Annoyed Librarian
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Return of the Privacy Fanatics

Yesterday was the 4th of July, the day Americans honor their tradition of freedom by eating ground up pig product in a tube and blowing stuff up. God bless America! This is the time of year everyone is supposed to get all patriotic, and yet supposedly Americans are all angry about something, or at least the portion of voters who passionately support Presidential candidates who keep yelling about how awful America is or how to make it great again or whatever those candidates are angry about. Are people really that angry? It doesn’t matter. We’ll get a wall across the Mexican border about the same time we get free universal healthcare and higher education, and then everyone can stop being angry, or maybe they’ll keep being angry but just about different things. As I was musing on the anger and unhappiness that supposedly surrounds us this Independence Day, it seemed to me that some of it might be because Americans are just so darned utopian. America is supposed to be the land ...
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An Information Literacy Kerfuffle

Can sitting in freezing conference rooms and then moving outside to oppressive heat cause one to get a summer cold? Well, something sure did, and I’ll go ahead and blame the ALA Conference because it’s been that sort of week. The ALA has announced that 16,587 people attended the conference this summer. That’s only a 27% drop from San Francisco last year. It’s even fewer than in Las Vegas two years ago, and a 37% drop from Chicago three years ago. Is there a lesson in there? Hint to ALA: there is indeed a lesson in there. Build it in terrible conference locations and nobody will want to come. Some supposedly big news from the conference is that the ACRL Board “voted to rescind the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.” For some reason, this has people upset, and hell hath no fury like an instruction librarian scorned. I’ve only seen some of the online fury, but it’s pretty funny. Some librarians are upset because now they’ll have to make new lesson ...
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The Coldest Summer I Ever Spent

Today I shall address some first world problems, which as a librarian in America are really the only kind I ever have. The sweltering heat, the stifling humidity, having to listen to The Eagles as I walked through the convention center--there’s really no indignity I was spared while attending the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. The only serious question to ask is whether Orlando is absolute worst place to have a conference, or if it’s the absolute worst after Las Vegas? They are serious contenders for most awful place on earth, or at least in the United States, but since Las Vegas is even hotter and is premised on shallowness and gullibility, it’s probably the worst. On the other hand, you’re unlikely to be attacked by an alligator in Vegas. So maybe it’s a tie. If you’re lucky enough to stay at one of the hotels connected to the convention center, it’s at least possible never to go out into the sun. The covered walkways were hot, but with little chance of developing ...
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Patrons Who Want Fines

I’ll never understand those people who are so terrified of the world they can’t take their kids into a public library without arming themselves, like this woman in Las Vegas banned from the library for a year. Las Vegas is an awful place, I’ll admit, but it’s not exactly Caracas. Maybe those people need therapy. Anyway, there’s good news for children in Syracuse. The library is no longer charging overdue fines for children as long as they bring the books back. Adults are out of luck, I guess, but one has to start small. The district is going to make up the few thousand that would have come in as fines and free the kiddies to read. Which reminded me of a listserv email on fines forwarded to me by a Kind Reader  that I’ve been meaning to write about. It was from a librarian whose library had gotten rid of fines, and also got more books back than usual. Pushback, for us, was totally from patrons. Some saw fines as a way to not feel guilty; many of the comments were along the ...
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Maybe Bring Back the Wi-fi

There’s trouble brewing at the public libraries in Houston County, GA, which is pronounced like the Manhattan street and not the Texas city for those of you curious about such things. I guess we could say the trouble already brewed, because two branches of the three-branch library system have shut down their wi-fi service and a third will do so today once the IT person gets to work. Considering that wi-fi is one of the favorite ways for libraries to claim they’re still relevant now that nobody reads books, that seems like a big deal. And there’s that digital divide thing. And the culprit? Library porn! Well, sort of. Nobody was necessarily watching any porn in the library, but somebody was using the library wi-fi network to illegally download porn movies, and a porn movie distributor “demanded the IP stop materials from being illegally downloaded,” after which the library “received cease and desist notices...through the library’s internet service provider.” ISPs are protected ...
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More Future Stuff

I love futurologists in the same way I love astrologists, spirit mediums, paranormal investigators, and police psychics. It’s just fun to watch people get gullible people excited about things that don’t exist. When you’re outside the con, watching a con artist at work can be great fun. According to this article, a futurologist predicted in 2007 that libraries would be extinct by 2019. The great thing about predicting the future is that once it’s the past everyone who saw the initial prediction has forgotten about it. The article has to embellish on libraries, calling them “those fusty, dusty old repositories of something called ‘books.’” Fusty and dusty? Clearly someone who hasn’t used a library since childhood and relies upon media stereotypes rather than empirical observation. But fortunately, we’re told, libraries are still around, although supposedly “something strange is going on in the library.” I just looked around to see if I could find anything strange going on in ...
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