Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Unhappy State Chapters

One can always tell when an ALA conference is near because ALA Councilors start chattering on the email list. While they should be chattering about what group of idiots chose Orlando in June as a conference site and how can they be banned from the organization, instead the Councilors have been chattering about a new proposed resolution involving state library chapters. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that, which is why every year I submit “Annoyed Librarian” as a write-in candidate for ALA Council, only to be thwarted by little things like not formally running and not campaigning in any way whatsoever for others to write my name in. Plus, blogs are ineligible for ALA office. And we call this a democracy. Anyway, it seems some folks who belong to state library chapter aren’t happy with their representation on the ALA Council despite the fact, which one of the Whereases acknowledges, “the Association has established a governing structure in which 53 chapter councilors ...
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They Haven’t Already Won

Terrorists are now targeting librarians, sort of, and it could be kind of scary, but it seems more just kind of weird. According to Newsweek, “a hacker collective aligned to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has disseminated” a hit list to its supporters. The hit list is composed of the names and addresses of librarians presumably belonging to the Arkansas Library Association, the target of the hack. Supposedly, this group “has initiated a trend of hacking low-level sites and databases,” and it’s hard to think of many websites or databases lower or more boring than a state library association. It’s almost like the hackers are trying to make the idea of a hit list absurd. For example, in the past they “released the details of military, governmental or diplomatic personnel, which supposedly “is a key tenet of the group’s amateurish cyber strategy of damaging Western interests and affecting civilians in areas of the Western world that the group is unable to reach.” I ...
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Other Views of the Library

You never know where librarians or libraries might show up. For example, here’s an article about a Britney Spears selfie. Just being able to write that sentence makes me weep for the culture. In the pic, Spears is covered up in a lacy white high-neck top and a pair of tortoiseshell glasses. The star looks every bit the part of a sexy librarian, down to the full bookshelves behind her. But the frames aren’t just for show: They’re fully functional as well, helping the pop star to get down to business. Reading that didn’t make me feel any better. Does Spears look like a sexy librarian? I don’t know. I don’t see many sexy librarians. Do the bookshelves behind her lend an aura of librarianship? Hardly. They look like they were filled with attractive leather-bound volumes chosen to look good. Spears might be a big reader for all I know, but she probably doesn’t read those books. And finally, are those glasses fully functional? Possibly, but not if the function is to correct vision. ...
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The Evolution of Traditional Libraries

NPR had a story about the most exciting thing to come out of Omaha since whatever the last thing I wrote about from Omaha. It’s about a techie makerspace called Do Space, which seems like a nifty enough place. It’s got a lot of computers that are powerful enough to actually do stuff on. Entrepreneurs and programmers can hang out there and use the space. Kids can play videogames. People can learn how to use, and presumably use, laser cutters. I’m not sure what I would ever need a laser cutter for, but it’s nice to know I could always pop over to Omaha to use one. The best thing about it is the public didn’t have to pay for the stuff. Taxpayers didn't fund this library. Instead, Heritage Services, a coalition of Omaha philanthropists, donated $7 million to renovate the building — which had been a Borders bookstore — and pay for computers, 3-D printers and the Internet bandwidth. Sue Morris speaks for the donors. You might have noticed that it said the place was a library. The ...
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Betting on the Improbable

Before discussing an article about libraries I found in something called StateTech, it’s important to get bigger view of the magazine. The article about libraries is the leading article at the moment. What about the article right after it, which I shall for good reasons designate Number Two? The headline is enticing, as all clickbait is to the undisciplined mind, and undisciplined minds are what the Internet thrives on. “How the Apple Watch, Fitbit and Other Wearables Are Transforming the Workplace.” The assumption the undisciplined mind might make is that “wearables” are transforming the workplace, and this article will tell you how. Alas, the Internet doesn’t like grammar, because grammar is logical, at least most of the time. Instead of the implied article, we get claims like this: “Many large organizations, intrigued by the extraordinary value that wearables can deliver, are looking to bring them into the enterprise as well.” The emphasis is right there in the original ...
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Research is Fun, Too

I’ve been trying to figure out what annoys me so much about this article on makerspaces in academic libraries. It could be that the idea itself seems so pointless. Unlike public libraries, college campuses have lots of other places to go to make stuff, and libraries don’t have to be the center of all creative activity. But then again, if academic libraries are awash in money, why not buy some toys to play with instead of spending that money on material that fulfills the library’s mission to support scholarship on campus? Spend away if you have the extra cash, which I’m sure you don’t. After all, though, I think it’s the condescension of the piece that annoyed me. For example: From the moment I interviewed for my current position I’ve been questioned about my interest in makerspaces and more specifically, my playful nature. I’m not afraid to admit that I like to have fun, and as librarians there’s no reason why our jobs shouldn’t be fun (at least most of the time).… But it’s ...
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