Annoyed Librarian
Search LibraryJournal.com ....
Subscribe to LJ
Inside Annoyed Librarian

Get Rid of Your Wi-Fi to Save Your Library Patrons

I don’t venture much into the most questionable parts of the Internet, except on your behalf. You’re welcome. Last week brought a press release about a paper arguing that libraries and schools should get rid of wi-fi because it’s giving everyone cancer or something. The paper is published on a wordpress.com site, so I’m thinking not peer reviewed. According to the press release, “Libraries can protect their users and staffs from dangerous radiation by converting to wired devices which are not only faster but safe.” I hate to admit it, but I haven’t heard about this particular danger before, but that’s okay, the author knows why. “The intense advertising, the economic power, and the political power of profitable wireless industries enables them to dominate the public dialogue and hold sway over government regulators and legislators.” A conspiracy! Big Wireless! Libraries getting rid of wi-fi isn’t exactly as easy as our earnest researcher believes. It’s not the staff that ...
Read More >>

Approve a Real Librarian This Time

The big library news last week was President Obama nominating Carla Hayden to be the next Librarian of Congress. I’m pretty sure he followed my advice from last year to hire a real librarian next time. It’s nice to be heard. Thanks, Obama! A lot of librarians are excited about this development. Hayden is a solid choice, an actual librarian, and would be the first non-white, non-man to be the Librarian of Congress. That is, if she is approved by the Senate. And, frankly, people at the Nation calling her a “radical librarian” aren’t helping things any. For librarians, this might be considered a test of whether the LoC can get some diversity and some badly needed library experience. But it’s also a test of how seriously anyone in the Senate takes librarians in general or the Librarian of Congress in particular. Hopefully, they don’t take either very seriously. But why, you might ask, hunched forward in your seat, your coffee cup paused halfway to your mouth? Because if ...
Read More >>

Knitting and Reading

The Future Cities Project, whatever that is, sure doesn’t like knitting, or at least they don’t like people knitting in libraries in the UK. Libraries are for reading, they claim, not knitting! Here’s their claim about what libraries are for: “Since the Public Libraries Act was passed in 1850, libraries have served as citadels of culture and scientific inquiry, positioning themselves as sources of knowledge and recreation.” They’re big on the educational aspect of libraries, and that’s how libraries best promote themselves among the general public that doesn’t use them but likes the idea. But now, as the sad violin plays, times are changing, and they don’t like it. For example, the Carnegie Trust now wants libraries to help alleviate social isolation “by providing services for older people, etc.” One way is a knitting group “combining the opportunity to socialise with the chance to relax through knitting and crocheting. It is also asserted that, through these activities, ...
Read More >>

Misguided Nostalgia

I’m not sure why this diatribe against the darkness of contemporary YA novels annoyed me before I was halfway through it, but it did. I don’t read YA novels and I don’t care who does. The author complains that contemporary YA fiction isn’t as light as Jane Austen or “Georgette Heyer's romantic Regency novels” which as a girl she “raced through...imagining, if only for an afternoon, that I was pretty and clever enough and there was no danger of a nuclear bomb dropping.” Something tells me her 12-year-old son wouldn’t have the same experience reading romance novels, but I get the point. Everywhere she turns, from bookstores to librarians, she finds recommendations for dark novels focused on teenagers who are terrible people or who are questioning their sexual identity or who are victims of abuse, etc. She rightly points out that very few of us ever suffer from “gender dysphoria.” I might point out that most of us aren’t terrible people ruining the lives of everyone around us, ...
Read More >>

A Place for Binge Reading

That whole “Netflix for books” thing doesn’t seem to be working out for anyone, particularly readers. A few years ago Scribd was one of the companies launching such a service. All you could read for just $8.99 per month. What a deal! Of course, last summer they decided that the service was all you could read unless you read a lot, so they dropped most of their romance novels, because those romance readers are “power readers” it seems. I hadn’t realized that in August Scribd “eliminated the unlimited audiobook component of its service and instead transitioned to a credit system, disincentivizing so-called “power readers” from listening to a disproportionate amount of audiobooks each month.” So says this press announcement of yet more limitations. You have to wonder about a service for readers that wants to disincentivize reading. As part of the re-structured service, all Scribd users will receive unlimited access to “Scribd Select” books and audiobooks, a rotating ...
Read More >>

Why Libraries Don’t Deliver Books

A Kind Reader wondered what I thought about last week’s opinion article suggesting that the Washington D.C. public library should start delivering books to his house. To be fair, it wasn’t just his house. Since his discovery of this thing called a public library, he’s become quite happy with it. He likes it that he can search for a book, put it on hold, and pick it up the next day at his neighborhood branch library. But that's just not enough for some people. It got me to thinking: Why doesn’t the library team up with somebody with real expertise in the logistics of home delivery — Amazon, UPS or one of the many food delivery services that have sprung up over the past year or so — to figure out a way to cover “the last mile” — the journey from the library to my house and back again? Then it really would seem even more like Amazon Prime, and I can’t imagine that that wouldn’t help grow the market for library books. There are some libraries who have the service, both mentioned in ...
Read More >>

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE