Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Bigger Worries

Sometimes I just don’t what to say about the ALA, so I’ll probably contradict myself at some point along the way. I was just reading through the ALA press release about the latest budget proposal from Congressman Paul Ryan. The thing is, it’s a completely appropriate response from an organization concerned with American libraries. Also, it made me laugh and shake my head in disbelief. Here’s the first sentence of the ALA President’s response to the budget: “We were shocked to learn that Representative Paul Ryan recommended eliminating the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the agency that administers the primary source of federal funding to libraries.” First of all, either that shock is feigned, or the ALA really hasn’t been following politics at all for the past few years. That Paul Ryan would want to cut a service that was of no benefit to rich people shouldn’t be shocking. That’s the norm. It’s his schtick. He’s a one trick pony and that trick is ...
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Everybody’s a Victim

Today we try to answer the important question, when is a book ban not a book ban? This is a little different than the one I normally ask, which is when is a book ban not censorship? That question is ridiculously easy to answer if you’re thinking clearly and haven’t drunk the ALA Kool-Aid. If the book is still widely available online, in stores, and in other libraries, then it’s not censored. The ALA just likes to use that language to make themselves feel like they’re fighting against a mighty injustice when they’re usually just fighting against powerless reactionaries who don’t like gay penguins or teenage wizards. Sometimes libraries do actually ban books, and when they do we can call it a book ban with good reason. Most of the challenges are successfully fought off, thus insuring that everyone can have access to gay penguins and teenage wizards. If that kind of stuff was banned from libraries, our society, such as it is, might collapse. It’s understandable that ...
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Please, No Starbucks in Every Library

Before I begin, I just want to point out that if you can’t find a librarian job paying $142,000 a year that will then allow you go take classes at a library school to find out how libraries work, then you just don’t know the right people. Best entry-level librarian job ever. Okay, on to Starbucks. Since in my last post I recommended putting cafes in libraries to give people a space to do what they’re going to do anyway without annoying other people, it might seem odd that I find this argument kind of dumb. Some guy writing for Forbes wants a Starbucks in every library. There are plenty of reasons this is a bad idea. For one, lots of people hate Starbucks’ coffee. I’m not one of them, because I like my coffee to have a certain burnt viscosity about it, but some people object to that. For another, most public libraries probably don’t have the space to rent to a Starbucks. And yes, that’s part of the argument, that libraries can make money by renting space. Unless ...
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Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

I thought it was one of the truisms of the profession that library patrons never read signs. Signage is just that thing librarians do to try to control people who pay no attention to them. It turns out, not for the first time, that I was wrong. Some patrons pay attention to signs. The library signage in Beaver Dam, WI got a lot of attention from one library loving family there, but not the good kind. Usually when someone writes their local newspaper about the public library, they’re complaining about it, like that guy from Potsdam a couple of weeks ago. This complaint is a little different, though. They’re complaining that the library isn’t welcoming enough. The problem? Too many signs, and of all the wrong type. I had to admit I was amused by the end, especially since this wasn’t my library. There’s a garden area for patrons to visit. Instead of “Enjoy our lovely garden,” there are instead signs telling people not to touch or sit on stuff. Presumably the “don’t ...
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The Orlando Problem

When the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) speaks, the ALA Council listserv goes wild. Okay, maybe not all the time, but definitely when it “condemns the American Library Association’s (ALA) decision to continue with plans to hold the ALA 2016 annual conference in Orlando, Fla. in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict and that state’s refusal to revise or repeal “Stand Your Ground” laws, which were included in jury instructions in Zimmerman’s trial for second degree murder for fatally shooting unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. in 2012.” Whew, that’s a long one. The thread of discussion was eventually called "The Orlando Problem." Apparently the BCALA isn’t satisfied that Zimmerman supposedly now has post-traumatic stress disorder, is homeless, and “is unable to lead a normal life, and has to don a bulletproof vest whenever he goes out.” Hasn’t that poor guy suffered enough? All he did was get away with murder, after ...
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Take That, Bobst Librarians!

A Kind Reader sent in this amusing article with the subject line, “Take that, Bobst Librarians!” Obviously, I liked the subject line. Bobst is the main library at NYU, and at least one NYU student is very disappointed in the librarians there. “I need a great librarian, and I’m miffed that Bobst doesn’t have any,” writes the student. Insulting the NYU librarians by saying that none of them are great isn’t the amusing part. Okay, maybe a little. But the really amusing part is why the student thinks none of the librarians are great. Here’s meat of the complaint: The reference librarians are wonderful at coming up with bibliographies for my papers (and sending me research on quirky questions I think up in the middle of the night) but when I tried asking for a book recommendation, the librarian at the desk looked slightly concerned. So apparently the Bobst librarians are great at the things they're actually supposed to be doing. But it goes on: Did I want to ...
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