Annoyed Librarian
Search LibraryJournal.com ....
Subscribe to LJ
Inside Annoyed Librarian

Library Decay

The website TV Tropes analyzes something they call “network decay.” This happens when a television network changes over time to the point where it differs significantly or even totally from its initial incarnation. This is the sort of change that has often happened with the niche cable TV channels that popped up in the 1980s. MTV is a prime example, changing from a network showing videos of pop music to whatever it does today that’s nothing like that. The transformation of networks with a pretense of educational programming has been more dramatic. It’s hard to remember a time when there was such a thing as The Learning Channel, and it sort of wanted you to learn something. Sometimes that change has been what TV Tropes classifies as “slipped.” In this category we find The Discovery Channel, which was a network mostly showing documentaries. By the mid-1990s, they showed an obscene amount of home improvement shows and cooking shows aimed at stay-at-home moms.... Now, ...
Read More >>

For All You Untrustworthy Low Level Employees

This story about the library budget crisis in Miami-Dade County, Florida is quite a read. A librarian formerly employed by the county criticized the library director, who allegedly responded with a “heated monologue” in which he said that without him the library system would be, um, in a bad condition. Since this is a family blog, you’ll have to read the article to get the actual comment. The director denies it, though. Not that there isn’t some strangeness going on. Despite losing tens of millions of dollars in funding over several years, the director “signed off on two staffers jetting to Milan in March for a cultural exchange,” which was “paid for by grants and county programming funding.” Nice work if you can get it. As the offended and critical librarian put it, "I have a problem with that as a taxpayer...if my child doesn't have a book and they're sending these people to Europe." But it’s probably important for Miami to have a “cultural exchange” with ...
Read More >>

National Library Week Yet Again

National Library Week is here yet again. That’s the week librarians come together to celebrate the fact that we don’t have a true national library like other civilized countries. Or something like that. Still, I tried to get excited about it. That was helped by this lovely brochure that you can print out and distribute to all and sundry. So what can you do at a library? Visit your library for computer resources for teens and adults, help with your job search, access to subscription databases, library-recommended websites and homework help. You also can obtain information about how to become a U.S. citizen, bilingual resources and neutral financial information to help you make important decisions. That sounded pretty nifty. I visited a friend of mine, a lawyer, and she took me to their firm’s law library. I asked for some computer resources for teens and adults. She referred me to Westlaw. Something’s not right here. I can't imagine many adults or teens wanting to spend ...
Read More >>

Library Problems for Progressives

ALA Annual is coming up soon, in Vegas of all places. No doubt the SRRT is busily trying to think up resolutions that have nothing to do with libraries so they can waste the ALA Council’s time debating them before they’re defeated. Instead of more of that nonsense, I recommend they address something actually having to do with libraries. You can do that and still be “progressive.” There are a lot of library problems out there. For example, check out this news story from Madison, WI. It’s about an Affirmative Action Committee recommending various changes in Madison, some of which are about libraries. “The commission also focused on the lack of libraries in the less affluent East Washington Avenue area, with Ald. Joseph Clausius, District 17, calling it a “disservice." This seems to be pretty standard around the country. Previously I’ve written about the lack of library locations and hours in north Philadelphia, which happens to be a relatively poor area of the ...
Read More >>

How Not to Lobby for a Library

Somewhere in the Old Dominion State they’re wondering whether it’s time to build new libraries. Is it the right time, they ask. Are we ready? Is it time? Are we prepared? It could be that libraries are like children. A lot of people say if you wait until you’re ready to have a child, you’ll never have a child. Seems like sensible advice. Unfortunately, libraries can't just happen by accident. If you wait until it’s time to build a library, maybe you’ll never build a library. When can one ever be justified? Aren’t there always other things you could spend money on? Some seem to think so. “When we have student teacher ratios through the roof, why are we talking about building new libraries?” someone asks. That kind of argument could be used about anything, though. While we still have any crime, why spend money on schools when we could hire more cops? While we still have rich people who don't want to pay any taxes at all, why spend money on anything? Spending money ...
Read More >>

Bigger Worries

Sometimes I just don’t what to say about the ALA, so I’ll probably contradict myself at some point along the way. I was just reading through the ALA press release about the latest budget proposal from Congressman Paul Ryan. The thing is, it’s a completely appropriate response from an organization concerned with American libraries. Also, it made me laugh and shake my head in disbelief. Here’s the first sentence of the ALA President’s response to the budget: “We were shocked to learn that Representative Paul Ryan recommended eliminating the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the agency that administers the primary source of federal funding to libraries.” First of all, either that shock is feigned, or the ALA really hasn’t been following politics at all for the past few years. That Paul Ryan would want to cut a service that was of no benefit to rich people shouldn’t be shocking. That’s the norm. It’s his schtick. He’s a one trick pony and that trick is ...
Read More >>