Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

The Future is Now

The news these days is chock full of libraries without books. Maybe there's a conspiracy by the press to make "traditional" libraries seem antiquated and horrible so that they decline alone with traditional media. Or maybe they're just having slow news days. Either way, if the library of the future has no books, then the future is now, whatever that hoary cliche is supposed to mean. By now you've probably seen this article a kind reader passed on to me about a Massachusetts prep school eliminating all the books in its library because the headmaster thinks books are an "outdated technology." When we consider that books are pretty much guaranteed to last hundreds of years with the proper care, or that most books in the world currently being published are still being published in print form, or that most books are not available in digital form, or that millions of print books are bought and read each year in this country alone, I can't see what the argument is for ...

No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

Why, oh why can't CNN just leave librarians alone? Someone there must have a librarian fetish or something. Perhaps the news director has secret fantasies where prim, slender librarians shake the buns out of their hair, take off their glasses, and tie him up with library chains. Or her up. Or whatever. The latest CNN story sent on to me by a kind reader has the same problems most news stories about librarians have. Supposedly it's on the "future of libraries" (where library = public library, natch). It reads like it was written by someone who hasn't been in a library since the 1950s, if ever. The opening couldn't have been written by a regular library patron: "The stereotypical library is dying -- and it's taking its shushing ladies, dank smell and endless shelves of books with it." Dank smell? Since when have libraries ever had dank smells? The writer must be thinking of the books he has stored in his parent's basement. Maybe the shushing lady is his mother. Then ...

All About the Bonus

So many kind readers sent this story to me that I had to comment. Some of you might already have seen the CNN story on the roller derby-playing librarian. Perhaps some of you have already, like Jim Croce, fallen in love with a roller derby queen after seeing the video. Unfortunately the story only works as news because it's supposed to "break stereotypes." That it does. I've known plenty of physically active librarians, but none who have played roller derby. Next I hope we can have stories of librarians driving in NASCAR races or demolition derbies. The gem of the week was this essay from Inside Higher Education someone sent on to me: End of the Business Simile. It's a pleasant and good-spirited criticism of those in higher education who want to run universities "like businesses," in this new era of big businesses failing left and right, or staying afloat only by massive infusions of public monies. I just wanted to substitute "library" for every ...

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