Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Knitting and Reading

The Future Cities Project, whatever that is, sure doesn’t like knitting, or at least they don’t like people knitting in libraries in the UK. Libraries are for reading, they claim, not knitting! Here’s their claim about what libraries are for: “Since the Public Libraries Act was passed in 1850, libraries have served as citadels of culture and scientific inquiry, positioning themselves as sources of knowledge and recreation.” They’re big on the educational aspect of libraries, and that’s how libraries best promote themselves among the general public that doesn’t use them but likes the idea. But now, as the sad violin plays, times are changing, and they don’t like it. For example, the Carnegie Trust now wants libraries to help alleviate social isolation “by providing services for older people, etc.” One way is a knitting group “combining the opportunity to socialise with the chance to relax through knitting and crocheting. It is also asserted that, through these activities, ...
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Misguided Nostalgia

I’m not sure why this diatribe against the darkness of contemporary YA novels annoyed me before I was halfway through it, but it did. I don’t read YA novels and I don’t care who does. The author complains that contemporary YA fiction isn’t as light as Jane Austen or “Georgette Heyer's romantic Regency novels” which as a girl she “raced through...imagining, if only for an afternoon, that I was pretty and clever enough and there was no danger of a nuclear bomb dropping.” Something tells me her 12-year-old son wouldn’t have the same experience reading romance novels, but I get the point. Everywhere she turns, from bookstores to librarians, she finds recommendations for dark novels focused on teenagers who are terrible people or who are questioning their sexual identity or who are victims of abuse, etc. She rightly points out that very few of us ever suffer from “gender dysphoria.” I might point out that most of us aren’t terrible people ruining the lives of everyone around us, ...
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A Place for Binge Reading

That whole “Netflix for books” thing doesn’t seem to be working out for anyone, particularly readers. A few years ago Scribd was one of the companies launching such a service. All you could read for just $8.99 per month. What a deal! Of course, last summer they decided that the service was all you could read unless you read a lot, so they dropped most of their romance novels, because those romance readers are “power readers” it seems. I hadn’t realized that in August Scribd “eliminated the unlimited audiobook component of its service and instead transitioned to a credit system, disincentivizing so-called “power readers” from listening to a disproportionate amount of audiobooks each month.” So says this press announcement of yet more limitations. You have to wonder about a service for readers that wants to disincentivize reading. As part of the re-structured service, all Scribd users will receive unlimited access to “Scribd Select” books and audiobooks, a rotating ...
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Why Libraries Don’t Deliver Books

A Kind Reader wondered what I thought about last week’s opinion article suggesting that the Washington D.C. public library should start delivering books to his house. To be fair, it wasn’t just his house. Since his discovery of this thing called a public library, he’s become quite happy with it. He likes it that he can search for a book, put it on hold, and pick it up the next day at his neighborhood branch library. But that's just not enough for some people. It got me to thinking: Why doesn’t the library team up with somebody with real expertise in the logistics of home delivery — Amazon, UPS or one of the many food delivery services that have sprung up over the past year or so — to figure out a way to cover “the last mile” — the journey from the library to my house and back again? Then it really would seem even more like Amazon Prime, and I can’t imagine that that wouldn’t help grow the market for library books. There are some libraries who have the service, both mentioned in ...
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You and Your Obsolete Degree

In my last post I said that claiming you went to library school before computers would only be relevant to a discussion if “the discussion was about how irrelevant most of the practical stuff you learn in library school will be in just a few years,” which it never is. However, I’d like to have that discussion, because it seems like one that people want to avoid. Some kinds of library school students want to avoid it. Not all of them, but some, particularly the ones who think of a library degree as a degree that fully prepares you for whatever library job you’re lucky enough to land. Get the degree. Get the job. Then the education stops and you can sit comfortably and wait for retirement. Do those sorts of people still go to library school? Because they sure used to. Library schools probably don’t want to talk about it. They’re explicitly or inexplicitly promising that your library degree will teach you how to be a librarian, so talking about how useless much of your study ...
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Age Discrimination in Libraries

Lawsuits in librarianship are always news because they’re either very rare or rarely become public, but there’s a public one now going on in Missouri, and I know about it thanks to Kind Reader. “A former head of special collections at Washington University filed a suit against the University claiming that age discrimination led to hostility and poor reviews from supervisors,” reads the first sentence of a university news site that has the url “studlife.” When I first saw the url, I thought it might be a site called “Stud Life”  by a “pickup artist,” like that guy who wants to legalize rape and seems to think that you can be a superstud and still live in your mother’s basement. But no, it’s the “independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis,” so I guess I’ll believe it. According to the complaint, “In a discriminatory manner, the younger, new university librarian, Jeffrey Trzeciak, began to systematically reduce Posega’s duties and areas of responsibility as ...
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