I had a conversation with a colleague over Twitter last week that didn’t sit particularly well with me. Her prediction: that soon we’ll have no shared culture at all. Soon we’ll be nothing but pod people.

How depressing! How bleak!

But wait…

Am I already a pod person?

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I’ve been working at my new job for less than a month, but already I’m raising some eyebrows. And for once, it’s not the piercings or tattoos.

And, no, it’s not even the shelf of new books (wildly popular new books, I might add) that maybe kinda sorta definitely have some risque content.

I’m not even talking about wiping out the library reservation system our teachers knew and loved with one fell swoop.

So what am I doing that’s so controversial?


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Those of us who have ever had the luxury of working as part of a team–particularly that rare, unicorn-like beast that is the school library team–know how easy it is to take good co-workers for granted. Not sure how to approach a reference question? Consult the team. Need someone to grab the other end of that table so you can rearrange furniture for a DDR tournament? Ask a co-worker. Forgot to pack a lunch and need to pop out for a bite? You can probably get desk coverage if you ask real nice.

But what do you do when suddenly you’re the only librarian in the building?

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Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard about the controversy surrounding one of YALSA’s best-known lists: the Best Books for Young Adults. Heck, you’d have to be ignoring Twitter, various journals, and this very blog to have not heard a peep about the kerfuffle.

But what really happened?

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I have a feeling that my first stop in Chicago wasn’t one that many other librarians visited. I didn’t pick up my conference materials or check into my hotel. I didn’t wander through the new modern wing at the art museum or indulge in my first hot dog. I didn’t go anywhere near McCormick Plaza.

Instead, I went to a tattoo parlor.

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Leaving annual early on Monday? Double-booked yet again and missing out on the President’s Program? Not in Chicago but trying to keep up with all of YALSA’s fabulous programs and sessions? Join us for a live blog of the 2009 President’s Program and Membership Meeting!

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We’re about three weeks away from ALA Annual in Chicago. Aside from the book cart drill teams and the vain hope that someday swag bags won’t be neon orange, for many of us that means getting ready for some fantastic YALSA programming.

By now, those of you attending have probably started using the event planner or penciling sessions into your calendar, and if you’re like me, you’re starting to have a tough time choosing between all the great events YALSA and other divisions have to offer. Or you’re realizing that the morning you fly home is also the morning of a great panel. Or you can’t make it to Chicago, but you’re really hoping the YALSA blog can help keep you up to speed.

Have no fear–liveblogging is here!

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On a slow afternoon at the circulation desk a few weeks ago, a teacher spotted me with a book and asked if I was reading for a class. “Just for fun,” I answered without thinking, and she smiled. “I’m so envious. I wish I had the time to read like that!”

I just couldn’t get this interaction out of my head. At first I thought it was the implication that independent reading time is some kind of luxury, something librarians have and classroom teachers want. You know, because teachers have real jobs, and I sit around reading all day.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was my end of the conversation that was bothering me. Just for fun? Was that really why I was reading a book about the history of American intervention in Afghanistan?

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By now, many of you have probably already heard the story the Twitterverse has dubbed #amazonfail – the revelation that Amazon.com has stripped sales rankings and searchability from titles it deems “adult.” Consider it the safesearch of the online shopping world. This might be a mere annoyance–most of us prefer to determine for ourselves the parameters of our searches–but many authors and bloggers contend that the stripped titles are overwhelmingly those that cover sexuality, feminism, and LGBTQ themes, with or without content that could be considered “explicit.”

[You can read more about the stripped titles, and why we should even care about rankings and searchability, all over the internets–but you might want to start with Mark R. Probst, Meta Writer, and Jezebel. Oh, and you can watch #amazonfail unfold by following that hashtag in action–if you hop on over to Twitter Search, you’ll see that #amazonfail and #amazon are among the top trends at the moment.]

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