Monday, March 24, 2008

The AL Breaks for Spring

Typically on Sunday afternoons I turn to the Annoyed Librarian and try to find something to say. Why do I do this? It's because I love you more than your mother does®. Also, it's because of my publication policy as it has evolved over the past couple of years. I doubt any of you have noticed, but I try at a minimum to publish on Mondays and Wednesdays, on the belief that the few but dedicated readers of the AL need something to jumpstart their week and another little pick-me-up come mid-week, because lord knows I do.

However, this week you will be disappointed, because I'm breaking for spring, or springbreaking, or something like that. Why not, everyone else is? It's not a perk of the librarians of academe, but it certainly seems plausible. If all the real business of the university shuts down--i.e., the teaching--then why shouldn't the library? I rest my case.

See you next week.

Or will I?


The.Effing.Librarian said...

Wow, here's my chance to scoop up some new readers: come to my site because I don't take breaks, like some lazy, Chopin-soddened librarian. ...Ok, don't. I've been too busy to post anything new anyway. And the old stuff sucks.

So... enjoy AL's break.

Anonymous said...

AL, who could not like your blog - I am a 'fan' now, though many of my fellow students would "poo poo" me - you absolutely ROCK. Enjoy your time off - the library will still be there, even if civilization were to end! :-)

Anonymous said...

AL, when you get back, check out this "director" job for less than $30 grand a year.

Towanda District Library
posted Thursday, 20 March 2008
The Director serves as the chief executive officer of the library, under the direction of the Board of Trustees, and is responsible for the functioning of the library as a whole. Specific responsibilities include: Personnel and scheduling, budgeting and budget control, programming, publicity, grant writing, recommending policy adjustments to the board, collection development, working cooperatively with the Friends of the Library organization and other organizations in the community, and directing the care and maintenance of the physical plant.

Education: MLS preferred; bachelor's degree required (inc lib course wk)

Experience: some administrative experience preferred

Salary: $22,500 to $30,000

Closing: April 30, 2008

Significant financial management experience; strong human relations skills; knowledge of and vision for ways to use technology to improve services; ablility to connect with community and network with other organizations; proven leadership and communications skills; creative problem-solving skills.

Contact: Tish Hamblen
Search Committee
c/o Towanda District Library
301 S. Taylor St.
Towanda, IL 61776

Anon 2.0 said...

cience/Technology Intern Librarian

Colorado School of Mines’ Arthur Lakes Library invites applications for the position of Science/Technology Intern Librarian. The Colorado School of Mines is a doctoral-granting institution devoted to engineering and applied science, particularly in the areas of energy, mineral, and materials science and engineering. The Arthur Lakes Library is a specialized technical library that supports the educational and research goals of the Colorado School of Mines and serves as a regional center for information in engineering and science. The Library staff consists of 11 library faculty and 11 FTE support staff. For more information about Colorado School of Mines, the Arthur Lakes Library, and the internship please see:

Description : The internship will provide experience in a science/engineering academic library. The experience will be tailored to the interest and/or skills of the intern as well as the current needs of the Library. The intern could possibly work in the following areas: reference, collection development, campus outreach, government publications, or cataloging. The intern is expected to report on his or her discoveries by memo, project report, or presentation. It is expected that the result of the intern’s work, in part or whole, will be implemented by the Library. The intern will also have the opportunity to attend and participate in campus and Library meetings. A librarian will serve as a mentor to help the intern become acquainted with the Library and the profession.

Qualifications: A master’s degree in library science from an ALA accredited school or significant work towards the completion of a master’s degree, and a bachelor’s degree in a science or engineering field or experience in a science/engineering academic library. Excellent communication skills, adaptability to changing environment, and motivation are of extreme importance. Must have interest in working in a science/engineering academic library.

Compensation: The internship is unpaid and if seeking credit, be sure to verify with the degree granting institution that the internship is appropriate.

because people with science or engineering degrees are eager to work for free

Kevin Musgrove said...

Have a good break, AL. As you loll in your Martini-ridden splendour, think of us in the damp, muddy trenches of the public library sector.

Brent said...

Lazy...that's all I can say.

ex-lib said...

We could go on about jobs that suck for the rest of the year. They're not that uncommon, and youmight find folks lining up for some who were laid off in recent budgetary shortfalls ["if there's anything we can do..."...."..we had hoped to get the buget passed but they needed twelve new fire hydrants in that new subdivision....", etc. etc..].

