Saturday, March 2, 2013

Stalker Assaults and Librarians Harass Librarian In Black; ALA Should Support Sarah Houghton and Other Beleaguered Librarians

I am going to set aside my safe libraries concern to speak out against the violence and intimidation being brought to bear on Sarah Houghton, also known as the Librarian In Black, and to urge the American Library Association [ALA] to devise a means for supporting librarians in the crosshairs.  Having written about her before in "Ehlers-Danlos and the Librarian in Black," 31 May 2009, I am now writing again.

I urge all librarians to rally behind her to stop the violence and intimidation she is receiving from other librarians and also patrons.  Read this, this is sad and shocking and I don't know what to do about it, but I hope my bringing attention to the issue helps even a little:
    • several more unwanted advances and “touches” at conferences (including a drunk librarian in underwear only knocking on my hotel room door), which is part of why I dialed back my speaking engagements – I’m so sick of this shit
    • a marriage proposal from a fellow librarian (who I don’t know from Adam) who started it off with the very romantic “Now that you’re finally divorced and everything…”
    • two hand-written mailed death threats at work
    • numerous anonymous bouquets of flowers on my home doorstep, some with creepy stalker-ish poetry, which I traced back to…
    • a local stalker who eventually revealed himself while I was on a break outside the library, physically assaulted me, and got slapped with a restraining order after I kicked him where it counts and grabbed his wallet and ID when he was on the ground to get an identification to present to the police
ALA should start a means to assist beleaguered librarians it has in the past ignored; there's a list too long to include here.  But perhaps this recent effort by the ALA President to support Dale Askey may be a good start:


So we know ALA can support librarians when it chooses.  Let's hope Sarah Houghton is the next librarian getting official assistance from ALA, and let's hope ALA stops talking about "divestment of fossil fuels," etc., and instead pays attention to hurting librarians.

Good luck to you, Librarian In Black.  Since you said, "I am hoping that spark will come back and I will want to start writing again," I hope this cheers you a little:


"Funk 50"
album Analog Man

Yeah I'm gonna get my motor movin'
I'm gonna dress in black
Walk down that red carpet
Show everybody I'm back
Show everybody I'm back


NOTE ADDED 7 SEPTEMBER 2013:

I just found an old discussion on stalking discussed by many, many librarians.  It is a VERY big problem, though not one of them mentions it could be occasioned in part by an anything goes policy.  Be that as it may, this is a very worthwhile read on the subject of stalking, including the many comments:


And given that post, it's even worse that ALA does nothing to help these people.


NOTE ADDED 20 NOVEMBER 2013:

It could be sua sponte or it could be in response to my call for ALA to act but ALA has acted!  Look:


NOTE ADDED 28 NOVEMBER 2013:

See also:



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