I, for one, have zero interest in cramming into a giant arena and wrestling with other adults for something that I could go online and buy and have delivered to my front door (or to my Nook) for a (relatively) very low price. I don't like ARC-whores and I don't like the fuss about any of it, as I've already posted (feel free to check it out). So I don't really care about who posted a ridiculous video or which librarians are greedy grabbers. Let's go ahead and assume they are, ok? I am also not addressing anything that happened at ALA because, obviously, I didn't go to ALA (again with the avoidance of swarms of people fighting over cheap free stuff).
But I did read the responses that have flooded the internet in the past few days. And I got really annoyed by some of the responses. I can agree with book bloggers that librarians were probably also greedy grabbers. And I can agree with book bloggers that maybe some of the librarians wanted books to read for their personal pleasure and not for jobs and maybe they are even jealous of book bloggers who came home with huge hauls. All of those things may be true.
But I have to say that I saw many book blogger responses that I think reflect very negatively on the book blogging community. Those responses all had one thing in common: they diminished the importance and difficulty of librarianship as a profession. On this site, I am primarily a blogger. I rarely refer to my job as a librarian because I'm like every other sensible person who knows better than to discuss his or her employer and profession on the internet. I don't want to disclose those things because I like being a librarian and I want to keep being a librarian and what you say about your profession can come back to haunt you should you ever be on the lookout for a job. But for what it's worth, I identify as both book blogger and professional librarian.
And the comments I saw today really stung. What I'd like to ask book bloggers is this: would you approach a PR executive, a senior editor, or a literature professor and say "my job as a book blogger is the same as your job because we both tell people to like books"? Because somehow I doubt any sane book blogger would do that. For one thing, book blogging, for most is not a job. It's a hobby. PR execs, editors, and professors are pursuing a career. They do what they do on a daily basis to make money and to excel in their chosen field of employment. Those professions are also recognized by most book bloggers are specialized fields that require lots of experience, hard work, long hours, a specialized education, and a lifelong dedication. Those are not things required of bloggers (although I suppose hard work and long hours could be argued).
Librarians deal with a huge lack of respect from pretty much every angle. The general public does not know what goes into being a librarian and running a library. So if you work in a public library, you are seen by the general public as being a glorified cashier. If you work in an academic library, you are often seen by faculty members and students as some kind of secretary. You don't get a lot of recognition from most people for being highly educated and for doing a very specialized job that requires a lot of experience and technical skill.
Book bloggers should be the exception to this rule. After all, we take time to learn how to deal courteously and professionally with publishers, publicists, authors, and all the other people
I'll close with one last analogy for how the "we all just love books, right?" comments make me feel. At my job, I have (until last month) been the only library staff member. I do it all. So when I'm covering the reference desk, monitoring student activity on computers, planning a major student programming event, preparing for an evening information literacy class, and contemplating a particularly difficult cataloging task, I find it extremely discouraging for a student or member of the non-academic administration to walk in and say "Wow, it must be nice to have a job where you can just read all day."
And that is the level of respect that I think some book bloggers are currently giving librarians - "It must be nice to have a job where you get paid to go to conferences and get free books and sit around reading all day".