Monthly Archives: November 2010

Crankypants

I’m turning into a cranky librarian.

I know there is a lot of information out there about how libraries are changing, how we’re not shushing patrons anymore, how the libraries are filled with joyous teens playing Guitar Hero and having a wonderful time.

Bleah.

There is a value in having a Quiet Space.  There is value in having a contemplative space. There is value in having a space where you can sit in a comfortable chair and just think.

We have some students that seem to understand this.  And then there are the students who don’t seem to have an “inside voice.” They are loud. Just in general conversation, they’re loud.

I find myself getting increasingly irritated with these types, and would dearly love to stride up to them and shush them.  I don’t, unless there’s a student taking an exam.

But boy, I really, really want to.

How do I create a contemplative study space without being the Crankypants Librarian?

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Filed under Academia, Libraries and Librarianship, Me and mine

Just because you can…

Every now and then the issue of some idiot using the library’s computers to view pornography rears its ugly head.  Those of you who have read my blog know my opinion on the matter: viewing porn in a public space is rather akin to walking in the front door and dropping your pants.  Not. Acceptable. Behavior.

Yes, you have a right to blah, blah, blah.  Not in my library, where anyone can walk behind you and get an education they weren’t asking for.

Now Amazon has joined into this sort of sordid story, by offering a charming tome entitled, “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure.”   Isn’t that nice?  A how-to guide for pedophiles.  How useful.

Ahem.

WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING?????

Amazon initially took the high ground, answering shocked queries with this condescending little piece:

Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable,” the company said in a written statement. “Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.

Uh-huh.

You can’t even make the case that this is brilliantly written dreck, if the author’s description is any indication:

“This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian [sic] rules for these adults to follow,” a product description read. “I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter [sic] sentences should they ever be caught.”

Fabulous.  Creepy and stupid.

The outrage on the internet was immediate and vicious. I don’t know how many of hundreds (or even thousands) of people responded to this, left responses on Amazon’s page, or emailed them directly.  I started reading about it on Twitter and Facebook yesterday morning; by afternoon there was a flood of horror over the issues. As of this morning, Amazon has wised up and has removed the book from its inventory.

You can certainly make a case for the right the author has to write and publish something like this.  (By the way, the author’s name is Phillip Greaves, of Pueblo, Colo.  I would double-check to see if he’s your neighbor if you have kids. Just sayin’.)

I question the wisdom of a business choosing to offer something like this to its customers. I’ve had a problem with Amazon’s privacy settings for a while now and find its “recommended for you” algorithm to be creepy and invasive.  This takes my dislike for them one step further.

I did wonder whether if a law enforcement professional would view this as an opportunity, though. Get a court order for the names and addresses of all the creeps that ordered the thing, then round ’em up.  Would be pretty efficient.

There are collection development rules (or there ought to be!) in libraries that hopefully prevent something such as this from being purchased for a library collection. Just remember…..just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

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Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Things that make you go, "Hmmm..."