Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

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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An Alleged Ban

Is it Band Books Week yet? I’m not sure, and the propaganda is so hyperbolic I don’t have the heart to read it to find the dates. Anyway, let’s see if the Band Book people mention this very odd case. When I ran across the story, it seemed perfect blog fodder, and on the surface it is. Allegedly, a California charter school library “banned” a book by a person named Corrie ten Boom because it was “too Christian," and you know the ALA isn't going to say much about this. I was unfamiliar with Corrie ten Boom or her book The Hiding Place, but if the Wikipedia entries are accurate, it does seem like the book is pretty Christian. Supposedly, the entire time she and her sister were in a German concentration camp, they “used a hidden Bible to teach their fellow prisoners about Jesus,” because not enough people had told the Jewish prisoners that they were wrong to be Jewish. But then I started poking around. The “news” site that published the article is called Charisma ...
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Those Sledgehammering Librarians

Sometimes I feel sorry for library school students who want to become librarians. It’s not just the lack of good jobs available for graduates. Sure, it’s annoying that so many people get tricked into going to library school by idiots who keep claiming there’s a librarian shortage when there’s never a librarian shortage. It’s not even the mild embarrassment they'll face when entering a profession where a website for librarians requests people to send in photos of themselves in cat-themed clothing. No, it’s that they’re subjected to a steady stream of publicity claiming that libraries are irrelevant. If you want to be a librarian, that’s got to be a little depressing. Since I hadn’t had my fill of stupid articles about libraries with Forbes, I branched out to something called Fast Company, which published the absurdly titled article Taking a Long-overdue Sledgehammer to the Public Library. The title certainly works as clickbait for librarians, because I clicked on ...
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Those Pivoting Librarians

It’s almost as if Forbes deliberately pays people to write stuff about libraries that annoys me. If so, I want to thank them, because the Annoyed Librarian always needs stuff to be annoyed about. This time it’s an advertisement for something called Easybib in the form of an article about pivoting librarians. One of the many problems is that I can’t figure out who the audience is supposed to be. It seems to be aimed at school librarians and seems to consider school libraries as the norm. Are school librarians big readers of Forbes? Is that now the go to magazine for aspiring school media specialists? Is that where they go to be inspired by silly articles? Another annoyance is the pointless analogy of librarians and startups. Apparently, startups that are failing sometimes “pivot” to become something else entirely, and so can librarians, and who would want to be a startup more than a librarian? Unless we consider the evidence about startups. According to another bastion of ...
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If CDPs Told the Truth

In my last post, I suggested that librarians were being hypocritical about the political nature of their jobs and hiding behind collection development policies (CDPs) that our earnest homophobic crusader claimed were basically just aids to “banning” certain kinds of books librarians don’t like. Because the ALA’s arguments about intellectual freedom and diversity and censorship are an incoherent mess, the standard ALA line isn’t going to work trying to refute the homophobic crusader. Instead, let’s think about what public library CDPs really are. What are the actual policies rather than the policies they write down that try to sound fair and balanced and give them something to hide behind when the homophobes and the racists come calling? Next year, will the Schaumburg librarians display photos of empty shelves where books that challenge Leftist assumptions about the nature and morality of homosexuality should be (you know, pro-heterosexuality/pro-heteronormativity ...
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Another Problem with Banned Books Talk

One of the many problems with the ALA approach to so-called banned books is that it opens the door to easy criticisms by raging homophobes like this person. The general gist of the criticism is that while librarians talk a good game about intellectual freedom and are against “censorship” and “banning books,” in fact their entire collection development process effectively bans books that librarians disagree with politically. Libraries use Collection Development Policies (CDP’s) to determine which books they will purchase with their limited budgets. CDP’s hold that librarians should purchase only books that have been positively reviewed by two “professionally recognized” review journals. Guess what folks, the “professionally recognized” review journals are dominated by ideological “progressives.” That’s pretty hard to argue with, because she's right and we all know it. It doesn’t even mention that a lot of times it’s other librarians reviewing the ...
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