August 9th, 2011 Brian Herzog
I hope this post doesn't get blocked by your filtering software.
When not at work, some librarians I know have the filthiest mouths of anyone I've encountered. But at the desk they obviously can't use bad words, so I got curious about the public-safe language librarians use to replace swear words. That's the catch-22 of libraries: serving the public can be stressful, but working at a public service desk means being limited in how we can respond when something goes wrong.
I asked around a bit and here's a list of some choice "safe" words library staff use:
- some old standards: Shoot, Fudge, Bologny
- Jeepers Crow
- Fly me (to the moon)
- Mother of pearl
- What the what?
- For the love of Pete
- For cripe's sake
- Shut the front door
- Sugar Honey Iced Tea
The last one is my favorite - read it again, but just the first letter of each word.
I'm sure everyone has their favorites - what are your patron-safe swear words? Please share them in the comments or make #swearlikealibrarian a trending topic.
When I was originally working on this post, I thought some gansta rap-style image would make an appropriate illustration. I couldn't find one exactly right, but I did think this was funny:
Good job Hillsdale Free Public Library - Sir Mix-A-Lot would be proud.
Tags: bad, curse, language, libraries, Library, potty mouth, public, swear, swearing, swearlikealibrarian, word, words
January 8th, 2009 Brian Herzog
I'll warn you right up front: this post contains bad words.
While looking for a book on Amazon, I accidentally (really) found a book with the title Fuck this Book. Of course this caught my eye, so I read the description and found it actually sounded interesting (a la Postsecret, Found and Church Signs Across America).
I used the handy greasemonkey script to search my library's catalog directly from Amazon. I was surprised to see that my library had a record for the book, but it was In Cataloging - and has been for three years (there's got to be a story here, and I'm still trying to track it down [update: I asked around and learned the story, and the book has since, sadly, been deleted from our catalog]).
But this got me thinking: what other bad words are indexed in the library catalog? I ran some searches, and was surprised at the results. In my library's holdings alone, fuck has 12 matches and shit has 16 matches. I ran through a list of bad words, but most others also had non-bad meanings (pussy cat, Dick Cheney, etc).
I think it's important for libraries to provide unfiltered access to information, and not vilify a work or person because they violate a social taboos (besides, profanity is often in the eye of the beholder).
Tags: bad, bad words, book, Books, curse, fuck, georgecarlinwouldbeproud, language, libraries, Library, profanity, public, shit, swear, swearing, words