Sunday, July 3, 2011

Must Calibrate Face, Emotions

I should have known better. I was placing holds for a woman about my age (viz. old). In the middle of the transaction about gardening books, she asked, "did you hear what happened in New York?"

My first thought was: OMG! Terrorism? What?

My look of dismay spoke to her. She nodded her head, and gravely said, "Gay marriage."

I immediately brightened. "Oh yeah, that. Great!"

Her look was the sort of look that she might have given me if I had not only just married my male fiancee before her, but consummated the act right there on the Ref desk.

I mean, I try not to wear my political or moral opinions on my sleeve. I think that everybody should be able to use the library without feeling singled out because of their opinions or appearance (up to a point, I must add). But the public should be careful about assuming things about us, too. Just because I am a geezer with a square haircut and conservative clothes, she probably shouldn't have automatically thought that I'd agree on that or any score.

6 comments:

Melinda said...

I don't like it, either, don't think it's great at all. But back on topic.

I personally think that sometimes there's too much liberalism working its way into libraries though...the slants in the collections are noticeable at times.

Unknown said...

Gasp! If we have liberalism, we might have...NEW IDEAS??? Isn't that what libraries are all about?

Bethany said...

Excellent. I love your response to her. I think it's time for it to be a non-issue.

DeskSlave said...

Not sure I agree with you on the slant issue, Melinda. If anything, I think "liberal" librarians go out of their ways to make sure their collections do not simply reflect their own values and interests. One colleague wanted to collect the cookbooks, so got stuck with the whole 600s. This meant, among other things, guns. She wasn't interested in them and didn't like them and went out of her way too make sure we had the deepest gun book collection around.

If anything, I think stodginess is more of an issue. Just try finding punk rock in most library collections.

LibraryTales said...

Hahaha! I love it!

Dances With Keyboards said...

I notice that customers who see anything that doesn't support their own point of view assume that libraries are too liberal, or are in support of only the liberal point of view. On the contrary, we are trained to be careful of the library presenting a biased collection, to make sure that our collection reflects the interests of the community AND to provide other points of view, even if there is no interest in the community. This is library school 101.

A few years ago, I had a mother insist that I remove a book about gay relationships from a display. Her reasoning is that her children were asking her "why does that man have his arm around that other man?" Apparently, the book was there on two separate visits - and after all, THAT point of view is WRONG, so why were we forcing it down the throat of young people in the community?

My question is: if you want to insulate your children from life, a: why did you bring them to the adult department, and b: why did you bring them out of the house?