Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

To Fund or Not to Fund

There’s a new Pew Study out about libraries discussed in this article, and what would we do without yet another Pew Study? There’s some bad news and some neutral news, which is about as good as any news gets these days. The bad news, at least for public libraries, is that public library use is down. Supposedly, “the study confirms that Americans’ usage of libraries is sliding down in real terms.” Remember, you read it here first. Or perhaps at the Atlantic. Or perhaps at the Pew website itself. Anyway, according to Pew, “the decline in library use is driven by technological change, so the report implicitly recommends that more libraries publicize their non-print services.” I don’t see how that is even possible anymore. It seems like all libraries do these days is publicize their non-print services. “We’re not your grandparents’ library! We’re not about books anymore! We’re not dusty warehouses of old books, even though no library has ever been that!” The refrain would ...
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Little Free Libraries are Bad Because We Don’t Like Them

You might think the Little Free Library movement would be about an innocuous a subject as one can find related to books. That’s because you’re not aware that they’re “neoliberal politics at street level,” at least according to the “radical” Canadian librarians interviewed in this article sent in by Kind Reader. They also wrote a whole article about this in the Journal of Radical Librarianship, if you just can’t get enough of the subject. Fortunately, there aren’t any serious library problems in Canada or anywhere else that might take up the attention of serious people. It’s not like school libraries are dying, public library funding is often under attack, or anything like that. Thus, it’s really, really important to focus our attacks on boxes people put in their front yards so neighbors can exchange books, or not, depending on whatever they feel like doing. The horror! It’s hard to know where to start here, so let’s just look at some representative quotations. For ...
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The Purge, Library Style

Kind Reader sent me the latest pearl-clutching article on libraries weeding books, and it’s quite a read. The online journal bills itself as “a refuge for rational discourse,” and if that’s true we’re all in trouble. The headline is the usual sensationalistic nonsense clickbait we’ve come to expect from pretty much all media: “College Libraries are Purging Book Collections. Are They Discarding Thought as Well?” I’ll go with Betteridge’s Law of Headlines again on this one. Are they discarding thought as well? No. And you’re either foolish to ask or desperate for something to write about. Libraries are “purging books from” their shelves. That does sound dramatic. It’s not like a library ever removed little used books or anything. Besides whatever “local university campus” the disturbed author visited last fall, the only library mentioned is UC-Santa Cruz, a situation I discussed several months ago. Because she apparently doesn’t know better, the author takes the ...
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Fears of Staffless Libraries

A Kind Reader sent me some articles about a staffless library experiment in Toronto. The idea isn’t to replace librarians, but to extend hours, or so the story goes. Nevertheless, some people are concerned about safety, but aren’t they always, and of course the library union is against the whole idea, because nonexistent workers don’t pay union dues. The safety concerns are hard to evaluate. Supposedly, during a pilot in 2014 at three libraries in Ireland, 111 people “had their open library membership temporarily withdrawn” for various reasons, “including incidents of tailgating, giving their card to another person to use and opening the door to allow access to another person.” That does sound pretty dangerous, unless tailgating means something different in Ireland than it does in the United States. I hope it does, because the thought of people driving their cars recklessly close to other cars inside the library is a frightening thought. Assuming that tailgating means ...
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Not Extinct Yet, But Getting There for Some

If you want some less than cheerful news about the future of school children in Los Angeles who are forced to attend public schools, check out this article. The headline begins, “Are school libraries headed toward extinction?” Yes, begins, because headlines can apparently be more than one line these days. It’s a sad scary world we live in. If we follow Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, the answer is of course, “no, they aren’t going extinct.” That’s ridiculous. There are rich and even not so rich private schools all over Los Angeles with libraries that are doing just fine. What are people worried about? People are all up in a bother just because five more high school principals are going to divert funding from school librarians to whatever it is they’re replacing them with. That will be only 15 out of 84 high school libraries, a mere 18%. It’s important to remember in times like these that there will still be 69 public high schools in Los Angeles with school libraries, or ...
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No Escape from the Crazy

There are some things you shouldn’t have to put up with as a librarian. It’s not like we’re making the money or receiving the training to deal with potentially violent crazy people. And while some librarians no doubt get their fair amount of trolling online, considering how many use Twitter, there are some things that should stay online. Unfortunately for a librarian in St. Louis, there’s no escape from the crazy. Some creep called up the librarian and started ranting about the Holocaust, as in there wasn’t one. It’s too bad work phones usually don’t have the ability to block calls. The two-minute voicemail the creep left started, “No evidence of gas chambers.” Uh huh. He, and of course it’s a he, ends, ““It’s all coming to bear. So, I would get really nervous if I was you.” What goes through the sad, crazy little minds of people like this? If the point is to intimidate, then why the nonsense historical lesson? Do nuts like this think they could convince the person ...
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