Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

The LIS Profs Strike Back

Wow, the response from my imaginary library school professors to my last post was pretty harsh. They thought it was unfair to characterize them as unable to handle the hustle and bustle of modern libraries, and they had a few not-so-kind things to say about public libraries and the sort of people who want to work in them. I’ve compiled some answers and edited out the profanity, but this is the gist: You say we can’t handle working in public libraries? Let us tell you, buddy, working in public libraries sucks. The pay is terrible. There are homeless people everywhere. And nobody knows what they heck they’re supposed to be doing. In our course, “Library 101: the Library and You,” we teach a nice, pristine vision of what public libraries are supposed to be doing. They’re the bedrock of democracy, because an informed public is a necessity when any bonehead who manages to make it to 18 and stay out prison can vote. If public libraries followed that vision, we wouldn’t be in the ...
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Consider the Poor LIS Professors

On last week’s post about how great librarian jobs are and thus why they’re so hard to find, someone left a comment that might frighten even the most jaded of library school professors: I will give you a hint when I graduated in 1994 it took me 6 months to find a job. The average size of a MLIS graduating class? 12. Now the average size of a graduating class is over 200. We need to tie accreditation to job placement (98% fulltime employment in an MLIS related field within 6 months of graduation) or the school is out. Sure we will lose most of the schools (which have turned into diploma mills anyway) but in the long run it will be a good thing. I surveyed several imaginary professors at library schools and even some of those fancy “I schools,” and they all agreed this would be a terrible idea because it would endanger their schools and their livelihoods. It’s hard to argue with that. The argument for is that librarian jobs are so hard to find because there are way too many ...
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Why Librarian Jobs are So Hard to Find

If you’re a librarian having a hard time finding enough work, you possibly sometimes think about moving somewhere else entirely, some country that hasn’t been creating far more librarians than it can employ. Imagine it: a paradise for librarians, where people aren’t churned out of library school willy nilly with the promise of work which never appears! Wherever it is, that country isn’t Australia, in case you were wondering. That’s an article on the “top 20 jobs that are most in demand in Australia,” and librarian sure isn’t one of them. It was based on the “per cent of positions still open after 60 days.” The hardest job to fill was “crew member,” although I would imagine that depends on the type of crew. I’d like to be in the crew of some really rich person who likes to sit around reading and drinking, but those jobs always seem to be taken. Another hard to fill job is “installer.” That also might depend on what you were going to install. Librarians are pretty good with ...
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Free Speech, Curiosity, and More Nazis

According to Yougov, “Americans have always had a problem with free speech…. While the First Amendment may protect speech, many Americans would not allow dangerous speech or speech many of them disagree with.” And they have the poll to prove it, at least until another poll comes along disproving it, which will probably be soon. Why anyone still trusts polls after the last Presidential election is beyond me, but pollsters need something to do and pundits need something to write about, so here we go. The poll asks people how tolerant they are of speech by supporters of ISIS, the KKK, and Neo-Nazis. Should they be allowed to make a speech in your community, author a book in your public library that’s challenged, or teach in a college? The most popular answer in almost all cases is to stop the speech, remove the book, and fire the teacher. The majority of Trump voters would allow the speech and keep the book of the KKK supporter, because of course they would. On the other hand, ...
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The Unanswered Question of Dan Brown

Like many people, except for seeing a few episodes of Oz and Prison Break, I don’t know much about life in prison. And considering those are TV shows, I probably know less than nothing about life in prison. Other than CIA libraries, the oddest libraries to me have always been prison libraries, and it looks like the oddest prison library at all is the one at Guantanamo Bay. The prison at Guantanamo Bay currently has 41 inmates, and the library “has 35,000 volumes,” which is probably more volumes than a lot of public library locations around the country. The library also has DVDs and video games, because if those 41 inmates aren’t entertained at all times, who knows what trouble could ensue? Except the inmates can’t visit the library, and only those who “have been on good behavior can have items delivered to them.” And like many prison libraries, it seems, the collection can’t just have anything. There might be dangerous books, which is the kind of talk that makes public ...
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Fighting Nazis @ Your Library

The library news was mixed last week. For example, ACRL’s latest “keeping up” thing has to do with mindfulness, which is all the rage these days, if one can rage about mindfulness. Is mindfulness what we need right now? Here’s how it can supposedly help academic librarians: As a librarian, you become clearly attentive and focused to truly hear, listen, and respond to each student’s need with nonjudgment and authentic interest. These mindful techniques and interactions can extend to your faculty collaborations, too. “Loving kindness” meditations may help to create a more empathetic listening environment, guiding your communication interactions during faculty collaborations. Maybe. But it’s just as interesting to see what’s not considered here, such as interactions with other librarians. There’s nothing about supervisors, supervisees, or colleagues being “clearly attentive” or “focused” or having “loving kindness.” Maybe “loving kindness” meditations, whatever those are, ...
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