Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

A Library-Free County

Public libraries offer a little taste of civilization in even the most remote places. Often, no matter how far removed you are from urban centers or busy trading locations, non-fast food restaurants or buildings over two stories, walking into a public library can give you a glimpse at a wider world. Some people think the internet is like that, but the internet has become a cesspool of conspiracy, hate, and feel good animated gifs. Besides, it rarely offers free access to contemporary books. That’s why it’s always sad to see public libraries close, especially in rural areas. It doesn’t happen often en masse, but it’s happening now in rural Oregon, where ten branches of the county library system have just closed. Granted, some of these libraries serve very small towns like Drain, population 1,151, or Glendale, population 874, but the county is 5,134 square miles, so it’s not like driving over to the county seat is a short trip, even if the main library at the county seat wasn’t ...
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Libraries in the Fake News

Supposedly, librarians are going to help the world deal with “fake news.” We’ve been hearing a lot about that for months. It’s going to be an uphill battle, though. Consider this article, California School Defunded for Having Too Many White Students. It’s from a “news” site called Newsline. It must be real news because it has “news” right there in the title. The headline is certainly provocative, isn’t it? It’s not true, but it’s definitely provocative. There’s a hint of truth, though. There is a California school that is losing some additional state funding under a school integration program begun in 1978 that guarantees extra funding for schools with more than 70% non-white students. The school in California now has more than 30% white students, and so it no longer qualifies for the funds. That seems to be a simple statement of fact, and what websites do with it shows the difference between news and propaganda. One of the absences of these propaganda articles from both ...
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Fun with Petitions

It’s always a little bit fun to watch what happens when a library gets rid of a lot of books. The protesters come out, sometimes with good reasons to protest the elimination of the books, but mostly full of baseless alarm and nostalgia. The response to this county law library in Massachusetts is no different. Well, maybe a little different. In a transition from a 1930s courthouse to a new “justice center,” the collection of print law books was reduced by some very large amount, and the book collection was moved to a small space away from the first floor to make space for a legal service center. The usual justifications were used. The books had seen declining use over the years. There weren’t many in-person visitors anymore. A lot of the books were outdated. And, of course, all the relevant legal material is online, and there are folks in the service center to help people with that research. That hasn’t prevented people from protesting. For example, one concerned person “said ...
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Librarians as First Responders

Public librarians have long wanted to be all things to all people, but emergency medical first responder may be going too far. In recent news, a couple of libraries are already training staff or are considering training staff to use naloxone on people who overdose on heroin. In Denver, six people have overdosed on heroin at the main library this year, so it makes some sense they’re now stocking naloxone and teaching staff how to use it, but it seems a reach. As one librarian said, "Definitely, over the last few years, my job has changed quite a bit…. This isn't the kind of thing back in 1993 that we were being taught in graduate school." This raises a question, if it’s something that hasn’t and never should be taught in library school, then is it something librarians should be held responsible for? According to the article, the “library also employs social workers.” Why do they employ social workers? Because librarians aren’t prepared to deal with the sorts of problems that ...
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End of the Honeymoon

Well it didn’t take long for the organization that said it was going to work with the Trump administration until it said it wouldn’t has finally come to the realization that there are some kinds of people you just can’t work with. President Trump’s ludicrously titled budget plan eliminates, among many other things, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the ALA isn’t happy about it. There are several other things the budget eliminates that philistines really, really hate: the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and big cuts to many other things. If the budget passes as is, it’ll be bad for the poor people who voted for Trump and the pro-science people who probably didn’t. It doesn’t seem particularly likely to pass. So far the President has failed to accomplish anything of significance, since he keeps getting stopped by pesky things like federal judges, the Constitution, and ...
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Librarian for a Day

If you want a heartwarming story about a library sort of making a girl’s dream come true, read this article about a library in Cincinnati making a 14-year-old girl a “librarian for a day.” She “got a gray library shirt and an official employee ID. She alphabetized books, learned the computer system and got to explore behind staff-only doors.” And thus she learned just how boring it can be to be a librarian. She finds working in the library calming, and says “You don’t have to worry about anything,” and “You don’t have to worry about failing.” That’s probably not the kind of thing she would want to put on a library school application someday, but still, it’s nice. Despite the constant grumblings, there are probably a lot of librarians who find their work calming. They just don’t say that on social media because they know it would make all the harried librarian jealous and resentful. I could help but compare that article to this one. Partly it’s because the page formatting ...
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