A couple weeks ago I did a post on things that grind my gears. Truth is, those are really minor annoyances. The true grinding comes when I encounter things that go against the grain of librarianship.
This is going to sound very high-minded, but I truly believe that, as a librarian, I am not only a facilitator of information dissemination (say that five times fast), I am a protector of said information. To me, all information is to be saved, from oddities like the Voynich Manuscript to the fact that rats can survive without water longer than camels, and that Sherlock Holmes never said, “Elementary, my dear Watson.” My job is to make sure you can access whatever information you need, regardless of whether some fool deems it objectionable.
I never imagined that said fool would be in my own workplace. I never imagined that a fellow librarian would ever take a photographically illustrated copy of Kama Sutra and send it back because they didn’t want to have to hear complaints about it from patrons.
Let me make something very clear. I do not give one microscopic flying rat’s ass what you do or don’t find objectionable. If I were to toss everything I found objectionable, 99% of the urban fiction collection would be gone tomorrow. But I don’t do it. I’m supposed to defend such material against objections from morally self-righteous twits who have nothing better to do than police everyone’s private reading material.
To say that I was stunned by my colleague’s behavior is … well I found it unfathomable that this person was given the trust of safeguarding the information the public has a right to see. Yes, sex manuals fall under that category, even ones written by such infamous persons as Dr. Z. After all, they can be used for therapy, humor, or just to spice a staid marriage up.
To sum it up: information access good. Intellectual sloth bad. If one is unwilling to defend the collection against all comers, one should not be given charge of it.