Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Books Every Library Should Have?

Concerned citizens in Fairfax County, VA are protesting as librarians rapidly shrink the book collection. Here are some numbers from the article: The library’s total collection has decreased from around 2.75 million items in 2004 to 2.4 million items in 2013, a drop of about 350,000 books, magazines and online materials, even as Fairfax added two new branches and electronic items to its system. The number of printed items, mostly books, has dropped by about 440,000 in that time, replaced by about 100,000 online items and e-books. If a book hasn’t been checked out for two years, Fairfax library officials review it for possible elimination in order to keep the collection fresh… 440,000 books gone, which even with the addition of “online items and e-books” still means a cut of 340,000 titles. The children’s sections seem to be the worst: The number of children’s books in Fairfax’s 22 branches has also plummeted, particularly outraging the activists. The library had about 1 million ...
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Introspection

Every once in a while the blog gets a comment that makes me laugh out loud. Here’s one from last week from someone who’s apparently a bigger fan of Facebook than I am: Your blog is a sad wasteland of miserableness. Do you think this is clever? Yes, people do these things but you are basically doing the same grandstanding here on your blog, minus the food. Maybe if you enjoyed something you’d be a happier person. Perhaps you should look up narcissism in the dictionary. I don’t want a librarian who thinks that the idea of anyone encouraging reading is a bad idea, that seems a little counterproductive to me. What would make someone leave a comment like that? What would anyone expect from a blog called “Annoyed Librarian”? Chirpy life advice? Videos of puppies? Maybe the commenter wanted me to take a good hard look at myself, to really explore the emotional depths of a blog called “Annoyed Librarian.” Okay. Here goes. Is this blog a sad wasteland of miserableness? Has the ...
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Strong Healthy Families @ Your Library

It’s a small irony of life in the U.S. that people who probably react in horror at groups like the Taliban or Boko Haram don’t see anything wrong with trying to turn their religious beliefs into laws. Which probably has nothing to do with a defeated book challenge reported at a website called “Christian News,” but it might. Reported might be a bit too strong a word, since it seems to me like an advocacy article in the form of a news story, but I’m not sure exactly which side it’s advocating so I could be wrong. The story involves the school board in Superior, Wisconsin voting 5-1 not to withdraw from the library a book entitled “Emma and Meesha My Boy: A Two Mom Story.” A lone rube had complained that the book was promoting homosexuality to the kiddies, and wanted that nonsense stopped immediately. It’s a typical story in many ways, and it’s pretty rare for a children’s book to be removed from a library because of such complaints, rarer than having a book removed from the ...
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The Year of Books

The big news in books recently has to be Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he was making 2015 a "year of books," and was going to try to read a book every two weeks. That doesn’t sound like much of a challenge to me, but I’m not busy running a multibillion dollar corporation. He says he’s excited, and that he’s “found reading books very intellectually fulfilling. Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today.” For a guy who went to Harvard, it seems a bit late in life to make that discovery. If his thousands of followers take up the challenge, that’ll certainly be a lot more books read, and more book reading is good for everyone who deals in books, from book stores to libraries. It does seem slightly ironic, given that Zuckerberg is responsible for providing access to the shallowest, stupidest reading possible to millions of people through Facebook. On the occasions when I wander into the Facebook domain, I see my ...
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Predictions for 2015

Ahh, the first post of a new year. A year full of hope and promise and all that kind of thing. Being the first post of the year, I’ll keep up with a tradition that I may or may not have started in the past. It’s time to make some predictions about libraries for 2015. Librarians, and apparently most other people, like to take the arbitrary starting date of a new year and pretend things will be a lot different than they have been for the previous 12 months and the 12 months before that and...etc.. Prediction #1: The vast majority of public libraries won’t close, which is the opposite of what people have been predicting since 2008. Except in Great Britain, where they probably will. The British public library experiment seems to be nearing the end. Prediction #2: There will be a lot less hype about libraries from librarians than in past years. For some unknown demographic reason, a whole bunch of excitable young librarians started inflicting their social media presence on ...
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Another Year Gone

Happy New Year! I’m glad it’s almost here. What a long, strange year we’ve finished. I might think of it as the year of engaging the outsiders, but that was only in a few posts and it’s a terrible name for a year so I probably won’t really. There did seem to be a lot of people who wanted to set me straight on whatever they were passionate about. Those people who hate weeding library collections, for example. The most fanatical were probably the gun-toting folk who don’t feel safe walking into a public library without being armed to the teeth. Some of the emails and the more outrageous, and unapproved, comments on that were hilarious, if you don’t mind laughing at aggressive monomaniacs, which I don’t. They kind of reminded me of the science-hating homeschoolers from a couple of years ago, in that there seems to be a network of people with nothing better to do with their time than trolling social media with their obsessive commentary. Fascinating stuff from a sociological ...
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