Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Tone it Down a Little

One of my strongest objections to most people who want to start a library “movement” is that they too often go to extremes. They’re so extreme it’s impossible to take them seriously, or at least impossible for me to take them seriously. If we want to revisit the not so distant past, we can think about the Library 2.0 movement, whatever the heck that was. People desperate to be a part of some kind of change but unwilling to think through exactly what might need changing latched onto “Library 2.0” like drowning people to a life preserver. That led to a lot of excited librarians, who mostly seemed to be excited about being excited, or maybe they were excited at being so inarticulate. It makes no difference. That excitement in turn led to some ridiculous presentations and blog posts, many of which said little more than “Library 2.0 is about change, so let’s have more Library 2.0.” I was thinking about this after running across a recent presentation with a very provocative title. I’m ...
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A Little Boring is Sometimes a Good Thing

What a tumultuous week it’s been, and I mean besides Thanksgiving dinner with the relatives. At least during Thanksgiving dinner I didn’t have to listen to a bunch of middle-class white people who associate only with other middle-class white people tell me about race in America. For that, I had to go to the Internet, which I mostly avoid during holidays. Yet it was almost impossible to avoid the subject of Ferguson last week. The week played out like tragic theater, from the prosecutor playing the part of a prosecutor who totally didn’t rig the outcome of an inquest to the President playing the part of someone who really believes the rule of law exists uniformly in the country. And then the protests and later the violence, and the predictable roles so many more played. In the midst of all the bad news from Ferguson, there was one slice of not terrible news, and oddly enough it involved the Ferguson Public Library. The opening of the story from NPR: The Ferguson Public Library ...
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Self-Published Winners @ the Library

Whenever I write about self-published authors, the comment section seems to erupt into a melee between self-published authors talking about how great self-published works are and librarians talking about how awful they are. One solution to the problem would be for the ALA to create an award for self-published books to go along with popular awards like the Newbery Award and all the other awards I can’t remember right now. Then the librarians in the trenches would know what books to buy and wouldn't have to read any of them. The only problem is that the committee might be overwhelmed by thousands of self-published titles to choose from, but that can be solved by increasing the size of the committee to a few hundred people if necessary. That might even be possible. I met some Newbery people once, or members of some committee like that, and the people on awards committees seem to love the work. How hard could it be to get librarians to read through thousands of self-published works to ...
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Bilingual Librarians

Usually when Librarian shows up on a list of jobs, it’s either way down the list of jobs by salary or way up on the list of least stressful jobs, because apparently earning a master’s degree to end up with a low-paying job leads to a life free of stress. I’m not stressed, so maybe that’s true. But now Librarian is high up the list of Jobs Where Being Bilingual Is Unexpectedly Important. It’s #2, which ironically is what a lot of librarians say their job resembles. It’s no secret to me that plenty of librarians need to be bilingual. There are dozens of research libraries around the country that collect books and stuff from everywhere in the world, and they’ve been doing it for decades. Hardly news to anyone. Alas, the compiler of this list is guilty of Public Library Privilege, where Library automatically means Public Library, so it might be news to people. Whatever their other charms, most public libraries in the country haven’t been buying books in languages other than English for ...
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The Library is Not for Studying

Over the years there have been lots of calls to make libraries into something other than libraries. That’s especially true of public libraries, but even librarians in academic libraries sometimes want to change things up, to turn libraries from a silent haven for research into community centers or places to play video games. In some ways it’s understandable. The most likely people to be bored with libraries are the librarians who have to work in them every day. They show up, day after day, and perform the same tedious functions. After a while, they get jaded. The library is a boring place for them, and they want to make it hip or relevant or something like that. Most of all, they want action. And what they’re most trying to fight against is the stereotype of the shushing librarian. We don’t shush! It turns out that in some libraries there is a group that yearns for a shushing librarian: the patrons of the library. Check out this story from Cerritos College, a community college in ...
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Parasites @ Your Library

A Kind Reader sent in this article about a library board trustee in Park Ridge, IL who’s happy at declining usage at the Park Ridge Public Library because it means fewer “parasites” are using the library. “A significant portion of non-Park Ridge taxpayers who are coming here basically as parasites are not coming here anymore,” Trizna said. “We are not being sucked dry by parasites. We are actually providing services for the people actually paying taxes for those services…” Computer use and circulation are both down at the library, and the anti-parasite trustee believes it’s because the library introduced fees for non-residents to use computers and to attend library programming. So I suppose now if you happen to be a non-resident in Park Ridge and want to take your toddler to story time, you’ll have to cough up some money for the privilege, because that’s the spirit of alienating people that made public libraries great. If the fees are a factor, then I’m guessing that ...
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