15 thoughts on “and now for a change of pace, library 101

  1. Lately there are those who have come to believe that, by adapting libraries with new technologies, their role in society will grow and remain relevant. It’s true, they can, and this is as it should be. For librarians the world over it has become a struggle to stay viable, and somehow they do. But if you want to undermine such fragile and hard-won growth, all you need do is foist this sort of pre-kitsch (or should I say kitsch “wanna-be”) rubbish onto an unsuspecting public.

    I must say: I nearly gagged while viewing this.

    That video, if allowed to continue to exist, will do more to keep people away from libraries than the World Wide Web could ever hope to do. Ironically, WORDS cannot begin to describe how derivatively awful, dopey and pathetic your entire effort was. I am very sorry to say this but someone’s got to break it to you guys. I love libraries and the people who work hard every day for them. It has always been a struggle for librarians, and they are among the most noble creatures on the planet for their steadfast perseverance. But what you are doing here is both humiliating as well as harming to their credibility. It’s godawful. It’s geekish and pathetic. It’s also far too long, so if the general awfulness doesn’t get to the viewer first, fear not, because he or she will be fast asleep less than halfway through it (provided the volume is kept low and the viewer doesn’t have epilepsy).

    I mean, please! Folks, this is *not* the way to go. Scrape what’s left of your cash together, libraries! Pool your resources and pony up to pay an advertising firm in Manhattan to run your promotional campaigns. Doesn’t anyone remember the NYC Public Library commercials (Read, Brother, Read! and the wonderful jingle, “It’s the Latest it’s the Greatest it’s the Li-Brar-ee!”) from the sixties?

    Try to remember that effective promo and advertising gets the message across best if done in thirty seconds or less. What you have here is a bloated and pathetic piece of self-congratulatory trash performed by two losers. And it doesn’t even “self congratulate” well. It’s just horrible, horrible! I keep having to pause while writing this just to roll my head in my hands with the recollection of what I just watched….

    Godspeed to you all. Save our libraries, but do it right!

  2. Tom – glad you liked it! Just joking… :-)

    Seriously though – a couple points of clarification: on your promo/advertising thing – it wasn’t a promo. It was a 7 minute music video that pointed to our Library 101 website with all the essays.

    “Losers” – Why do you say that? Have you met either of us?

    “Humiliating” – humiliating to who? Not to us – we had a great time making the video, and for the most part have received positive feedback.

    Did you follow through and read the essays? Make any contribution there in the comments?

    Just curious… really not sure how someone can go from “I don’t like that video” to “you’re a humiliating loser” … seems a bit reactionary to me is all.

  3. I have to agree with Tom: this sophomoric “Library 101” video is humiliating and embarrassing to the profession, to librarians, and to libraries. It reeks of immaturity and lacks professionalism – and etches this very image of librarians in the viewer’s mind. The video should quietly but quickly disappear as soon as its creators can access the delete button.

  4. Hi David — I was thinking about addressing you point-by-point, and sorry for not replying sooner. I think that Wendy summed it up well. I felt that taking a hard line on you guys was necessary, primarily because the video very much is “embarrassing to the profession, to librarians, and to libraries”. Nods to Wendy for that one.

    David, to deny that your intent was to promote libraries and librarians (or demonstrate that you can, which you can’t) is just denial. Your statement is nothing more than backpedaling done strictly to defend yourself here in this thread. It’s too late for that. Your position is indefensible. The video exists, and therein lies all the proof any of us need.

    I say “losers” simply because that is how you both come across in this thing. As all creative works are representations, and not reality, I concede that neither of you may be losers at all. It’s just that you look and behave like losers. I am sure that in real life you are fine fellows. Seriously, this is not meant to be personal, but I will not apologize if it comes across as such because you guys need your noses buried in this thing along with a smart whack across your respective behinds (with a rolled newspaper) so you learn not to leave such messes on the floor again. Loosely speaking, my methods are Pavlovian. I saw no other way.

    I won’t respond to your “humiliating” rebuttal except to say that you are in denial.
    Nor will I comment on essays and contributions. You are reading my second contribution. Your video “pointed” nowhere and probably prevented a lot of people from checking out (or contributing to) the website.

