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"...don't kid yourselves that you have an intellectual renaissance going on over in the stacks"

Karen Schneider has a wonderful post over on ALA TechSource titled It's Too Darn Hot: A Curmudgeon's Asides.  I hope she doesn't mind me quoting here from one of my favorite parts:

Some library practices that mystify me:

  • Libraries that insist users turn off cell phones. I never turn off my cell phone (well, except on airplanes). It stays on, either muted or not as appropriate. I use it for my timepiece, e-mail, Web, and chat. Asking cell-phone users to take calls outside is reasonable. Asking us to turn off our brain-assist systems is not and makes libraries look clueless.
  • Self-policing library computers. Absolutely, leave it up to the users to manage themselves. I'm sure the same person who squeezed an SUV into a compact parking spot is going to observe a thirty-minute time limit. No need for you to buy time-management software!
  • Libraries that make it impossible for users to save files. Yes, I read a thread on the PUBLIB list where the library explained that users couldn't save files to any device and the computer was erased on reboot... Come on. Find a way to help the user save his or her file, or don't offer the service.
  • Libraries that block instant messaging/gaming/Flickr/YouTube and so forth because computers should be used for serious purposes. Have you ever browsed your new-book shelves? Danielle Steele, Jan Karon... let a thousand flowers bloom, but don't kid yourselves that you have an intellectual renaissance going on over in the stacks. Libraries serve important roles in society, and one role is that as provider of recreational information. Whether it's in a book or on a screen, let people explore their worlds.

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