Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Fun with Petitions

It’s always a little bit fun to watch what happens when a library gets rid of a lot of books. The protesters come out, sometimes with good reasons to protest the elimination of the books, but mostly full of baseless alarm and nostalgia. The response to this county law library in Massachusetts is no different. Well, maybe a little different. In a transition from a 1930s courthouse to a new “justice center,” the collection of print law books was reduced by some very large amount, and the book collection was moved to a small space away from the first floor to make space for a legal service center. The usual justifications were used. The books had seen declining use over the years. There weren’t many in-person visitors anymore. A lot of the books were outdated. And, of course, all the relevant legal material is online, and there are folks in the service center to help people with that research. That hasn’t prevented people from protesting. For example, one concerned person “said ...
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Librarians as First Responders

Public librarians have long wanted to be all things to all people, but emergency medical first responder may be going too far. In recent news, a couple of libraries are already training staff or are considering training staff to use naloxone on people who overdose on heroin. In Denver, six people have overdosed on heroin at the main library this year, so it makes some sense they’re now stocking naloxone and teaching staff how to use it, but it seems a reach. As one librarian said, "Definitely, over the last few years, my job has changed quite a bit…. This isn't the kind of thing back in 1993 that we were being taught in graduate school." This raises a question, if it’s something that hasn’t and never should be taught in library school, then is it something librarians should be held responsible for? According to the article, the “library also employs social workers.” Why do they employ social workers? Because librarians aren’t prepared to deal with the sorts of problems that ...
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End of the Honeymoon

Well it didn’t take long for the organization that said it was going to work with the Trump administration until it said it wouldn’t has finally come to the realization that there are some kinds of people you just can’t work with. President Trump’s ludicrously titled budget plan eliminates, among many other things, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the ALA isn’t happy about it. There are several other things the budget eliminates that philistines really, really hate: the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and big cuts to many other things. If the budget passes as is, it’ll be bad for the poor people who voted for Trump and the pro-science people who probably didn’t. It doesn’t seem particularly likely to pass. So far the President has failed to accomplish anything of significance, since he keeps getting stopped by pesky things like federal judges, the Constitution, and ...
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Librarian for a Day

If you want a heartwarming story about a library sort of making a girl’s dream come true, read this article about a library in Cincinnati making a 14-year-old girl a “librarian for a day.” She “got a gray library shirt and an official employee ID. She alphabetized books, learned the computer system and got to explore behind staff-only doors.” And thus she learned just how boring it can be to be a librarian. She finds working in the library calming, and says “You don’t have to worry about anything,” and “You don’t have to worry about failing.” That’s probably not the kind of thing she would want to put on a library school application someday, but still, it’s nice. Despite the constant grumblings, there are probably a lot of librarians who find their work calming. They just don’t say that on social media because they know it would make all the harried librarian jealous and resentful. I could help but compare that article to this one. Partly it’s because the page formatting ...
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Failing the Test

If you want to see the kind of thing librarians and others involved with children’s literature get angry about, check out this puff piece about some school librarians who have a lot of influence on what books are selected for children. If you can’t read it behind the paywall, it’s profiles a handful of librarians who blog, tweet, and cast pods, and basically try to get kids and others interested in reading, and the publishers who seek out their recommendation in an age of declining numbers of book review outlets. And boy did it rile up the kid lit community, because fortunately there aren’t any other things to be angry about now that America has been made great again. The main issue? “An attempt to characterize kid-lit influencers using only white males in their mid-30s misrepresents the work being done.” And, yeah, that’s pretty much what the article does. "Your lack of inclusion of women, people of color, and other historically underrepresented groups shows a shocking ...
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A Union Closes a Library

Last week I wrote about school librarians in the news. What’s crazy is that no school librarian also makes the news, especially when kids can’t get to books. Things are a mess when teacher’s unions are trying to keep children from reading, but that’s sort of what’s happening at one elementary school in Chicago. Because of low enrollment, the Chicago school board made some budget cuts, and one of the cuts was the librarian position at the school. That might not be the end of the world. It’s not like you really need a library degree to buy books and check them out to school children, no matter how much librarians might protest. Any reasonably intelligent person can be taught to buy books, catalog them, and check them out. However, it doesn’t sound like the school board made any provision for that, so a couple of parents were volunteering at the library so that it could stay open for the students. But then the “Chicago Teachers Union filed a grievance, fearing parent ...
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