Revolting Librarians Redux

Radical Librarians Speak Out

Edited by Katia Roberto and Jessamyn West

Introduction by Celeste West; Illustrated by Katherine West
ISBN: 0-7864-1608-4
229pp. illustrations, notes, index $35 softcover (7 x 10) 2003

"Revolting librarians aren’t defined by what they are, they are defined by what they do. In fact, it’s not even what they do, but how they do it"—Katia Roberto and Jessamyn West, in the Preface.

This compilation of witty, insightful, and readable writings on the various aspects of alternative librarianship edited by two outspoken library professionals is a sequel to Revolting Librarians, which was published in 1972. The contributors, including Alison Bechdel, Sanford Berman, and Utne Reader librarian Chris Dodge, cover topics that range from library education and librarianship as a profession to the more political and spiritual aspects of librarianship. The contributions include critiques of library and information science programs, firsthand accounts of work experiences, and original fiction, poetry and art. Ten of the original librarians who wrote essays for Revolting Librarians back in 1972 reflect upon what they wrote thirty years ago and the turns that their lives and careers have taken since.

Katia Roberto is the Head of Monographs Original Cataloging at the University of Georgia Libraries. Business researcher Jessamyn West is an outreach librarian at Rutland Free Library and the editor of She lives in Central Vermont.

"thought-provoking...recommended"—Library Journal; "witty, insightful, and readable"—Library Juice; "buy the the book...giftwrap it and send it to your library director"—ExLibris News; "invest in a copy posthaste...these essays, personal stories, comics, poems and arguments challenge us to think and to expand our horizons"—Info Career Trends; "recommend[ed]"—Counterpoise.



Acknowledgments v

Preface: Don’t Blame Us; or, We Like You All in Different Ways (KATIA ROBERTO AND JESSAMYN WEST)1

Introduction: Revolting Librarians Rides Again (CELESTE WEST) 5

I. Still Revolting After All These Years: Words from the Original Revolters* 17

Elizabeth Katz 18
Marilyn Gell Mason 18
Art Plotnik 19
Sanford Berman 20
Jana Varlejs 24
Judy Hadley 26
Elspeth Pope 29
Reva Basch 30
Noel Peattie 33
Paul Axel-Lute 34

II. Library School Is Revolting 35

Getting the Letters: Library School Redux (MOE GIUST)36

Accreditation: What’s All the Fuss? (A. LIBRARIAN)38

Dykes to Watch Out For: Food for Thought (ALISON BECHDEL)42

Why Mo Is Going to Library School (ALISON BECHDEL)43

What I Really Learned in Library School (KAREN ELLIOTT)43

What Library Schools Still Aren't Teaching Us (JESS NEVINS)45

III. Sex, Drugs, and Will You Please Be Quiet—Our Revolting Jobs 54

Labia Lumps, Chunky Discharge, and Other Things They Never Taught Me in Library School

*Haiku on part title pages are provided by Kathleen Kern.

The Other Side of a Balanced Collection (W. BEAUCHAMP)57

Failures in Neo-Corporatism: A Random Walk through a University Library

Taking a Stand (DANIEL C. TSANG)61

Are We So Progressive? The Value of Professional Children’s Librarianship

I Was a Teenage Anarcho-Terrorist(PIERS DENTON)68

IV. Creatively Revolting Self-Expression72

The Growing Web of Catastrophe: The Story of a Mad Librarian (KEITH BUCKLEY)73

Young Somali Women in the Library (DIANA BRAWLEY SUSSMAN) 76

Personas Non Gratas; or, An Archivist's Classification of Problem Patrons
Another Day in the Life of… Reference Librarian

Weather Report: Hale and Drivel (or Matt Hale Visits My Library) (BIBLIO L’TECA)79

A Librarian's Suicide Note (C.M. STUPEGIA)80

Song of the Reference Librarian (ERICA OLSEN)85

V. Our Revolting Issues 87
Radicals Defending Tradition: An Appeal to the Baby Boom Generation

Old Maids and Fairies: The Image Problem (POLLY THISTLETHWAITE)92

Library Ethics and the Problem with Patriotism (EMILY-JANE DAWSON)95

In the Stacks and in the Sack: An Undercover Look at Librarians and Erotica

Librarians! Into the Workers’ Corner! (BRUCE JENSEN)104

My Life as a Librarian Exposed! Personal Websites and the Librarian Stereotypes

Revolting Vocabulary: Mental Health and Language in Revolting Librarians

Silencing Sandy: The Censoring of Libraries' Foremost Activist

Libraries to the People, Redux (CHRIS DODGE)128

Libraries—It’s a Good Thing (JENNIFER YOUNG)136

Pioneering Progressive Library Discourse (TONI SAMEK)137

"Check Out Those Buns"; or, What Do You Say to a Male Librarian?

Status Quo/Revolution: Language to Silence Dissent in Librarianship

VI. Day to Revolting Day: Our Stories 147

What Do Radical Librarians Do? or, Which Way to the Black Bloc?

Maimonides in the Stacks; or, Digitize This! (GEORGE LEDERER)153

Diary of a Revolting Librarian (PATRICIA A. THREATT)156

Library Service to the Insane (CATHY CAMPER)162

The Lost Language of Libraries (PAM NORTH)163

Damage Noted: Journal of a Public Librarian (KATE POHJOLA)164

High Calling/Low Salary (JENNA FREEDMAN)171

"Being a Cataloger Is Better Than Gutting Fish for a Living Because…" (CATHERINE CLEMENTS)173

VII. Unclassifiable 176

Astrology and Library Job Correlation

Why Librarian: The Musical Is Doomed Before It Starts (DAVID M. PIMENTEL)193

Stuck Between a Rock and Another Rock: Job Title Worries (DAN CHERUBIN)194

Hey, Book Wranglers! (CATHY CAMPER)197

A Bit More Than a Year of Library Reading: A Revolting Bibliography (JESSAMYN WEST)198

See Also: A Collection from Our Contributors 203
About the Contributors 207
Index 213