I was going to write about the controversy over a university (“university”?) that lost a lot of faculty and one librarian because they wouldn’t sign a “lifestyle statement” saying they wouldn’t be homosexual, have sex outside of marriage, or drink alcohol in public.
They presumably want everyone at their university to be more like Jesus, who of course never drank in public and was obsessed with abortion, same-sex marriage, socialism, and “family values.” That’s all he ever talked about, just like today’s Christians.
But what is there really to say? A “university” that was once a respectable college is now an intellectual joke, and the lives of some harmless former employees are worse off. Some library should give that librarian a job in a library without institutionalized bigotry. He’s obviously got plenty of integrity.
Or there was the man who was stabbed at the Brooklyn Public Library by someone accusing him of watching Internet porn. If only there had been porn filters! And maybe some body armor. But there’s not a lot to say about that either, especially since Safe Libraries Guy was nowhere near the BPL. Stabbing people is bad. Don’t do it. Get well soon. That’s pretty much it.
Instead, my favorite library read of the week was this one, asking the timeless question: “Does the Free Library even know what century it’s in?” My thinking is, probably. Libraries have lots of calendars. I’ve met some librarians from there over the years, and they definitely seem like they know what century they’re living in. Except for that freaky one, and you know who you are!
Criticism of libraries should only be done by people who know what they’re talking about, unless the criticism is purposely written so that the person looks like a fool, so that the librarians can step in and correct him. Maybe that’s why this article was published.
Take a gander at this quote, and see if you think it’s realistic:
For instance, visit your local library and request to speak to the branch manager, who might be earning an annual salary up to $70,000, while accruing a lucrative pension package, and ask how a specific Photoshop function works? You know what they are most likely going to do: walk you over to the outdated computer-reference section to find an operating guide on Photoshop.
Does that sound likely? Why would anyone ask to speak to the branch manager and then ask the person how Photoshop works? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to ask a reference librarian, who would be much more likely to Google the question than walk over to an outdated book? Also, how much does Photoshop really change over the years? Might a ten year old book still be helpful?
Then there’s some stuff about unions and photocopying. Apparently we should have less of the former and more of the latter and the world would be a better place. We definitely don’t need more photocopying in the world.
Up until the end, I was willing to go part of the way with the “writer and community activist.” Okay, libraries can be more efficient. Their collections could probably use updating. But then this happened:
Instead of the library system hauling the majority of its materials across town from one branch to another, as is currently done (with gas at $4 per gallon), digitizing the library collection is eco-friendly, the wave of the future. As global demand of fuel increases, the price of gas is just going to skyrocket, and even more tax dollars will be wasted on an obsolete system.
W, as the kids say these days, TF? This is the point at which anyone who knows anything at all about libraries, books, digitization, and the law would be forced to say, “sir, you’re an ignoramus.”
Digitize the library so we wouldn’t have to deal with physical books…why didn’t we think of that! My god, you’re right. It IS eco-friendly, AND the wave of the future! We’ll get right on it! Thanks for the helpful suggestion!
A fun response might be a cost-benefit analysis showing it’s probably less expensive to haul physical books around for decades than to scan the millions of items in the Free Library of Philadelphia. That’s expensive stuff, which it why it took a Google to do so much of it, and they still didn’t do it as well as it should have been done. Every once in a while it’s fun to enter into someone else’s delusion just to see the world through their eyes.
But of course, in addition to being prohibitively expensive, it’s also completely illegal, as anyone who’s not an ignoramus would know. Can someone really be a “writer” and not have heard of the Google Books settlement controversy? Good grief.
And good riddance to misinformed rubbish. If only all library criticism were as easy to dismiss.