Shaking Things Up: Progressive And Radical Librarians

| November 21, 2000

Shaking Things Up: Progressive And Radical Librarians, Marylaine Block, Ex Libris
'In many ways, you have to be some sort of a radical to be a librarian,' anarchist librarian Jessamyn West tells Marylaine Block in her website Ex Libris. 'Start out super-smart, get a lot of education, then devote yourself to a low- to middle-paying social service job where even your friends make jokes about your co-workers--if not you directly--and think you can be replaced by a computer. It's no wonder a lot of us have something to say on the matter.' From the Lipstick Librarian to the Street Librarian, West's Ex Libris interview shows how many librarians are anything but sweet little old ladies in comfortable shoes. West breaks radical librarians into two main categories: those who want to change the way the profession is perceived, and those working to change the system from within. West mentions the Modified Librarian, who combines the beauty of body modification and the pursuit of knowledge, and Sandy Berman, who 'has lobbied the Library of Congress to include more realistic subject headings like Gay Poets and Lesbian Detectives.' Block, herself a librarian, created Ex Libris as a research tool for others in her field. The site is a great reference for anyone searching for information or just curious about fringe librarians.
--Sara V. Buckwitz
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