Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Needs Before Wants, or Vice Versa?

An American school system decided it needed a new way to screw over poor people, and in Miami-Dade County public libraries are on the frontlines. The article is about students who need online access to complete homework assignments but who don’t have Internet access at home. Naturally, they go to the public library. And that’s where the problems start, or maybe just continue. Like the kid who has to wait 70 minutes before she can use a computer. Or the laptops the library lends out with batteries that die after 30 minutes, because apparently they don’t have cords and electrical outlets around. Some branches aren’t even open on school evenings so they can open on the weekends. Sometimes the best the library can do is provide an excuse note for the teachers to explain why the homework couldn't be completed. Everybody seems to realize the situation is absurd, but nobody’s doing anything about it. Supposedly, teachers are discouraged from giving assignments that require ...
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A Pension Fight in Phoenix

A Kind Reader from Phoenix, AZ sent a flyer from an anti-pension group trying to end to pensions for city workers for in Phoenix. The flyer is strange. First, the scare tactic: “Thanks to Phoenix’s current pension system - a Phoenix city librarian was able to retire with a $102,000 a year pension and a bulk cash payout of over $250,000 of YOUR tax dollars.” My goodness. I’m not sure what is more offensive, that a librarian could make so much or the weird punctuation. Seriously, a hyphen instead of a colon? Uppercase and italics? What were you people thinking? These people aren’t without evidence, though. They have a footnote. It’s not exact, but it didn’t take much to find the news article they referenced. And yes, thanks to that system, a city librarian, actually THE City Librarian, did get that pension. Out of the 50 highest paid retirees on the list, the City Librarian was 38, behind the City Clerk and the Asst Water Services Director. So it wasn’t really “a ...
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Anatomy of a Rock Star Librarian

This was going to be my acceptance speech upon being inducted into the Librarian Rock Star Hall of Fame, but the more I thought about the rock stars the less fun that seemed. Reading around some library blogs and such I noticed references to librarian rock stars, which supposedly exist. What’s odd about that designation is that it almost always seems to be used as a criticism. Usually to call someone a rock star would be considered a compliment, despite the notoriously bad behavior of a lot of rock stars. It normally would mean they’re extremely popular and have some sort of star quality. However, a lot of the talk of librarian rock stars I’ve seen is focusing on the bad behavior part of being a rock star rather than the popular part. Some believe, for example, that the male librarian rock stars are more likely to sexually harass women. That’s a good example of how there aren’t really any rock stars in the profession. Real rock stars have women throwing themselves at them ...
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Your Privacy Has Just Been Violated

The big news in libraryland this week is that libraries using Overdrive are inadvertently handing over large amounts of user data to Adobe because of a security issue with Adobe Digital Editions. Adobe, it seems, “is gathering data on the ebooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order. All of this data, including the title, publisher, and other metadata for the book is being sent to Adobe’s server in clear text.” Supposedly, Adobe Digital Editions is also scanning computers and gathering metadata from every ebook on the hard drive, including ebooks that aren’t used in Adobe Digital Editions. Stay classy, Adobe. Some librarians are completely outraged by the situation since it violates the privacy of library patrons as well as privacy laws in some places. I can’t seem to get that outraged, because the goal of absolute privacy when doing things online, especially things that involve corporations, just isn’t an attainable goal. When dealing with ...
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Serving the Homeless

Public libraries in certain locations always seem to have problems with some of their homeless patrons. In San Francisco, the librarians are trying to do something about it. When studying history, you can sometimes find out something about a society or a religion by knowing what laws it enacted. If there was a rule against coveting a neighbor’s wife, that’s probably because there was a lot of neighbor’s wife coveting going on. The same can possibly be said for the new list of rules the San Francisco public library system has enacted. I didn’t find the 32-item list, but according to the article it prohibits and punishes: shampooing your hair in the restrooms having a shopping cart in the bookstacks having luggage in the library having a bike in the library having a dog in the library smelling really bad fighting shouting pandhandling sleeping in the library “depositing bodily fluids” on furniture That’s quite a list and gives a good ...
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A Librarian Sex Scandal

The news in libraryland over the past couple of weeks has been very lively indeed. A librarian named Joe Murphy is suing two female librarians for $1.25 million for claiming he sexually harasses women at library conferences. As sex scandals go, that's pretty mild, but the standards for scandal are lower in libraryland. You can go give them a donation or sign a petition asking Murphy to drop the lawsuit if those are your kinds of thing. I haven’t seen a corresponding Support Joe Murphy’s Lawsuit website or petition, but if there is one someone can post it in the comments. He’s also suing them in Canadian court, even though as far as I can tell both he and one of the defendants are Americans. Canadian libel laws are more friendly to plaintiffs, it seems, whereas American libel laws tend to favor something librarians are supposed to favor, free speech. So he’s a cunning little fella, you have to give him that. I’m seeing the story pop up in more and more places, so it looks ...
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