Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

On Semiliterate Rubes

Crazy things are happening this week. In a comment on my last post, it’s implied that the Annoyed Librarian is “on the Left” because I supposedly has an “argument by labeling.” Here’s part of the comment: Well sure. A book like 1984 makes for an easy case. And it’s always easy to win an argument by labeling the opponent as a parent semiliterate rube. Argument by labeling is standard fair [sic] on the Left these days…. The opinion of the Librarian is not necessarily dispositive whether the Librarian thinks so or not. And those who disagree with the Librarian are not by definition “semiliterate rubes”. That comment is crazy for at least two reasons. Is crazy the right word? Is that an “argument by labeling”? Never mind. For one, you’d have to be obtuse to miss the fact that labeling other people and things is just what people do. It’s not “left” or “right,” just human. To imply otherwise is to pretend that your side doesn’t do the thing you claim the other side does, and you ...
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The Unintended Lesson of “Banning” a Book

The ALA gets so excited over Band Books Week that sometimes I think they make up stories about Bland Books just so people won’t forget the ALA exists. Stories like this one always feel made up. It’s about a school district in Idaho “banning” George Orwell’s 1984, because “banning” 1984 is just the kind of censorship 1984 and the ALA always warns us about!! Here’s the lede, which shows that small towns can produce better journalism than most so-called new sites: “Administrators in the Jefferson County School District are considering prohibiting a classic novel from being taught in two senior government classes after at least one parent voiced concerns over the book’s violent, sexually charged language.” You have everything you need right there. My favorite part of the sentence is the slightly snide and editorializing “at least one parent,” because if you’re a timid administrator just one parent is all it takes. The timid administrator in question, no doubt just expressing ...
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Vows for the Greater Glory of the Library

Not everyone was persuaded by my statement that overall librarians are doing pretty well economically, at least compared to other people. One commenter noted that much of available library work is part time, which would mean that median wages per hour might not be equal to a full time wage. That is a possibility that I barely considered, and when I was focusing on how much such a librarian would make per year I was assuming full time work, which is still pretty common in libraries. Another brought up the possibility of children, and opined that, Suddenly this so-called “doable” wage is blown out of the water if you have young children at home. Do you know how much day care costs? We have had a handful of librarians quit working because they had babies and could not afford childcare even on their library income combined with their partner’s. (They were in the bottom 25% as mentioned above). Living on one paycheck was more “doable” than living on two while having to pay for ...
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Librarians Fighting the “Law”

By now you may have read that the librarian arrested in Kansas City last year for “being in the path of overzealous off-duty cops” has been found not guilty. Good for him. The prosecutors and cops were just trying to cover up their stupid mistakes anyway. In the same story we read about the Mid-Continent Public Library, which is somewhere in the middle of the continent probably. It also had trouble with some off-duty cops providing security, because apparently those people just can’t help themselves. Fortunately, instead of roughing up a librarian, the cops merely objected to a book display called “Black Lives Matter—Books About African American Experiences.” Without just coming out and saying black lives don’t matter, the cops protested because they believe black lives don’t matter. Otherwise, there’s nothing to protest. Supposedly, they didn’t object to the content of the display, because that would have made them look even more racist than they already look, so they ...
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Librarians and Social Class

A comment on the response from my imaginary library school professors helps highlight something about library school and the profession. I’m just not sure what yet. A friend and library director was publicly taken to task for not offering $25 an hour for a starting position. In the south. LIS Profs really have no clue. I’m assuming this is for public library starting positions. LIS profs probably do really have no clue, because it’s highly unlikely any of them were ever public librarians. While there are library school professors who spent some time as public librarians, that’s hardly the norm as far as I can tell. Probably more of them were academic librarians, where the pay is generally better, but probably not as good as professors get paid. There’s that extra graduate degree and all to account for. And that might have something to do with a professor’s belief that people who have put in the time earning a master’s degree should start at $25 an hour, which depending on ...
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When the Rules Don’t Apply to You

I’m not quite sure what to make of this article in the School Library Journal. It’s explicitly about a librarian who got kicked off the Newbery Medal Committee because she very obviously broke a committee rule against posting about Newbery contenders on social media. It’s implicitly about how she was right to do so, or at least the committee was wrong to have such a rule, or at the very least they were wrong to enforce the rule in this case. For example, the opening paragraph: “Social media guidelines for Newbery Committee members went into play a few years ago to avoid controversy about how the prestigious book awards are determined. But the guidelines, it seems, have sparked contention of their own.” They’ve certainly sparked contention from the ousted librarian, who, instead of being even remotely apologetic about obviously breaking a committee rule, focuses on how bad she feels about being kicked off the committee. Or this passage: “But the rules, rather than ...
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