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18 January 2013

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I would like to beg to differ on librarians being afraid to recommend favorite titles. I've been lucky to work with three great readers' advisors, and while they all had those stock authors in mind, they were not afraid to point out lesser-known authors and titles, and they loved discussing what they were currently reading and what they liked and didn't like. RA was never a strong talent of mine (I definitely relied on sources like NoveList and those ready-made bookmarks, the "If You Liked So-and-So" types), so it was a great learning experience working with these masters.

Yes, the general public can be rude and condescending (one lady practically told me I should be on bed rest instead of being at work while eight months pregnant), but they can also be thoughtful and polite. Those patrons always made my day. If only people would realize that approaching a public servant with some respect nets them a whole lot more than coming at us with attitude.

Marcie,
I am so glad to hear you have had a different experience than me. How great to work with people and in a place where REAL book conversations went on. And don't feel any shame in relying on sources for RA help--you just have to look at those sources as another source of book "conversation."

You also have a better attitude than I do about the general public, and I salute you. As I said, I could pretty much deal with rudeness. It was sometimes the swearing, the threats, and the unpredictable nature of people with greater problems than I could solve that got to me (and I worked in the safest library in the city).

Why can't you suggest enthusiastically? I think the two of you are begging the question here. The whole point is to bring to readers' attention titles which they may not know about. There is ALWAYS going to be some subjectivity involved, even with the "great ones" doing the suggesting. If you can bring them around to your favorites by your suggesting, so much the better - but it is ultimately their decision.

Recommend smacks of imposing your own viewpoint on others, and THAT'S what it is NOT about.

As for rudeness - that is endemic.

Okay, Sarah, I'll split the difference with you on "suggesting enthusiastically" (rather than recommending), but then you have to agree with me that we should stop saying we don't bring anything of our own reading tastes (which translate to knowledge, after all) to these conversations.

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