Posted by: The Amoeba | September 4, 2009

Book Burning By Other Means

The other day, a neighbor invited Quilly and me to a party. A football gridiron party. More specifically, a college football gridiron party, to celebrate the kickoff of the local team’s season.

Neighbor had no way of knowing that Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba had just received the following message from the library system of the local team’s university:

The 4% cut plus the most recent cut of 6% mean a total reduction of $1.7 million to the Library’s working budget.

[The cited cuts are to University academic programs, decreed as one consequence of the ongoing squabble between the University and the Governor Legislature People of the State of Hawai‘i over funding for educational programs.]

To address the reduction, the Libraries have cut student employment hours, cut casual hire staff, reduced hours of service, and restricted or eliminated entirely other internal expenditures. The reduction has also affected the purchase of library resources such as books, journals, audiovisual materials and databases.

The rest of this message is to inform you what changes have been made to the available resources. Some of these measures will be felt immediately, while others will not take effect until 2010. We have:

* Ceased getting automatic shipments of books from our major vendor.
* Distributed minimum amounts of money for new book purchases.
* Cancelled some expensive, low use databases.
* Cancelled journals, microfilm and newspapers from various publishers. [This includes online access as well as paper copies.] We will also lose access to some titles from publisher X previously available through a consortial arrangement, because X has changed access rules and increased the pricing for the consortium.

Need I point out the salary of the school’s head gridiron coach? A bargain at a mere $1.1 million.

Yeah, yeah, he took a 10% pay cut this year. It wasn’t exactly voluntary. One of the rest of us pulls that kind of stunt, we’re fired. ‘Course, the point is moot. The coach can’t keep his starters healthy, he can’t recruit worth beans so his team has no depth, and his team will be lucky to win five (out of 13) games. So at the end of the year, he’ll be gone for committing the one unforgivable sin.


Not that that’s going to help the library. After all, someone else will come in after him and demand more money to lose games. And We will demand that the University pay it.

Ah well, at least we know where the People’s priorities are.

LIBRARY CLOSURE, phr. Book burning by other means.

We declined our neighbor’s party invitation. YFNA is in no mood for gridiron.

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.



  1. to me gridiron is nothing more than
    ritual aggression
    and should not be taught in schools

  2. Actually, Nancy, I think that ritual aggression should be taught in schools. From it, we can learn much about ourselves, and what drives us to real aggression.

    But we shouldn’t be worshiping that ritual aggression …

  3. *sigh*
    If only there were million-dollar Librarians. When I left my last job eleven years ago as the Circulation supervisor at a college library, I was making a hefty (snort) 23K. We always seemed to be the very first department to be cut, and then everyone would complain when we didn’t have this and didn’t have that.

    But until we figure out a way to get Joe Public to line up and pay for tickets to watch us shelve books, type spine labels and answer people’s stupid questions for an hour, I guess we’re just stuck.

    I have to say I was amused to see Hawaii’s university team abbreviated on Thom’s blog to “UH”. Doesn’t sound too intelligent put that way; sorry for laughing!

    • Susan, you might be on to something. Library science as spectator sport. Johnny Carson did say that people would pay ten times more to be entertained than to be educated. The Carson principle is now the law of classroom land. Why not the library?

      And I must say. “UH” is universally pronounced “Yoo Aich”. There’s a reason. Trust me, the governors, legislators of this state, and the people who voted them in, need no further incentive to slam the place. Ooga ooga.

  4. Susan — don’t think you have to apologize to Amoeba. He is rather appalled that the university he works for is a laughingstock, but he does recognize why.

    Have we mentioned we’re moving?

  5. Poor Hawaii, what a mess.

    Quilly, yes you have, and it’s you and me both: I’m no longer contenting myself with living in the planet’s most expensive third-world country (also the cold-rainiest). I think they keep us backward for the tourists…well, I’m sick of tourists too.

    Maybe one day we’ll all meet in the middle somewhere? LOL

    • Thing is, Susan, I don’t think Hawaiians have a clue just how slender their lifeline is. Harry Turtledove’s Days of Infamy should be assigned reading …

      Sounds like the San Juan Islands, where we’re headed, wouldn’t be your mint julep either. Except maybe in July. I worry, though … if you’re not “contenting yourself” with Home, but sig.ot is … that’s not a happy arithmetic.

  6. Susan — sounds good to me! Do you have an E.T.A. on your plans?

  7. You’re right, Amoeba, but we have a saying in Ireland: “tough shit, Paddy”. I have arthritis and all three of my doctors have told us both that this country is the worst in the world for arthritis sufferers, mostly because of the climate. I hurt.

    Truth is, that Himself is a very happy-go-lucky sort who winds up happy wherever he is… he’s just sooooo laid back that it looks like terminally lazy. He hates change, or moving. I’ll do all the work involved and one day he’ll quit moaning about it.

    The San Juan Islands don’t look too far away (in relative terms of course) from my sister in Oregon; wow! She always talks about how beautiful it is there. I always talk about far away. LOL But she has me convinced it’s worth the trip.

    Is it?

  8. D’oh! I didn’t forget you Quilly (just neglected to reply, oooops)

    I’d like to leave tomorrow morning. Realistically in today’s housing ‘market’ we’ll be stuck here a while longer. But there will still be summers and Christmases (I hope) in WV.

  9. Susan — Oregon is gorgeous. The entire Pacific Northwest is gorgeous (if you skip most of the cities). YES, it is worth the trip. You will be blown away.

    Look at Tilden’s post about her visit to Friday Harbor — her first ever visit to the Pacific Northwest.

  10. […] the Internet is flooded with calls for donations from someone, anyone, to save local and university […]

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