Tag Archives: lies

Lies, Damn Lies, and Librarians

You wouldn’t know the truth if it kicked you in the head. – Hitch

I sometimes wonder if the First Amendment should be conditional, though I’m not sure what the criteria or who the arbiter would be.  It can’t be based on education; too many supposedly educated people are horse’s patooties. It goes without saying that it cannot be left up to government at any level or to any party. So, even though I empathize with the Hamiltonians rather than the Jeffersonians, I’ll defer to Jefferson on this one.


Thomas Jefferson


Alexander Hamilton

Where did this originate from to throw my otherwise good nature off (the time is truly ripe for a baseball piece, isn’t it?) I’m sure many of you have online affinity or discussion groups you participate in or observe.  If you’re a Facebook user, you’re used to seeing someone’s snippet of an idea that may or may not convey a profound level of intellectual thought.  At any rate my friends (real and FB imaginary) and I float in that direction rather than posting inane pictures of our cats, dogs and other drooling pets. One of the things I try to do is to mix-up the choir a little bit. Where’s the fun in engaging in discourse if everyone has the same worldview? Ragging on the opposition in a unanimous voice has to get boring, doesn’t it? However, every so often something happens, or someone writes / posts something that leaves you honestly concluding “the zombie apocalypse would be a breath of fresh air.” (I was actually much harsher in an expletive laden sort of way.)  Here’s what was posted:

Saw this and a succession of commentary and my sense of what’s right & wrong went into skeptical overdrive.  Needless to say, using rather common Librarian superpowers (readily available to mere mortals, but don’t tell anyone,) I satisfied myself and some other well intentioned folk that former Fed chief Greenspan never said this, and never endorsed this kind of economic view in any forum.

What Alan Greenspan did do, in testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs in 1997, was outline several of the reasons why inflation was still low to non-existent in the previous 3-4 year period.  Among the reasons he cited and the evidence provided were a recent history of longer union contracts, fewer labor-management conflicts and fewer workers moving between jobs.  He also concluded that the then current phenomena of worker insecurity needed to be further studied to find fully accurate causes.  I will say, he did it in florid and terribly dry fashion –

“The reluctance of workers to leave their jobs to seek other employment as the labor market tightened has provided further evidence of such concern, as has the tendency toward longer labor union contracts. For many decades, contracts rarely exceeded three years. Today, one can point to five- and six-year contracts–contracts that are commonly characterized by an emphasis on job security and that involve only modest wage increases. The low level of work stoppages of recent years also attests to concern about job security.”

The link above takes you to the catalog record for our holdings (on fiche) of the hearings that Chairman Greenspan appeared before, but you can also go one additional step to prove a point (and pass on the fiche.)

1. Testimony of Chairman Alan Greenspan; The Federal Reserve’s semiannual monetary policy report, Before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate. February 26, 1997

2. Job Insecurity of Workers Is a Big Factor in Fed Policy By Louis Uchitelle –New York Times. February 27, 1997

We did this once before around here, only the subject was then Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and the accusation was that as Mayor of Wasilla, she had actively pursued the censoring of materials from the Wasilla Library.  A little legwork by library staff debunked that story too.  I am a firm believer in letting the honest facts speak for themselves, and letting people prove they aren’t worthy of my time or consideration by dint of their real sins, not the imagined ones.

– Richard

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Top Ten Lies About the Film & Audio Department

It’s time to clear up a few misconceptions about our department.

 1. We don’t buy new movies.

Untrue! We purchase new movies months before they’re commercially released, just like book stores and department stores. Why, earlier this month we purchased 2012 (release date 03/02/10) and Pirate Radio (release date 04/13/10) and there are already hundreds of people waiting for them. That’s the real reason why you never see brand new movies on our shelves – they’re already checked out. 

2. We hide the good stuff from you. 

Robot Chicken

Now that's good stuff.

Nope. We want you to check things out. We really really do! Did you know that our funding is partially based on how many people use the library? Please, take our movies! Take five DVDs and five VHS tapes! And you can have ten CDs while you’re at it. Then add thirty books, and you’ll finally hit the fifty item limit


3. Sasquatch rearranges our shelves so nothing’s ever in order.

When the shelves are out of order, it’s usually because people like to leave things in odd places. So if you don’t want that documentary about whistling, please leave it on a book truck and we’ll reshelve it. It’s cool, we pay people to do this stuff. But we’d still rather you check things out (see #2). 

4. We swipe your requests when they come in so we can watch the new stuff first.

Did you know that most library employees suffer from an overdeveloped sense of justice? If your request isn’t here when you come to pick it up, it’s far more likely to be a computer error or human error than it is a library thief. We just don’t do that. We wait our turn, too. 

5. We only buy the things we like.

Angels & Demons


Of course we buy things we like, but we really want to make sure that there’s something for everyone. For instance, some of us can’t stand Tom Hanks, but a quick search of our catalog will pull up 30+ Tom Hanks films here in the Main library. If you find a hole in our collection or an underrepresented point of view, please let us know.

6. Everything we have is downloadable.

Oh, how we wish this were true. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to make everything available online, though we do have thousands of lovely downloadable audiobooks for you to choose from. 

7. You must be at least six feet tall to work in our department.

While most of our staff is tall and gangly, there is one librarian of average height. We would be delighted to hire shorter staffers, if only they were qualified and we had any openings. 

8. We only keep our VHS collection because we don’t want to spend more money on DVDs.

It's a Gift

We should buy this on DVD.

No way! We absolutely love DVDs. They take up less space on the shelves and they never get tangled up in VCRs. We keep our VHS collection because many old movies have not been released on DVD, and because some of our customers don’t own DVD players. And if you desperately need to watch that movie for school, a VHS copy is better than nothing, right? 


9. We only buy DVDs because we don’t want to spend more money on Blu-Ray discs.

Well, that’s partially true, because movies on Blu-Ray cost a lot more than movies on DVD. But the main reasons are a) DVDs are more durable (library DVDs take a lot of abuse) and b) most of our customers don’t own Blu-Ray players. For now, it makes more sense for us to stick to DVDs. 

10. Librarians think that books are more important than movies.

Untrue! For instance, the movie versions of War and Peace are just as much a part of our cultural record as the book (and they’re a lot handier for the student who has to write a book report this weekend).* And if you had to choose, wouldn’t you rather keep Cosmos than the complete works of Danielle Steel?** We sure would. 

And there you have it; mysteries of the Film & Audio Department revealed. 

*Note: The Film & Audio does not condone or support watching the movie instead of reading the book.

**Note: Yes, Danielle Steel is also a part of our cultural record.

– Amy


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