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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Standup Librarian Gets Shotdown!

When I appeared as a guest at the West Hollywood Book Fair in October 2011, I was dazzled by the stunning beauty of the new library and the glow 'n buzz of creative energy that fairly radiated from everyone around. One of the most energetic was the Standup Librarian, Meredith Myers. That's "standup" as in comedian (as opposed to standup "guy" which was my own first reaction!).   I put up this (post) about her when I first heard about her because, as a writer, I certainly want to promote books and libraries. I thought, whoever this person is, she's got a fabulous idea. Librarians are gonna love her! Parents are gonna love her! Writers are gonna love her!

At the Fair, I met her. She was like a rocket tank of library fuel. We posed for this picture.
Librarian and Camille on a happier day
When she did her performance that day, she presented a bouquet of spring flowers to her boss, some kind of Baroness of Books. Undoubtedly, if I had say, a Masters Degree in Library Science, I'd know off the top of my head what is the proper title for such a job. But I don't have one. Meredith Myers does.  Anyway, when was the last time you presented flowers to your boss? Um, er, yeah, I thought it was pretty gracious of the redhead in the "book skirt" to give some of her limelight away like that. I also thought how lovely it must be to work at the library, where apparently the work atmosphere put the Keebler elves to shame. 

When I got home, I posted (again) about the Standup Librarian and her book skirt and the beautiful library in which she worked. Penguin Library,  a service of Penguin the mega-publisher, which lists its mission as,  "Links, reviews, news and love for Librarians from the Penguin Library Marketing dept- bringing the bird to your hands!"  tweeted my blog post. Cuz, well, they thought her mission was good for libraries, too.   That's what's called good publicity for a library.

Just the way it caught mine, the Standup Librarian's press release also caught the eye of the Los Angeles Times. They were all set to do a feature article on her fun and fabulous enthusiasm for books and libraries, at a time when libraries can ill afford to pass up a chance to remind taxpayers how relevant and vital they are.  Read the LA Times for details, but the punchline is the library promptly fired her.

The LA Times went ahead with the article, alright. But it came out quite differently than the paper had expected. It is all about mysterious and autocratic bureaucrats who apparently hate innocent book stackers.   Now the library in question looks more like the wart-covered giant who stomps on Keebler elves. 

And that's what's called bad publicity for a library.

As one other pundit put it, perhaps the story behind the story is that Meredith Myers--who dresses up as Puss 'n Boots, Pippi Longstalking, and other literary characters to promote books--actually eats children or turns them into gingerbread men or once sexually harassed Herman Cain. Read the Times story for yourself, though, and see what you think about her firing.  

All I'm saying is that the library was on a track to have a wonderful feature article in one of the top newspapers in the country that could be used to help solicit donations, promote patronage, and defend its budget. Instead, somebody with Pippi Longstalking pigtails got fired and the library got a very nasty article done about them. 

The good news is, calling all libraries!, a gal with a lot of energy, a Masters in Lib Sciences, and a talent for promoting books is now available!   You can find her on twitter as @StandUpLibraryN    She'll probably bring you flowers, too! 

(click on a title below to buy)
Camille Kimball's books:
**A Sudden Shot** as seen on TV!
The Mammoth Book of Tough Guys
Coming soon: Masters of True Crime-Chilling Stories of Murder and the Macabre

Thoughts on this or any article at this site? To the next person whose comment I use for a post I will send a free signed book!  (If you post as "anonymous" for convenience, try to include an identifying website or name in your remark so no one else can claim your prize!)  For an example, please click here

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