Friday foolery: Hawking the Library of Congress

Jan 28 2011 Published by under Miscellanea

I've had a week, folks; as a reward, next week I'm off to a conference with a brand-new talk. (Slides up soon, I hope; they're getting close to done, but they're not there yet, and I still have plenty of patter to write. I'm trying a new presentation technique, which adds a lot to my prep time.)

But my week is as nothing to the week the Library of Congress has had, wrangling a stray Cooper's hawk that wandered in and didn't particularly want to leave. They did safely capture her, and now she's off to rehab despite saying "no, no, no" and will eventually be rereleased into the wild.

It's hard to get useful good press for libraries. What's more typical is this kind of nonsense with the subtext "that library stuff, it's sooooooo obscure, and aren't librarians just weirdoes?" Worse are the lazy buns-and-shushing stereotypes (George Lucas, my lazergaze is on you, man); sometimes even worse than those are the "look, aren't librarians so hip? and isn't that cute?" stories.

So I'm super-impressed with how well the Library of Congress handled public relations on this one. Their blog shines with good humor and good information. They made very clear that they were handling the situation well and responsibly. They took note of useful input from blog commenters, and responded publicly to it. They deserve every iota of the attention this odd little episode has garnered.

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