Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Lemons into Lemonade

Over the years I’ve occasionally written about crime in public libraries, but this story about sex, drugs, and the library tops all the ones I’ve seen before. It’s easy to think of Los Angeles as the “city of angels” if you remember Lucifer was also an angel. It’s also easy to think about the incompetence of the L.A.P.D. if you’ve paid any attention to what they’ve been doing for the past few decades. But first, the library story. At the Downtown Central Library, a man outside the building offered an undercover NBC4 I-Team producer what he said was crystal meth. On other days, outside Hollywood’s Goldwyn Library, a building designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, NBC4’s hidden cameras captured people injecting what appeared to be heroin, as well as smoking what appeared to be crystal meth, crack cocaine and marijuana. One man our undercover producer met inside the library offered her what he said was the drug Ecstasy. Later that day, I-Team cameras captured the same man ...
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Keep It As Long As You Want

Today I want to talk about something controversial. Dr. Seuss and Donald Trump are flashes in the librarian pan; unhinged students exercising their right to free speech by trying to shout down other people’s speech is a passing fad. Instead, let’s talk about library fines and how much I don’t like them. Before we get into it, I should note that as a librarian, I haven’t paid a lot of library fines. It’s pretty easy to return books on time when you have to go into the place you got them from every day. Thus, I have no personal axe to grind. I don’t take on this crusade for myself. I do it for the people, just like I do everything else. But I still don’t like them. I don’t like them when they’re levied on children whose parents are irresponsible, leaving the children unable to check out library books to read. I don’t like them when they’re levied on poor, but admittedly irresponsible, people who might benefit from reading books but can’t because they owe money for fines ...
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Restoring Our Mental Health in 5 Minutes or Less

We hear from this librarian that “according to the Harvard Medical School Commentaries on Public Health, researchers have found an association between mental health and regularly expressing one’s gratitude.” And then he goes on to express gratitude and, hopefully, become or remain mentally healthy. I don’t know if it’s the bubble I live in or the general culture, but everyone these days seems worried about mental health, either their own or other people’s. We’re allegedly living in perilous times that try librarians’ souls, or whatever. Librarians are supposedly burned out and put upon and fretting themselves into a mentally unhealthy dither willy nilly. Well, we don’t want that happening, do we? Librarians have to be mentally healthy and physically hearty to withstand the intense pressures of their relatively stress free jobs. So let’s all practice some gratitude. It is the season of Thanksgiving, after all, or at least it was until the stores started putting out ...
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My Awkward Job Advertisement

Kind Reader sent this advertisement for a “Civic, Social & Cultural Inclusion Librarian of Practice,” which is the kind of job title that would require a very large business card, if people still use those archaic relics of the pre-digital age. Are there public librarian jobs that involve civic, social, and cultural exclusion? Isn’t inclusiveness sort of built into the public library mission, since they exist for everyone in the community to use? Kind Reader asked my opinion, and commented thusly: “My main thought: Couldn't they just have called the job ‘Public Librarian,’ since all of this is just what public librarians do?” Answer: Probably. The job title is odd and unwieldy, the notion of “practice” is murky, and the job description is written in the first person from the standpoint of the applicant, which is unusual and a bit off putting, at least to me.  Thus, we learn about the work beginning with this: “I will become actively involved in my area of practice as a ...
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Sensationalism and Outrage and Libraries

Goodness, it’s been an exciting week in libraryland, with someone calling himself the “Angriest Librarian” swearing on Twitter at an uninformed reporter who thought public libraries should be closed because nobody uses them. Nobody. As many readers know, mocking journalists for babbling nonsense about libraries is fun sport for me, although I don’t resort to foul language. Regardless, the comment was stupid and manifestly false. The “Angriest Librarian” wrote about the encounter and his few minutes of Twitter fame. He claims to be interested in librarianship because he believes “in reducing barriers to better outcomes for marginalized and underserved populations.” That’s probably at least as good a reason as believing in literacy and education for all, or the incredible importance that everyone be able to play videogames and 3D print for free. The problem with all the rah-rahing on behalf of public libraries is that the entire encounter seems to have been misunderstood by ...
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Your Existence is a Disturbance

Kind Reader sent a story about what has to be one of the most ridiculous encounters ever to take place in an academic library. The short version is that 5-6 protesters invaded a room in the library at UC-Santa Cruz that had been booked by the College Republicans for a discussion group. The protesters proceeded to yell at people until some of them were arrested for disturbing the peace. In the middle of it all was a librarian trying to calm things down, and who displayed a remarkable poise in dealing with the situation, despite one of the protesters yelling at her to show her political leanings and kick out the peaceful College Republicans. We know this because there’s a video, and it’s a doozy.  When I viewed the video, it was at “City on a Phil; October 18 at 9:44am.” It’s pretty stunning to watch a 20-year-old woman make such an ass of herself. Perhaps readers will disagree, but here’s how the situation looked to me. The College Republicans, which I assume is a ...
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