Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

More Advice from the Clueless

It’s often amusing to read big bold statements about libraries from people who don’t know anything about libraries. It’s even more amusing when the statements are ludicrous. Ah, but what can one expect from a fellow from someplace called the Adam Smith Institute, which bills itself as “one of the world’s leading think tanks,” but which you’ve probably never heard of unless you live in the UK. The latest ridiculous suggestion is to close all the British libraries and have the government buy everyone a Kindle “Unlimited” subscription, because the writer knows even less about Kindle Unlimited than he does about libraries, apparently having never used either. He does try to qualify his bizarre opinion by claiming that it’s a “little, not entirely and wholly serious, thought on public policy.” I’m not even sure it can be considered a little thought. More like a little irritable mental gesture that vaguely resembles a thought. A "modest proposal" it's not. After ...
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What to Call the Reinvented Library?

A lot of passionate people seemed to be commenting last week. I noticed one easily incensed person was “disappointed” to find opinions she so strongly disagreed with published at the Library Journal. One would think she should be excited to find a public forum to defend her sacred cows. I bet there are librarians for whom the highlight of their work day is thinking they’ve set the record straight about something they read online. That always feels good. However, I’ve noticed over the years there’s a minority of librarians who would rather quash dissenting voices than have to go out of their way to read them for free. Although I'm sure they would protest that they don't want to censor dissenting views; they just don't want those dissenting views published anywhere people might actually read them. A subtle distinction. But on to the burning question of the day: what should we start calling libraries instead of “libraries”? There must be a better name. After all, ...
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Still No Censorship, Actually

Since librarians love to pretend there’s censorship in America so they can feel righteous about fighting it, let’s take a look at another contrast between something that’s clearly censorship and something that’s clearly not. But first, let me say that while I like it when people use the library, I don’t like it enough to get a mohawk. Call me crazy if you wish. So back to some more talk about “censorship.” Out in Fargo, North Dakota, they’re hosting a traveling exhibition from the National Holocaust Museum: Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings. If you want to think about a place where censorship really took place, think about Nazi Germany. The government suppressed books and encouraged their burning. Now imagine that while piles of books were being set on fire, you courageously jumped into the pile to either put it out or maybe get burned to death. Either way, you’re a champion against censorship! One of the posters from the WW2 era ...
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Closer to Real Censorship

Certain folks within the ALA like to talk about censorship as if that’s really a thing that goes on in America. That’s because “censorship” sounds much more ominous than “somebody complained about a library book.” Nevertheless, the ALA has never documented a case in decades where a book challenged or removed from a public library isn’t widely available for sale or even for borrowing from just about every other library in the country. While definitely not censorship, some rube in Missouri challenging a book in the Smallsville Public Library because he hates gays would at least be a significant act if that led to the book being removed from every public library in the country. Unless that can happen, the complaint, or even the removal, is just an insignificant blip on the national library radar screen. Just to show the contrast between the lack of censorship and the widespread availability of “banned books” in American libraries, let’s take a look at someplace ...
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Informationists and Librarians

A Kind Reader sent in this blog post with this subject line: Annoyed that "informationists" are "transforming" libraries to do exactly what librarians been doing since libraries came into existence! The blog post is about the future of the library, a perennially favorite topic that I don’t know why anyone bothers with. The future just kind of happens whether we predict it or not. There, it just happened again. And again. My predictions are obviously very short term. The author is an “informationist,” which is a pretty vague title. I had to look it up on Wikipedia, which I now realize is because I’m not a medical librarian. According to that article, “one way to think of the informationist is as one who possesses the knowledge and skill of a medical librarian with extensive research specialization and some formal clinical or public health education that goes beyond on-the-job osmosis.” So, basically a medical librarian with some sort of medical training, I guess. I prefer ...
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Surveying the Salaries

If there’s anything the LJ Salary Survey can tell us, it’s that librarians generally don’t mind needing a graduate degree in order to earn mediocre pay. We must have the greatest jobs in the world. Seriously, with the median pay for most librarian jobs in the $50,000 range and with around two thirds of librarians being “satisfied” or “very satisfied” in their jobs, what else are we to make of it? It’s either that librarians have great jobs, or that the sort of people who become librarians are complacent and willing to settle for just about anything. We’ll leave that up in the air. However, there are some dissatisfied librarians out there, and they tend to be the ones who can’t get decent librarian jobs. Go figure. The worst in the survey seems to be the part-timers. In public libraries, only 23% of them are very satisfied with their jobs, while 32% of the full-timers are. I’m assuming that librarians who can’t find work at all aren’t included in the survey ...
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