Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Defensive Librarians

We made it to May Day. The year seems like it's flying by. Before I get to today’s topic of defensive librarians, I want to introduce this bit of news to anyone who hasn’t seen it. A “father’s rights advocate” tried to get the Toronto Public Library to remove Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop, claiming it encourages children to “use violence against their fathers.” I suspect that the children that book is aimed at couldn't do a lot of damage anyway, but who knows. Somewhere there’s probably a clean house advocate trying to ban The Cat in the Hat because it encourages children to mess up their houses. But on to other business. Why is it that librarians often sound so defensive when talking about libraries? And why are articles defending libraries in general so weird? We know people like libraries. Every study affirms that. We know people use libraries. The statistics confirm it. So why things like this: 7 Big Myths About Libraries? It’s both defensive and misleading, myth ...
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A Soft Furry Belly for Librarians

Last week the Daily Telegraph reported on a study in Britain that tried to figure out a quantitative monetary comparison for how good some cultural and sporting activities make us feel, because if you can't put it in terms of money it just doesn't count. For example, the highest rated activity, dancing, supposedly makes us feel as good as a pay raise of £1671 pounds (or $2810). I’d feel good if I got a $2810 pay raise, especially if it came every time I felt like dancing, and I'd feel like dancing a lot more if I got that pay raise each time. Swimming is second. That makes us feel like we got a raise of $2739. And surprisingly enough, going to a library regularly makes us feel as good as if we got a $2285 pay raise. I tend to be a little skeptical of studies like this, but lets assume these numbers actually mean something. If so, they explain a lot. First, they explain why people like libraries. If they use them regularly, they like them for that reason. If they used them a ...
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The Weeding Problem Solved

A Kind Reader sent a link to this story with the statement, “Thank god this isn’t me!” It’s another entry in the series Weeding Projects Gone Wrong. Or maybe Weeding Projects Gone Right that shouldn’t have been made public. The University of New Hampshire’s library is weeding books, withdrawing 36,000 and moving 15,000 to offsite storage, which supposedly totals about 3% of the collection. However, the opening sentence of the news story is “A dumpster on the campus of the University of New Hampshire is filling up with books from Dimond Library, and professors want to know why.” Because that’s more provocative. Sometimes it would be nice if professors knew anything about how libraries operated and thought of the system as a whole instead of their little niche, but I guess that’s what librarians are for. Regardless, the article mentions only one professor, so even that initial sentence might be wrong. “The library is weeding old books that haven’t circulated ...
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Library Decay

The website TV Tropes analyzes something they call “network decay.” This happens when a television network changes over time to the point where it differs significantly or even totally from its initial incarnation. This is the sort of change that has often happened with the niche cable TV channels that popped up in the 1980s. MTV is a prime example, changing from a network showing videos of pop music to whatever it does today that’s nothing like that. The transformation of networks with a pretense of educational programming has been more dramatic. It’s hard to remember a time when there was such a thing as The Learning Channel, and it sort of wanted you to learn something. Sometimes that change has been what TV Tropes classifies as “slipped.” In this category we find The Discovery Channel, which was a network mostly showing documentaries. By the mid-1990s, they showed an obscene amount of home improvement shows and cooking shows aimed at stay-at-home moms.... Now, ...
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For All You Untrustworthy Low Level Employees

This story about the library budget crisis in Miami-Dade County, Florida is quite a read. A librarian formerly employed by the county criticized the library director, who allegedly responded with a “heated monologue” in which he said that without him the library system would be, um, in a bad condition. Since this is a family blog, you’ll have to read the article to get the actual comment. The director denies it, though. Not that there isn’t some strangeness going on. Despite losing tens of millions of dollars in funding over several years, the director “signed off on two staffers jetting to Milan in March for a cultural exchange,” which was “paid for by grants and county programming funding.” Nice work if you can get it. As the offended and critical librarian put it, "I have a problem with that as a taxpayer...if my child doesn't have a book and they're sending these people to Europe." But it’s probably important for Miami to have a “cultural exchange” with ...
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National Library Week Yet Again

National Library Week is here yet again. That’s the week librarians come together to celebrate the fact that we don’t have a true national library like other civilized countries. Or something like that. Still, I tried to get excited about it. That was helped by this lovely brochure that you can print out and distribute to all and sundry. So what can you do at a library? Visit your library for computer resources for teens and adults, help with your job search, access to subscription databases, library-recommended websites and homework help. You also can obtain information about how to become a U.S. citizen, bilingual resources and neutral financial information to help you make important decisions. That sounded pretty nifty. I visited a friend of mine, a lawyer, and she took me to their firm’s law library. I asked for some computer resources for teens and adults. She referred me to Westlaw. Something’s not right here. I can't imagine many adults or teens wanting to spend ...
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