Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

A Librarian Sex Scandal

The news in libraryland over the past couple of weeks has been very lively indeed. A librarian named Joe Murphy is suing two female librarians for $1.25 million for claiming he sexually harasses women at library conferences. As sex scandals go, that's pretty mild, but the standards for scandal are lower in libraryland. You can go give them a donation or sign a petition asking Murphy to drop the lawsuit if those are your kinds of thing. I haven’t seen a corresponding Support Joe Murphy’s Lawsuit website or petition, but if there is one someone can post it in the comments. He’s also suing them in Canadian court, even though as far as I can tell both he and one of the defendants are Americans. Canadian libel laws are more friendly to plaintiffs, it seems, whereas American libel laws tend to favor something librarians are supposed to favor, free speech. So he’s a cunning little fella, you have to give him that. I’m seeing the story pop up in more and more places, so it looks ...
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Those Dangerous Public Libraries

It’s always a little surreal and amusing for me when outsiders stumble onto the blog and decide they’re going to set the record straight for the poor, ignorant Annoyed Librarian. A while ago it was the homeschooling creationists who homeschooled their children to keep them from learning any science later than the Middle Ages. Last week it was the earnest evangelicals who actually believed The Hiding Place was “banned” at a library, and who were astonished that I’d never read this beloved classic, and who wanted to share the love of Jesus with me. This week, it might be the gun nuts. We’ll see. Before we begin, it’s important to know who the gun nuts are. Because of the craziness of some of them, some people think anyone with a gun must be a nut. However, the vast majority of gun owners who hunt or shoot skeet or target shoot are unfairly represented by the nuts who show up to political rallies with machine guns assault rifles on their back. The gun nuts are the ones ...
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Stewards and Gatekeepers

I’ve been getting some very amusing comments this week. Keep ‘em coming, because I can always use a good chuckle. I ran across what seemed to be an odd column from St. Cloud, MN. It seems the local library system is searching for a new executive director, and the columnist is urging the board of directors to ask the candidates about their policies regarding stewardship versus gatekeeping. Here’s the description of the stewarded library: For the most part, public libraries in our country are open stacks, meaning we are free to wander among the knowledge and the stories printed in those books on the shelves. We can walk into any of our public libraries and browse books on an enormous amount of subjects. In other words, librarians and library staff are not physically placed between us — the public library patrons — and the knowledge and stories found on the bookshelves. It’s a very simple and very powerful message about the value we place on reading, literacy and the ...
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An Alleged Ban

Is it Band Books Week yet? I’m not sure, and the propaganda is so hyperbolic I don’t have the heart to read it to find the dates. Anyway, let’s see if the Band Book people mention this very odd case. When I ran across the story, it seemed perfect blog fodder, and on the surface it is. Allegedly, a California charter school library “banned” a book by a person named Corrie ten Boom because it was “too Christian," and you know the ALA isn't going to say much about this. I was unfamiliar with Corrie ten Boom or her book The Hiding Place, but if the Wikipedia entries are accurate, it does seem like the book is pretty Christian. Supposedly, the entire time she and her sister were in a German concentration camp, they “used a hidden Bible to teach their fellow prisoners about Jesus,” because not enough people had told the Jewish prisoners that they were wrong to be Jewish. But then I started poking around. The “news” site that published the article is called Charisma ...
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Those Sledgehammering Librarians

Sometimes I feel sorry for library school students who want to become librarians. It’s not just the lack of good jobs available for graduates. Sure, it’s annoying that so many people get tricked into going to library school by idiots who keep claiming there’s a librarian shortage when there’s never a librarian shortage. It’s not even the mild embarrassment they'll face when entering a profession where a website for librarians requests people to send in photos of themselves in cat-themed clothing. No, it’s that they’re subjected to a steady stream of publicity claiming that libraries are irrelevant. If you want to be a librarian, that’s got to be a little depressing. Since I hadn’t had my fill of stupid articles about libraries with Forbes, I branched out to something called Fast Company, which published the absurdly titled article Taking a Long-overdue Sledgehammer to the Public Library. The title certainly works as clickbait for librarians, because I clicked on ...
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Those Pivoting Librarians

It’s almost as if Forbes deliberately pays people to write stuff about libraries that annoys me. If so, I want to thank them, because the Annoyed Librarian always needs stuff to be annoyed about. This time it’s an advertisement for something called Easybib in the form of an article about pivoting librarians. One of the many problems is that I can’t figure out who the audience is supposed to be. It seems to be aimed at school librarians and seems to consider school libraries as the norm. Are school librarians big readers of Forbes? Is that now the go to magazine for aspiring school media specialists? Is that where they go to be inspired by silly articles? Another annoyance is the pointless analogy of librarians and startups. Apparently, startups that are failing sometimes “pivot” to become something else entirely, and so can librarians, and who would want to be a startup more than a librarian? Unless we consider the evidence about startups. According to another bastion of ...
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