Annoyed Librarian
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More Book Trees, Please

I thought I’d been posting about how the rising sales of print books affects public libraries, but I see some sort of loony conspiracy theorist has been posting instead. Maybe I’ve been hacked by people conspiring against me. If you’re reading this on the day it’s posted, then it might be too late unless you get busy early, because I want to talk about how libraries aren’t doing enough to celebrate Christmas. What have they become, Starbucks or something? Forget all this “beautiful Icelandic tradition” of giving books on Christmas Eve. What are we, a bunch of hippies? What I want to see are more Christmas trees made of books in our libraries. This is supposedly a list of the 14 best Christmas trees made out of books, but I think I’ve been had because there aren’t any pictures. If I have to keep clicking out to Instagram, I might as well just stay in Instagram and never come back. Even so, look at those dates! Only 14, and some of those are from last year! To get pics ...
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A Solution for School Libraries

It might look like the situation is dire for school libraries, what with the private prison industry conspiring to get school librarians fired.That’s because the situation is dire. However, it’s not hopeless. I know for a fact that at least a dozen schools in the country still have librarians, so that’s something. Still, we need a plan and I think I have one. Since school libraries are being defunded but the prison industry is going strong, the obvious solution is to combine school libraries with prison libraries, which are apparently quite good, despite what Chief Justice Roberts seems to think. I learned a little more than I did before about prison libraries by reading that article, and I found it inspiring. First, kids without libraries have a greater chance of illiteracy, which leads to a greater chance of becoming a criminal. Well, the prison library is full of criminals, and guess what? The librarian encounters “men who never visited a library before going to ...
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Another Conspiracy to Beware

For some reason, library lovers in Bakersfield, CA don’t want to privatize their public library. “Not a single hand went up” in support of the proposition. If I’m remembering the stories I’ve read over the years, absolutely nobody outside of the private library industry wants public libraries to be privatized and run by a non-local corporation. Even considering doing so is always driven by budget factors, and the sense that it’s better to have a privatized library rather than no library at all. Public library budgets have never been particularly generous nationwide, and in many places have been constantly under threat. It’s not even that people don’t like libraries and hate paying for them. Plenty of communities, when given the chance to vote for tax increases to fund libraries, do. Nevertheless, there’s always a group of people who want to save themselves $30 a year by getting rid of the local public library. But who motivates these radicals? Are they driven into a ...
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A School Librarian Conspiracy Theory

Nothing does more to celebrate a season of cheer and good will than firing some school librarians, like they’re doing in Chicago and California. And in New Jersey they want to rehire some fired school librarians, they really do. They just can’t seem to. From coast to coast, the news is bad. What’s going on? Why can’t public schools find money for librarians and libraries when everyone knows access to books and librarians improves their reading skills? I used to think it was chemtrails. Then I was pretty sure it was flouride in the drinking water. Now, however, I’m convinced it’s the prison-industrial complex. Bear with me for a moment. One of the noticeable things about the trend is that it’s always public library systems, and always in poorer places. The public libraries in Beverly Hills aren’t going to lose any librarians, and if private schools are firing librarians left and right we don’t hear about it. Something else you might not have noticed is that public schools ...
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More Unpopular Books You Can Read for a Fee

For some reason I found the announcement that Scribd has added sheet music to its subscription service amusing. Then I remembered when I’d last encountered Scribd and it all made sense. Last summer, Scribd pulled thousands of romance titles from their service. Why? Because they were so popular. When your business model is to deliberately not supply stuff that’s popular, it’s hard to take seriously. So what to add in the place of books lots of people really want to read? Sheet music, of course. That’s bound to be a niche market compared to romance novels. Not like thousands of people are going to be going through a book of sheet music a day. As Amazon does with its very limited Kindle Unlimited service, the goal seems to be to pack the service with a lot of unwanted titles so they can say, “look at all these thousands of books you can read for only $8.99 a month!” Amazon’s already got their enormous base of self-published authors to add bulk to their meager catalog, so ...
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Infantilization @ Your Library

Sometimes prophets claim that  America is dumbing down, but I’ve never seen much evidence that Americans on average were that smart in the first place. However, I’ve been getting a nagging feeling that if they’re not dumbing down, they are trying a bit too hard to escape adulthood. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to support this, some of which seems better than others. For example, for those of us adults who don’t play video games, it seems weird that so many grown men and women play video games. When reading about the “Gamergate” controversy it didn’t surprise me that so many men were attacking women, because I always assumed that grown men who played video games weren’t used to spending much time around women because they were stuck in adolescence when so many insecure boys moan about how nice girls always date jerks. I know that’s an unfair analysis, and in fact I know several seemingly well adjusted men and women in healthy relationships who play video games. It’s ...
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