Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

No Stereotypes Shattered Here

I’m not sure why, but I still get annoyed every time I read one of those news articles trying to break down librarian stereotypes, only it seems to be for different reasons each time. The latest is from Tucson, Arizona, where supposedly “librarians become new selves when not between shelves,” because the headline writer wants to be a writer of doggerel but couldn’t get paid to do that. Supposedly, unlike the stereotypical shusher, “In real life...many local librarians live their lives out loud.” Living one’s life out loud seems to mean, in turn, being a female bodybuilder, playing roller derby, and riding a motorcycle, although I suspect that if the motorcycle rider were a man this wouldn’t be considered much of a surprise. Usually what annoys me about the articles is the way the librarians are played up to be larger than life characters when they’re really not. Okay, you have tattoos. That would have been very exciting in the 1960s maybe. It’s not the librarians ...
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Exposure @ the Library

A reader suggested in the comments last week that I write about an incident of indecent exposure at the Alexander Library at Rutgers University. I was unaware of such an incident, but sure enough last week a man walked into a women’s restroom in the library, exposed himself to one woman, and grabbed another woman on the buttocks before running from the room. That’s the kind of thing you expect to happen at a public library! According to the news article, the library basically is a public library, with anyone allowed in until 10pm. Since the incident happened around 9:20pm, it could have been a member of the public rather than a fellow student, but who knows. The student reactions are priceless. This one might be my favorite: “I would never expect a man to come in there and just expose himself like that.” Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, either. One student understandably says that she deserves to feel safe in the library, while another on, a martial arts expert, says ...
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Banned Posters Week

There’s controversy brewing in the library community because a lot of librarians like to find stuff to get upset about to distract themselves from how boring their jobs are. The latest controversy is over a Banned Books Week poster. Yes, it’s a poster you can buy, and people are upset about it because they don’t have any real problems to worry about. The poster shows a young woman, bare arms, hair down, holding up a book in front of her face. The book has a red circle with a clear rectangle in the middle, and the woman is looking out through the rectangle. Bold red letters say “READSTRICTED.” The ALA Council listserv is all abuzz, because juicy topics don’t come round often enough. Here’s a representative protest: I work in a heavily Muslim neighborhood. In fact, many of you may have seen images of my neighborhood last week, when 2 women were arrested for conspiring to commit a terrorist act.  I truly believe that acts of terrorism and attacks on our cities come from an ...
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Different Ways to Celebrate Libraries

It’s National Library Week again, and once again it annoys me. It’s not the week itself, but the pretense behind it and the vague "celebrating" that doesn't seem tied to anything real. First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate. Yeah, well, not really. It’s implicitly an acknowledgment that as an organization the ALA really just promotes public libraries. Academic and school libraries at least have ALA divisions. Those special librarians don’t even want to have anything to do with ALA. It’s just so silly that they keep up the pretense as well. Look back at that quote: “to promote library use.” Does anyone think that lawyers at a big law firm are going to ...
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Why the Link of the Day?

So this story was the Library Link of the Day yesterday. It reports that Walmart is refusing to stock a book by someone named Ronda Rousey because Rousey “has been deemed too violent.” Rousey is apparently the “UFC's biggest star,” which meant absolutely nothing to me. UFC is, according to Wikipedia, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which sounds dreadfully dull to me but is apparently very popular. I have to wonder about a sport where every participant has to wear Reebok shorts. My question is, why is this a Library Link of the Day? It has nothing to do with libraries. There’s Rousey, the UFC, and Walmart. What’s the link to libraries? The easiest one would probably be that there’s a book involved. However, if that were relevant, the LLotD could just post book reviews, which also wouldn’t be terribly relevant. Is it that the book is “banned”? That seems to be a stretch as well, since it has nothing to do with libraries refusing to stock any books. Even Walmart will let ...
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Hire a Librarian Next Time

Librarians get no respect, we all know that. People don’t even know what librarians do most of the time. There’s a cliched reaction to what librarians do that’s similar to what I’ve been told happens to English teachers. Supposedly, if you tell someone you’re an English teacher, they usually say, “Oh, I’d better watch my grammar!” Similarly, if you tell someone you’re a librarian, they say, “Oh, I bet you like to acquire, organize, and disseminate information!” Wait, no. They say, “I bet you like to read!” Or, perhaps worse, “I wish I had a job where I could sit around and read all day!” To which I reply, “You and me both.” Perhaps the biggest sign of disrespect is that anyone working in a library is considered a librarian by the general public. That person shelving books? A shelving librarian! That person stamping due dates? The stamping librarian! And, the most embarrassing one for the profession: that person in charge of the Library of Congress? The Librarian of ...
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