Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

You and Your Obsolete Degree

In my last post I said that claiming you went to library school before computers would only be relevant to a discussion if “the discussion was about how irrelevant most of the practical stuff you learn in library school will be in just a few years,” which it never is. However, I’d like to have that discussion, because it seems like one that people want to avoid. Some kinds of library school students want to avoid it. Not all of them, but some, particularly the ones who think of a library degree as a degree that fully prepares you for whatever library job you’re lucky enough to land. Get the degree. Get the job. Then the education stops and you can sit comfortably and wait for retirement. Do those sorts of people still go to library school? Because they sure used to. Library schools probably don’t want to talk about it. They’re explicitly or inexplicitly promising that your library degree will teach you how to be a librarian, so talking about how useless much of your study ...
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Age Discrimination in Libraries

Lawsuits in librarianship are always news because they’re either very rare or rarely become public, but there’s a public one now going on in Missouri, and I know about it thanks to Kind Reader. “A former head of special collections at Washington University filed a suit against the University claiming that age discrimination led to hostility and poor reviews from supervisors,” reads the first sentence of a university news site that has the url “studlife.” When I first saw the url, I thought it might be a site called “Stud Life”  by a “pickup artist,” like that guy who wants to legalize rape and seems to think that you can be a superstud and still live in your mother’s basement. But no, it’s the “independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis,” so I guess I’ll believe it. According to the complaint, “In a discriminatory manner, the younger, new university librarian, Jeffrey Trzeciak, began to systematically reduce Posega’s duties and areas of responsibility as ...
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Don’t Steal from the Library

If you want a nice uplifting story about libraries, check out this one about a 48-year-old man who finally graduated from high school thanks to the public library. Lifelong learning, that’s at least part of what it’s about. And then there’s one that pitched as uplifting, and it did have a happy ending, but I’m wary of thinking of it as too happy. The headline: “Thieves unwittingly do Richmond library a favor.” That’s Richmond, Maine, population 3,411. The librarian let in a couple of young men who were standing in the cold. She thought they might be waiting for a ride, so she invited them in through the normally locked door so they could wait in the warm library. They repaid her generosity by stealing a donation canister from the circulation desk and running away. The canister could have had more than $100 in it. So far, so bad. Then someone created a GoFundMe campaign to replace the stolen money, and within two days $885 had been donated. So far, so good. My only issue ...
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Porn in Wisconsin

Some people just don’t get that there’s a difference between what you do in the privacy of your own home and what you do in public are held to different standards. If I want to spend my day sitting around naked watching Netflix at home, it’s nobody’s business. If I do the same thing at Starbucks, it’s pretty much everybody’s business. But at least one person in Wisconsin didn’t learn that important message until now, when he found he “didn't have a constitutional right to view pornography on a university library computer,” according to a state appeals court. Maybe he hasn’t learned the lesson, but he should. A little over a year ago he was in the library at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire watching porn on one of the computers. It doesn’t say for sure, but based on the story clues he probably wasn’t even a student. He just came in for the porn, which is the kind of thing most people realize is creepy. Some students complained, the police were called, and the man ...
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Privacy in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has been an exciting place for politics the last few years if you’ve followed the exploits of Scott Walker any. Now there’s a little library action to liven things up on that front. The state Senate's Elections and Local Government unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would create exceptions to privacy laws protecting library users' identities so libraries could report delinquent borrowers to collection agencies and police. Now if the Senate votes for it, it’s law. That should make some librarians in Wisconsin pretty angry, at least the ones that go along with the ALA’s views on privacy. A lobbyist for the Wisconsin Library Association seems okay with it, since he “said the bill would help establish uniform procedures for recovering overdue materials.” According to the ALA, personal information about individuals’ library use should be kept confidential unless requested by a court order. That also seems to be current Wisconsin law, according to the article, but ...
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Unenforceable Fees

If you want some librarian inspiration, albeit in the midst of tragedy, you could do worse than this encomium to his brother, a librarian murdered in the attack on Bacha Khan University in Pakistan: “He said that his brother has sacrificed his life to tell the terrorists that no one can stop our children from taking education.” Let’s hope the rest of us never have to make that sacrifice. If you want to be less inspired by what libraries are doing for the community, you might take a look at Park Ridge, IL, where the library is going to start charging fees for some people to sit at its tables. “For-profit tutors and groups of two or more people conducting business at the Park Ridge Public Library will need to open their wallets beginning in March.” We’ve encountered Park Ridge before, with its rude and condescending library board member, and others whining about the mere existence of tutors in the library. I guess the whiners have won. Or at least they’ve won on paper, ...
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