Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Research is Fun, Too

I’ve been trying to figure out what annoys me so much about this article on makerspaces in academic libraries. It could be that the idea itself seems so pointless. Unlike public libraries, college campuses have lots of other places to go to make stuff, and libraries don’t have to be the center of all creative activity. But then again, if academic libraries are awash in money, why not buy some toys to play with instead of spending that money on material that fulfills the library’s mission to support scholarship on campus? Spend away if you have the extra cash, which I’m sure you don’t. After all, though, I think it’s the condescension of the piece that annoyed me. For example: From the moment I interviewed for my current position I’ve been questioned about my interest in makerspaces and more specifically, my playful nature. I’m not afraid to admit that I like to have fun, and as librarians there’s no reason why our jobs shouldn’t be fun (at least most of the time).… But it’s ...
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People You Don’t Want @ Your Library

The problem with public libraries? Anyone can use them. Who don’t you want using them, though? Well, first of all, people who download child porn. That’s disgusting and illegal, and should get you banned from your library. Should it also get you banned from your local grocery store? Well, maybe only when children are around. People have to eat. Should it get you death threats so you have to quit your job? That’s what’s happening in the U.K. right now. Isn’t murder usually considered worse than downloading child porn in libraries? I’m pretty sure the person who threatened to kill the porn loser guy doesn’t have the moral high ground here, but self-righteousness is blind. You know who else you apparently don’t want around? Loiterers! Those worthless people are up to no good. The Calgary Central Library disliked them so much they put up chain link fences to keep them away from the outdoor alcoves. Now they’re installing metal screens that reflect the loiterers back on ...
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A Tough Lesson to Learn

A recent article discusses the severe job shortages for newly minted librarians. Not the most shocking thing about it is that it was linked in American Libraries Direct, the weekly email of library fluff from the ALA. Apparently whoever collects the links for that email didn’t realize the ALA is complicit in this job shortage, having lied to people for a decade of the upcoming “librarian shortage,” a claim whose only real effect was encouraging people to attend library school. The library schools loved it, because another student is just more money to them. Once the students are gone and unemployed, it’s not their problem anymore. According to the article, San Jose State University produces “two to three hundred graduates a semester.” SJSU certainly doesn’t benefit from people knowing the truth. Despite some decent qualifications and a new MLS, the author learned a painful economic fact. It never occurred to me that the best job I’d get would be working as an aide, shelving ...
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A Tiny Fall After a Meteoric Rise

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people see what they want to see. For example, where some people see a vindication of beliefs they have about books and technology, I see some questionable arguments about them. A British journalist assures us that “books are back,” even though nobody thought they were going away. I fear they’re going away, but I’m skittish about living in a world where giant corporations not only produce but control all my media content, especially if it’s library money going to pay for access to that content. Regardless, it’s been clear since the rise of the ebook that paperback book sales are higher than every other category of book sales so far. Now we have some new British evidence: “Last year digital content sales fell last year from £563m to £554m. After years on a plateau, physical book sales turned up, from £2.74bn to £2.76bn.” I know it’s just splitting hairs, but in the source cited the actual figure was £2.748bn, not £2.74bn, making ...
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When Libraries Own Nothing

I saw several articles about Apple Music last week, but they all linked back to this blog post, so now I have to as well. It’s about Apple Music stealing a user’s music. Depending on the settings, if you use Apple Music it scans your device for songs, uploads what it doesn’t have already, and then deletes the rest of the local files, because the folks at Apple Music are never, ever out of range of Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection, unlike those of us in the real world. I don’t use Apple Music, and I back all my files up on three cloud accounts and four external hard drives, three of which I hide in strategic places around town just in case, so I’m in no danger. My first thought was about how hard it’s getting to control our own content rather than have it doled out to us for a price from big corporations. My second thought was that this is pretty much the directions libraries have been going, and it annoys me. It’s been that way in academic libraries for quite a while ...
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Unequal in Seattle

There’s a story in the Seattle Times about a study of school libraries in Seattle and how inequitable their funding is. I don’t see how stories like this can be considered “news” anymore, but at least it’s not clickbait. Two librarians surveyed librarians in the district and found “the difference in [library] spending among schools...ranges from $1.69 per student to $29.88.” They also found that schools hadn’t received equal library funding for 30 years or more. The schools get money, they just don’t have to spend the money on libraries, so they don’t spend the money on libraries. The money probably goes for lavish parties in the teachers’ lounges, or maybe textbooks and athletic equipment. Regardless, it doesn’t go to the libraries. So why the discrepancy? Because the schools with the better funded libraries have better funded parents who donate to the PTA. Thus, one school was able to raise additional funds “for a total of $25.47 per student. In that school, only 9 ...
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