Thursday, May 29, 2014

How to Appear Like You Got It Together (When You Feel Like a Wreck), by Lauren Bradley

When I finished my library degree, my entire life and mental well-being was consumed with finding a job. When that mystical unicorn of a full-time, permanent library job finally appeared, it dawned on me that I had spent no time thinking about what comes next. The most uncomfortable part of adapting to my first professional job was coming to grips with the volume of things I still didn’t know. Luckily, I‘ve always thrived on being thrown in the deep end and, over the past couple years, have managed to cultivate a reputation as someone who knows what she is doing, both within my organization and the larger library community. These are my tips for giving the impression you know what you are doing, even if you feel like you have no idea:
  •  “Fake it ‘til you make it” is probably hands down the best advice I’ve ever been given. I first heard this advice as a stage actor in my teens, as a method to combat stage fear. Be confident, be assertive. If you visibly look like a wreck (slouching, mumbling, avoiding eye contact) and act like a wreck (not participating in conversations, giving “I don’t knows” without any follow-up suggestions) people will assume you are indeed a wreck, or at least a newbie not worth taking seriously. Faking it however does not imply you should lie which brings me to my second point:
  • “I don’t know the answer to that question, but let me find someone who can.” As a systems librarian, I get asked a technology question that I can’t answer to at least once a day. Never lie about or misrepresent your knowledge or skills. Instead try to connect staff or patrons with people in other departments who can better help them. If no such person exists, do some research and give an honest answer about what you are or are not capable of. Even if you can’t help someone in the end, they will appreciate an honest and considerate answer.
  • Share the knowledge and skills you do have. Even when you feel like you know nothing, the truth is you do have a lifetime of experience and skills behind you. Don’t be afraid to speak up at your organization about your ideas. Even if they are turned down, you will still learn something about the organization, and they will learn something about you. If you have a skill others don’t, share with them, either informally (“hey did you know there is a shortcut for that?”) or more formally (hold a workshop in the office, or submit a conference proposal). I’ve learned that I really enjoy doing staff training (previously a pretty minor part of my job) and that a silly Microsoft certification in high school has turned out to be a really good base of knowledge to pass on to others.
  • Realize that you don’t need to actually know all the things. Keep a tab on emerging trends and issues in the field, but don’t try to become an expert in all of them. Explore more deeply the ones most interesting or relevant to your position, other ones can be merely observed as they develop. If you think something is particularly relevant to your organization but you don’t have the time or prior knowledge to understand it further, (politely) direct it to colleague who might be a better person for that topic.
  • Surround yourself with an interesting community. Both online and offline, try to connect with a variety of people you find inspiring. Find people who are in the same place in their careers, some who are few years further out, and some more who are even further out than that. Respect people’s boundaries, but if they are willing try to get to know them as a whole person, not just a librarian. Include people in this community who are in a similar place in their career, but are in a completely different field.

Now that I’m a few years into my librarian career, I feel a bit more comfortable at work, but I still find this list helpful… and I’d love to hear how others manage to get through it when they feel like a wreck.

Lauren Bradley is a Systems Librarian at the Center for Jewish History in New York City. She received her MLIS from the Pratt Institute in 2011. She tweets @BibliosaurusRex and tumbles at

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bisy Backson: No Post This Week

I don't have a new post this week. I've got a couple in the works, but nothing ready because I ended up taking the weekend off from librarianing and instead had a social life (in between normal weekend chores). I highly recommend doing the same yourself from time to time.

As for the reference above, it's from a Winnie the Pooh story. I don't know if everyone has a mental system of symbols drawn from the media they've consumed, but I definitely do. Thus the above excuse.

Back on Thursday with a regularly scheduled guest post. See you then.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

You Don’t Have to Do All the Things to be an Awesome Librarian. Really. The Sequel., by Ginger Williams

Image by Allie Brosh, again.

It’s been about a year since I wrote a guest post for LtaYL that seemed to resonate with a lot of people. I thought now would be a good time to look back on that post and see if I’d been taking my own advice. We’re always better at dishing it out than taking it, right? Well, here goes.

Do I still believe everything I wrote a year ago? Almost all of it. So if you didn’t read it, do, and then do that stuff I said to do (or not do, as the case may be). Then give yourself permission to follow a bunch of librarians who Do Cool Stuff because that’s how you learn about the cool stuff that’s out there in the world of librarianship to do. Just don’t judge yourself against these people. [Editor’s Note: Really. Don’t.] And give yourself another high five or hug or whatever, because I still and will always think you’re awesome! (Librarians are the best, really.)

