Annoyed Librarian
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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 ...
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Looks are All that Matters

Some people apparently find being a librarian a problem. They don’t want people to know they’re librarians, so they avoid wearing buns and shushing people. You’d think the problem would then be solved. Sometimes I also find being a librarian a problem, particularly when I see articles like this one: Tattoos and baseball caps: This is What a Librarian Looks Like – in pictures. It’s times like that when I weep for the future, but then I get distracted and move on. The headline is a little misleading. Of the 15 librarians pictured, I found two tattoos and one baseball cap. Both of the tattoos could be easily hidden if the owners decided to, and of course the baseball cap could be removed. This is more subjective, but only one of the librarians pictured seemed to scream, “Please look at me and pretend I’m interesting!” And, again, the baseball cap could be removed. There’s a rainbow hipster beard. That seems pretty desperate for attention as well, but I’m hoping it was at ...
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The Lemonade Stand of Broken Dreams?

How early is too early to find out the world doesn’t really care about your interests, wants, desires, or needs? 30? 25? 17? I have a strange feeling that in Berkley, Massachusetts, the age is going to be around 9, because that’s the age of one of the girls who are selling lemonade to save the local public library from closing. In June, Berkley voters “will choose between two override versions — an Option A to raise an additional $950,000 and Option B that would generate an additional $675,000.” and according to those who should know “adopting the more expensive override version is the only guarantee of avoiding ‘critical cuts’ — including closing the library….” With a population of “around 6,500 residents,” that’s a cost of about $146 per person. At one point in the recent past, the town had 1,970 households. That adds up to about $482 per household in a town where the median household income is around $81,094. The lemonade stand run by the passionate little girl ...
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Crime and Drugs @ Your Library

Sometimes I wonder whether people considering library school read the news about public libraries and decide they’d rather do anything else in life, because it’s pretty bleak these days, and that’s if you ignore budget problems. It doesn’t seem to matter which part of the country you look at, although urban versus rural might make a difference. In urban areas these days, it’s drugs and crime, whether you’re in Philadelphia or Denver, which of course is also struggling with a homelessness crisis. It’s pretty bleak stuff, too. In Philly overdoses and Narcan use are so common in the library that “They have been using the spray so often that they can tell the type of overdose simply by the sound coming from the lavatory: Heroin victims slide sluggishly into unconsciousness, the librarians have found, while victims of deadly fentanyl collapse instantly, with a thud that resonates through the entire building.” At one point a librarian runs out into the park to administer ...
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Homelessness Classes @ Your Library School

The Library as Homeless Shelter is a common theme for articles these days, so this one on the Denver Public Library and its efforts to serve the homeless is no surprise. What is a little surprising is the recommendation by two people interviewed for the article that library schools should offer classes in serving homeless people. Here’s the relevant portion of the article: She admits, universities could better prepare librarians for that environment. She hasn’t found a library science program that has a class just on how to serve the homeless. The topic is explored in an existing DU class, and faculty are considering making it a requirement. "It's certainly one that helps students dig pretty deeply into understanding, how do I empathize with this other person that may smell bad or, won't look me in the eye?” Stansbury says. DPL social worker Elissa Hardy gets exactly where Stansbury is coming from. “People don't go into the field of library science thinking they're ...
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The Magical Library

People sure do get worked up about weeding. The fetishization of the book is the usual reason, which is also why people try to donate the old Reader’s Digest Condensed Books found in their deceased grandmother’s attic. Somebody must want these! In the comments to my last post on weeding, my attitude was supposedly “representative of everything that is wrong with the ‘future of academic libraries.’” I’ve been called worse. Another reader waxed lyrical about the benefits of browsing library stacks, which nobody ever has denied. Supposed, also, it’s the faculty’s “role to weigh in on these processes if they choose (especially in weeding projects as extensive as this one was), and it is absolutely our role to solicit and respond to their feedback.” I have to wonder if this reader has ever sought feedback from any faculty about weeding. Or, even worse, about which journals to cut, which I gather used to be a big topic at a lot of universities back in the day. There’s really ...
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