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

Social Triage @ Your Library

There is apparently no end to the problems librarians are supposed to deal with these days. As the lead sentence of an article on mental health first aid training for librarians says, “The job description of a librarian goes far beyond recommending books and organizing shelves -- they're often the first responders when someone needs help in the library.” We could certainly quibble about the job description. Recommending books and organizing shelves haven’t exhausted the job description of librarians pretty much ever. Somebody, after all, has to catalog all those books, but catalogers are forgotten so often they’re probably used to it by now, if libraries even still have catalogers. And they are often first responders when someone needs help in the library. Need help finding information? Ask a librarian! Need help clearing a printer jam? Ask a librarian! The help provided was never insignificant, but it was at least once upon a time confined to things related to goods and ...
Read More >>

Stroking the Male Ego

If there’s anything I’ve learned with this blog, it’s that you can’t please everyone, which is why I don’t even bother. Not pleasing people gives them something to complain about, and people love to complain. If people didn’t love to complain, social media would wither and possibly die. Some of the complaints and criticisms I understand, but some of them I don’t. For example, one of my lessons from last week was: Unless you’re a middle class white librarian, and probably a male librarian at that, don’t do anything that might get your attitude labelled as “adversarial and incorrigible.” Some actions might include: not smiling enough around people who think you should smile; talking when someone else would rather talk; continuing to talk when someone else has interrupted you repeatedly; talking; questioning anything. Someone left the following comment regarding that lesson, and I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be ironic or not: “It isn’t pleasant being a male librarian, so I don’t ...
Read More >>

Survival of the Fittest, and We’re All Pretty Fit

It’s always nice when people praise public libraries, even if those people are librarians. It’s good to know that at least someone is willing to go on the record to say the kind of thing most people would never dare say: libraries are good things. No, wait, everyone is willing to say that. Probably even most of those people in Oregon who keep voting to shut down their public libraries think public libraries are good in the abstract, as long as someone else is paying for them. And that’s the tricky part, who pays for them? Those folks in Oregon thought the federal government should keep paying for them in the roundabout way it had been doing for years, but weren’t willing to pay for libraries themselves. The rest of us? Well, libraries tend to be popular. Taxes to support them often pass. Lot of public libraries, the Carnegie ones, were founded only because the community was willing to continue supporting them after Carnegie donated the startup funds. But now, as many ...
Read More >>

Lessons from the Cranky Librarian Debacle

If you’ve missed the story of the Cranky Librarian, then you can catch up here and here. It’s quite a tale. By the way, that’s not this Cranky Librarian, who sprang to life and then immediately fizzled in 2005, or this one who started strong in 2007 and had a good run before succumbing to blog paralysis in 2015, or this one who Tumbld oh so briefly in 2016. Cranky librarians, we hardly knew ye. No, it’s this Cranky Librarian, head of adult services at the Evanston (IL) Public Library, and it’s her debacle from which we have so much to learn. You can read the long sordid history in the articles, but in brief: in 2014, Cranky Librarian invited a pro-Palestinian author to speak at the library. The director cancelled the speech. The author cried censorship and created a PR mess. The director uncancelled the speech. Three years later, Cranky Librarian commented on Facebook about a flyer claiming the library had “Free & Equal Access for All,” saying, “Some organizations are ...
Read More >>

The Pirates are Coming for Your Textbooks

Not too long ago I’m pretty sure I skimmed an article arguing that college libraries should start buying more textbooks, which isn’t something they normally do much of. I wish I could remember the details, because it was probably well meaning and had the needs of students foremost. It was also probably deluded, because the college textbook market is a desperate racket, with inflated prices and frequent minor changes of edition to offset the fact that the information in them rarely changes and students are happy to rely on used books. The only people happy with the market for textbooks are textbook publishers and the small number of professors who sometimes profit handsomely from a textbook that sells well. Only it turns out that the textbook publishers might not be that happy either. Obviously they’re displeased that the demand for their wares is static and low, hence the frequent “updated” editions. And now, according to this article, they’re worried about piracy, because ...
Read More >>

The Security Solution for Your Library

Something must be slightly off in libraryland when the other AL, known mostly for perky puff pieces about public libraries, is writing about “emerging safety concerns” @ your library. The article offers practical advice because librarians in “all types of libraries [but mostly public libraries] continue to be concerned about challenging patrons.” You can follow that advice if you like, but I have other advice for you just in case. Vaping and marijuana The other AL recommends telling puffing patrons that they’re violating the fire code and should quit puffing or leave. That’s because librarians are much too nice. Solution: Since people who smoke in enclosed public spaces have already signaled that they're completely indifferent to the air quality and comfort of others, being considerate of their air quality is unnecessary. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and where there’s fire, there should be fire extinguishers. A couple of blasts from one of those and the smokers tend ...
Read More >>

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE