Magazine article American Libraries

What John Bobbitt's Penis Means to Librarians

Magazine article American Libraries

What John Bobbitt's Penis Means to Librarians

Article excerpt

You've heard it. I've heard it. Every working librarian has heard it. We are on the verge of the greatest technological breakthrough in the history of the world. We are aboutto enter the brave new world of the information superhighway. Are we as librarians prepared to satisfy the highly sophisticated, intricately complicated, and hopelessly complex information needs of our clients? And are we ready to adapt our bibliographic skills and training to the cutting-edge information delivery systems that our information-hungry patrons will expect us to master, control, and access by the year 2000?

The superhighway beckons; are we going to be fearfully puttering along in the slow lane or do we have the courage and the vision to reinvent ourselves and our libraries and get on over to the fast track? Are you ready for the year 2000? Are you? Are you?

I for one am not. Here it is 1994 and I'm already sick of the purple-prosed rhetoric that every pompously self-important technophile in the profession is throwing around about the freaking third millennium. I've got news for everybody: This is a fear tactic that's been used before. There's something about a millennium that scares the pants off people. The world as we know it is about to end. When have we heard that before? Try a millennium ago in the year 994. The only difference then was that the people doing the doomsaying were shamans, priests, magicians, alchemists, and astrologers, not infodweebs.

You're probably thinking I'm just too uptight--too rigid to hop fight into this brave new world of cybermagic. That's possible. Maybe I am a little change-resistant. I'll admit it, sitting around on a sunny day and taking my electronic surfboard on a ride on the wet and wild Internet is not my idea of a quality leisure-time opportunity. If I'm a skeptic, however, my skepticism is not based on my own private inner fears and insecurities, but rather on what I see around me.

And what I see around me is that people are indeed hungry for information--hungry for the latest report on whether John Bobbitt can sustain an erection, hungry for what LaToya Jackson has to say about her brother' s recreational tastes, hungry for word on how Amy Fisher is staying slim on a starchy prison diet, hungry for the latest report from the Arkansas state pimps--oops, I mean troopers--hungry for Senator Packwood's private diary, hungry for the names in Heidi Fleiss' Rolodex, hungry for the real dope on whether Woody Allen really did refer Joey Buttafuoco to his longtime Manhattan psychiatrist, hungry for the truth behind the two failed marriages of Rush Limbaugh, and especially hungry for a quick but telling glimpse of--should I say it? …

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