Did I live by my own advice this past year? Oh hell no! I try. But I also listen too often to the voice in my head that says I should be doing more, I should be doing better, I should be doing whatever I’m not currently doing... heap it all on me please, I can take it!

But honestly, I can’t do all the things. Nobody can. I do some things really really well, but when I’m juggling too much I let some of the balls drop. What did I do this year that I’m proud of?

  • I led my library through a strategic planning process with a limited time frame and a pretty damn good end result.
  • I presented at a conference in the UK and met some of the most awesome librarians in the world.
  • I finally made myself a website and started a self-mentorship toolkit so people (like me) without official mentors can DIY their way through the transition into librarianship. If that’s you, I hope you find it helpful!
  • I participated in one of ACRL’s Immersion programs on library assessment and I beefed up the role assessment plays in my library. Right now I’m wrapping up a Kindness Audit.
  • I wrote some stuff for legitimate journals: a guest column that just came out and a book review that’s in the cue to be published sometime this year.

Those are the biggies that come to mind right now. I also served on some highly active committees at the university and state level, and I did my best to make the world of librarianship a better place. I shared lots of cat photos for the greater good of mankind. But, since we’re in a no-judgement zone here (I’m making that up so I’ll feel better about sharing- I’m sure some of you are going to be Judgy McJudgerpants and I can’t stop that so go right ahead!), I’ll let you in on some things I didn’t do. Here I go breaking the rules of the internet; I know you’re not supposed to admit any flaws online because here we’re all perfect, but:

  • I’m behind on a writing project with one of my committees. This is one of those things I always have good intentions of catching up on, but time keeps sneaking on and I haven’t caught up yet. (Sorry, committee!) This one haunts me a bit because I hate letting down people who are depending on me, so I write it on my to-do list almost every day.
  • I’m ABT on a second master’s degree and I decided that I’m not finishing it. Really. (Before you try to encourage me to finish, know that I sleep a lot better at night than I did before I “gave up”. And being 7 ½ months pregnant, I really value what little sleeping I do at night.) I learned a lot about higher education and college students and assessment along the way, and I value that knowledge.
  • I’m sure I sucked at some other smaller things. If you know me and you’ve got things to add to this list, by all means let me know.

Those are pretty big balls to drop. (Sorry, extending the juggling metaphor, please don’t try to visualize that!) Maybe if I’d taken on less I could have managed to keep up with my thesis and the group article. Maybe I could have managed my time better. Maybe I could have worked more hours.

Or maybe I’m human, like everyone else, and it’s okay that we don’t always accomplish everything we want to accomplish. Maybe it’s in our nature to be a little too ambitious sometimes. Maybe I have some things to learn about how to manage my workload.

What am I trying to say here? I’m saying it’s okay to try to do all the things, but it’s just as okay that you just can’t. We all try to do our best. I want to make an impact in the library world, but more importantly I want to do my job well so I help my colleagues and our patrons out.

That’s what I aim for every day, and it’s the yardstick I’d like to be measured by. Ginger Williams: good librarian. Helpful. Makes my life better by being in it.

Ginger Williams is a Reference Librarian/Assessment Coordinator at Valdosta State University. She tweets about cats and beer at @GingerInGeorgia. She is not a rockstar librarian. This is her second post for Letters to a Young Librarian; the first was “You Don’t Have to Do All the Things to be an Awesome Librarian. Really."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How I Wrote a Six Year Assessment Plan (And You Can, Too!)

A strange thing happened to me last week. After hours and hours of working on it, I looked at my computer screen and realized I'd finished the draft of an assessment plan that covers the next six years.
It might be obvious from that embedded tweet, but I'm pretty impressed with this document. Not only is it extensive, but it also assesses all the kinds of things that will make our accrediting bodies happy since it is drawn from a core document of academic librarianship: Standards for Libraries in Higher Education. For those of you who've never written an assessment plan, this combination is (multi-year plan that adheres to an important and vetted document) is what we're supposed to be doing, but it's not the easiest thing to accomplish. Another thing you may not know if you've never tried to write a document like this, let me stress something for you: hours and hours...? That's the blink of an eye compared to normal. The first time I wrote an assessment plan, it was weeks and weeks and many, many meetings before I could even start writing. Admittedly, there's a smaller staff at my current library so it's easier to get buy in, but that's not the true source of this plan having been so much easier to write. No. For that I have colleagues and faculty who were part of the College Library Directors' Mentor Program to thank.

