Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

The Coldest Summer I Ever Spent

Today I shall address some first world problems, which as a librarian in America are really the only kind I ever have. The sweltering heat, the stifling humidity, having to listen to The Eagles as I walked through the convention center--there’s really no indignity I was spared while attending the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. The only serious question to ask is whether Orlando is absolute worst place to have a conference, or if it’s the absolute worst after Las Vegas? They are serious contenders for most awful place on earth, or at least in the United States, but since Las Vegas is even hotter and is premised on shallowness and gullibility, it’s probably the worst. On the other hand, you’re unlikely to be attacked by an alligator in Vegas. So maybe it’s a tie. If you’re lucky enough to stay at one of the hotels connected to the convention center, it’s at least possible never to go out into the sun. The covered walkways were hot, but with little chance of developing ...
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Patrons Who Want Fines

I’ll never understand those people who are so terrified of the world they can’t take their kids into a public library without arming themselves, like this woman in Las Vegas banned from the library for a year. Las Vegas is an awful place, I’ll admit, but it’s not exactly Caracas. Maybe those people need therapy. Anyway, there’s good news for children in Syracuse. The library is no longer charging overdue fines for children as long as they bring the books back. Adults are out of luck, I guess, but one has to start small. The district is going to make up the few thousand that would have come in as fines and free the kiddies to read. Which reminded me of a listserv email on fines forwarded to me by a Kind Reader  that I’ve been meaning to write about. It was from a librarian whose library had gotten rid of fines, and also got more books back than usual. Pushback, for us, was totally from patrons. Some saw fines as a way to not feel guilty; many of the comments were along the ...
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Maybe Bring Back the Wi-fi

There’s trouble brewing at the public libraries in Houston County, GA, which is pronounced like the Manhattan street and not the Texas city for those of you curious about such things. I guess we could say the trouble already brewed, because two branches of the three-branch library system have shut down their wi-fi service and a third will do so today once the IT person gets to work. Considering that wi-fi is one of the favorite ways for libraries to claim they’re still relevant now that nobody reads books, that seems like a big deal. And there’s that digital divide thing. And the culprit? Library porn! Well, sort of. Nobody was necessarily watching any porn in the library, but somebody was using the library wi-fi network to illegally download porn movies, and a porn movie distributor “demanded the IP stop materials from being illegally downloaded,” after which the library “received cease and desist notices...through the library’s internet service provider.” ISPs are protected ...
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More Future Stuff

I love futurologists in the same way I love astrologists, spirit mediums, paranormal investigators, and police psychics. It’s just fun to watch people get gullible people excited about things that don’t exist. When you’re outside the con, watching a con artist at work can be great fun. According to this article, a futurologist predicted in 2007 that libraries would be extinct by 2019. The great thing about predicting the future is that once it’s the past everyone who saw the initial prediction has forgotten about it. The article has to embellish on libraries, calling them “those fusty, dusty old repositories of something called ‘books.’” Fusty and dusty? Clearly someone who hasn’t used a library since childhood and relies upon media stereotypes rather than empirical observation. But fortunately, we’re told, libraries are still around, although supposedly “something strange is going on in the library.” I just looked around to see if I could find anything strange going on in ...
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Unhappy State Chapters

One can always tell when an ALA conference is near because ALA Councilors start chattering on the email list. While they should be chattering about what group of idiots chose Orlando in June as a conference site and how can they be banned from the organization, instead the Councilors have been chattering about a new proposed resolution involving state library chapters. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that, which is why every year I submit “Annoyed Librarian” as a write-in candidate for ALA Council, only to be thwarted by little things like not formally running and not campaigning in any way whatsoever for others to write my name in. Plus, blogs are ineligible for ALA office. And we call this a democracy. Anyway, it seems some folks who belong to state library chapter aren’t happy with their representation on the ALA Council despite the fact, which one of the Whereases acknowledges, “the Association has established a governing structure in which 53 chapter councilors ...
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They Haven’t Already Won

Terrorists are now targeting librarians, sort of, and it could be kind of scary, but it seems more just kind of weird. According to Newsweek, “a hacker collective aligned to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has disseminated” a hit list to its supporters. The hit list is composed of the names and addresses of librarians presumably belonging to the Arkansas Library Association, the target of the hack. Supposedly, this group “has initiated a trend of hacking low-level sites and databases,” and it’s hard to think of many websites or databases lower or more boring than a state library association. It’s almost like the hackers are trying to make the idea of a hit list absurd. For example, in the past they “released the details of military, governmental or diplomatic personnel, which supposedly “is a key tenet of the group’s amateurish cyber strategy of damaging Western interests and affecting civilians in areas of the Western world that the group is unable to reach.” I ...
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