Annoyed Librarian
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Children’s Librarians Corrupting the Youth

It’s no secret that science gets a bad rap these days. A majority of Americans are scientifically illiterate, and that might be true in other countries as well. One could point to a lot of reasons. Millions of Americans believe the earth is 10,000 years old because their religious tribe tells them to. Millions of Americans also believe that climate science is a Chinese hoax because their political tribe tells them to. And millions more believe in homeopathy, astrology, and crystal healing because who knows why. Who’s to blame for all this? Is it a bad educational system? General human stupidity? Well, if some scientists are correct, one of the problems is children’s books and the craven fools who write and promote them, including the evil children’s librarians who are trying to brainwash children. The headline is, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Lied to You As a Child,” because the editor doesn’t understand what the word “lie” means. The subtitle is “Do children's books need ...
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A Press Release Too Far

When the ALA gets involved in politics, it’s always a mess. Every time the ALA Council passes a political resolution unrelated to libraries, you can be pretty sure whatever they’re against will happen. Someone forgot to tell the current ALA President to avoid the fray. First, at least I think it was first, was a press release from the ALA Washington Office last Tuesday. That one is entitled, “ALA offers expertise, resources to incoming administration and Congress.” Pretty bland stuff. In the press release she was quoted as saying, “We are ready to work with President-elect Trump, his transition team, incoming administration and members of Congress to bring more economic opportunity to all Americans and advance other goals we have in common.” That bit didn’t make librarians very happy, considering the sort of campaign Trump ran, because how could librarians and libraries possibly have anything in common with a President 60,000,000 people voted for? That was followed by ...
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Libraries and Fake Facts

One of the popular post-election stories is how fake news influenced the election, particularly as it spread through Facebook. Supposedly, Trump won because of Facebook. One purveyor of fake news on Facebook almost believes he’s single-handedly responsible for Trump’s election because Trump supporters never fact-checked the nonsense he peddled. The story is all over the place, and it’s becoming one of the convenient narratives to explain why 60,000,000 or so people voted for someone other people were sure couldn’t possibly win, along with maybe the narrative that all the voters are neoNazis. Those two narratives can combine into one, and the next story will be that America has 60,000,000 neoNazis and it’s all Facebook’s fault. The efforts to reduce the motivations of 60,000,000 people to one cause should strike us as ridiculous. Every article that tries to do that is fake news of a sort and should be treated skeptically. One problem with the Facebook Fake News Hypothesis is ...
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Animals in Libraries

A Kind Reader sent me a quote from an ALA listserv about a story the other AL is “considering on how libraries are handling the issue of service and therapy animals and other patrons who have allergies? If patrons complain about a library cat, aren't they also complaining about other patron service animals? Whose rights trump whose in these cases? Have you heard of this as an issue?" One might think that librarians would love the idea of library cats, but it seems there are some librarians who are allergic to cats. One might also think such an allergy would disqualify them from the profession of librarianship, but apparently that’s not so. Regardless, the basic question is pretty easy to answer. Aren't they also complaining about other patron service animals? Um, no. There, question answered. The idea of a therapy animal that a person would need to carry around everywhere is dubious. That’s not usually how animal therapy works. Also, according to ADA requirements, only ...
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Librarians Leaving the Country

What a long, annoying week it’s been. The most bizarre Presidential election in modern American history is finally over, except for the one-third of Clinton supporters who who supposedly believe the election wasn’t legitimate. There’s no polling data on how many of those people were critical of Trump for not saying he’d accept the legitimacy of the election results the week before, but who the heck trusts polling data anymore. As with any extremely contentious Presidential election, which is all of them now, there’s a lot of chatter among librarians online, and much of it is so self-righteous it’s hard to read without groaning. My favorite discussion was started by a female librarian who wanted to know about librarian jobs in other countries, because she was considering moving from the United States in the wake of Trump’s victory and the likely harm that would have on women. It’s hard to take seriously all the Americans who claim they’re going to move to Canada or wherever if ...
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Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

A UK official just created a Future of Work Commission, presumably so it can discover that in the future work will mostly be done by robots with the rest of us depending on their generosity for some scraps of food. This is the paragraph of the article that stuck out to me: The pace of change can be dizzying. My first job was as a trainee assistant librarian in the Labour Party’s Head Office in South East London. Today librarians are an endangered species in a world of Google searches and Twitter feeds. The sharing economy and online platforms provide mini-jobs for millions. And what we actually do is different. Social media managers, neuro-implant technicians and user experience designers are all 21st Century creations. Then there’s the jobs that we just don’t do at all - robots are drafting contracts and drafting articles as well as driving cars. What is there really that robots can’t do? If robots can draft contracts, they can draft laws, and they probably wouldn’t do any worse ...
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