I have long been annoyed by the popularity of the Annoyed Librarian blog. It’s not because of her ideas, which I think are often interesting. It is because she has always used her anonymity as a shield for insulting people while avoiding responsibility for what she says.
Many people justify anonymous public speech as a necessary recourse when the truth can’t be spoken without some kind of retailation. Annoyed Librarian might argue that she would be taking a professional risk to speak the truth about librarianship in her own name. But it seems to me that the only thing professionally risky about her blog is her tendency to insult people, not the ideas she expresses, which are hardly beyond the pale.
When Library Journal adopted her as a columnist, anonymity preserved, I lost respect for them as a venue for professional discussion. In a professional context, it is important for people to take responsibility for what they say. To avoid doing this, especially when it serves as a way to insult people without consequences, is cowardly and irresponsible. Library Journal should have the good judgment not to facilitate that kind of behavior in a professional context, and especially not to give it their imprimatur.
Some might note with irony that I am insulting Annoyed Librarian in calling her a coward. In response I would only say that this is a considered opinion and something that I think needs to be said, and something that I stand behind without any shield of anonymity. The library profession should not tolerate her insulting behavior, and definitely shouldn’t reward it.
I will close by recommending some reading on anonymity in the library blogosphere, an editorial by John Buschman, Mark Rosenzweig & Kathleen de la Peña McCook in Progressive Librarian #29, “On Anonymity in Libraryland Blogging.” (Annoyed Librarian has called this group the “Regressive Librarians” whenever she has written about them. It would not be difficult to express disagreements with them without resorting to playground-style insults.)