Annoyed Librarian
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The Death, and Life, of Reading Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

What is one to think of a blog post entitled Technology is not the death of deep reading. Did anyone think it was? It’s responding to what is supposedly a hopeful article from NPR about the return of serialized fiction, which was popular back in the nineteenth century. Returning to the nineteenth century isn’t much of an appeal for me, but more power to the publishers. With serialized fiction, people can read a little bit at a time, which will, you know, get them into the habit of reading more books, which supposedly only a quarter of us Americans do. Because, you see, “Technology is not the death of deep reading. By making a few small, conscious efforts to use technology as a means towards reading more, we can re-establish a reading culture in the digital age.” Oh my, where is one to begin. Maybe by asking just what is “deep reading?” Based on the article, it seems to just mean reading, as opposed to skimming, which isn’t reading anyway. It could also mean reading ...
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Librarians Versus Dance

I almost wrote about times when librarians try way to hard to be popular, but it was just too sad. So instead, let’s look at a much happier topic. Which is more important for middle school children: dance instructors or school librarians? That’s the dilemma some people would like a school district in New Jersey to face. Some concerned citizens are complaining that while the school district recently eliminated the school librarians because of a “difficult budget year,” they’re “adding a dance position to the middle schools that has not been part of the schools for a long time.” The persons complaining claim that, “If you have enough money to restore a dance position to the middle schools, you have enough money to restore the library position.” Let’s break this down a little bit. First, if there’s enough money to restore the dance position, there might not be enough to restore the librarian. Do they make the same amount of money? Maybe dance instructors are cheaper, because ...
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A Tale of a Tattletale Rebuffed

That Sci-Hub thing still seems controversial. I can't imagine why. In case you’ve forgotten, Sci-Hub is a service that lets people get free access to copyrighted scholarly articles. It’s based in Russia, maybe, and so far the most effective threat against it is Elsevier suing it...in New York. Since the court in New York doesn’t have jurisdiction in Russia, that’s kind of pointless, so Sci-Hub opponents have to find other ways to attack it. So how does the President of the Association of American Publishers decide to attack Sci-Hub? By sending a strongly worded and slightly absurd letter to the dean of CSU-Long Beach, which employs a librarian who talked about Sci-Hub in a conference presentation. According to the letter, the librarian in question promoted Sci-Hub use at a conference. According to the dean, who listened to a recording of the presentation, no such thing happened, and he came out in full support of the librarian. The librarian himself responded that “Every ...
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Libraries for Librarians, not Readers

If you want to read an article to find out how self-serving and annoying librarians can be, you could do worse than this paean to noisy libraries. Someone complained about the noise level in her library, which based on the comments seems to be a frequent complaint. Then she gathered dozens of comments from other librarians about such complaints. The results are sometimes nauseating. He can’t just put on headphones? Really? That’s your response? Why should the onus be put on the patron? Are libraries there for reading at all anymore? Libraries have evolved. These days they’re culture and community centers where people can gather, enjoy programs and get information. Patrons who expect absolute quiet need to adjust. Apparently they’re not there for reading anymore. They’re “culture and community centers.” People who want quiet to read or study should just “adjust.” That’s fine except for the people who want libraries, because they’re out of luck. Where should those people go? We gave ...
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Information Failure

A recent Library Link of the Day was to this article about Snopes.com. The headline asks, “Can mythbusters like Snopes.com keep up in a post-truth era?” If Betteridge’s Law of Headlines is to be believed, the answer is of course, “no.” But why would this be a Library Link? I have a couple of possible reasons. The first reason is rather mild. Here’s a partial description of the Snopes founder’s house: “Bookcases line the property: there are tomes on Hitler, Disney, Titanic, J Edgar Hoover, proverbs, quotations, fables, grammar, the Beach Boys, top 40 pop hits, baseball, Charlie Chaplin – any and every topic.” What does that sound like? It sounds like a reference library, the kind that graces just about every town in America. And what about the founder of Snopes himself? “Mikkelson’s restless mind stems from a challenging childhood. His mother was a hoarder and his father moved out, leaving young David to seek solace in reading and obsessively following the LA Dodgers. ‘I was ...
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Bed Bugs @ Your Library

Since libraries don’t tend to have beds in them, one doesn’t normally associate them with bed bugs. It might be time for that to change. Over the past month or so, bed bugs have been found coast to coast in libraries in Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Missouri, Texas, California, and even in London, so this is an international scourge. The article from England Canada says bed bugs in libraries are not uncommon, the article from California says they are uncommon, and now I just don’t know what to believe. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of commonality. Some of the bed bugs show up in upholstered chairs in computer labs, others scurry from books in book returns. When it happens, librarians act quickly to implement their library’s bed bug infestation plan. I’m not even sure if my library has such a plan, but it sure will from now on if I have anything to do about it. What can libraries do to prevent this? Bed bugs like to hide in harborages near their hosts, i.e., humans. ...
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