Annoyed Librarian
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The Joker Takes on the Library

Kind Reader sent me this article recently, about the Queens Library agreeing to settle a suit with its fired former president Thomas Galante for $1.5 million. It seems that Galante annoys Kind Reader. The backstory for the uninitated: Galante was fired a couple of years ago after the City Controller “found the CEO was using the library like a personal piggy bank.” Apparently, “Galante spent lavishly on food, liquor, entertainment, furnishings for an office roof deck and concert tickets. He also wasn’t above billing the library for parking tickets and electronic books for his Kindle, according to court papers.” And that was on top of his $392,000 salary, which won’t make you crazy rich in NYC but is pretty good by library standards. After he was fired, he sued, wanting “$2.275 million in severance, contending he was fired without cause.” He got “only” $1.5 million, and of that he’ll get to keep “only” about $300,000. The rest will go to pay his legal bills. Why is that? ...
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Fake Patrons and the Moral High Ground

This might be the weirdest library scandal I’ve seen. Two librarians in Florida hatched a scheme to checkout books to a fictitious person in order to do something or other that doesn’t make much sense. The story itself is weird. The two librarians checked out 2,361 books to a nonexistent patron named “Chuck Finley” during a nine-month period. In case you don’t want to bother with the math, that’s roughly 260 books a month or 8 books a day. Chuck Finley is quite a voracious reader. He was so prolific that he single-handedly increased the circulation of the branch library by 3.9%. However, since many of the books were checked out and then checked right back in again, he didn’t even get a chance to read them. Supposedly, the goal was to make sure certain books had been checked out so they wouldn’t be weeded. Also, to make sure the library didn’t have to buy the books again after they had been weeded. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, either. Surely there must be ...
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Library Predictions for 2017

It’s 2017. Finally. It was a rough year for many of us, starting with the death of Abe Vigoda in January and going downhill from there. But now the new year is upon us, and it’s time to make predictions for just how awful a year 2017 is going to be. What’s going to happen in American libraries during the next year? 1) ALA members will grow increasingly hostile as more members realize that the ALA bureaucracy is more interested in stroking President Trump’s ego than doing anything for them personally or professionally. 2) It will be a sad day for the ALA Washington Office when President Trump is impeached by the House after trying to make good on a promise to rebuild American infrastructure, which Congress will have declared treasonous. The sadness will be short lived as the Washington Office realizes most librarians don’t like Mike Pence either. 3) Many will wonder why they hadn’t realized years before that there isn’t an association representing librarians in the country just ...
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Why Librarians and Not Professors Make the Decisions

Kind Reader sent me this article on the “outrageous mass destruction of books” at the University of California - Santa Cruz. In it, a math professor who was outraged when the Science and Engineering Library moved or removed 80,000 books does a good job of showing why librarians and not professors are in charge of libraries. If professors were in charge of libraries, nothing would ever get done. They’re usually incapable of making hard choices because they can’t see past their own narrow interests, and they get emotional just at the moment when rational decisions have to be made. Consider this bit of maudlin prose: “When my mother died, there was her chair left in the living room, the red chair with tattered holes on the right arm, white stuffing poking through, cigarette marks, sitting in the open sun. The second floor of the library was that chair, that hospital room, cleared out, cleaned, the sun streaming in, empty after the machines had been unplugged.” Yes, a library ...
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Nobody Murdered in the Library

You have to hand it to some people. They know how to exploit the leadup to the Christmas season for maximal ironic effectiveness. For example, whoever stole donated toys from a public library in Albany, OR. What’s even more amazing is how brazen the thief was. A woman walked into the library, said she was there “about the toys,” and someone from the library helped her carry 75 toys from the Toys for Tots donation bin to her car. One could imagine some situations in which maybe stealing a toy or two wouldn’t be quite so bad. Destitute parents hoping to bring their little tyke a moment of joy during a stressful holiday, etc. Of course that’s the sort of thing Toys for Tots already does, so strike that. There’s not really any decent reason to steal toys. Food maybe, but not toys. It takes a special kind of gall to steal donated toys from a library the week before Christmas. And with that kind of ability to con library employees into helping with the theft, I’d say that person has ...
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Whitesplaining and Censorship

Some Virginia schools stopped teaching Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird because the parent of a biracial teenager complained about them, saying “her son struggled to read the racist language. You’d think it was the end of the world to listen to some people. I’m sure the ALA is all over this one complaining that the schools are “censoring” books that are readily available, including Huck Finn for free. But I’m used to that. What I didn’t know is that there were other organizations just as shrill when it comes to fake censorship. The “National Coalition Against Censorship described” the removal “as ‘particularly egregious’. The NCAC slammed the action in a post on its Kids Right To Read website, writing: ‘By avoiding discussion of controversial issues such as racism, schools do a great disservice to their students.’” Oh my, “particularly” egregious. That IS bad. It’s a pity those two statements don’t have anything to do with each other. Not reading Huck Finn in no ...
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