Non-Female Librarians Association

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Live Journal Blog, response to

Our little blog has been picked up by a bigger blog and become something of a hot topic - last I looked there were 54 responses to a blog with our group as the subject. I left my own comment which I have transcribed for everyone here:

(start quote)
Wow, I have found these comments to be very insightful and rather interesting. Please, do not pass judgment on NoFLA so quickly though - we have just started - there has only been one meeting - we don't even have a mission statement. And we all know you have to have a mission statement before you can properly be called an "association." =:)

What I can tell you about NoFLA is that all of its members believe they have a sense of humor - hey, if we can't laugh at ourselves there must be a problem?

NoFLA began as the simple idea to get the men in the program and perhaps other male librarians outside of the program together - do we want to sit down and "talk about the disparity" with others - certainly not right now and possibly never.

What will become of NoFLA? It may wither away to become nothing more than bits and bytes in cyberspace - a blip in the issues of Libraryland. I hope that is not the case. There has already been talk among the members of NoFLA of working to create scholarships for future male librarians. Perhaps we can secure some funding from the pubs we frequent or the deposit on beer cans - perhaps not.

There has also been some talk about voicing our disgust with, and working to rectify, the obvious disparity of men as minorities in number but not position in Libraryland. Our profession could only benefit from equality between the sexes at all levels.

Why have we not come forward and identified ourselves? Well, judging from the knee-jerk reaction among our colleagues the idea of identifying ourselves brought with it not just a little trepidation. We will be graduating soon and looking for jobs - not all management positions are filled by men.

When I say knee-jerk reaction I mean it. The original email message sent to the students of our program was simply a notice that we had formed and when our first meeting was. That message was replied to and forwarded to the faculty as well as the student body. Frankly, I was disappointed that our colleagues thought the worst of us from the get go. Why did they think the worst of us? I don't believe I or any of NoFLA's members had done anything previously to merit such a response. We are left to wonder whether the response was because we are males.

This all being said, I am not sure whether NoFLA will remain a fun group for men to get together or evolve into something much more. (end quote)

So there it is - what is it going to be? Do we cast off childish things now that we have become men and turn NoFLA into a more serious association or do we continue in our rebel ways? Is there a way to retain our levity and still contribute to the grander scheme of things?

Monday, December 12, 2005

controversial email, response to

Well after much encouragment to respond to the controversy which has surrounded the advent of NoFLA, here I am. I hope my comments may put some of the controversy to rest. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions and I am sorry if the name of our little organization has offended anyone. Truly, it is tongue and cheek and not meant in any way to be derogatory or sexist for that matter.

That being said, I do not believe that there is anything wrong with creating a male association. Associaitons representing minority or majority groups to the exclusion of others are not necessarily negative organizations. There are many female organizations such as the Academic Women's Association. I also do not believe that in order for a group to organize they need to be somehow first marginalized.

I can understand how some may have taken offense at the name given our organization. Some have brought it to my attention that NoFla may be read No Flaw (as in without women in our organization there will be no flaws). Believe me that that was never the intention. Others have suggested that we should name the organization the Male Librarian Association or MLA - but we all know that that acronym carries with it a host of bad memories and feelings.

What is the real issue here? I get the feeling that it is a fear of men or of men organizing in some form. I believe in equality between the sexes - between my 8 sisters, mother, wife and two daughters I would not have survived long enough to write this email if I did not. However, in the struggle to realize that equality, we must take care not to repeat the injustices which have been perpetrated by much of the male community. Let us also not forget that many of those injustices have been upheld and perpetuated by many members of the female community. Which is exactly why a little controversy will not stop me or others from organizing NoFLA - although some male memebers of our class once eager to join are now less inclined.

A wise person once said that the oppressed often make the best oppressors.

What the...?

NoFLA originally announced its creation in an email to the student body of an accredited library school. Like all library schools, females are the significant majority. Some of these females took umbrage at our founding. To our surprise, we soon found ourselves in a male-strom of warring emails. The founders decided it would be instructive to share some lines from this persecution.

The original respondant had this to say "I think today is a step backwards for our profession" Our question to this person (we'll keep their gender hidden), is why, exactly, is this not a step forward for non-non-minority librarians? Many scholarships, associations and so on specifically exclude men, because we are not the generalized minority, though we are clearly outnumbered here.

"the 'no girls allowed' group is exclusionary" said one other student. Indeed, we considered NoGLA (no girl librarians allowed) originally, but we really wanted to be inclusionary rather than exclusionary. Therefore, all those who consider themselves non-female are welcome to join, regardless of their physical characteristics or age.

Other comments ranged from "that was funny", showing that other almost-librarians do not take our concerns seriously to "we should really get together and talk about the disparity." This latter comment is seeking to provide an open forum for our issues. We are not interested in such an approach. Rather, we wish to separate ourselves to lift us out of the shadows.

Clearly the controversy has only begun. It is incumbent on all members of NoFLA and all men in libraryland to stand together and fight for equality in the work- and schoolplace.

the Advent of NoFLA

As a group of male library students, it has come to our attention that we are significantly outnumbered by our female colleagues. If we mention this disparity, we are scoffed at and reminded that we will eventually make much more money than them and we should just suck it up and take it like men. We find this position untenable and therefore have decided to do something about it.

We are starting an organization that will bring together all the non-female librarians in the world. Librarians love organizations, associations and anything that will require long meetings and discussions that no one really cares about. Surely, one more association will be welcome. Especially one that honors beer and chest hair in the manner we do.

Not that you require chest hair to be part of NoFLA, but it doesn't hurt.

The Non-Female Librarians Association anounces its creation and welcomes all non-female information professionals to join our ranks and help make our plight visible and rectify the injustices of progessive thinking.