What I did came mainly from something that Melissa Jadlos (the director of the library at St. John Fisher College) taught my cohort, but it was such a fantastic idea and so easy to put into action, that I wanted to share it more broadly. In other words, this post is about my experience with creating an assessment plan using her method, but it *is* Melissa's method.

  1. The first thing to do is to read the Standards for Libraries in Higher Education. Yes, even if you've read them before, read them again.
  2. Second, for every indicator, write a couple of sentences describing what you do or do not do related to that indicator.
  3. Third, for every indicator, come up with a way to assess what you do. I was pleased to realize that for a decent number of the indicators, there is only a binary: do you or don't you? And so long as you can prove you do whatever it is, no further assessment will really be necessary.
  4. Fourth, divide the assessment over the years between now and the next time your major accrediting body will visit. For us, it will be Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and they will be here in 2020. If you're unsure when you'll be getting a visit, ask around.
Let me be clear: there will be plenty of assessment above and beyond the 4-5 activities that I've mapped out using the above methods. Some things require constant assessment, and new ventures will crop up and we'll need to evaluate those as well. But this way I know I'll cover the important highlights and I'll be ready to write whatever I need to write the next time Middle States comes a calling. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

So, You Want to Be A Government Librarian?, by Naomi House


My first official librarian job was for CSTI contracting as the Reference, Acquisitions and Marketing Librarian at the US Census Bureau. Oh, and one small thing, I was only half way through my MLIS online at Rutgers SCI program. How did I do it? Was it my grades? Was it through networking? Was I recruited? Nope. My grades were excellent but they didn’t even ask for a transcript until later and I did not know anyone at CSTI or the Census Bureau. No job recruiters found my resumé no matter how many places I had it posted online. No, what helped me find the job was a keen desire to advance that made me much more aware of the resources I already had. I was a member of DC / SLA and received emails with job ads in them regularly. I had no idea at the time that the contractor had only posted on two listservs, the Catholic University LIS student listserv and DC / SLA’s listserv. Contractors are often not just library specialists and actually do much, much more so they were unaware that they should have posted on ALA JobList or on SLA’s main jobs site. What got me my first job was reading my listserv jobs notices, a good interview where I smiled a lot, experience working as staff in a library, and a smaller pool of candidates due to the limited number of people on those listservs.

Not all jobs in the federal government are federal jobs: many are run by outside contractors. Also, not all jobs LIS professionals and students are qualified for are strictly in libraries. I highly recommend informational interviews as a way of sussing out what working in these different types of environments and agencies is really like. But if you are anxious or ready to start job hunting for federal work, here are some places I highly recommend you check out first!

In: Federal Libraries

There are many jobs each month in federal libraries both in the US and around the world. (Note: mostly they are only open to US citizens.) The first place I recommend librarians and MLS students look for a library job is the Careers in Federal Libraries Google Group and email list. Nancy Faget and her team scour the federal jobs sites and put all new federal positions into an email with hyperlinks so you can easily apply. Well, applying isn’t easy and each application takes hours to complete, but at least Nancy’s team makes it easy to know what is available.

Second, set up a alert. You can set up an account on with a resumé that federal HR people can browse as well as set up alerts for specific jobs series (types of jobs). Librarians and Archivists fall under the 1400 series, for the most part, which means the job can be a 1400 or a 1410 or a 1411 and it goes on like so. Alerts, just like the Careers in Federal Libraries email list, take the search out of the job hunt and save you tons of time. You are going to need it! Applying for a federal job takes hours and you need to be repetitious in the application. Jobs apps are sorted by machine first so saying the same thing twice is something that a machine sees as quantity. Machines see repeated phrases as evidence that you are an expert so say it once, twice or thrice, that is OK. For further advice on getting a job in the federal government check out my review of a DC / SLA and Careers in Federal Libraries event online.

Out: Non-Library Jobs in the Federal Government

Not surprisingly the very best resource for non-traditional jobs is also Careers in Federal Libraries. Nancy Faget is a federal librarian and President of Federal & Armed Forces Libraries Round Table. She has been working for years with many LIS professionals and was well aware that it is not just the 1400 series that LIS professionals can work in. In addition to the 1400 series librarians are often qualified to work in jobs families such as the 1000, 1700, 2200, 0300, 0000 and 0001 series; these are some but not all we may be qualified for. These include the Information and Arts Group, Education Group, and Information Technology Group. Heck most of the NewFeds (a group of new federal and contractor LIS professionals) I know do not work as traditional 1400 series librarians. I was a rare exception.

