Awfully busy lately, friends, but we’ve got a cold rainy fuzz of a day that screams ‘Set aside yr work! Be Contrarian! Things don’t need to be done!’ and so forth. So here’s some news from the library world:
Firstly, then, an update on the library cat situation. Thanks to the kind support of our community, we raised enough money to get Mama Cat spayed. She has now returned to the original owners and we intend to keep taking care of her as needed. We have fortunately had no allergy problems or patron complaints, and long may that last. Two of her kittens await homes, but the others are gone and hopefully happy or angry or whatever cattitude they wish to be. Mama Cat’s son from a year ago, who also started coming in to the library, is getting fixed today, thanks again to the kind donations of our patrons. He will be going to his new home post-surgery.
Maine has an upcoming ballot question regarding Tabor II tax cuts, a blanket tax cut that would weigh heavily on libraries and schools. Here’s the Maine Library Association’s official statement.
So did you hear about the Amazon/Walmart book battle? I actually didn’t until today, when I noticed this article on a copy of the Wall Street Journal I was about to burn. Not as an act of anti-capitalist protest, mind you, just to light my woodstove. I had noticed, however, that suddenly Amazon’s prices on a lot of the books we are ordering this month were better than those of Baker & Taylor, our main distributor. This was the first time this had happened with such frequency, which is why this article caught my eye. While it seems like it might save libraries money, we have to think about what sort of companies we are supporting with our purchases. I try to ignore any concerns about Amazon and Baker & Taylor, but I wretch at the idea of ordering from Walmart. That said, if they will save us more money, how long can we resist on our budgets? Libraries can’t afford not to purchase items at the cheapest price they can, and the new price for hardcover bestsellers would allow us to provide more of the books the public want.
I spent a lot of time recently researching the legal status of sex offenders in the library. In most places, registered sex offenders are not allowed to be within a certain distance from any institution that caters primarily to minors. The public library serves the entire public, therefore sex offenders are welcome in the library. There are rumors that this may be changing. University of Iowa libraries have recently adopted a policy stating that sex offenders have to ask permission to use the library. In March 2008, the mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico banned them from the city’s libraries. While the situation is way more complex than I care to get into here, I do believe that we librarians are here to serve the needs of the entire public, and that includes criminals of many forms. I also need to keep an eye on how everyone behaves with and around children, whether or not their names are on any list.
We’re also trying to figure out if we should send the sheriff to the house of the woman who took out three of our cookbooks two years ago, acknowledges that she has them, but will not bring them back. Again, more complicated than it seems: she won’t respond to us anymore, but she signed for our letter with a copy of the law. BUT, when word gets around town (as word does in small towns) that the library sent the police to an old lady’s house we don’t look so hot.
And librarians like looking hot:
Please note: like the picture in my last post, this is not me.
Lastly, I have had two people comment lately that librarians don’t do anything or that the job isn’t that complex. There’s only really one appropriate response: don’t talk about what you don’t know. Oh, and fuck off. The day of the uber-polite librarian is over.