Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Ignoring the Online Mob

Of all the library hills to die on, drag queen storytime seems like a pretty small one indeed, but that looks like what happened with one librarian, at least based on this article from Arizona. According to the story, a librarian at one of the branches of the “19 branches in the Maricopa County Library District” came up with an idea for a storytime read by drag queens, which she posted to her personal Facebook page, which “caught the attention of library administrators,” some of whom cancelled the storytime and then tried to defend the decision with post hoc rationalizations that fooled nobody. After all that, the librarian who proposed the drag queen storytime resigned. I hope that there was more going on than this incident, or that she was going to resign anyway, because this seems like a silly reason to quit a job. That’s not a comment on drag queen storytimes. One of the many problems with this country these days is the pearl-clutching and knicker-twisting that goes on ...
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Lemons into Lemonade

Over the years I’ve occasionally written about crime in public libraries, but this story about sex, drugs, and the library tops all the ones I’ve seen before. It’s easy to think of Los Angeles as the “city of angels” if you remember Lucifer was also an angel. It’s also easy to think about the incompetence of the L.A.P.D. if you’ve paid any attention to what they’ve been doing for the past few decades. But first, the library story. At the Downtown Central Library, a man outside the building offered an undercover NBC4 I-Team producer what he said was crystal meth. On other days, outside Hollywood’s Goldwyn Library, a building designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, NBC4’s hidden cameras captured people injecting what appeared to be heroin, as well as smoking what appeared to be crystal meth, crack cocaine and marijuana. One man our undercover producer met inside the library offered her what he said was the drug Ecstasy. Later that day, I-Team cameras captured the same man ...
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Keep It As Long As You Want

Today I want to talk about something controversial. Dr. Seuss and Donald Trump are flashes in the librarian pan; unhinged students exercising their right to free speech by trying to shout down other people’s speech is a passing fad. Instead, let’s talk about library fines and how much I don’t like them. Before we get into it, I should note that as a librarian, I haven’t paid a lot of library fines. It’s pretty easy to return books on time when you have to go into the place you got them from every day. Thus, I have no personal axe to grind. I don’t take on this crusade for myself. I do it for the people, just like I do everything else. But I still don’t like them. I don’t like them when they’re levied on children whose parents are irresponsible, leaving the children unable to check out library books to read. I don’t like them when they’re levied on poor, but admittedly irresponsible, people who might benefit from reading books but can’t because they owe money for fines ...
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Restoring Our Mental Health in 5 Minutes or Less

We hear from this librarian that “according to the Harvard Medical School Commentaries on Public Health, researchers have found an association between mental health and regularly expressing one’s gratitude.” And then he goes on to express gratitude and, hopefully, become or remain mentally healthy. I don’t know if it’s the bubble I live in or the general culture, but everyone these days seems worried about mental health, either their own or other people’s. We’re allegedly living in perilous times that try librarians’ souls, or whatever. Librarians are supposedly burned out and put upon and fretting themselves into a mentally unhealthy dither willy nilly. Well, we don’t want that happening, do we? Librarians have to be mentally healthy and physically hearty to withstand the intense pressures of their relatively stress free jobs. So let’s all practice some gratitude. It is the season of Thanksgiving, after all, or at least it was until the stores started putting out ...
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My Awkward Job Advertisement

Kind Reader sent this advertisement for a “Civic, Social & Cultural Inclusion Librarian of Practice,” which is the kind of job title that would require a very large business card, if people still use those archaic relics of the pre-digital age. Are there public librarian jobs that involve civic, social, and cultural exclusion? Isn’t inclusiveness sort of built into the public library mission, since they exist for everyone in the community to use? Kind Reader asked my opinion, and commented thusly: “My main thought: Couldn't they just have called the job ‘Public Librarian,’ since all of this is just what public librarians do?” Answer: Probably. The job title is odd and unwieldy, the notion of “practice” is murky, and the job description is written in the first person from the standpoint of the applicant, which is unusual and a bit off putting, at least to me.  Thus, we learn about the work beginning with this: “I will become actively involved in my area of practice as a ...
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Sensationalism and Outrage and Libraries

Goodness, it’s been an exciting week in libraryland, with someone calling himself the “Angriest Librarian” swearing on Twitter at an uninformed reporter who thought public libraries should be closed because nobody uses them. Nobody. As many readers know, mocking journalists for babbling nonsense about libraries is fun sport for me, although I don’t resort to foul language. Regardless, the comment was stupid and manifestly false. The “Angriest Librarian” wrote about the encounter and his few minutes of Twitter fame. He claims to be interested in librarianship because he believes “in reducing barriers to better outcomes for marginalized and underserved populations.” That’s probably at least as good a reason as believing in literacy and education for all, or the incredible importance that everyone be able to play videogames and 3D print for free. The problem with all the rah-rahing on behalf of public libraries is that the entire encounter seems to have been misunderstood by ...
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