All Around: Contracting

You may have heard of contractors before and wondered what it was like to work for them. Where do you go to work each day and who do you report to? While each place is different, basically you are an employee of the contracting company who goes on site to the government agency and does the required work (cataloging, reference, acquisitions). The company you work for is your source for human resources, but you will also have a contracting officer or contracting officer technical representative (COTR) who you take directions from and work with.

As I mentioned listservs are a great source for finding these jobs and no there is no database of all jobs for contractors. Contractors win bids to get those contracts and can be secretive about who knows which jobs they have open. Yep, that is right, that does make it harder for them to find good people. Now here is a secret; contractors actually use and other job scraping services that let you post your resumé to find candidates. It happened to my friend and to one of her previous bosses. You will need to update your resumé at least once a month so they see it but this actually works! Of course Aflac will call you too but one sternly worded “take me off your list” and you should hear from them no more.

So there you have it. LIS professionals can work in a variety of positions in, out, and all around the federal government. And the jobs may not make it onto the traditional websites you scour already so be sure to be signed up for listservs too. Part of the reason I founded INALJ was to help people find all these jobs in one spot, and we do a great job of finding many of them but there is no substitute for also signing up for every listserv that fits your bill. Make your own luck by not missing a thing that comes through your area. I know I am glad I did.

Naomi House, MLIS is the founder, editor and publisher of, a library jobs board and webzine.  She founded INALJ (I need a library job) in 2010 after her own successful job hunt lead to her first librarian position as a government contractor at a federal library.  She believes well sourced quantity is quality.  Find her on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and the INALJ LinkedIn group.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Another Thing I Didn't Learn in Grad School: It's All About Relationships

I've talked before about the kinds of things I didn't learn in graduate school, but there's one I've been thinking about a lot lately - and that's the need for relationship building skills. Everything I do almost every day gets down to building relationships. Writing my blog? That's my relationship with the profession. Creating and watching over the budget? That's my relationship with the finance office, my staff, and many others. Teaching? My relationship with faculty and students. I didn't understand that when I was new in the field, and it's taken me years to learn. I've made lots of mistakes, including accidentally burning a bridge that it took me about a year to rebuild. Since one adventure in relationship building recently bore fruit, though, I thought I'd share.

I've been trying to build a connection with the Vice President for Institutional Advancement (VP of IA) ever since I first showed up on campus. (I know IA is a fairly widely known term in higher ed circles, but for those of you who are in public or special or other kinds of libraries: institutional advancement is what colleges and universities typically call the people who do fundraising for the institution. By "advancement" we mean financial advancement.)

When I was brand new, I tried to meet with as many departments as possible, to share my ideas, to see how I could help them and their areas, but mostly to say hi. With the VP of IA, I opened with a few small scale ideas - things that could help IA in general, things that could benefit both IA and the library, and so on. We chatted about the major fundraising push he was shepherding at that time, and left it that we would check in again at some later date.

Though the tone of the meeting was fairly negative, I didn't get discouraged. I went out of my way to help people in his department. I reworked the library's process for taking in book donations to make it as easy as possible for IA to handle their part of the process. We don't have an archivist and our archives are in need of a lot of work, so when IA staff needed materials from the archives, I helped them. I kept in touch with the VP, but in casual ways - chatted with him whenever I saw him at campus events, asked for his advice on something related to the aforementioned form, and so on.

Then, a few months ago, I got a great idea from my mentor: she suggested I create a wishlist of items, naming opportunities in the library and the like, and bring that list to the VP of IA.

He loved it.

So, almost a year after I met with him originally, the VP of IA asked me to write a letter that his department could then send to people who had given to the library in the past. In the letter I talked about the library's recent efforts, focusing on our successes. I shared my ambitions for the library, and thanked past donors for their support. The letter included the wishlist, with a range of giving opportunities from books all the way up to having the archives named for the donor. IA edited my letter, then I wrote a brief message and signed each one by hand (and we're talking hundreds of letters... my hand hurt for a couple of days after).

The letters were mailed a little over a week ago, so it's too soon to know if this first effort will yield anything. I have hopes that this will be me soon:

Mo' Monies! (Source)

Realistically, though, we'll be lucky if we get much right now. Even if we don't get anything, it will still have been worth my time. People who have had the library in mind in the past are being reminded that giving directly to the library is an option. Also, staff in IA have a specific list of library related giving opportunities in case a prospective donor mentions something like, "I can only give $1000 right now, but will that have much impact?" Most importantly, though, I have strengthened relationships across and beyond the campus walls. All this because I took my time, cultivated connections, and heard the VP of IA's initial negative response for what it really was: it was a "not now."

