Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Letters to Editors

One might think that the Letter to the Editor genre would be dying. After all, unless they were by famous people writing for outlets like the New York Times or the Washington Post, nobody ever read letters to the editor anyway, probably not even the editor. Now that’s even more true. Letters to the editor are just ways for people without Facebook friends or Twitter followers to vent their spleen in public, with the added bonus that nobody has to ponder whether to unfriend or unfollow such people. Letters to editors about libraries are almost always positive. These days a common topic seems to be how important school librarians and libraries are. Most of those seem written after the librarians have been fired and the libraries closed, so that’s really support people could have used earlier, but it’s the sentiment that counts. And then there are the hostile ones, usually opposed to some improvement in libraries because improvements cost money and libraries are obsolete ...
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Sex and Plagiarism

Every librarian knows that almost everyone who isn’t a librarian doesn’t know the difference between librarians and other people who work in libraries. Most of the time it doesn’t matter, because if the public gets what it wants, then only desperate status-conscious librarians care one way or the other who gets what done. Every once in a while it matters, though. For example, I’d like to know for sure whether the person in this article is really a librarian or not. The headline is “Erwin librarian accused of sex with 15-year-old,” but I’d like to think that’s not the kind of thing professional librarians would do. 16-year-olds maybe, but not 15-year-olds. It’s not like people didn’t know something was going on. For example, “sources close to the investigation say [the woman] thought she was having consensual sex with a young adult, not a 15-year-old.” That in itself is a maybe a clue that the person isn’t a professional librarian, because thanks to certain librarians like ...
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Librarians the World Over

Once in a while I like to see what happening to libraries in other countries. Sometimes it’s reassuring, as when I compare the state of British and American public libraries and find only the former under siege. And sometimes it’s just weird, like this argument from Nigeria that all the nation’s problems will be solved as long as librarians are required to have a bachelor’s degree in library studies before entering a graduate program in library studies. I’m assuming it’s written by a librarian who has such a bachelor’s degree and resents it that others don’t bother, because there’s no other reasons why anyone would write thisA. Check out this analogy: no matter a person’s qualification or certification in a different field of study at the under graduate level, he/she would not be admitted into a Post graduate (Masters) degree programme in Medicine, Law or Engineering. If that is the case with these academic courses and by implication the professions which are by no standard ...
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Not Much of a Future

A Kind Reader sent in this article by a very excited person who sees a lot to get excited about. Supposedly, “libraries are the future of manufacturing in the United States.” Not convinced? Yeah, well, I read the whole article and I’m not convinced either. Let’s think about the past of manufacturing in the United States for just a bit. Back in the day America was a manufacturing powerhouse. Entire cities that are shadows of their former glory, like Detroit or Buffalo, were bristling hubs of manufacturing, if bristling is what hubs do. Hundreds of thousands of Americans worked in manufacturing jobs that provided living wages for them and their families. As long as you don’t think about things like race relations, it was a boom time in the U.S. Slowly, and then more quickly, manufacturing jobs begin to disappear. First they moved from the Northeast to the South, then to whatever countries had the cheapest labor. For a lot of the poorest people in the world, this might have ...
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The One Ring Will not be Catalogued

Most large libraries have a few uncataloged books, maybe even a few hundred or thousand depending on how much they buy and how much they’ve outsourced their cataloging. But the problem might be bigger than I thought. This article from Scotland argues that we can’t write off libraries just because everything is online, because of course everything isn’t online. It’s just that if it’s not online it can’t be found. She makes a good case that there’s a lot of stuff not online, but what surprised me wasn’t that a lot of stuff wasn’t online, which every librarian knows. It was the sheer amount of stuff that people don’t even know exists. From a purely UK point of view the 2012 Hidden Collections report by Research Libraries UK (RLUK) found “Hidden collections remain an immense problem for UK libraries. Over 13 million volumes are uncatalogued in the libraries that responded, 18.5 per cent of the total number of volumes held by those libraries.” 13 million volumes uncataloged. That’s ...
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Librarians Greedy and Brave

It’s been a strange week for librarians in the news. From China comes the odd story of a former librarian  at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts who has admitted that in addition to digitizing the art collection he stole numerous paintings, replaced them with forgeries, and then sold the originals, making over $5 million in the process. I don’t know what things are like over in China, but in America that would likely be seen as a violation of the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights. Okay, I guess I do know what it’s like because the government is prosecuting him. When I read stories like that one, or ones about librarians who steal and then sell rare books from their libraries, I always wonder how those people became librarians in the first place. Librarians are a reasonably intelligent lot, so if they were interested in making a fortune a lot of them would have the skills and talent to do something a lot more lucrative than being a librarian. Typically, librarians have some ...
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