Before I say anything else, I just want to say that I love my readers, cranky critics and all. For those of you who read the AL through a feed reader and never check the comments, I can only say you don't know what you're missing. A blog post is a small, frail thing, but the vigorous discussion it might provoke can change or enlighten a mind.
Okay, now it's time to stop being so sappy and talk about library jobs that suck.
I haven't posted an official Library Job that Sucks in a long time, and I haven't even mentioned a sucky job in almost a year. I went back and checked, and the last one was December of last year, and it was in New Hampshire of all places. Now I'm returning to the scene of the crime. You'd think a state with no income tax wouldn't be so annoying.
The official Library Jobs that Suck category is restricted to jobs that REALLY suck, that suck way more than most library jobs. The library jobs that suck the most are the ones that are temporary and that don't really exist. If you're advertising to build a "pool" of candidates that might get some temporary "professional" library work, then you're advertising for a library job that sucks and you should be ashamed of yourself. And there are sucky library jobs that won't make the list, like the one in the ad a kind reader sent in for this library in upstate New York looking for a public library director for $18-20,000 a year. Maybe the cost of living is cheap, but considering they want an MLS and expect the person to work for a living, it sucks.
This ad seems like it's for a library job that sucks, once more in the Granite State. The Lane Memorial Library in Hampton, NH is looking for a library director. No, that's not quite accurate. They're looking for a temporary library director, to serve for 2-6 months (without benefits, of course). Who the hell looks for a temporary library director? What is the problem here? Is the library director off on maternity leave or something? Can't they get by for a brief period without a director, or with an interim director? Presumably they don't have a director now, because the job starts immediately. Isn't that motivation enough to hire a permanent director? This is advertised nationally, but something tells me it's for an internal candidate. Who else would apply for this position?
Though this might be temporary, the duties aren't light. Here are some of the duties:
"o Develop and maintain the library’s strategic plan, outlining immediate and long range goals, together with the Library’s Board of Trustees."
And how exactly is someone there for 2-6 months going to set any long range goals?
"o Responsible for recommending and writing needed policies and procedures, which incorporate library best practice. Implement adopted policies."
How many policies and procedures to they hope to get out of this temporary person? Don't they think the permanent person, if they ever stoop to hiring one, will just change them anyway?
"o Responsible for all staff supervision and supervision of department heads. Will oversee Interviewing, recommending for hire, training, scheduling, and evaluating all library staff."
Oh, yeah, lots of interviewing and training will be going on, I'm sure. With this sort of temporary commitment to the library, why would anyone else apply? And I bet a temp director could put off those evaluations indefinitely.
"o Prepare and propose to Trustees the annual operating budget for the Library. Administer the accepted budget."
And be quick about it, because you don't have long.
"o Prepare financial and narrative reports for distribution at monthly Board meetings."
Fortunately you'll only have to do this 2-6 times.
"o Write grant proposals and pursue other fundraising opportunities to actualize library goals."
Sure, write the proposal, but you won't be around to get the grant. And it's a good thing fundraising doesn't take any time and you don't have to cultivate donors or anything. Two months should do it.
"o Determine community interests and develop responsive new programs and services, incorporating new technologies to enhance service delivery whenever possible."
You'll be expected to determine community interests the first day, then develop some programs the next.
"o Oversee library public relations, including writing press releases, outreach, and marketing services."
If the library is only interested in hiring temp directors, maybe they shouldn't relate to the public very much.
"o Participate in daily library functions (circulation, reference, etc.), as needed."
When you're not working with donors or servicing the library board.
And for a very short temp position, they sure don't want much. The only qualifications are "a Master’s Degree in Library Science from an ALA accredited college or university and five to seven years of professional library experience, with three years in an administrative capacity, ... a thorough knowledge of municipal government and applicable RSA’s, modern library principles and best practices; experience with teambuilding and human resource management; the ability to recruit, train, and motivate staff for optimal public service delivery; a strong understanding of information technology and its application in public libraries; the ability to demonstrate courtesy and tact in all interactions with community members; the ability to develop and manage budgets; the ability to work effectively with town employees, the Friends, the Board of Trustees, and other elected town officials; and have good communication, public relations, and presentation skills."
That doesn't seem like much to ask for a 2-6 month temporary position with no benefits. Sign me up, baby! I bet librarians with those qualifications are just lining up outside this library begging for interviews.
They claim to offer a "Competitive Salary, commensurate with Experience." I just bet it'll be competitive-- with all the other temporary library director positions in New Hampshire. The ad says "Starting as soon as possible." They don't want you for long, but they want you to start soon, so it seems obvious that consideration of their employees isn't something you'll find there. Good luck on the application. If you tell them the AL sent you, your application moves to the top of the queue. Based on this ad, if anyone at all worthwhile applies, their application just might be the queue.
Oh, and have a happy Thanksgiving. I'll be giving thanks and gobbling turkey and all that sort of stuff, and I hope you will be, too.