Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Seen Online

There hasn’t been a lot exciting going on in the library world the last week or so. Honestly, if the Statistical Abstract of the United States is the hot news, you know it’sb een a slow week.

Of course we did have the announcement recently that the New York Times was going to put up a paywall for heavy users to access more than twenty full articles a month. The pricing scheme is ridiculously complicated, including charging separately for an iPad and iPhone app, but apparently desperate times call for confused measures. Given that there are several thousand other news sites around the world, I think I can survive without the Times at all. When they tried that Times Select thing a few years ago, I just stopped reading the Times completely. It turned out that monkey was pretty easy to get off my back.

However, this disappointing news was balanced by the recent announcement that the ACRL journal College & Research Libraries is going open access. Woo hoo! Now all those poor people who can’t read the Times can read that instead! It’s perfect bedtime reading, as it’s not only open access, but soporific.

Not everyone is as hyped about open access as ACRL, though. Once again, Amazon has reared its stingy head and stopped Lendle from helping people lend Kindle ebooks to other people, a practice which supposedly Amazon now supports in extreme moderation. People always seem to be up in arms about Amazon’s DRM. It turns out there’s a very easy way to avoid the Kindle DRM. Don’t buy Kindle ebooks. Problem solved.

Sorry, the news review got the best of me. Mostly, I wanted to point out a job wanted column that I liked. You may remember a few weeks ago I critiqued an unemployed librarian who claimed hipness was a great qualification for librarianship. Everyone was up in arms. How could the AL be so mean, pointing out the completely obvious and giving sound job advice? How dare her!

Compare this guest column for a news site in Michigan. It’s one of a series of Job Wanted columns, and this one happens to be by a underemployed librarian who wants full time work. There’s no hipness, no stereotype pushing or bashing, no self promotion of traits or qualities irrelevant to librarianship, like tattoos or funky shoes.

Instead, she talks about her background, her skills, her practical accomplishments. She is realistic and honest about being willing to move, but preferring to stay in Detroit, and to help make it a better place no less, which help Detroit sorely needs. Geographic or town-size restrictions will hinder her search, but being up front about it is good to see.

This is the last paragraph:

I can bring a lot to the job:  I have a diverse background and am efficient and proactive — a team player that can work autonomously. I learn very quickly and have an awesome attitude. The person that hires me will get all this and more!

Normally, I might criticize this paragraph. I’m not fond of the word proactive, or awesome either for that matter, and ending on an exclamation point is a bit much for me, even though it’s a very librarian thing to do.

However, after reading the column, I believed it. The honesty and enthusiasm were apparent. And if it turns out she’s not honest or enthusiastic, she can write well enough to convince us she is, and good writing can get you a long way in this profession.

I could analyze it more and point out the differences between its strategy and the hipster strategy, but I won’t. The differences speak for themselves.

I saw a lot of other things online, and quite a lot of things in person, but if I told you about them it might intrude upon my privacy. So go read College & Research Libraries and give that Detroit librarian a job.



  1. AL…The NYT is deep in debt. The convoluted online pricing scheme is a harbinger of their demise. Just as online retailers like Amazon are killing bookstores and other walk-in retail outlets, free on-line news sources will kill the NYT and other newspapers. Will Amazon also help kill public libraries? Many public libraries are sales tax dependent and Amazon only returns sales tax in 5 states. This is a huge problem for the financial foundation of local and state governments. Even when the economy gets better, the sales tax base will have permanently eroded in a very significant way and libraries (public) will probably never fully recover. It’s a big issue that has largely been ignored by the library profession.

  2. My state (IN) funds libraries through property taxes, but recently put property tax caps into the state consititution, thus permanently de-funding libraries.

  3. Will, I’m not so sure that the tax base will be permanently eroded. A lot of state legislatures have realized that there’s gold in them thar hills at Amazon and are starting to draft laws to get their chunk. Of course Amazon’s strategy is to just pull their referral business out of states implementing such policies, but they won’t be able to stop doing business in the entire continental U.S. if enough states start following suit.

  4. It sounds like you’re bored, AL. I found a piece that I was sure you would’ve seen and responded to – in fact, I fully expected it to set Libraryland on fire and I was rather surprised that it didn’t. Maybe you’d like to read and respond to it….

    Torrone, Phillip. “Is It Time To Rebuild & Retool Public Libraries And Make “TechShops”?” MAKE Magazine, 10 March 2011.

  5. Not interested in As the Google Book Settlement Turns? I’m kind of surprised. (and ditto Spekkio on the Make magazine article–I was actually looking forward to you sinking your teeth into that one)

  6. Annoyed Librarian says:

    I guess I’m sort of tired of the Google Books soap opera and the authors’ concern over orphan works, but I should probably have mentioned it. Now that tech shops piece, maybe I’ll write about it next week.

  7. Can’t most people read the NYT for free through their public library e-journals subscriptions?

  8. Since moving your blog and selling out [it was a very wise move, btw!], how do you feel you have faired in the blogosphere?

    I found this map online and could not help but think about how Librarians want to make so much of this part of libraries…

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