I know there are plenty of people who read my blog who don't work in academic libraries. I also know the majority of you aren't administrators. Think of it this way: libraries are all about relationships. What kinds of relationships could you be building right now? Who can you help who might, later on, be able to help you? 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Haters Gonna Hate: Handling Workplace Conflict, by Dolly Moehrle

If it’s true that we spend more time at work than we do with our families, then it follows that we’ll inevitably deal with conflict; after all, families don’t get along all the time, and neither do colleagues. But where raising your voice, slamming doors, and the silent treatment are all tried and true methods for dealing with siblings or parents who just don’t understand, those techniques are considered “unprofessional” and “rude”—even when the co-worker is being THE WORST.

My previous supervisors will tell you that I can be controlling, a perfectionist, not into compromise. They might actually use the word “aggressive.” My low tolerance for bullshit gets me in trouble, you see. I’m one of those types of people that resent having my time wasted, resent inefficiency, resents “but we’ve always done it that way.” And I usually don’t keep those thoughts to myself. (Even when it would be best if I kept my thoughts to myself.)

There are certain things that are not even a question, in my mind, in terms of taking them to your managers and human resources. Harassment of any kind is not okay. Bullying is not okay. Discrimination is not okay. When these behaviors are obvious, you can and should report them. For a lot of situations, however, the behaviors are less blatant, and the conflicts more subtle.

Generally my workplace conflicts have fallen into a few categories:

1. Misunderstandings: You make a joke about paperclips. Bob is deeply offended as his mother designs paperclips. This can devolve into item 3, Passive Aggressive Crap, very easily if it is not addressed. And it can be addressed very easily as well: “Bob, I’m sorry I was insensitive about paperclips.” While some misunderstandings handle themselves, if a simple apology or an attempt to see the other person’s perspective and talk to them respectfully will help, then why wouldn’t you try? Harmony is more important than pride.

2. Incompatibility: Sandy’s a democrat! You’re a republican! Steve loves Nickelback! Karen can’t stop talking about saving sea lions! In the grown up world, not everyone likes each other. It happens. It really only makes a difference if it leads to you being treated poorly. Being incompatible shouldn’t impact the work. If they’re leaving you off emails, not letting you know about important things, or anything similar, then it’s an issue of…

3. Passive Aggressive Crap: It’s tempting to dismiss this stuff as the cost of being in the workforce. The enemy of passive aggression is directness. “Sally, I notice you didn’t include me on that email. In the future I need to see those, too.” The problem, of course, is that clear communication is hard, and letting stuff build and build until you ultimately explode is much easier, at least before the explosion and fallout. Sometimes, though, what you’re interpreting as deliberate is a mistake, or an oversight, or otherwise not on purpose.  It’s Hanlon’s Razor--“never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Confronting actions you see as passive aggressive before they drive you nuts can give you a chance to see what you’re up against, malice, or the other thing.

Also, making an attempt to resolve the issue with Sally before taking it to your manager will help your case if it escalates to…

4. Serious Issues: Like obscenity, a Serious Issue can be hard to define. For me, it’s something that impacts me in all areas: quality of my work, stress level, ability to get things done, etc. Or something I’ve tried to address with the other person but had them rebuff while the behavior continues. You can’t deal with these alone, and you shouldn’t have to. Your manager should be there to manage: Not only because it’s part of their job, but also because workplace conflict can result in lost productivity, high turnover, liability, and even workplace violence. But keep in mind the first three categories and ask yourself what, if any, role you’ve had to play. Like I said up top, I’m not super easy to work with, and I acknowledge that. Whatever I can do to help others tolerate me I’m happy to do before things escalate.

When you bring it to your manager, stay dispassionate. What matters most is the behavior making your work life miserable, not the fact that you hate Tom’s laugh. And document, document, document. Without specific examples of problem behavior, your manager isn’t going to be able to help you.

This list is by no means exhaustive. But until we’re all replaced by LibrarianBot™, as long as you’re working with human beings you’re going to experience some type of conflict. The best advice I can give you is to be prepared, and be willing to stick up for yourself. You deserve to be treated respectfully in the workplace.