    As to how I can go from “not liking” to you both as “humiliating losers”? Please review this, my second posting: apply, lather, rinse, repeat.

    David, it’s not you. I am sure you are a nice guy. Also, it looks like you both have some sollid talent. It’s just that you need to promise, right here online, that you will never ever try to work together to create ANYTHING ever again, “so help you Gawd”. Things went awry. Hey, it happens. Peace out.

  5. Er, blush, sollid=solid (typo). See, I am a “loser” when it comes to typing!

  6. Tom – thanks for responding and clarifying a bit. I’ll comment a bit more too…

    On the ad/promotion/denial thing – we’ll have to disagree there. It’s quite possible the final result of the video came out that way to you, but the intent really was to use it to have fun, to highlight the photos people sent us (maybe that’s where you’re getting the “promote librarians” thing?) and to point to our website/essays.

    On the losers/humiliating thing. I’m finding that reaction extremely interesting. Seems like the video was polarizing. People either love it or hate it – there’s apparently no middle ground!

    Really, truly – some people are like you (ie., what a seriously flawed thing you and Michael did – please never do it again), while just as many other people have the opposite reaction. For example, Michael and I have been asked to speak because of the video, and some libraries and organizations are using our essays/lists of stuff to learn as springboards for staff learning projects. So again – highly weird reactions all around the board on this.

    On the “our video pointed nowhere” statement … the website link is listed in the actual video. It’s also listed on the YouTube page, and on many of the links out there on the web. It’s even listed in Jessamyn’s post.

    Will Michael and I continue making stuff together? Of course! That’s the only thing I WILL promise. We’ll be planning our next project early next year.

    Thanks again for some continued discussion – Michael and I are learning from this experience, and hope to improve our next project based on the feedback (good and bad) that we get this time around – so all’s good.

  7. David,

    A couple of items I’d like to respond to. The “video pointed nowhere” statement was not about URLs or YouTube. Let’s not do this, you know precisely what I meant by that statement.

    I can understand the “no middle ground”. If this were a scientific study of some sort, I believe that the group who “hate it” would be a.k.a. the “Control Group”.

    OK, enough with the bashing. Hey, how about this. I realize that we can’t stop you guys from making stuff together, etc. And who knows, had some of we happy few more vociferous reactors kept mum, you might never have made such a “promise”. Rather than get you two to stop and think for a moment, I feel now that I’ve only enabled more damage to be done, and this time to future unsuspecting viewers.

    My proposal is this: Why not enlist a few of us who really bashed you to help critique your progress in stages, prior to releasing your next masterpiece. It might be good to get a few sets of hyper-critical eyes on your stuff before its unleashing. Look, you need a sober point of view. Do you think I am new to this stuff? I’ve played guitar for years. When I was in a band we thought we were the best thing since sliced cheese. We even developed entire scenarios about how to handle the press, the fans, what items in hotel rooms were “ok” to toss out the windows and which ones weren’t…. That sort of thing. But we’d jumped way ahead of ourselves without bothering to let it register that, essentially, our music was crap. After a few friends explained this to us (friends who nearly had to go to fisticuffs with one of our more anger-prone band mates –the drummer, of course), we came to our senses.

    You guys need some friends like that. If you won’t give it up, then at the very least enlist a diverse range of folks to help critique you as you plan your next little adventure. Particularly, you should try to enlist a decent percentage of opinions from people like me, who are not afraid to savage you over this stuff. As I’ve said, you both have talent. What you need now is cold, factual guidance –the kind that HURTS. And then you should be willing to make drastic changes.

    Now, in closing, a brief thought exercise. I want you to pretend that you are not David, but just some web browser innocently clicking his “Stumble” button during a lunch break. Up pops “librarian.net”. Now try watching that video once more, only this time with a different set of eyes. No, really, David. I mean it. If you did this honestly, and made a wall between your objective sensibilities and your need to love and defend this work, then you will have seen what I am talking about –what *we* have been talking about.

