Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Why the OIF Can’t be Taken Seriously

Last week someone left a comment that the ALA OIF disagrees with me about “banned” books, and wondered what I thought of their arguments, such that they are. Since I hate to disappoint readers, I’ll engage one more time. The most amusing response was this one: The briefest answer is this: public schools and public libraries are government agencies that operate pursuant to the First Amendment. Any official suppression of a book for the ideas it contains is unconstitutional censorship, a book ban. Unlike the kind folks at the OIF, I’ve actually read the First Amendment, and there’s absolutely nothing in there that has anything to do with the “banned” books debate except the freedom of religion. The OIF has confused the freedom of speech with the freedom to read, and the freedom to read with the right to have the government supply your reading material. That's a large logical leap. If a library chooses not to buy a book, or chooses to move a book from the children’s to the adult section ...

The Real Question on Outsourcing Libraries

Last week, kind readers sent me not only this NYT article about L.S.S.I taking over libraries in Santa Clarita, CA, but this Reason Magazine response to L.S.S.I  critics pointing out the many benefits that it has brought to the Riverside County, CA libraries. The Reason piece claimed the NYT article was “angst-ridden” and implied “that there was something fundamentally wrong with privatized libraries and that libraries are a ‘sacred’ public service that should be protected from companies making a profit on the backs of library patrons.” I didn’t get that from the article, which I thought was very fair to LSSI. If anything was angst-ridden, it was the responses of other people, not the NYT reporter. And some of the criticism of the outsourcing was strange. “A library is the heart of the community. I’m in favor of private enterprise, but I can’t feel comfortable with what the city is doing here.” What does this really mean? “Heart of the community” is vague frippery posing as ...

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