Annoyed Librarian
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Heroin Probably Not @ Your Library

If you want to read about yet another thing you didn’t go to library school to deal with, check out this article on heroin overdoses in public libraries. It’s not pretty. People dead from overdoses have been found in libraries in Virginia, Indiana, New Jersey, and Illinois, and in California a librarian saved a man by injecting him with Narcan, because that’s the sort of world we live in. A librarian in Michigan who has been dealing with drug problems in the library for years sounds a bit defensive. "People need to know that this is happening everywhere and that public libraries haven't done anything wrong to cause it to happen in public libraries.” There’s no need to be defensive, because only an idiot would blame a public library for someone overdosing in one. That library had already “removed bathroom ceilings and toilet tanks where people could hide drugs and restroom entrances that could be locked - changes made over a decade ago to curb cocaine trafficking.” What ...
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And the Winner is…

Candidates for Stupidest Banned Books Week Promotion are legion. It’s a week that public libraries all over the country gather up a number of books that have never been banned or censored in the United States and conveniently place them where anyone can check them out. By doing that, librarians can pretend that they’re not just theoretically in favor of free speech in a country with the freest speech in the world, they can show they’re practically fighting for it as well. What champions we are, highlighting these books that are readily available all over the country! But that’s just run-of-the-mill absurdity. That’s why I’m giving the award to the Washington D.C. public library system “UNCENSORED banned books” scavenger hunt. Congratulations. And just what have they done to win such a prestigious award, you might ask? What is this scavenger hunt and why is it so stupid? The D.C. public library system is hiding several hundred copies of books — which were once banned or ...
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Enough with the Surveys

The latest Pew Survey on book reading in America is out, and it’s as bland as all the other surveys. The page title says that the “Majority of Americans are still reading print books.” That about sums it up. Kinda makes you wonder why anyone bothers. Here’s the big news: “the share of Americans who have read a book in the last 12 months (73%) has remained largely unchanged since 2012. And when people reach for a book, it is much more likely to be a traditional print book than a digital product. Fully 65% of Americans have read a print book in the last year, more than double the share that has read an e-book (28%) and more than four times the share that has consumed book content via audio book (14%).” Anytime this or similar surveys or reports come out, there are people who like to make claims or predictions in the print versus digital book argument. That’s because there are people who think print versus digital is an argument rather than a choice to make at a given time for a ...
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Library Might Enforce Old Law on Overdue Books

A public library in Alabama must think there’s no such thing as bad publicity, because it’s hard to consider “US Library to enforce jail sentences for overdue books” anything but bad publicity for public libraries in general and that public library in particular. That’s just crazy, right? “In an effort to recoup about $200,000 worth of overdue books, the Athens-Limestone public library will be enforcing a new policy that includes fines of $100, a city jail term of 30 days or possibly both.” A “new policy.” Well, sort of. It is sort of amazing that a library in a small town in one of the poorest states in the United States can achieve international notoriety just by warning its patrons that they can go to jail for overdue books. What a brave new information world we live in. News sites in Britain, Ireland, and India have picked up the story, although none of them has as good a headline as Raw Story: “Book 'em!: Alabama library threatens readers with 30 days in jail for overdue ...
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Fifty Years Hence

Kind Reader alerted me to this exciting article about how libraries need to “stay relevant” by doing something or other differently. The really fun part, as Kind Reader points out, is this quote: “According to Pew Research, library usage has been declining over the past three years, primarily driven by technological change” links to an article STRAIGHT UP TITLED, “Fewer Americans Are Visiting Local Libraries—and Technology Isn't to Blame.” Kind Reader suggests a place that the author could get some help with research skills. The time allowed for producing that sort of stuff doesn’t allow for much research, though. But you know who has more hopes for the future of public libraries? Futurologists! Mostly because those people will believe anything, or they believe other people will believe anything, or possibly both. And if there’s anyone who should know about libraries fifty years in the future - yes, you read that right, fifty years - it’s someone who’s a “co-editor at Boing ...
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Your Lucrative Librarian Future

After perusing this listicle, I considered starting a regular series of With Friends Like These. This one is called “5 Reasons Why Being a Librarian Isn’t Boring at All.” It also shows why being a journalist isn’t what it used to be. At the very least, it doesn’t indulge in the senseless gloom and doom of the “libraries are obsolete” variety. On the other hand, it also mentions salaries and job trends as positive for librarians. What it doesn’t discuss at all is whether being a librarian is boring or not. That’s because editors don’t care anymore if headlines are related to articles. Based on the URL, the article was probably originally called “Librarian Job Perks,” but who’d click on that? You need listicles and clickbait headlines or you’re rubbish these days. No wonder librarianship looks good to journalists. The number one reason why being a librarian isn’t boring at all, or perhaps has a job perk, is salary. Seriously. Get a load of this: According to the Bureau of Labor ...
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