We can always trash this place and have plenty of space to make AL regret that she left us when she gets back.

webbygrl said...

Since you are leaving me AL, I am leaving you. Well,...not really. But I did land a great fab new job in the government sector with that Masters in Shelving I obtained last December. I'm off to go live off your and everyone else's tax dollars as a GS-12 in a field that has absolutely nothing to do with the library. I'm a bit sad, but I'll get over it every payday. Cheers AL! I'll continue to read you!

..."another one bites the dust"...

Anonymous said...

Admit it AL- you are really a public librarian and off to PLA.

Anonymous said...

Craigslist hoax victim gets some belongings back

06:03 PM PDT on Monday, March 24, 2008

By AP and Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. -- Police say belongings removed from a Southern Oregon man's property have begun slowly reappearing at his home, a day after a pair of hoax ads on Craigslist cost Robert Salisbury much of what he owned.

The ads popped up Saturday afternoon, saying the owner of a Jacksonville home was forced to leave the area suddenly and his belongings, including a horse, were free for the taking, said Jackson County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan.

But the ads were a hoax. Robert Salisbury had no plans to leave.

The independent contractor was at Emigrant Lake when he got a call from a woman who had stopped by his house to claim his horse.

On his way home he stopped a truck loaded down with his work ladders, lawn mower and weed eater.

"I informed them I was the owner, but they refused to give the stuff back," Salisbury said. "They showed me the Craigslist printout and told me they had the right to do what they did."

The driver sped away after rebuking Salisbury. On his way home he spotted other cars filled with his belongings.

Once home he was greeted by close to 30 people rummaging through his barn and front porch.

The trespassers, armed with printouts of the ad, tried to brush him off. "They honestly thought that because it appeared on the Internet it was true," Salisbury said. "It boggles the mind."

Jacksonville police and Jackson County sheriff's deputies arrived but by then several cars packed with Salisbury's property had fled.

He turned some license plate numbers over to police. By late Monday, s ome people who learned of the hoax began to return items taken from the home. Authorities weren't able to say how much or what had been returned, but did say that by late Monday afternoon, items were "starting to piling up" in Salisbury's driveway.

Michelle Easley had seen the ad that claimed Salisbury's horse had been declared abandoned by the sheriff's department and was free to a good home.

"I can't stand to see a horse suffer so I drove out there and got her," Easley said. "The horse didn't look abandoned. She is in good shape for being 32 years old."

But it looked odd, so she left a note on Salisbury's door explaining the ad. She then decided to call to make sure the ad was legitimate when the second similar ad appeared.

"I feel bad because I was a part of it," Easley said. "It felt right to call the police."

Fagan praised Easley's honestly but said prosecution was likely for anybody caught with Salisbury's property.

Officers were still contacting people who were seen leaving Salisbury's house with his stuff. If they return the taken items, no charges will be filed. But people who don’t return what they took may face charges.

Items can be returned with no questions asked, Fagan said.

Detectives have contacted Craigslist's legal team to try to trace the ad.

Meanwhile, Salisbury could not even relax on his porch swing -- someone took it.

Anonymous said...

Loriene Roy, president of the American Library Association (ALA) released the following statement regarding the release of the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the University of Illinois’ "Information Searches That Solve Problems: How People Use the Internet, Government Agencies, and Libraries When They Need Help" survey. The survey was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal funding for U.S. museums and libraries.

"The Pew survey supports our assertion that libraries are flourishing in the age of the Internet. According to the ALA’s 2007 State of America’s Libraries, library use is up nationwide among all types of library users, continuing a decade-long trend. Almost 1.8 billion visitors checked out more than 2 billion items last year.

"Libraries continue to bring in new technologies to serve their users-including wireless Internet access, laptops for in-library use, 24/7 online reference help, e-books, blogs, and MP3s. And libraries don’t just offer the hardware. They also offer the expertise of librarians, who teach people how to use the Internet and find the information they need quickly. More than three-fourths of U.S. public libraries offer information technology training for patrons.

"The study states seven in 10 library visitors received assistance from library staff, and 88% say they found a lot or some of what they were seeking. Library professionals play a critical role in helping find the information library users seek.

