Annoyed Librarian
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Closing Camden Libraries…Might Be a Good Start

Usually before I write a blog post I check the news to see if anything juicy or depressing is happening in the greater libraryland area. As of this writing, a top story showing up in Google News was the threatened closure of the Camden (NJ) public library system at the end of the year because of cuts in the mayor’s budget. Granted, the system has only three libraries and 21 employees, so in the big scheme of things library this doesn’t mean much. And the threat to close may spark more money from the mayor or a voter referendum or some such, or the library system might get to join with other county libraries, which apparently they used to belong to, according to a comment on one of the articles. But closing the system entirely instead of closing two of three branches and cutting the other one as necessary would be both significant and stupid. Significant, because it’s never been done before. A few libraries in Oregon seem to keep closing or threatening to close, but often ...
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Our Pop Culture Moment…How Exciting

Oh my, NPR has noticed libraries! Woo hoo! Or rather one of their bloggers speculates that libraries might become the next big pop culture wave after...cupcakes. I didn’t realize cupcakes were a big pop culture wave, except among librarians, and even then only if they’re slathered in chocolate. Actually, the headline talks about libraries as part of a pop culture wave.  The post itself opines that, after Old Spicey guy and other things, libraries could “suddenly becomes the thing everyone wants to do happy-fuzzy pop-culture stories about.” To which I can only respond, haven’t we had enough of those? We know about librarians’ tattoos and videogame playing and whatnot. Can’t we just stop there? The reasons given are odd. Libraries get in fights, for example. “Everybody likes a scrapper,” we’re told. It seems to me this means that if librarians were children, they’d be drugged or given time-outs. Or Librarians know stuff. Well, sort of. They know ...
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Libraries Giving Books Away, or Not

A kind reader sent me this amusing article: The User-Driven Purchase Give Away Library: A Thought Experiment. It describes a glorious future, only ten years hence, in which libraries collect no physical books, and if library patrons want a book the library either gives them a digital copy for free or prints one on demand for a modest fee. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Let’s take a look at some of the assumptions. My favorite might be that, “it is easy to imagine a world where all of recorded knowledge is stored and available in a digital form.” I guess it’s pretty easy to imagine that world. I close my eyes, and poof, all recorded knowledge is in digital form! What I can’t imagine is how all that recorded knowledge is going to be digitized. Most of the time the author is talking strictly about books, but all recorded knowledge is bigger than books and journals. What about archives? What about material in foreign countries? Let’s just ignore that. You can ...
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