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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Stereotypically Remaining Hushed

I can't quite tear myself away from the Oak Brook story, the one from last week where the mean old conservative guy made a 11-year-old girl cry by making fun of her because she was defending the librarians who'd just been fired. An alert reader commented on a sentence I somehow overlooked. From the article: "The librarians, who stereotypically remain hushed for this story, obviously feel a bit threatened." This could have been half a stereotype post just in itself! The commenter had this to say: "If we, as a profession, are going to rely on 10 year olds to speak up for us, we will absolutely get steamrolled by people who see little or no value in a public library." Is this what went on at the meeting? As reported, the librarians didn't defend themselves. Was there some defense prior to the meeting? There are various studies showing the benefit of public libraries to the sort of economic bottom of a community. Since money is the only thing some people value, that ...

The Value of Empty Libraries

I wanted to post something yesterday as usual, but I'm still a little groggy from the AL anniversary party. The champagne was flowing a bit too freely, and I've since been in no mood to write. Plus, I seem to have misplaced my shoes during the party, but that's a long story. All week I've been thinking more about the mean anti-library guy wanting to shut down public libraries and privatize the world. Libraries seem to be shutting down all over the country, and not just in our country if an article I read about British libraries facing closures is true. Part of this is due to the recession. Times are hard. Tax revenues are down. We're told it's good news when only half a million people file new unemployment claims in a month. These are also the times, as you've likely been reading, when people start using public libraries more. With stagnant or reduced household incomes, finding books and entertainment that doesn't cost money immediately is attractive. People who might have dashed ...

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Today is the first anniversary of the Annoyed Librarian at Library Journal. Yay! Who'd have thought I'd make it this far. What a long, strange, and (since this is my 125th blog post here), busy trip it's been. The thing I've noticed most over the past year is that while the page views remain high, the comments have settled down considerably, and this can only be a good thing. Some of those first posts were dominated by people who seemed to think if they wrote "I hate this blog" enough times the AL would just go away. At some point those bozos realized their plan wasn't working and went off to read Tame the Web instead. The old blog built up its audience slowly, so that by the time there were a lot of readers the commenters had self selected. This one had to start from scratch with lots of new readers who didn't know what to make of it. One negative commenter early on claimed the blog was bad because the posts were long and he was expecting short posts. Readers with short ...

Fighting Scrooge in Illinois

For all sorts of reasons, I'm glad I don't have to live in Oak Brook, IL, especially if I were still a little girl who likes libraries. A kind reader sent this story to me. It tells the sad tale of one man's crusade to destroy public libraries and make little girls cry, preferably at the same time. When an 11-year-old girl spoke out in a public meeting against firing the three librarians, she received a stiff rejoinder from criminal attorney Constatine Xinos which reduced her to tears: "Those who come up here with tears in their eyes talking about the library, put your money where your mouth is.... Don't cry crocodile tears about people who are making $100,000 a year wiping tables and putting the books back on the shelves...." He said Oak Brook had to "stop indulging people in their hobbies" and "their little, personal, private wants." "I wanted that kid to lose sleep that night," a grinning Xinos says Wednesday, as he invites me for a nearly ...

Another Library Job that Sucks

One of the occasional features on the old AL that hasn't appeared here is Library Jobs that Suck. It was never a regular feature in the old days, but I was usually willing to point asucky library job. The absence isn't explained by the changing nature of the blog. I haven't written about library jobs that suck because there just haven't been any. "Wait right there!" you might say. "I work in a library, and my job sucks!" And, probably, it does in some sense suck. Not everyone can have the high job satisfaction of the AL, just like not everyone can get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for writing this blog while sipping martinis and getting her feet massaged in her big corner office overlooking the park. Such outcomes are rare in librarianship, but that's just the way it goes. If getting a great job was your goal, then you picked the wrong field. So, sure, in one sense, many of your jobs do suck, but I reserve my Library Jobs that Suck category for very ...

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