Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

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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Unhappy State Chapters

One can always tell when an ALA conference is near because ALA Councilors start chattering on the email list. While they should be chattering about what group of idiots chose Orlando in June as a conference site and how can they be banned from the organization, instead the Councilors have been chattering about a new proposed resolution involving state library chapters. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that, which is why every year I submit “Annoyed Librarian” as a write-in candidate for ALA Council, only to be thwarted by little things like not formally running and not campaigning in any way whatsoever for others to write my name in. Plus, blogs are ineligible for ALA office. And we call this a democracy. Anyway, it seems some folks who belong to state library chapter aren’t happy with their representation on the ALA Council despite the fact, which one of the Whereases acknowledges, “the Association has established a governing structure in which 53 chapter councilors ...
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They Haven’t Already Won

Terrorists are now targeting librarians, sort of, and it could be kind of scary, but it seems more just kind of weird. According to Newsweek, “a hacker collective aligned to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has disseminated” a hit list to its supporters. The hit list is composed of the names and addresses of librarians presumably belonging to the Arkansas Library Association, the target of the hack. Supposedly, this group “has initiated a trend of hacking low-level sites and databases,” and it’s hard to think of many websites or databases lower or more boring than a state library association. It’s almost like the hackers are trying to make the idea of a hit list absurd. For example, in the past they “released the details of military, governmental or diplomatic personnel, which supposedly “is a key tenet of the group’s amateurish cyber strategy of damaging Western interests and affecting civilians in areas of the Western world that the group is unable to reach.” I ...
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Other Views of the Library

You never know where librarians or libraries might show up. For example, here’s an article about a Britney Spears selfie. Just being able to write that sentence makes me weep for the culture. In the pic, Spears is covered up in a lacy white high-neck top and a pair of tortoiseshell glasses. The star looks every bit the part of a sexy librarian, down to the full bookshelves behind her. But the frames aren’t just for show: They’re fully functional as well, helping the pop star to get down to business. Reading that didn’t make me feel any better. Does Spears look like a sexy librarian? I don’t know. I don’t see many sexy librarians. Do the bookshelves behind her lend an aura of librarianship? Hardly. They look like they were filled with attractive leather-bound volumes chosen to look good. Spears might be a big reader for all I know, but she probably doesn’t read those books. And finally, are those glasses fully functional? Possibly, but not if the function is to correct vision. ...
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The Evolution of Traditional Libraries

NPR had a story about the most exciting thing to come out of Omaha since whatever the last thing I wrote about from Omaha. It’s about a techie makerspace called Do Space, which seems like a nifty enough place. It’s got a lot of computers that are powerful enough to actually do stuff on. Entrepreneurs and programmers can hang out there and use the space. Kids can play videogames. People can learn how to use, and presumably use, laser cutters. I’m not sure what I would ever need a laser cutter for, but it’s nice to know I could always pop over to Omaha to use one. The best thing about it is the public didn’t have to pay for the stuff. Taxpayers didn't fund this library. Instead, Heritage Services, a coalition of Omaha philanthropists, donated $7 million to renovate the building — which had been a Borders bookstore — and pay for computers, 3-D printers and the Internet bandwidth. Sue Morris speaks for the donors. You might have noticed that it said the place was a library. The ...
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