Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

A Canadian Challenge

For some reason, I usually think of library book challenges coming from people who are afraid their children will turn gay if they read a book about penguins, and I usually picture someone from small town America. I don’t know why. The latest book challenge I’ve read about is certainly challenging stereotypes, my stereotypes at least. This time it’s Canada, where I thought nobody had anything to complain about because it was the kind of paradise that a segment of stressed Americans swear they’ll immigrate to one day when things get too bad here. In Winnipeg, all the copies of Tintin in America have been pulled for review because of complaints about it being racist and offensive. The weird thing is that nobody was specifically complaining about the books being in libraries, at least not this time. The books were pulled for review after people complained that they were available in a local bookstore chain. The bookstore pulled the books for sale, reviewed them, and decided ...
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Do We Need Louder Librarians?

Things are bad all over it seems, especially for libraries. Sure, in Kentucky libraries just caught a big break, but that’s unusual. Not that I think public libraries are dying. School libraries maybe, but not public ones. Still, times are hard, and while the public might still love their libraries, the public’s politicians cut funding the first chance they get. In Missouri, for example, the governor is planning to withhold $6 million of state money that was budgeted for public libraries. “You can’t spend money you don’t have,” he said, although everyone knows it’s not a question of spending money you don’t have so much as how you choose to spend the money you do have. Of course there are worthier ways to spend money than public libraries, despite what all librarian driven propaganda will tell you. If the choice is between buying fewer books and buying poor kids more school lunches, most non-librarians would probably vote for the lunches. I don’t know about the budget ...
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Shave the Time of the Reader

A constant theme running through the media, if you are on the lookout for it, is a misunderstanding of how libraries work. Every once in a while, someone gets it right. For example, there’s a news article from Rochester, New York about the public library’s recycling bin. And, yes, I’m assuming it was a slow news day. There’s no protest to cover. There are no outraged citizens who think that throwing away books is always an evil. It’s just the librarian explaining how a typical public library weeding process works. That’s much less exciting, because without protesters there’s no one to make fun of. I think everyone who foolishly protests a standard weeding exercise should have to store the unwanted books in their homes. “If it’s so important to you, YOU keep it.” But mostly, the articles are like this one proclaiming that “a revolution is underway.” Someone should tell reporters that adding services to libraries isn’t revolutionary. A “revolution” overthrows the current ...
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The Agony of Choice

ALA elections are right around the corner, and the Presidential election should be a hoot. If you haven’t noticed or didn’t care to, here’s some information on the four candidates. That’s right, four. Usually the election is a contest between two librarians most people have never heard of, with votes being cast for such reasons as how they look in their photos, what sort of librarians they are, whether their name sounds vaguely familiar, and other equally irrelevant issues. It’s not like it really matters who is President of ALA anyway. This year there are four candidates because two of them are write-in candidates. Apparently they were thinking, “Hey, you know what the ALA leadership needs? More white men!” And they promptly volunteered to take up the slack. It would be all too easy to criticize one, and perhaps more, of the candidates, but why bother. The basic question is, why are they doing this, especially the write-ins? There might be some people who think that ...
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What Mosul Doesn’t Teach Us

A Kind Reader sent me a link to this article, which is supposed to be about the destruction of the Mosul Public Library by ISIS. I considered writing about that topic last week, but there’s not a lot to say other than, “[stunned silence]”. So I was stunningly silent. But someone at Flavorwire is more able to draw relationships between that destruction and public library issues in less benighted areas. They’re not good relationships, but when you have a deadline you write what you can, I guess. The comparison is with the Manchester (England) Central Library, which engaged in a somewhat controversial weeding project. The library disposed of 240,000 books, many of them old reference books from what I can tell from the article. That’s a lot of books, but over the years I’ve noticed that most, but not all, weeding controversies are only controversial for people who think that a library building is like a TARDIS. For example, here’s the overwrought quote from one of the ...
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You Won’t Believe What this Woman Did in the Library

Since this is at least the second time such a thing has happened, that makes it a trend, at least according to the Internet sites that would use headlines like the one I just used. And if it’s a trend, that means lots of people are doing it, and if lots of people are doing it, it’s probably either foolish or stupid, or maybe both. Yes, I’m talking about live sex shows in the library. First we found out about one at that university in Oregon. Now it’s in public libraries in Windsor, Ontario. Last time I was somewhat sympathetic, in that sending a young woman to jail for exposing herself indecently to nothing but a webcam seemed a bit harsh. Sure, she was in a library, but it’s not like other people in the library were staring at her. It was just helpless perverts on the Internet. This one is a little weirder. First, there were a LOT of live sex shows. Over 50, according to the article. That shows a fierce determination, but also a lot of stupidity, because the more times ...
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