up with ALA is asking for resuscitation of a long drowned stunningly beautiful woman. You want it to happen, mate, but it's too little too late.