Annoyed Librarian
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Gamey Librarians Ruin Our Country

The latest issue of the other AL, American Libraries, has a cover story on "Gaming @ your library," prompting me, as usual, to be "annoyed @ your ampersands." I was surprised. The cover had pictures of board games, not videogames. Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Monopoly, etc. I always thought the Gamey Librarians were talking about boring and pointless videogames when they were talking about gaming @ their libraries, not boring and pointless board games. This is truly a revelation to me. With the reluctance and slight wince I always have when opening a publication of the ALA, I turned to the cover story, thinking perhaps that the writer for AL didn't know much about games. Apparently that's happened before. But no, the libraries were really working with board games, though there was also mention of something called a Wii, which I hear from informed sources is some sort of videogame apparatus. The next page after the article reported on a survey from Syracuse about ...
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The Children are Worth It

This story seems to be getting a bit of attention. In a perfect example of the crisis-driven shortsightedness typical of democratically elected politicians, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) passed overwhelmingly last August and takes effect in February. There's no one I trust more to protect my consumer safety than a bunch of politicians in DC, and I for one am glad they have my back. Well, not my back, but my children's backs, except my children don't have backs, or rather my backs have no children. Anyway, you get the idea. From the article: "On February 10, the new law gets teeth. After that day, all products for children under 12 — books, games, toys, sports equipment, furniture, clothes, DVDs, and just about every other conceivable children’s gadget and gewgaw — must be tested for lead, and fall below a new 600 part-per-million limit, or face the landfill. Thanks to a September 12 memo from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), ...
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Bleaker Prospects Still

I hate to keep sounding like a Gloomy Gus, but I just can't help thinking about this bad economic situation. (Actually, I don't really hate it. It suits me somehow.) I try to get my mind off it, but then I read yet another reminder of the signs of the times. The most recent one came in the blog ACRLog: Still Waiting for Those Old Librarians to Retire. Someone there speculates the the economic downturn might make it harder for new librarians to find jobs. For longtime readers of the AL, the following might sound familiar: "I have been saying that the anticipated shortage of librarians is unlikely, but a bad economy with delayed retirements would make it harder still to imagine generalized labor shortages in our profession. We are far more likely to see large applicant pools chasing a reduced number of openings." It's like I could have written that myself. Imagine having such a thing on a respectable librarian blog. After years of propaganda, the ALA finally abandoned their ...
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The Purpose of Conferences

There's a brief discussion about the viability and future of in-person conferences at Walt Crawford's side project, also known as the Palinet Leadership Network. (Regarding the PLN, I love the way Walt pulls the juicy bits from various blogs and excerpts them so I don't have to read so many of the boring things to keep up.) Walt thinks in-person conferences will be around for a while. Someone called Peter Murray doesn't because of "budget crunches and and concern over environmental impacts" among other things. "Conference calls, webcasts, online learning environment, etc., may be where we should be focusing our efforts now with ways to bring the 'why do we do them' reasons to the forefront without all of the detriments of the traditional conference." I couldn't help but cringe at that sentence. The "detriments of the traditional conference"?  Whatever could those be? Budget crunches come and go and the average librarian would probably reduce her ...
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The War on New Year

I'm writing this on New Year's Eve and hoping it manages to post tomorrow, because I'm quite sure I'll be in no condition to write a blog post the rest of the week, and one has deadlines to meet. I'm back home and heading out on the town soon. Dinner jackets and ball gowns might be in order, and I have a sneaking suspicion that copious amounts of champagne will be consumed. Martinis give me a warm glow, but champagne is mist before my eyes. Every year there's talk about the so-called War on Christmas in libraries (or at one library, a war on the war on Christmas), as if anyone really cares what anyone else has to say about the subject. People who don't like Christmas or Christians get their knickers in a twist that most public and private enterprises shut down for a day, and some Christians get upset that the heathens have become a bunch of super-charged shoppers and holiday freeriders commercializing a holy day and treating it as if it were a made up greeting card holiday like ...
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