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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Spend the Shutdown @ Your Library

What a crazy country we live in. I mean, maybe the whole country isn’t crazy, but there sure do seem to be some people who fit one definition of crazy, that of doing the same thing over and over again and yet expecting different results.

Oh well, crazy people. What are you going to do?

On a totally unrelated topic, and just in case you didn’t notice, the federal government has partially shut down. Eventually that might affect everybody, but at the moment it mostly affects the “non-essential” federal employees.

It’s also affecting some libraries, obviously, including some of the biggies. According to this LJ article, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Library of Congress are shut down. I think the National Archives should count as essential, but what do I know.

The Library of Congress probably isn’t completely shut down, but it’s “closed to the public and researchers.” Presumably it’s still open to members of Congress, so they can catch up on their reading now that they’re not bothering to govern the country.

One small ray of hope is that the Washington DC public libraries are still open. The mayor declared them an “essential service,” which was sweet. Now lots of furloughed federal workers in DC will have some place to go for entertainment.

Fortunately for those spread out in the rest of the country, their public libraries are probably still open, although they won’t be getting any funding from the IMLS for a while since there’s no one available to read grant applications.

This might be a great time for libraries to start promoting themselves and their services. What are some of the things you can do at the library if you’re affected by the government shutdown?

  • Read the latest bestseller, which unlike a government shutdown is probably going to have a happy ending. At the very least, the plot will probably be less repetitive.
  • Listen to some soothing music to help you forget the stress of not having a job or having your government contract suspended.
  • Listen to some jarring music and get angry for the same reasons.
  • Play Dance Dance Revolution and sweat out the stress!
  • Get a bunch of DVDs to take home. You’ll have plenty of time to catch up on that last season of whatever it was you were too busy to watch while you were gainfully employed.
  • Surf the Internet for porn, because that’s an industry that never shuts down.
  • Write to your Congressperson saying, “Tell Boehner put a clean spending bill up for a vote.”

That last one would be democracy in action, as opposed to the democracy inaction we have now, so it’s probably not going to happen.

On second thought, your best bet is probably just to entertain yourself into a stupor and try to forget about the whole thing. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, the library’s got your back.

Libraries – they rarely shut down.

What a mess.



  1. Stephen Michael Kellat says:

    This recent innovation calling spending bills “clean” and “dirty” is odd and ahistorical. If we can use those adjectives, can we not have “naughty” and other words used perhaps?

  2. Here again says:

    Not that it’s really related to your post (which is great), but just thought I’d mention that yes, the porn industry does have its shutdowns:

  3. I went to look at comments made in the E-rate/CIPA NPRM at the FCC to see what ALA said about “censorship” and the FCC site was — censored! By the government! For political reasons! Nationwide!

    Federal Communications Commission

    We regret the disruption, but during the Federal Government-wide shutdown, the FCC is limited to performing duties that are immediately necessary for the safety of life or the protection of property. FCC online systems will not be available until further notice.

    FCC Shutdown Plan
    Public Notice on Procedures for Filings
    Notice Regarding Pending Section 214 Applications Due to the Lapse in Appropriations
    Auction 902 Short-Form Application Filing Window Suspended
    Informal Transaction Shot Clocks Suspended During Lapse in Funding
    Postponement of October 2, 2013 E911 Location Accuracy Workshop
    If you need to contact the FCC to address an emergency situation, please call: (202) 418-1122 or email:

    Telecommunications companies must continue to use the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS), which will remain available during the shutdown, to file reports of telecommunication service disruptions pursuant to Part 4 of the FCC’s rules. NORS allows companies to file Notifications, Initial Reports and Final Reports. The information on service disruptions is essential to maintain and improve the reliability and security of the telecommunications infrastructure.

    Vacancy announcements for positions that were open for receipt of applications have been closed and will re-open when the Government is operational.

    During this time, the FCC is not accepting any deliveries of supplies, or services that have not been identified as necessary for the safety of life or the protection of property.

    The Commission has issued a Public Notice concerning procedures for submissions that would be due to the FCC during the shutdown.

    last reviewed/updated on 10/1/2013

    • It seems to me that all these Federal agencies should have had no time to waste on turning computers off, if they are all being sent home.

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