Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Library Jobs That Suck #3

What is it about all these libaries "developing a pool"? I thought there was a librarian shortage going on! That's what that nice Leslie Burger and those folks over at the ALA keep saying, and why would they lie? Doesn't the fact that libraries are "developing pools" pretty much prove that there's no librarian shortage? Don't "develop a pool" you cheapskates--hire someone! Is there no shame?

Well here's another job that sucks--hanging around Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. That's pretty much the job. I've never been to Bloomsburg. It might be nice, and I might even be willing to work there if the money was right, but I'm sure I wouldn't want to hang around there just waiting for this.

An adoring fan in the Keystone State passed this one on to me, though you might notice it's nationally advertised. Nationally advertised! Because of course this one will draw professional librarians like dung draws flies.

"Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania's Harvey A. Andruss Library is developing a pool of qualified librarians interested in having their names on file to be considered as vacancies are created by emergency situations or temporary openings."

Let's see..."developing a pool"..."interested in having their names on file"..."to be considered"...etc. Is this like that Kevin Bacon game? Are we seven degrees from employment here?

"Such individuals would be hired for employment in Reference, Cataloging, Government Documents, or Access Services."

Those lucky guys!

"Requirements for eligibility include an American Library Association accredited Master's degree, a minimum of six months' relevant experience, and a demonstrated ability to work with diverse populations. Finalists must communicate well and successfully complete an interview process."

I'm glad that ALA-accredited master's degree is required. This is professional work, after all! We wouldn't want just anyone temporarily on call for this great job!

"Salary is dependent upon length of contract."

But you can bet it'll be low!

"Temporary appointments do not include benefits."

Well, naturally!

"Send letter of application, vita, and names, addresses and telephone numbers of three individuals familiar with your work to: Nancy S. Weyant, Chairperson, Temporary Pool Search Committee, Harvey A. Andruss Library, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg, PA 17815."

Hurry, do it today! Tell 'em you found their post on "Library Jobs that Suck" in the Annoyed Librarian and your application gets moved immediately to the top of the queue!

I won't analyze it anymore, because I want to let the person who sent the ad to me speak instead. Somebody in Pennsylvania might be a little annoyed:

"I especially enjoyed the most significant hiring criteria--that the successful candidate can 'communicate well,' and of course they throw in ability to work with a 'diverse population.' For once I would love to see a library position that flatly states that the successful candidate is NOT required to work or communicate well with a diverse population and that any indications to the contrary in the resume or during the interview process will result in the immediate suspension of further hiring consideration. They forgot to add that the successful candidates should also be willing to hang around Bloomsburg, PA for the rest of their lives waiting for the opportunity to sit on occasion at a circulation or reference desk when the incumbent opts for knee replacement surgery or liposuction on their fat [bottom].”

The Annoyed Librarian couldn't have said it better herself.

For this I went to library school?


Bunny Watson said...

I always wanted to go into a job interview where I was told that the successful candidate must not be a team player. Or failing that, just once I want to totally tank an interview by saying that I don't work well with others. It's a dream of mine. . .

Bittersweet27 said...

Why would you have to be able to work with diverse populations? It's a 99% white campus. Maybe they meant you have to be able to serve both hicks and rednecks.
I also like that you have to "successfully complete the interview process". Um yeah, good thing they told me, cause usually I tell them to sod off half way through the interview and I magically still manage to get the job every time.

Dances With Books said...

Did you not know? The whole shortage thing is a myth, kind of like a chimera. You have better odds of seeing Elvis than getting hired out of the "pool." Also, I had the same thought as bittersweet, "diversity? What diversity?" As for the ALA, they pretty much have no shame. Besides, it is the American "Library" Association. Who said anything about them actually caring about "librarians"?

Anonymous said...

King County Library System in Washington state is the biggest pool offender. They have a huge pool of librarians they keep bringing in for interviews, but never hire. The jobs go to people who've been working part-time or as subs for them for years and the poor saps at the top of the pool get called in for interview after interview with no payoff. KCLS also continues to advertise nationally for the pool. It's no wonder newly minted local librarians are all going to work for Microsoft and other tech companies.

Annoyed Librarian said...

Regarding King County, that would certainly help explain why they keep that job ad at the very top of the "Hot" Jobs listings. No wonder the workers don't have any confidence in the director. The only solution is to have fewer people choose to become librarians, not more.

Bittersweet27 said...

Maybe they could have another catagory: not-so-jobs or tepid jobs.

Anonymous said...

I once actually fell asleep at an interview. In the library director's office, no less. I was on a new medication. Oh, I was also offered the job!

Lifeguard said...

View of the Pool from the Lifeguard's Chair

OK . . .I’ll take the bait.

Clearly the view from the lifeguard’s chair is different from that in the water. While relatively few arms/fingers seem to be flapping over this topic, I thought I would dive in, as it were, and rescue the (albeit occasionally witty) non-swimmers with the aid of that most boring of life preservers – FACTS!

Yes, we recently advertised for people to submit their names for inclusion in a “Temporary Pool.” Why? Granted, we currently have no vacancies (all ten tenure-track positions are filled by highly qualified and highly effective librarians - not to mention educated in ALA-accredited programs) so it is NOT to exploit the down-trodden and unemployed. Rather, it is because things DO happen that create sudden staffing needs that can’t be met by the available tenured or tenure-track librarians and we choose to not swim about in crisis mode. Over the last twelve years, mid-semester we have had librarians experience cardiac events, a stroke and even a broken back! Rather than throwing these people out with the bathwater (to shift water images a bit), we chose to respect their rights to their jobs (silly us!) and hired experienced individuals from our “pool”.

Trust me! “Pool people” aren’t just hanging around the town of Bloomsburg waiting to be discovered. Neither are they wasting away in the Andruss Library, stretched out on the sofas in front of our gorgeous Tiffany windows, waiting for a crisis to free them from their other-wise drab lives. “Pool people” tend to be retired librarians or librarians employed in other soon-to-end temporary jobs. Over the last twelve years we have hired eight (that’s right – EIGHT – count ‘em) librarians from the Pool – people SO skilled that they could walk into the building and, after 2 or 3 days orientation, skillfully meet the informational needs of our students, faculty and townsfolk at the Reference Desk, catalog new books or handle the draconian procedures mandated by the Feds because we’re a Depository library. They have worked for anywhere from 6 weeks to a semester to a full academic year.

“Ability to work with diverse populations” . . . "successfully complete the interview process". Ah, well, I give you those! Not exactly the prose one would find in the world’s great novels but I suspect such trite phraseology protected the University from more than one law suit. The reality is that most ads (not just ours) rest firmly on boiler plate.

Posted “Nationally”? Surely you jest! Our advertising budget for this wouldn’t cover a week-end in New York, even eating at McDonald’s and sleeping at the “Y”. It was advertised in two local papers; accredited graduate library/information science schools in PA, NY and NJ; and at the other 13 universities that, with Bloomsburg, comprise the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Minimalist, at best.

Attributing your knowledge of this “possible” job opening to the "’Library Jobs that Suck’ in the Annoyed Librarian” probably won’t get your application moved IMMEDIATELY to the top of the queue but if you come to your interview wearing an ALA (Annoyed Librarian Association) baseball caps MIGHT get you the job (especially if you wear it backwards).

Poolside in Bloomsburg

Annoyed Librarian said...

You're really taking the fun out of this.