    And then make those course corrections, my friend. I’m here for you, man. I’ll check back from time to time. Don’t be afraid to run your ideas past others who know nothing about you or your work. Take more time and be more self-critical. Don’t spin a cocoon of “hey this is great stuff!” about yourselves this time. With enough give and take, and the ability to accept this kind of criticism (and I do admire you for keeping your cool with all my improvised explosive reactions), I’d say there is hope. Back atcha. Talk later.

  8. Wow, I didn’t really like the video much at all. But I don’t expect David to have to listen to my opinion, nor is my ego so huge as to presume that he has to or he is doomed to failure.
    I think Tom you should follow your own advice, do some self criticism on your communication style, dial it down a notch or two. Maybe realize that it’s ok for you to not like something, just like it’s ok for other people to not care whether you do or not.

  9. Hi Chris, and welcome to the discussion!

    Sorry, but I am failing to see a connection here between anyone’s ego (be it yours or mine) and being able to “presume” (or more accurately, to just know) when something is doomed to failure. Notice that I did not say “he” is doomed to failure as you make implicit.

    Specifically, and for your edification, I will go ahead and use your words: doomed to failure. When we talk about what is doomed to failure, here in this thread, what is it that we are specifically referring to? Well, two things actually: 1.) This video, and 2.) David and Michael working together on projects of this nature (and probably on anything).

    I do not speak to David as an individual, or Michael; in fact, I’ve acknowledged their respective talents as individuals. You can see that they can play music, know how to ham it up for the camera. I am nothing but encouraging to David as an individual. It’s the team effort here that I find an affront to the senses.
    I will speak now, briefly, to your other comments.

    Follow my own advice? This I can say without reservation is something that I do every day. I am my own best and worst critic. I know when and when not to present something, be it a piece of music, an opinion, or an expensive bottle of wine. My self-edit devices are up and purring, thank you very much.

    Chris, my communication style is completely appropriate here, and I am going to qualify that (although I am sure that you will disagree). I am going after these two with “all guns a’blazin'”. Keep in mind, please, that a video like 101 *does* in fact make librarians look like fools, and libraries look like loony bins. This I will not tolerate. My love of libraries runs quite deep, and this is one of the most insulting and degrading things I’ve ever seen. I have no compunction whatsoever about using the most brutal writing tactics to drive this point home. Why, you ask? Because, Chris: Steve and Mike brutalized us all with that video. The fact that they did it unwittingly and with the best of intentions is no excuse, and cannot, for the sake of dignity, be taken into account. The fact that they remain blissfully unaware, and even defensive, about that video only reinforces the need to “get medieval on their respective haunches”.

    Yes, Chris, it is ok for me to not like something. And yes again, it’s ok for others not to care whether I do or not. But I’m willing to bet that there’s agreement out there on this. Lots of it, too. I am prepared to go down in flames over this one. A scorched-earth policy is fine, if it will drive the point home, at long last, to these two: you simply can’t do stuff like this without expecting some sort of backlash.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  10. I bow to your superior power as champion of libraries and librarians. And sleep well at night knowing you are out there saving us all.


  11. Tom – thanks for wanting to make our next thing better – I appreciate that! I’m not going to respond to much more, other than one point. But first – if you DO want to continue discussions with me, feel free to email me or Michael – we’d welcome that, and we might even take you up on your offer of a pre-screen on the next video we do.

    Here’s the one thing I’ll mention – your statement “a video like 101 *does* in fact make librarians look like fools, and libraries look like loony bins.” Please realize those are YOUR feelings – not the feelings of all librarians. In fact, in regards to people watching the video (those who reacted on the web or in person), it is a minority viewpoint. Even amongst the people who didn’t like the video, that whole idea of a video making “librarians look like fools” thing is a minority viewpoint. ITI, for example, just prominently featured it on their Computers in Libraries conference site – and I have to say, I trust their judgement.

    I do get those feelings once in awhile, but not as strongly, I guess. Like when I visit a library and discover someone, speaking in front of people, that doesn’t know how to use the address bar on a web browser to type in a URL (seen this year). That is embarrassing. But do I feel like it reflects on librarians as a whole? Nope – possibly that library’s training program… but not on librarians world-wide.

    Everyone has an opinion, I guess – and they are certainly welcome to them!

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