Let's get this out of the way upfront - I have a post up at Romancing The Blog today. Read all about why I can't stand it when people whine about "the good old days."
(Here's a hint: Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses)
Sort of going hand in hand with that, I got a lovely e-mail today from a librarian who works for another library system in the area. She needed help. Why? I converted her. I had given my romance novel reader's advisory talk to some area librarians and she must have been inspired. She tried some, she liked some, and now she's hooked. She had a few questions, and luckily I had a few answers.
Librarians tend to be a snobby bunch. In some cases we can't help it. We spend a lot of time in school (I have two college degrees thankyouverymuch) and given the general snootiness that hangs over academia, anything remotely popular is treated with disdain and a sneer. It's not just romance. The only acceptable mystery is a British one (screw Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson) and science fiction? It has to be very heavy stuff or have some deep, metaphors buried in the text otherwise it's outta here!
This tends to rub off on librarians. I loved to read as a teenager, although my poison of choice was mystery. But while I was in college (for almost 6 years - and that was quick by most standards!), I think I might have read 5 books for pleasure, all Patricia Cornwell or Mary Higgins Clark novels. I was too busy. Too tired. Too poor. Plus, as most of you college graduates probably already know, there ain't a whole lot of "popular fiction" to be found in academic libraries. There just isn't. They have bigger fish to fry - namely paying ghastly amounts of money for their journals and periodicals.
I think after a while librarians tend to believe our own hype. That just because we suffered through a ridiculous amount of schooling (and have the student loans to prove it) that somehow we're above it all. That popular fiction doesn't have any merit. That we should be educating the public, whether they want to learn something or not.
Basically we lose our sense of humor and make it our life's goal to make everyone else lose theirs as well.
Some librarians get over this (Thank you baby Jesus, I did!), but some don't. I personally know some librarians (who have worked for too many years and just need to retire already!) who are past the point of changing their minds. They'll go to the graves sneering at romance, fantasy and science fiction while they happily lap up the latest P.D. James or reread Agatha Christie.
I know, I don't get it either.
Cripes, there is a lot of stuff I hate (ex. fiction written in the vein of Danielle Steel) but I never, ever sneer at library patrons (or librarians!) who enjoy this sort of thing. Maybe my momma just raised me right, who knows? As it is, as long as librarians spend too much time dying slowly in academia, there will always be "professionals" in my given field who feel this way. No matter how much I want to smack them for being wrong.
In the meantime, I'm stuck tilting at windmills and trying to change the world - one librarian at a time.