Annoyed Librarian
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The Future of Writing

There’s a new development in ebooks that could revolutionize the entire writing industry: product placement. The same kind of cheesy placement that we’re used to in Hollywood movies has now come to literature. Well, maybe not literature, but a romance novel called Find Me I’m Yours published with lots of references to Sweet’N Low. The company that makes Sweet’N Low invested $1.3 million in the book, and for that kind of money Sweet’N Low gets written into the story. The company is happy, too. “They’re cleverly and carefully having a product written into the story, but doing it in a way that didn’t tarnish the integrity of the piece.” For an example, when the heroine adds some to her coffee, this happens next: “Hellooo, isn’t it bad for you?” the friend asks. Mags replies that she has researched the claims online and found studies showing that the product is safe: “They fed lab rats twenty-five hundred packets of Sweet’N Low a day ... And still the ...
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Just Come Out And Say It

A common occurrence whenever there’s going to be a vote about whether to raise taxes to support the local public library is for someone to write a letter to the editor of the local news outlet. It’s possible that for most of these letters I’m the only one who ever reads them, because probably nobody reads letters to the editor anymore, including the people who write them. The latest one comes to us from the tiny hamlet of Houston, Pennsylvania, population 1,314. if, like I was, you were wondering whether that was pronounced like the city in Texas or the street in Manhattan, the Wikipedia comes to our aid. It’s named after a relative of Sam Houston, so Texas wins. The letters against raising library taxes all seem to follow the same flawed logic. For example, there’s always the claim that “technology” is making libraries obsolete. To small areas such as ours, a library is not a needed expense. It is a luxury. Libraries are just one thing going by the wayside ...
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Fire @ the Library

There’s so little drama in libraries, and that’s just how it should be. Libraries should be low key places for people to visit and enjoy. But in Tacoma they had some major drama: fire in the library. And what’s more, arson in the library. In the Tacoma Public Library, a regular patron who seems to be a little unbalanced “is accused of torching books after buying lighter fluid and a lighter at a nearby store.” Someone should have told her that’s not a good way to settle disputes. But I guess if it's a choice between waiting 10 seconds to settle down before you respond and setting books on fire, fire is the most exciting option. She’s still an alleged arsonist, and she pleaded not guilty despite admitting “she had an issue with a library worker earlier in the day and ... to wanting to burn down the library.” That definitely sounds like the admission of someone who is absolutely not guilty of arson, except that she’s been convicted of arson before, so probably ...
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Library Advocacy Done Wrong

Despite their good intentions, there are some people who maybe shouldn’t advocate for change in libraries. For example, the generally awful Huffington Post is hosting a blog post that grated on my nerves the entire time I was reading it. It’s advocating making a change to the Woodstock Library. I’m assuming that’s Woodstock, NY, although the state is never specified and since the Huffington Post isn’t a local news site a guess based on context clues is all we have. We can't say for certain that she's not writing about the Woodstock in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, or Vermont. That’s one problem already, advocating for changes in a specific public library in a national outlet. Who’s the audience for that? Does everyone in Woodstock read the Huffington Post? Go read the whole thing if you want. It’s a rambling mess that somehow goes from the author’s original motivations to become a librarian to why she ...
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A Library Battle in the Cornhusker State

There’s a fight brewing in Omaha, Nebraska of all places. I say “of all places” because from a distance Omaha seems like a calm place. Maybe it's all those Mutual of Omaha commercials I saw as a child. Omaha is reassuring. Nevertheless, the mayor is fighting against the library of all places. I say “of all places” because who fights against the library? Do they ever win? The mayor wants the library to give out the names and addresses of patrons to the police when they ask, which current policy in Omaha and most other public libraries doesn't allow. The instigation for the request was a run-in between two police officers and a drunken man harassing patrons at the public library. Here’s the description from the article: The drunk man was harassing patrons. Metropolitan Community College police arrived, but he wouldn’t give them his name. Metro Police Chief Dave Friend said the man’s unwillingness to give his name meant that officers couldn’t take him to a ...
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Needs Before Wants, or Vice Versa?

An American school system decided it needed a new way to screw over poor people, and in Miami-Dade County public libraries are on the frontlines. The article is about students who need online access to complete homework assignments but who don’t have Internet access at home. Naturally, they go to the public library. And that’s where the problems start, or maybe just continue. Like the kid who has to wait 70 minutes before she can use a computer. Or the laptops the library lends out with batteries that die after 30 minutes, because apparently they don’t have cords and electrical outlets around. Some branches aren’t even open on school evenings so they can open on the weekends. Sometimes the best the library can do is provide an excuse note for the teachers to explain why the homework couldn't be completed. Everybody seems to realize the situation is absurd, but nobody’s doing anything about it. Supposedly, teachers are discouraged from giving assignments that require ...
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