Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Librarian for a Day

If you want a heartwarming story about a library sort of making a girl’s dream come true, read this article about a library in Cincinnati making a 14-year-old girl a “librarian for a day.” She “got a gray library shirt and an official employee ID. She alphabetized books, learned the computer system and got to explore behind staff-only doors.” And thus she learned just how boring it can be to be a librarian. She finds working in the library calming, and says “You don’t have to worry about anything,” and “You don’t have to worry about failing.” That’s probably not the kind of thing she would want to put on a library school application someday, but still, it’s nice. Despite the constant grumblings, there are probably a lot of librarians who find their work calming. They just don’t say that on social media because they know it would make all the harried librarian jealous and resentful. I could help but compare that article to this one. Partly it’s because the page formatting ...
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Failing the Test

If you want to see the kind of thing librarians and others involved with children’s literature get angry about, check out this puff piece about some school librarians who have a lot of influence on what books are selected for children. If you can’t read it behind the paywall, it’s profiles a handful of librarians who blog, tweet, and cast pods, and basically try to get kids and others interested in reading, and the publishers who seek out their recommendation in an age of declining numbers of book review outlets. And boy did it rile up the kid lit community, because fortunately there aren’t any other things to be angry about now that America has been made great again. The main issue? “An attempt to characterize kid-lit influencers using only white males in their mid-30s misrepresents the work being done.” And, yeah, that’s pretty much what the article does. "Your lack of inclusion of women, people of color, and other historically underrepresented groups shows a shocking ...
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A Union Closes a Library

Last week I wrote about school librarians in the news. What’s crazy is that no school librarian also makes the news, especially when kids can’t get to books. Things are a mess when teacher’s unions are trying to keep children from reading, but that’s sort of what’s happening at one elementary school in Chicago. Because of low enrollment, the Chicago school board made some budget cuts, and one of the cuts was the librarian position at the school. That might not be the end of the world. It’s not like you really need a library degree to buy books and check them out to school children, no matter how much librarians might protest. Any reasonably intelligent person can be taught to buy books, catalog them, and check them out. However, it doesn’t sound like the school board made any provision for that, so a couple of parents were volunteering at the library so that it could stay open for the students. But then the “Chicago Teachers Union filed a grievance, fearing parent ...
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Get Rid of Ideas

Most of the time it’s not fair to compare contemporary American politicians to Nazis. That’s a sort of easy out for leftists who think anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders is unconscionable. Sometimes, though, it starts to make a little sense. For example, a state representative in Arkansas has introduced a bill to ban books by Howard Zinn from any use in the curriculum. That’s really specific, but the intention seems obvious: to eliminate political views the guy disagrees with from the schools. And Zinn might be the only leftist historian the guy has ever heard of, since progressive historiography probably isn’t a hobby of his. Fortunately, the bill doesn’t require students to actively burn books by Zinn, but the intent isn’t much different from Nazi book burnings in the 1930s. “The books targeted for burning were those viewed as being subversive or as representing ideologies opposed to Nazism. These included books written by Jewish, pacifist, Religious, classical liberal, ...
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School Librarians in the News

It’s always fun when school librarians make the news. They’re so put upon these days in so many states that it’s nice to see them get some recognition. For example, check out this article about a school librarian in the Bronx. Here’s the main point: “Students last week spread around social media a photo of the Taft Educational Campus chief librarian holding an assault rifle inside a gun shop.” She’s certainly defying the librarian stereotype, or at least I think she is. One wouldn’t necessarily believe that librarians never held rifles, but picturing a librarian with an assault rifle isn’t usual. And that’s a good thing, right? Librarians always seem happy when someone is breaking the stereotype, which is the only thing that explains that tedious genre of library-related journalism that tells us over and again that this isn’t your grandmother’s library anymore. So good for her. You know what else librarians are known for? Being welcoming to anyone who wants to use the ...
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Mediocre Versions of Something Else

Some problems just aren’t solvable, and homelessness in San Francisco seems to be one of them. According to this article, there are roughly six to ten thousand homeless people in San Francisco, and while the city doesn’t have the largest number of homeless per capita, it does have “the highest proportion of unsheltered homeless, counting 511 people on the streets for every 100,000 residents.” Why so many unsheltered? After all, there are about 70 different shelters listed at this site of “San Francisco Homeless Shelters & Services For The Needy.” But only 18 of those are listed as being in the city itself, and many are over 20 miles from the city center. It’s not like homeless people commute 20 miles daily for shelter. Also, there are lots of limitations. Some only have a few beds. Some take only families, or teenagers, or men, or women, or Asian women. Some don’t seem to actually house people at all, just provided services. There are also space limitations and time ...
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