Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Library Culture: Dream into Reality

Despite saying that Library Culture was like “Library 2.0” but less silly and insubstantial, I realized afterwards that Library Culture might still seem insubstantial. What can I say? I was too exhausted from inventing the next important library fad--meme--movement to give much thought to what it would actually be, which is how these things usually go. I went on a bit about how Library Culture would bring all services within the library and give meaning and purpose to everyone’s lives. That might seem like a tall order, but when have librarians ever shrunk from a challenge? Please don’t answer that. The first goal of Library Culture is to get everyone to identify themselves with the goal of libraries, the way they do with the goals of religions or political parties. That should be easy. First, because such goals are always vague. Who doesn’t want salvation or freedom or security or any of the other big words that religions and political parties promise? What will Library ...
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The Solution to All Our Problems

In the last post I suggested there might be something else libraries could be doing about the problems with drug overdoses, homelessness, and other trenchant social problems that affect them besides just stocking up on Narcan and hoping for the best. Here goes. These problems are obviously larger problems than libraries are used to dealing with. Librarians are information professionals, mostly, and once it gets past providing information broadly conceived they don’t have much professionally to add. Or do they? Someone commented on the social triage post: But libraries are and always have been about connecting people to information. So maybe in the past the librarian would have looked up the name of a treatment center, or a food pantry, or a free clinic, and sent the patron there. But as those places become harder and harder to find, why shouldn’t we close the gap between the patron and the information they’re seeking? Why shouldn’t we invite those services inside our ...
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The Fraying Macrocosm

A Kind Reader sent the following article about the library situation in Humboldt County, CA, with a small concern that the topic is beating a dead horse. It’s yet another installment in the now popular genre of articles on libraries dealing with drug overdoses, etc., which seems to be expanding daily, both the problems and the articles. The microessay on the meaning of “microcosm” might be useful for some people, but my readers can probably skip it. In Humboldt County, the library director thinks the library is “a microcosm “of what’s going on in a given society,” and if so the macrocosm, at least in Humboldt County, is a mess. The question is still open about whether the macrocosm is messy or not except in some locations. Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco keep showing up as places where the libraries have to deal with drug overdoses, such as in this article sent in by another Kind Reader. But if you’ve been following the stream of news articles, you might notice that ...
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Copyright Infringers be Warned!

The big publisher news last week that’s sure to make nobody happy in the long run was that Elsevier won a lawsuit against Sci-Hub and $15 million in damages for copyright infringement. In case you don’t follow these things, and unless you work for Elsevier you probably don’t, Sci-Hub is the site that lets people download journal articles for free, the only hitch being the articles are mostly taken from subscription databases owned by commercial science publishers. Ooops. Those articles are apparently worth a lot of money to someone, because “in May, Elsevier gave the court a list of 100 articles illicitly made available by Sci-Hub and LibGen, and asked for a permanent injunction and damages totalling $15 million.” $150,000 per article is nothing to sneeze at, unless it’s allergy season and you just can’t help yourself. Anyway, the judge agreed, and so now Elsevier can rest content in the knowledge that Sci-Hub owes them $15 million for copyright infringement. I wish somebody ...
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Social Triage @ Your Library

There is apparently no end to the problems librarians are supposed to deal with these days. As the lead sentence of an article on mental health first aid training for librarians says, “The job description of a librarian goes far beyond recommending books and organizing shelves -- they're often the first responders when someone needs help in the library.” We could certainly quibble about the job description. Recommending books and organizing shelves haven’t exhausted the job description of librarians pretty much ever. Somebody, after all, has to catalog all those books, but catalogers are forgotten so often they’re probably used to it by now, if libraries even still have catalogers. And they are often first responders when someone needs help in the library. Need help finding information? Ask a librarian! Need help clearing a printer jam? Ask a librarian! The help provided was never insignificant, but it was at least once upon a time confined to things related to goods and ...
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Stroking the Male Ego

If there’s anything I’ve learned with this blog, it’s that you can’t please everyone, which is why I don’t even bother. Not pleasing people gives them something to complain about, and people love to complain. If people didn’t love to complain, social media would wither and possibly die. Some of the complaints and criticisms I understand, but some of them I don’t. For example, one of my lessons from last week was: Unless you’re a middle class white librarian, and probably a male librarian at that, don’t do anything that might get your attitude labelled as “adversarial and incorrigible.” Some actions might include: not smiling enough around people who think you should smile; talking when someone else would rather talk; continuing to talk when someone else has interrupted you repeatedly; talking; questioning anything. Someone left the following comment regarding that lesson, and I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be ironic or not: “It isn’t pleasant being a male librarian, so I don’t ...
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