Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Solving Life Problems @ Your Library

People can be grateful to librarians for many things: access to books, protection of privacy, fat shaming, etc. There are so many services that librarians provide. You might think I’m kidding about the last one, but it happened. Sure, it happened in Scotland, but Scotland is as important as any other country. If you don’t believe that, just ask a Scot. A library patron “weighed 17 stone and 12lb” when she visited her local library. In Americanese, that’s 250lbs. She went looking for a book, but a librarian, or perhaps library assistant, assumed she was there for a “Slimming World” class. The woman was immediately directed to the class on the assumption that of course that’s what she’d be there for. A simple mistake, if perhaps unintentionally rude, and the woman was mortified. She suddenly realized that a relatively short woman weighing 250 pounds is pretty big for her size. So she went on a diet and exercise regimen and has lost almost a hundred pounds, and gone from a ...
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Just to Clarify

A few weeks ago I wrote about the poorly run Library of Congress and suggested they hire a librarian next time. One reader was not amused: Well, Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. annoyed what do you and other librarians expect when you continually degrade those who have MLS degrees? Calling it an easy degree and a learn nothing degree. The trend now is to hire people with two degrees (sometimes) one in Library science and one in the topic [.…] So as far as I'm concerned once again librarians have stabbed their young and themselves in the back…So thank yourselves for this hire at the Library of Congress…. Well there you go. It’s apparently my fault that the Library of Congress has never hired a professional librarian to be the Librarian of Congress. As for calling the MLS an easy degree, everybody always wants to shoot the messenger. What if, and I’m just spitballing here, what if librarians didn’t need degrees at all? Maybe that won’t work at fancy places like the Library of Congress, but ...
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Fighting Over Rare Books

There’s a weird little story emerging about the New York Public Library. It seems a woman was clearing out a jewelry store owned by her deceased parents when she found some rare books, “including a centuries-old manuscript by Benjamin Franklin potentially worth more than $1 million.” Lucky find! She took them to an appraiser who noticed something she apparently had not, that the books had NYPL call numbers on the spines. I guess it’s easy to overlook a little thing like that when you think you’re about to make some money. With the woman’s permission, the appraiser contacted the NYPL, which said the books had been stolen and they wanted them back. Rather, they said the they were “somehow taken…between 1988 and 1991.” Oddity number one. The Manhattan district attorney’s office got involved, setting up a grand jury to decide if they woman violated a law against selling property she knew to be stolen. Oddity number two. She’s filed a civil action to get a judge to determine ...
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No Stereotypes Shattered Here

I’m not sure why, but I still get annoyed every time I read one of those news articles trying to break down librarian stereotypes, only it seems to be for different reasons each time. The latest is from Tucson, Arizona, where supposedly “librarians become new selves when not between shelves,” because the headline writer wants to be a writer of doggerel but couldn’t get paid to do that. Supposedly, unlike the stereotypical shusher, “In real life...many local librarians live their lives out loud.” Living one’s life out loud seems to mean, in turn, being a female bodybuilder, playing roller derby, and riding a motorcycle, although I suspect that if the motorcycle rider were a man this wouldn’t be considered much of a surprise. Usually what annoys me about the articles is the way the librarians are played up to be larger than life characters when they’re really not. Okay, you have tattoos. That would have been very exciting in the 1960s maybe. It’s not the librarians ...
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Exposure @ the Library

A reader suggested in the comments last week that I write about an incident of indecent exposure at the Alexander Library at Rutgers University. I was unaware of such an incident, but sure enough last week a man walked into a women’s restroom in the library, exposed himself to one woman, and grabbed another woman on the buttocks before running from the room. That’s the kind of thing you expect to happen at a public library! According to the news article, the library basically is a public library, with anyone allowed in until 10pm. Since the incident happened around 9:20pm, it could have been a member of the public rather than a fellow student, but who knows. The student reactions are priceless. This one might be my favorite: “I would never expect a man to come in there and just expose himself like that.” Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, either. One student understandably says that she deserves to feel safe in the library, while another on, a martial arts expert, says ...
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Banned Posters Week

There’s controversy brewing in the library community because a lot of librarians like to find stuff to get upset about to distract themselves from how boring their jobs are. The latest controversy is over a Banned Books Week poster. Yes, it’s a poster you can buy, and people are upset about it because they don’t have any real problems to worry about. The poster shows a young woman, bare arms, hair down, holding up a book in front of her face. The book has a red circle with a clear rectangle in the middle, and the woman is looking out through the rectangle. Bold red letters say “READSTRICTED.” The ALA Council listserv is all abuzz, because juicy topics don’t come round often enough. Here’s a representative protest: I work in a heavily Muslim neighborhood. In fact, many of you may have seen images of my neighborhood last week, when 2 women were arrested for conspiring to commit a terrorist act.  I truly believe that acts of terrorism and attacks on our cities come from an ...
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