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Wednesday, June 16, 2004


WIN SOME, LOSE SOME

Library assaulted by armored bulldozer.

Public library gets free CDs as part of record industry antitrust settlement. Though I'm not sure unloading a pile of unwanted John Tesh CDs will come as any major loss. It's like we're punishing the record industry by doing them a favor.

Monday, April 05, 2004


LOCAL LIBRARY NEWS

Citizens around the state are pitching in to save this non-essential service. I'm happy to see someone in local government pointing out the obvious:

"With all the anti-tax stuff going on," Bakers says, "it's time people become aware that you get what you pay for, and if you don't want to pay for much you're not going to get much."

It's great to see this kind of support, but it may also encourage Pawlenty and Awada to continue cutting Local Government Aid, so we still lose in the long run. It's clear that people need (and love) public libraries. What is the point of organized government if we can't provide this basic service to the people? Why do we keep electing public officials who want to demolish our government?


Sunday, March 28, 2004


SORRY, KIDS

"Liberry Blooze" will be scaling back to an "updated intermittently" blog with a more library-related focus. Not much fun, I know, but- dude! Check out this Star Trek library!

Monday, March 22, 2004


MY NEW FAVORITE PICK-UP LINE

From a deleted scene of Futurama (ep: "Parasites Lost"): "Bring me my library card 'cause I'm checkin' youse out!"


While you're at it, check this out:

Vocational Guidance Films, Inc., present: The Librarian.


PUBLIC SERVICE IS DEAD

The mainstream media can be so pathetic. Desperate to create news where there isn't any, while conveniently ignoring the important things that are happening, one of their beloved tasks is determining what's "dead." As in "rock is dead," magazines cried in the mid-'90s, citing crossover electronica artists like The Prodigy as the next big thing. And what, I ask you, has the Prodigy been up to since? Anyone? Anyone? Rap and R&B have been dominating the charts, mainly, but lame "rock" bands like Nickelback still manage to make a sizable dent (four mil) in the Billboard 200. So Lenny Kravitz had a point, to a certain extent, that rock is no longer king, but rock and roll will never die. Prince knows, even if he, too, has abandoned the fold. He deserves his newly won spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the guy hasn't made a decent pop record in almost ten years.*

It's hard to imagine books ever disappearing, but people sure seem to have a lot invested in the idea. Do we really hate books so much as a society that we're chomping at the bit for them to disappear? CNN recently printed a fluff-piece about the death of the encyclopedia ("Encyclopedias gather dust...") and I can tell you that whatever the Associated Press might want you to believe, the encyclopedias at my library get heavy use. So do the online encylopedias, for that matter, and Grolier Encyclopedia online is still an encyclopedia.

Read a hundred other websites to get a thorough discussion of why your average Google search is still not as good as a well-trained reference librarian (even if s/he is Googling, too), the point is this: if you're doing any kind of serious research you don't want to get your facts from LiveJournal or some hate-group. Kids don't always know the difference between a reliable source and a biased or inaccurate one. Adults don't always know the difference. Many people have difficulty filtering out any kind of useful results at all.

As with so many things in our society, the difference is one of class and education. I trust my middle-class, college-educated friends to get what they need online. Many public library patrons are often low-income, elderly, non-native English speakers, or any other number of categories of people who have limited experience with either computers or research. Those people need someone to guide them, and they have every right to that service as you do to look it up yourself. Believe it or not, there are also some people out there who don't even want to use a computer, they want to use a book. It's weird, I know. (hushed whisper): Sometimes...books can even be faster...shhh! Don't tell anyone!

So the next time you complain about high taxes, remember that the publicly-funded library helps a whole lot of people, maybe even people who clean your homes and offices, or drive your taxis, or fix your roads, or watch your children. People who might not've been able to get hired without the library's help. So unless you're willing to do all those jobs when the public libraries and schools have been dismantled and the borders have been permanently closed, you might want to reconsider your position.

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*It'll be interesting to see how Prince "retires" his old songs on his tour this summer, but I don't think I'm willing to pay $88 to find out. The last time I saw him play a stadium he ripped through his hits in truncated melodies, and that was before he was a Jehovah's Witness. It's hard to believe he's going to give he show his all if he does, in fact, feel that his old material is no longer appropriate.

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