Annoyed Librarian
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Evergreen State Library of Porn

Library porn is all over the news again, this time in Washington state. This story from Seattle last week mocks the Seattle Public Library for allowing patrons to view hard core Internet pornography in full view of everyone. The opening is just the kind of publicity public libraries shouldn’t want: The Seattle Public Library has a long list of rules of things you can't do in the library, to ensure "comfort and safety" of staff and patrons. You can't eat, sleep, look like you're sleeping, be barefoot, be too stinky or talk too loudly. But you can watch graphic porn on a public computer in front of kids. Ouch. The list of rules for the library is definitely long, 41 rules under 5 different categories. In addition to not looking like you’re asleep or being too stinky, there are numerous other rules. For example, it’s forbidden to bring “in items excluding personal items (purse, laptop, briefcase) that occupy floor space in excess of 14"W x17" H x 20". ...
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Why Should Libraries Focus on Popular Books?

Last week a reader frustrated by my perfectly sensible solution to the ebook lending “crisis” in libraries responded thusly: Why is so hard to understand that first-run, popular, and new books are important to public libraries? It’s pretty simple. Public libraries exist to promote reading. People read more popular books than unpopular books. If public libraries don’t have access to the most popular books, it hurts their ability to accomplish their mission. I don’t understand the suggestion public libraries should not concentrate on providing popular books. Are they supposed to concentrate on collecting books people don’t want to read? I guess libraries waiting six months or so after publication before being allowed to lend ebooks from a publisher is worse than the current practice of not being able to lend them at all. And, at least while print books exist, people could still check out the print copies of popular books, since publishers can’t control ...
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Why Stop with Elsevier?

Goodness, things are really heating up around Elsevier, or at least that’s what some people would like us to think. As reported in numerous sources, including LJ, there’s now a petition being signed by academics to refuse to publish, referee, or do any editorial work for Elsevier journals. 2300 signatures and climbing when I last checked. That’s all well and good, I suppose. It should make some librarians feel better that a mere 14 years after the foundation of SPARC the people who matter are finally paying attention to the problems in scholarly publishing. As I argued a few weeks ago, the scientists who publish are the only ones who matter when it comes to dealing with whatever problem there might be with scientific publishing, and it looks like a few hundred to a few thousand of them are taking notice. When librarians complain, publishers say, “shush.” When physicists, biologists, mathematicians, and computer scientists complain, the publishers will at least ...
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