Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Viva Las Vegas

ALA Annual in Las Vegas has officially begun and it’s a scorcher, at least by my standards. Although the National Weather Service thinks 104 degrees is merely “sunny” in Vegas and it doesn’t get “hot” until 106 degrees, so what do I know. But it’s a dry heat, and nobody ever died of heat stroke in a dry heat, or something like that. As with some other conference locations (I’m looking at you, Orlando!), I wonder why people pick a city like this for a conference. Hot. Not exactly pedestrian friendly compared to many other cities. Perhaps the committee that chose it was made up of compulsive gamblers. And it’s easy to be compulsive. I’ve already lost $2.25 on the quarter slots, and it’s still early. It’s more important to focus on the opportunities than the inopportune location, though. This year, ALA helpfully categorized the programs about “transforming libraries.” Maybe that will be the new Library 2.0, because there are conference speakers who need a ...
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Partisan Bickering in the Natural State

There’s an odd library story playing out in Arkansas. If you’re not immersed in the right wing echo chamber, you might have missed it. Since most librarians probably aren’t here’s a brief recap. A right wing news site called the Washington Free Beacon got copies of some old audio recordings of Hillary Clinton from the University of Arkansas archives and published the content online. The Dean of the library then sent them a letter saying they had published the recordings without signing the “permission to publish” form, informing them that they were violating copyright, demanding that they unpublish the recordings, and banning their researchers from the archives until the demands were met. The Washington Free Beacon was very excited when some Fox New commentators jumped all over the Dean, which I guess excites some people. And they claimed that copies of the tapes were given to them with no notice that they weren’t to be published or that publication might violate ...
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Sounding Off Against Librarians

Before we begin, I want to point out a headline to which Betteridge’s Law of Headlines might not apply: Should Public Libraries Be Designated Gun-Free Zones? If you’re afraid to go into a public library without your gun, you’ve got serious problems. And now to the fun stuff. I wonder why it’s so easy to make fun of people who criticize libraries or librarians. After all, there’s plenty to criticize, and I’ve done a lot of it myself over the years. Usually the most ridiculous criticism comes from people who just plain don’t know what they’re talking about. The guy in my last post didn’t know the difference between a library catalog and a discovery layer, claimed mistakenly that the University of Utrecht had gotten rid of their catalog, then used that as evidence that more libraries should do the same. Or the people who never use libraries, probably haven’t been in one since they finished college, and who therefore claim “the library” is obsolete. You know ...
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Dumping the Catalog

Over the years there have been a large number of news and opinion articles about libraries to which Betteridge’s Law of Headlines applies. “Is the library doomed?” No. “Are books dead?” No. "Should I write about libraries even if I know nothing about libraries?” Please don't. This week’s example comes from a website called Research Information, which is a nice vague title that allows for almost anything. The headline: Time to call time on the library catalogue? No. The motivating factor was a presentation by “a PhD student at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology” who talked about how he found his research material. What was missing from the list was the library OPAC. So a scientist at a research institute doesn’t look for books in the library he doesn’t really have. But wait, there’s more! Someone from the University of Utrecht “noted in her presentation how, while traffic to the library’s journal holdings had grown, the proportion of access to ...
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Against (Too Much) Library Philanthropy

If there’s still room on the list of “things I didn’t go to library school to do,” I’d like to add riding a bookcycle around town. Special training in peddling a heavy bicycle isn’t something they should add to the library school curriculum. But that’s at least a realistic way to get library services out to people who might need them, especially those children who don’t read over the summer and fall behind. If only all those children were being sent to enriching summer camps. That’s what rich people do for their children, after all. What rich people aren’t doing much of these days is giving money to libraries, but at least one person thinks they should. Here’s a not-so-modest proposal for the 400 richest Americans (together worth over $2-trillion, or more than the entire bottom half of our population). Work toward a national digital library endowment to modernize Andrew Carnegie’s vision of giving the brightest the tools to rise to the top. Something ...
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A Little Defensive

Last week all sorts of things got librarians riled up and other people defensive. My favorite might have been the guy at a library conference who called a female librarian an “ignorant slut” onstage. He then said, "Just kidding! I don't think you're ignorant!" Okay, I made that second part up, but it would have been the perfect followup. But it sort of wasn’t his fault. If only his audience had been composed of people who watched SNL in the 1970s. And if those tweeting librarians would put things in context instead of saying, “this guy just called someone an ignorant slut,” which of course he did. Darn those tweeting under-50s. And now people are being real meanies and saying bad things about him. Don't they get it that calling women sluts is funny? Maybe these days men calling women sluts brings to mind less Dan Ackroyd and more Elliot Rodger. That one I found out about on a blog, but the other lively librarian debate I discovered only because of a Kind Reader leaving a ...
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