Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Why People Hate Weeding Books

What is it about book weeding that gets library patrons so panicked? I can sort of understand the furor over that weeding project gone awry in Illinois last year, but it seems to happen all the time. A late example is the library at Emporia State University in Kansas, which has had its weeding project halted until an internal auditor can examine the situation. Some people were complaining, and it must have been bad considering this sentence: “the library has slated a good amount of books to take out of the library, but not in the book burning style that many have imagined.” Were people really imagining book burning? I know it’s Kansas and all, where just like Arizona conservatives proposed anti-gay legislation and then voted it down when they realized how much like pre-Civil Rights Era southerners it made them seem, but hating gays so much you want to deprive them of civil rights isn’t necessarily the same thing as burning books. Well, maybe. Anyway, this isn’t the Kansas ...
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Librarians and Dating

According to the Daily Mail - and take that for what it’s worth - the online dating site eHarmony looked at their statistics to see what professions the two most popular genders were more likely to date or interact with. Supposedly, women prefer men in advertising, which I find surprising, although I don’t know why. Men prefer female lawyers, probably so they can make endless variations on the invitation for the lawyers to examine their briefs. Librarians were also included, male and female. For example, male librarians were least likely to initiate conversations with female teachers. Male librarians, along with bartenders and caterers, were also the least picky about who they would date. Perhaps if you’re a man in an overwhelmingly female-dominated profession, you have to lower your sights a little, because the pickiest women were going for advertisers, lawyers, and pilots. However, female librarians were the most picky about whom they would interact with. Perhaps that makes ...
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Banned Books in Prison

There’s a news article about prison libraries that makes me wonder what stance the ALA would take on the matter. In almost all ways it’s an exemplary tale of how New York city libraries are trying to provide library service to the local prison populations. This is a great thing to do unless the goal of prison is merely to provide prisoners with unrelieved misery. And given the amount of time prisoners have on their hands, reading is a popular activity. The main problem is a lack of books and service. For example, at the prison the Brooklyn Public Library is working with, the “library” consists of a cart that can hold 2-300 books, which is wheeled around like the meal and medicine carts. That at least implies that reading material is as essential to life as food and medicine, which I suspect many librarians would agree with. However, a wheeled cart is hardly like a decently stocked library that prisoners can browse. It’s even worse than a bookmobile. The libraries also ...
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The Closing of British Libraries

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned what bad shape some British and Canadian libraries were compared to American libraries. Apparently I got only part of the story, because the British situation seems to be getting even worse. According to this column arguing for libraries as public spaces that don’t need to make a profit for someone, “it is estimated that cuts to local authorities will force 100 libraries to close by the end of 2015, with another 200-300 becoming reliant on volunteers.” If we extrapolated that to the population size of the United States, that would be like 600 libraries possibly closing and 1200-1500 becoming reliant on volunteers. Something like that already seems to be happening with school libraries, but public libraries haven’t faced anything like this sort of devastation. The column argues that it’s ideology that’s crushing the libraries, not any sort of budget issue, since Britain has plenty of money compared to most countries and it’s not ...
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Essential Nonessential Services

Someone “sounding off” in Potsdam, NY has some interesting comments on public libraries. In response to “Potsdam Public Library Asking For More Taxpayer Support to Keep Open Hours” by Mix96, taxpayers should only be mandated to fund essential services. The Potsdam Library may be nice, but it is not an essential service. If it is not, or cannot be, funded by user fees close it! Close non-essential services that cannot be funded by user fees including Pine Street Arena and the Potsdam Museum. Taxpayers are broke and can no longer carry the burden of these non-essential niceties. People can support them by choice through user fees or donations. I’ve never been to the Potsdam Public Library, but I’ll assume for the sake of argument it’s much like any other public library, and that there’s nothing special about it that screams non-essential any more than other libraries. There are really two issues here, whether libraries are essential services, and whether taxes ...
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Canadians Fighting Stereotypes

In addition to all sorts of bad things happening to their government libraries, some Canadian librarians have also fallen victim to the most popular and risible genre of journalism about librarians, the Stereotype Busting genre. As usual, the article lives up to the stereotype of journalists thinking everyone who works in a library is a librarian, since I think two of the four “librarians” profiled aren’t actually librarians. On the other hand, if journalists actually knew what they were talking about, then we’d lose half the fun of reading them. I found this one kind of weird. It begins by bringing up the two stereotypes the author believes are stereotypes, the old shusher and the sexpot. That alone is odd, because the sexy librarian isn’t a stereotype so much as a fantasy. Maybe a stereotypical fantasy, but still a fantasy. The other weird part of the opening is the last sentence, saying that regardless of whether she’s a shusher or a sexpot, the librarian is ...
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