Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Self-Published Winners @ the Library

Whenever I write about self-published authors, the comment section seems to erupt into a melee between self-published authors talking about how great self-published works are and librarians talking about how awful they are. One solution to the problem would be for the ALA to create an award for self-published books to go along with popular awards like the Newbery Award and all the other awards I can’t remember right now. Then the librarians in the trenches would know what books to buy and wouldn't have to read any of them. The only problem is that the committee might be overwhelmed by thousands of self-published titles to choose from, but that can be solved by increasing the size of the committee to a few hundred people if necessary. That might even be possible. I met some Newbery people once, or members of some committee like that, and the people on awards committees seem to love the work. How hard could it be to get librarians to read through thousands of self-published works to ...
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Bilingual Librarians

Usually when Librarian shows up on a list of jobs, it’s either way down the list of jobs by salary or way up on the list of least stressful jobs, because apparently earning a master’s degree to end up with a low-paying job leads to a life free of stress. I’m not stressed, so maybe that’s true. But now Librarian is high up the list of Jobs Where Being Bilingual Is Unexpectedly Important. It’s #2, which ironically is what a lot of librarians say their job resembles. It’s no secret to me that plenty of librarians need to be bilingual. There are dozens of research libraries around the country that collect books and stuff from everywhere in the world, and they’ve been doing it for decades. Hardly news to anyone. Alas, the compiler of this list is guilty of Public Library Privilege, where Library automatically means Public Library, so it might be news to people. Whatever their other charms, most public libraries in the country haven’t been buying books in languages other ...
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The Library is Not for Studying

Over the years there have been lots of calls to make libraries into something other than libraries. That’s especially true of public libraries, but even librarians in academic libraries sometimes want to change things up, to turn libraries from a silent haven for research into community centers or places to play video games. In some ways it’s understandable. The most likely people to be bored with libraries are the librarians who have to work in them every day. They show up, day after day, and perform the same tedious functions. After a while, they get jaded. The library is a boring place for them, and they want to make it hip or relevant or something like that. Most of all, they want action. And what they’re most trying to fight against is the stereotype of the shushing librarian. We don’t shush! It turns out that in some libraries there is a group that yearns for a shushing librarian: the patrons of the library. Check out this story from Cerritos College, a community ...
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Parasites @ Your Library

A Kind Reader sent in this article about a library board trustee in Park Ridge, IL who’s happy at declining usage at the Park Ridge Public Library because it means fewer “parasites” are using the library. “A significant portion of non-Park Ridge taxpayers who are coming here basically as parasites are not coming here anymore,” Trizna said. “We are not being sucked dry by parasites. We are actually providing services for the people actually paying taxes for those services…” Computer use and circulation are both down at the library, and the anti-parasite trustee believes it’s because the library introduced fees for non-residents to use computers and to attend library programming. So I suppose now if you happen to be a non-resident in Park Ridge and want to take your toddler to story time, you’ll have to cough up some money for the privilege, because that’s the spirit of alienating people that made public libraries great. If the fees are a factor, then ...
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The Complexity of Alleged Taunting

A peculiar battle is brewing on Long Island. A librarian was fired from the Riverhead Free Library. The reason given was that she lost the passwords to some library accounts. The reason alleged in the lawsuit she filed against the library director is that she was fired because she refused to discriminate against white people in hiring decisions. The fired librarian is white and the library director African-American, by the way. Allegedly, the library director told the librarian to hire only minority workers, and was displeased when the librarian replied that racial discrimination in hiring is illegal, which, just for the record, it totally is. In addition, the librarian claims that the director taunted her by quoting the 1984 rap song  “Roxanne, Roxanne” to her, leading the librarian to think she was being called a prostitute, or perhaps wondering why she was being given permission not to wear a red dress. The song is embedded in a totally unnecessary follow-up article from ...
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After the Flood

It’s easy to complain about the problems within American libraries. Public libraries are often poorly funded, the librarians not particularly well paid. A lot of academic libraries, especially at public universities, are reeling from repeated budget cuts and surviving in a culture that wants everything while paying for nothing. Sometimes, though, it’s good to cast a global eye to put our own predicaments into some perspective. For example, you may or may not know that the Kashmir Valley flooded a few weeks ago. Especially badly hit was the city of Srinigar. It’s in a region that acceded to India in 1947, but only to keep Pakistani tribes from invading. So, politically a bit of a mess. The BBC has a pictorial about the aftermath of the flooding, and it’s a huge mess. It’s as if Hurricane Katrina had hit a country significantly less able to deal with the aftermath, and we know in our own country how much trouble there was dealing with the aftermath of Katrina. The Daily ...
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