Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Hire a Librarian Next Time

Librarians get no respect, we all know that. People don’t even know what librarians do most of the time. There’s a cliched reaction to what librarians do that’s similar to what I’ve been told happens to English teachers. Supposedly, if you tell someone you’re an English teacher, they usually say, “Oh, I’d better watch my grammar!” Similarly, if you tell someone you’re a librarian, they say, “Oh, I bet you like to acquire, organize, and disseminate information!” Wait, no. They say, “I bet you like to read!” Or, perhaps worse, “I wish I had a job where I could sit around and read all day!” To which I reply, “You and me both.” Perhaps the biggest sign of disrespect is that anyone working in a library is considered a librarian by the general public. That person shelving books? A shelving librarian! That person stamping due dates? The stamping librarian! And, the most embarrassing one for the profession: that person in charge of the Library of Congress? The Librarian of ...
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Beware of False Oppressions

The so-called “religious freedom” act passed in Indiana has certainly been getting a lot of attention. Even the ALA President has weighed in on the matter. ALA’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is calling for input from the membership—how can we best engage our host communities when ALA holds its conference in the midst of a local controversy that touches us all? The next ALA conference to be held in Indiana is in 2021, and I’m pretty sure by that time there will be more pressing controversies to worry about. It is amusing that so many deluded folks think their religious liberty is under attack. America is possibly the most religiously free country in the world, whatever its other problems, so the whiners concerned about their religious freedom just look ridiculous to people who live in reality. The people who think their religious liberty is under threat in America clearly haven’t traveled to places that actually do restrict religious liberty, from Saudi Arabia ...
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Performativity and Reality

Last week a big group of academic librarians got together in Portland, Oregon and apparently had the best and most inspiring time of their lives, like, ever! At least that’s the impression I get from the Twitter conversation about the conference, which is about as close as I dared to come. I’m sure Portland is a lovely place, if somewhat lacking in racial diversity, a fact implied in the Wikipedia article that more or less white washes Oregon’s twisted racial history. Still, let bygones be bygones. Now it’s the hip, beer brewing capital of the country, it seems, which is definitely a plus for the city although not particularly attractive to me. But if you went by the Tweets about ACRL in Portland, the place is amazing. It has doughnuts and everything. And based on the many, many photos posted, the airport also has carpeting. I assume the carpet photos were taken by people from the east coast who didn’t realize that covering floors in unnatural fibers is a trend that has ...
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A Canadian Challenge

For some reason, I usually think of library book challenges coming from people who are afraid their children will turn gay if they read a book about penguins, and I usually picture someone from small town America. I don’t know why. The latest book challenge I’ve read about is certainly challenging stereotypes, my stereotypes at least. This time it’s Canada, where I thought nobody had anything to complain about because it was the kind of paradise that a segment of stressed Americans swear they’ll immigrate to one day when things get too bad here. In Winnipeg, all the copies of Tintin in America have been pulled for review because of complaints about it being racist and offensive. The weird thing is that nobody was specifically complaining about the books being in libraries, at least not this time. The books were pulled for review after people complained that they were available in a local bookstore chain. The bookstore pulled the books for sale, reviewed them, and decided ...
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Do We Need Louder Librarians?

Things are bad all over it seems, especially for libraries. Sure, in Kentucky libraries just caught a big break, but that’s unusual. Not that I think public libraries are dying. School libraries maybe, but not public ones. Still, times are hard, and while the public might still love their libraries, the public’s politicians cut funding the first chance they get. In Missouri, for example, the governor is planning to withhold $6 million of state money that was budgeted for public libraries. “You can’t spend money you don’t have,” he said, although everyone knows it’s not a question of spending money you don’t have so much as how you choose to spend the money you do have. Of course there are worthier ways to spend money than public libraries, despite what all librarian driven propaganda will tell you. If the choice is between buying fewer books and buying poor kids more school lunches, most non-librarians would probably vote for the lunches. I don’t know about the budget ...
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Shave the Time of the Reader

A constant theme running through the media, if you are on the lookout for it, is a misunderstanding of how libraries work. Every once in a while, someone gets it right. For example, there’s a news article from Rochester, New York about the public library’s recycling bin. And, yes, I’m assuming it was a slow news day. There’s no protest to cover. There are no outraged citizens who think that throwing away books is always an evil. It’s just the librarian explaining how a typical public library weeding process works. That’s much less exciting, because without protesters there’s no one to make fun of. I think everyone who foolishly protests a standard weeding exercise should have to store the unwanted books in their homes. “If it’s so important to you, YOU keep it.” But mostly, the articles are like this one proclaiming that “a revolution is underway.” Someone should tell reporters that adding services to libraries isn’t revolutionary. A “revolution” overthrows the current ...
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