Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Religious Discrimination and the ALA

Last week I noticed the oddest job advertisement I’ve ever seen on the ALA job listings. It’s for a library director position at some place called The Principia. Here’s the part that seemed odd to me: Minimum Qualifications MUST BE A CURRENT PRACTICING CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST AND MEMBER OF THE MOTHER CHURCH Despite the plural, that was the only qualification listed in the ad. To get more information, you have to email them, which signals to me they’re trying to hide something. If, like me, you hadn’t heard of The Principia, you could probably tell from the screaming minimum qualification that it’s a Christian Scientist organization, and it claims to be a liberal arts college, only one where “students, faculty, and staff are expected to be practicing Christian Scientists who rely on God for healing and regularly attend a Christian Science Sunday School or church." So much for academic freedom, open debate, intellectual diversity, and all those other things we ...
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The Problem of Library Porn for Librarians

I can't seem to get away from the issue of Internet pornography in the library, mainly because so many librarians are so recalcitrant about the issue. So just one last word on the problem of library porn for librarians. Please don’t trot out the old chestnut that we can’t define porn, so we don’t know what it is. We know what it is, including the people who view it. That’s why people caught viewing porn in libraries by reporters don’t want to talk. They’re ashamed, not of surfing for porn, but of being called about it in public. And it makes for great news stories. Usually the issue is considered in terms of the problem of library porn for patrons. That’s important of course, and considering the needs of patrons should certainly be a central concern, at least after considering the needs of librarians. Some adults don’t want to see Internet pornography, and public libraries are the only place that those who disapprove of pornography have to see any. Bookstores ...
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Mission? Impossible.

A commenter last week argued that libraries should stop considering providing Internet access as part of their core mission, since the primary mission of libraries is “promoting reading and literacy.” Lordy, that one gave me a smile. As if anyone knows what the mission of public libraries is these days. It’s so quaint. Theoretically, reading has always been something libraries like to think they promote. We even have those cute READ posters from the ALA. And libraries do provide books, at least for the time being. The ALA is a good bellweather for this sort of thing, being an organization that is almost exclusively concerned with public libraries. According to their mission page, the ALA motto is, “The best reading, for the largest number, at the least cost.” Does this describe the mission of public libraries at all? Even when we’re talking about reading, it’s pretty clear that the motto wouldn’t apply to most libraries. Maybe it could be, “the most popular ...
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