Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Taking Our Admirers Where We Can Find Them

Apparently, librarians are going extinct again, according to this meandering column about future predictions. Librarians are up there with retail cashiers, travel agents, typists, and social media managers. Maybe the world is getting tired of social media now that it’s nothing but Trump and the Russians. The “old timer” columnist, who has “seen, and even utilized, a digital self-checkout counter,” and who finds himself “more willing to order certain items online, thus contributing to the need for fewer retail clerks,” still can’t imagine libraries going away. Libraries are an important part of our community, and today there are vast resources online that fairly easily can be accessed. However, there is nothing to compare with the helpful librarian who can do so much more than a search engine. I have a hard time thinking of a future and imagining no librarians. I notice there's no mention of actually using libraries anymore. There’s a lot in that, but one thing to keep in ...
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Sexual Harassment @ Your Library

If you’ve seen any news in the past couple of weeks, you might have heard of a guy named Harvey Weinstein. It’s hard to make out any details from the dearth of news coverage, but he’s allegedly sexually harassed or raped numerous women over many years. I don’t see how that was a big secret. It’s right on his Wikipedia page and everything. He’s the stereotypical Hollywood casting couch producer who for some reason Hollywood decided to suddenly declare its concern about. Weinstein is perhaps typical of men in powerful positions surrounded by vulnerable people they desire to exploit. What’s to stop them when everyone’s afraid of them or wants something from them? By an odd coincidence, the library world got its own sexual harassment scandal last week. It didn’t receive quite the news coverage of Weinstein, but you might have seen this story about sexual harassment at the Wagner College library in Staten Island, NY. It’s a sordid tale of a librarian being allegedly quite ...
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More Seuss Protests

That protesting librarian may have had a practical effect upon the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss, if nothing else. That’s the Dr. Seuss museum in Springfield, MA, which is removing a mural of a stereotypical Chinese man after some children’s authors complained prior to a children’s literature festival in Springfield. That goes to show you, if you really want something done, get famous people to complain about it. If the illustration is the only offensive one from And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, it doesn’t provide much support for the protesting librarian’s claim that Dr. Seuss books are “steeped in racist propaganda.” That just seems like simplistic propaganda itself. Dr. Seuss, like most of life, is complicated. Regardless, it’s the kind of thing that makes the defenders of Seuss as some sort of perfect children’s author for the ages, which oddly enough seems to be a thing, look pretty silly. Since he changed over the years, clearly even he didn’t ...
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Focused Forgetting and Remembered Library Duty

I ran across this blog post at ACRLog and thought, yeah, she’s got a good point there. Written after on of the worst mass shootings in American history, although who knows how they rank that stuff anymore, how does one just keep on working and, if a blogger, cranking out the words? Sometimes it’s just personality. I’ve known people who probably curled into a ball and sobbed the night after the last Presidential election, but they’ve done exactly the same thing after a breakup or if the ice cream wasn’t the right flavor, not even after a breakup. Do any of those immediately make a better impact on life after the Las Vegas shooting? We should put all this in perspective, which is usually lacking these days. According to Steven Pinker, who’s a full professor at Harvard so how could he be wrong, world violence is declining over the past few hundred years, despite the blips like Las Vegas. That’s exciting, right? Why not? What if it’s absolutely true, would it excite people ...
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The Stupidity of Crowds

The Dr. Seuss librarian protesting the First Lady certainly got some attention, with at least a few librarians, and probably a lot of non-librarians, thinking she stepped over some line and should be fired or something equally drastic. That was the gist of a couple of comments I didn’t approve because they seemed to come from overwrought fanatics. Calling for people to be fired because of something legal on the internet is a contemporary disease and you should be ashamed of yourselves. It’s particularly galling coming from librarians who supposedly believe in intellectual freedom, but as I’ve noticed over the years that intellectual freedom usually just includes the freedom to think like the crowd. Good grief, let’s put things into some perspective. Should she have written that letter for Hornbook, and should Hornbook have published it? I would have said no, at least not in the form that got published. It was weird. The thing is, there were much more politic ways to get ...
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Racist Propaganda, Protest, and a Post-Fact World

Not one by three Kind Readers sent in a story about a school librarian declining a gift of Dr. Seuss books from the First Lady, along with a nice little condescending public note as to why. Apparently she didn’t have the authority to decline the gift on behalf of the library or school system. She also apparently isn’t supposed to use her professional position for political advocacy, but who cares about stuff like that any more. We could question whether she violated the school district “policy against public resources being used for political purposes,” since she could have written that letter on her own time. On the other hand, the books were technically public resources once they were given to the library, so who knows. It's almost as if she's trying to educate the First Lady about schools that need the gifts more than her very well funded school. She does make some good points, and school libraries, as I’ve often discussed here, are in dire straits in many ...
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