Annoyed Librarian
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Librarians Supporting Free “Political Speech”

All those people who think that the ALA and its house organ American Libraries are merely the tools of a radical leftist conspiracy to take over America one library card at a time now have to reckon with this opinion piece in the other AL: Librarians and the Threat to Free Political Speech. I saw the title in my Google alerts and immediately thought, here we go again, yet another article about how librarians are a threat to political speech. Or maybe it was about how librarians protected us all from threats to free political speech, the way they protect us from “censorship” and band books. Imagine my surprise when I found a librarian not only in agreement with the Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission decision by the Supreme Court, but who thought that all librarians should be as well, because we librarians are all about free political speech. In case you don’t keep up with all things SCOTUS, Citizens United is the decision that removed various ...

How Does Your Library Promote Fake Celebrations?

As you stumble back to work after your long Labor Day weekend, you can perk yourself up by remembering that September marks the ALA’s most boring fake celebration of all: National Library Card Sign-up Month, which is “a time to remind parents and children that a library card is the most important school supply of all.” Awwww, that’s sweet. I found about 25 news articles about libraries celebrating National Library Card Sign-up Month, so the national media saturation is as thorough as articles about how librarians don’t fit librarian stereotypes anymore. Even Norway is celebrating National Library Card Sign-up Month. At first I wondered if those Norwegians are so desperate for fake celebrations they have to steal ours. My favorites are the articles that show real excitement about signing up for a library card by putting an exclamation point at the end of the headline. For example, we’re commanded to Hit a Home Run with the Greenfield Public Library! This ...

Death of the Author

I’ve just got books on my mind lately. Maybe it’s because reading is hip, and librarians are hip, or hippy, or ex-hippies, or something. Since I do like a good book, I was intrigued by an article in the Guardian: Are Books Dead, and Can Authors Survive? It’s an abbreviated form of an address at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Betteridge’s Law of Headlines usually gets confirmed with every instance of a question mark in a headline I see. The problem with this headline is that it has two questions. Are books dead? No! Can authors survive? Yes, at least depending on what you mean by an author. Why couldn’t the Guardian just ask if authors were dead? No! The argument seems rather solid, but the headline doesn’t reflect it well. The author doesn’t really argue that books are dead. He seems to agree that books in some form will still be around. What is dying, so he argues, is The Writer, as in the person who makes a living just by writing books. Books ...

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