Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Anatomy of a Rock Star Librarian

This was going to be my acceptance speech upon being inducted into the Librarian Rock Star Hall of Fame, but the more I thought about the rock stars the less fun that seemed. Reading around some library blogs and such I noticed references to librarian rock stars, which supposedly exist. What’s odd about that designation is that it almost always seems to be used as a criticism. Usually to call someone a rock star would be considered a compliment, despite the notoriously bad behavior of a lot of rock stars. It normally would mean they’re extremely popular and have some sort of star quality. However, a lot of the talk of librarian rock stars I’ve seen is focusing on the bad behavior part of being a rock star rather than the popular part. Some believe, for example, that the male librarian rock stars are more likely to sexually harass women. That’s a good example of how there aren’t really any rock stars in the profession. Real rock stars have women throwing themselves at them ...
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Your Privacy Has Just Been Violated

The big news in libraryland this week is that libraries using Overdrive are inadvertently handing over large amounts of user data to Adobe because of a security issue with Adobe Digital Editions. Adobe, it seems, “is gathering data on the ebooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order. All of this data, including the title, publisher, and other metadata for the book is being sent to Adobe’s server in clear text.” Supposedly, Adobe Digital Editions is also scanning computers and gathering metadata from every ebook on the hard drive, including ebooks that aren’t used in Adobe Digital Editions. Stay classy, Adobe. Some librarians are completely outraged by the situation since it violates the privacy of library patrons as well as privacy laws in some places. I can’t seem to get that outraged, because the goal of absolute privacy when doing things online, especially things that involve corporations, just isn’t an attainable goal. When dealing with ...
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Serving the Homeless

Public libraries in certain locations always seem to have problems with some of their homeless patrons. In San Francisco, the librarians are trying to do something about it. When studying history, you can sometimes find out something about a society or a religion by knowing what laws it enacted. If there was a rule against coveting a neighbor’s wife, that’s probably because there was a lot of neighbor’s wife coveting going on. The same can possibly be said for the new list of rules the San Francisco public library system has enacted. I didn’t find the 32-item list, but according to the article it prohibits and punishes: shampooing your hair in the restrooms having a shopping cart in the bookstacks having luggage in the library having a bike in the library having a dog in the library smelling really bad fighting shouting pandhandling sleeping in the library “depositing bodily fluids” on furniture That’s quite a list and gives a good ...
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A Librarian Sex Scandal

The news in libraryland over the past couple of weeks has been very lively indeed. A librarian named Joe Murphy is suing two female librarians for $1.25 million for claiming he sexually harasses women at library conferences. As sex scandals go, that's pretty mild, but the standards for scandal are lower in libraryland. You can go give them a donation or sign a petition asking Murphy to drop the lawsuit if those are your kinds of thing. I haven’t seen a corresponding Support Joe Murphy’s Lawsuit website or petition, but if there is one someone can post it in the comments. He’s also suing them in Canadian court, even though as far as I can tell both he and one of the defendants are Americans. Canadian libel laws are more friendly to plaintiffs, it seems, whereas American libel laws tend to favor something librarians are supposed to favor, free speech. So he’s a cunning little fella, you have to give him that. I’m seeing the story pop up in more and more places, so it looks ...
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Those Dangerous Public Libraries

It’s always a little surreal and amusing for me when outsiders stumble onto the blog and decide they’re going to set the record straight for the poor, ignorant Annoyed Librarian. A while ago it was the homeschooling creationists who homeschooled their children to keep them from learning any science later than the Middle Ages. Last week it was the earnest evangelicals who actually believed The Hiding Place was “banned” at a library, and who were astonished that I’d never read this beloved classic, and who wanted to share the love of Jesus with me. This week, it might be the gun nuts. We’ll see. Before we begin, it’s important to know who the gun nuts are. Because of the craziness of some of them, some people think anyone with a gun must be a nut. However, the vast majority of gun owners who hunt or shoot skeet or target shoot are unfairly represented by the nuts who show up to political rallies with machine guns assault rifles on their back. The gun nuts are the ones ...
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Stewards and Gatekeepers

I’ve been getting some very amusing comments this week. Keep ‘em coming, because I can always use a good chuckle. I ran across what seemed to be an odd column from St. Cloud, MN. It seems the local library system is searching for a new executive director, and the columnist is urging the board of directors to ask the candidates about their policies regarding stewardship versus gatekeeping. Here’s the description of the stewarded library: For the most part, public libraries in our country are open stacks, meaning we are free to wander among the knowledge and the stories printed in those books on the shelves. We can walk into any of our public libraries and browse books on an enormous amount of subjects. In other words, librarians and library staff are not physically placed between us — the public library patrons — and the knowledge and stories found on the bookshelves. It’s a very simple and very powerful message about the value we place on reading, literacy and the ...
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