Dolly Moehrle is a law librarian at the Ventura County Law Library in Ventura, CA. She was a 2012 Eureka! Leadership Institute Fellow and received her MLIS from SJSU in 2012. She blogs sporadically at and tweets obsessively as @loather.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Thinking About Thinking, Or, Everyday Applications of Metacognition and Epistemology


Once again, I've been thinking about thinking. With my instruction background, even have a master's in ed, and my philosophical bent, it's not surprising. Metacognition and epistemological development are my bread and butter, since how people think about thinking and how people think about the structure of knowledge are a major factor in teaching those same people information literacy skills as well as in how I run my library. But lately these thoughts about thoughts have been inspired by controversies that have been brewing and exploding on Twitter.

Some of them have seemed very tempest-in-a-teapot, others are deeply important, but all have been incredibly divisive. I'll admit I wade into the fray on occasion, but usually I try to hang back. No, I'm not going to tell you which of the recent controversies fall into which category for me. First off, I've had friends, colleagues, people I admire, on all sides of these recent debates. Second, I can see validity in many of the arguments. So, in the (perhaps futile) interests of peacemaking, here are a few ideas/rules I try to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to tweet:
  1. 140 characters just isn't enough for nuanced arguments I think are necessary in most cases. Sure, you can actually say a lot in a tweet, but when highly charged topics are being discussed, it may not be enough.
  2. Twitter can be an echo chamber. Things that seem important to those of us who inhabit the Twittersphere, things that seem like big news, can sometimes be barely a blip outside of our world. Sometimes things can be a big thing in one part of Twitter but barely be mentioned in another. (Ever taken a look at those trending hashtags and been confused? I know I have.)
  3. There are some oft cited statistics that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is tone and inflection, and a measly 7% is the actual words. Even with emoticons and hashtags to give us cues about the 93% that isn't words, it's still hard to read people's tweets the way they may have intended them.
  4. I want to form my own opinions, not just buy into others' wholesale. It can be hard to do this. I'm human and I am just as likely to fall for logical fallacies as the next overly educated adult. And I do fall for them. I'm not trying to say I'm the only one who's right or that other options are all wrong (see my next point), but in the words of a friend with whom I was discussing the participants in a particular Twitter brawl: "I want to listen to them, not obey them."
  5. In most arguments, there are people who are right, people who are wrong, and many shades in between. Those shades in between can be the hardest thing to see. That same sage friend (who I'm quoting here because s/he said it so much better than I ever could): "I think seeing other perspectives as something other than contradiction is a challenge." 

Even if you ignore all of my above highly* important points, even if you take nothing else away from today's post, please remember: think about your thinking, and about others' thinking, and remember that not everyone has the same perspective on truth and knowledge and information. What seems like an offhand comment to you might be taken as a bone-deep insult to someone else, and vice versa. Most of all, please think before you tweet.

*Highly important, in this case, is highly based on my judgement. ;-)

P.S. In response to the people who might be trying to juxtapose this bit of advice with what I wrote last week, these posts aren't actually in opposition to each other. Tweet what you want, for sure, but if you're going to get embroiled in arguments, please do so circumspectly. It makes me think of an old Bill Cosby joke: "I said to a guy, 'Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful,' and he said, 'Because it intensifies your personality.' I said, 'Yes, but what if you're an asshole?'" Twitter is cocaine in this analogy. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Just For Fun: I'm Literally a Five-Headed Dragon. Who Cares!

Before I get started on why I love Welcome to Night Vale, let me warn you: I have only gotten up to episode 35, "Lazy Day." Those who include any spoilers in the comments will be summarily reported to a Vague Yet Menacing Government Agency, or perhaps just made to investigate the dog park.


For those of you who are uninitiated, imagine H. P. Lovecraft wrote A Prairie Home Companion, or perhaps imagine what the public radio is like in Sunnydale. Everyone is calm and happy, goes about their business, in the midst of deliciously hilarious horrors.

I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't yet been initiated, don't worry: I'm going to try to tread lightly about specifics. That being said, here are some things I adore about this, the only podcast I listen to with any sort of regularity.
  • The Weather. This what they call the music part the part of every episode. Music styles as diverse as klezmer and rap, with artists I knew before hearing them on Night Vale and new artists to love. So good.
  • The Story. There's love, politics, intrigue, science, monsters... You've got to love anything, and sorry but this is a spoiler, where a five headed dragon is a candidate for mayor.
  • Librarians. The people behind the podcast obviously love librarians, with as much attention as is lavished on the Night Vale Public Library within the story. We have loved them back, you can be sure. And before you jump to the same conclusion I did, I've already got dibs on the director's office:

For those of you who are already in the fold, what do you love about it? (Please remember, no spoilers!) For those of you who have yet to indulge, why not?