"The 2006-07 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study found that 78.5 percent of library staff provide as-needed assistance to patrons for understanding how to access and use government Web sites, programs and services. Fifty-five percent of library staff provide assistance to patrons applying for or accessing e-government services, and almost 13 percent of libraries are partnering with government agencies, non-profits and others to provide e-government services. We only see this role growing.

"Libraries continue to play a critical role in providing Internet access to those that can’t afford services. Seventy-three percent of U.S. public libraries report that they are the only source of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities.

"The most recent ALA data shows that job-seeking and education are the two main uses of technology in libraries. In fact, those with lower levels of education (high school graduates) were the most likely to conduct a job search, write a resume or learn new work skills at the library. High school graduates also were the most likely to use library computers compared with those of other education levels.

"The Pew study also found that among age groups surveyed Generation Y (18-30), most frequently visited the library with more than 62% visiting the library in the past year. We've maintained for many years that it's important to reach out to teen library users as they're the decision makers of the future, and this study is further confirmation that teens are becoming avid library users.

"The Pew study demonstrates libraries continue to play a key role in communities throughout America - providing citizens with information and resources that can help them achieve their goals in life and contribute to society."

Anonymous said...

Free Comic Book Day

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores. An annual tradition for the past several years, Free Comic Book Day occurs on the first Saturday of May.

The comics to be given away are created especially for Free Comic Book Day and represent a wide range of publishers and genres. Offerings for 2008 include many great comics for kids, such as Top Shelf’s endearing Owly and Friends; modern superhero comics including DC Comics’ reprint of critically acclaimed All Star Superman #1; manga such as Viz’s Shonen Jump Sampler; edgy adventures such as Dark Horse Comics’ Hellboy/B.P.R.D; sophisticated comics for older readers such as Fantagraphics Books’ I.G.N.A.T.Z: International Graphic Novels at Their Zenith; and more! It’s a great opportunity for newcomers to learn more about comics and for longtime fans to expand their horizons.

Aside from providing free exposure to many of the most exciting projects in the comics industry, Free Comic Book Day also presents an opportunity for libraries with graphic novel collections to partner up with local comic book stores. The expertise and product familiarity of the people at your local comic book store can often prove to be an invaluable resource, and the community outreach emphasis of Free Comic Book Day makes it an ideal situation for letting graphic novel fans know about what your library has to offer. In the past, stores have donated comics to libraries in exchange for assistance in publicizing Free Comic Book Day. In March, Diamond Comic Distributor’s Bookshelf website will post a directory of comic book stores that are interested in working with local libraries. The Comic Shop Locater will also help you to find the comic shops nearest you.

Free Comic Book Day will take place on May 3rd 2008 at participating stores. Please refer to for more information, as well as a complete list of available titles.

Another Annoyed Librarian said...

Oh, to work in an academic library...sigh.

As for the ALA stating library use is up, I'll agree. At my public library branch, in a large urban system, yes, business is booming as an internet cafe (minus the cafe). I have teens that come in every day, use their 30 minutes on the computer and walk around bored for the next couple of hours. I tell them to find a book and read but from the looks I get you would think I sprouted a second head. (A book? Read??? Please.)

Again, to work in an academic library...sigh, sigh.

Anonymous said...

The thought of AL in leggy languid repose is more than enough to tide me through a week.


Anonymous said...

I tell them to find a book and read but from the looks I get you would think I sprouted a second head. <<

The problem with books is, they're just too long. Who can blame them?

Anonymous said...

Since the AL is gone, perhaps I can pick the collective wisdom. How does one get a "thicker skin" in the library world. People are rude and condescending on a daily basis. I can't quit (two mortgages) and I can't find a new job (bad market or I'm apparently unemployable by anyone else). Other than putting a bullet to my brain, any other suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Re getting thicker skin, you might go to health food store and buy GABA-Calm. Fill up those valium seeking receptor sites with the real deal.

But, consider that some nutritional theorists say that the skin and brain evolve from the same layer of embryonic cells. Could thicker skin lead to a thicker brain?

The Crook Librarian

Kevin Musgrove said...

Re: getting a thicker skin. Kill your chief librarian, skin them and use the pelt as a mantle against the thronging horde. Library managers have hides that make your average workaday rhinoceros seem like a petal-soft virgin.

Anonymous said...



TOPIC; "The Public" and "The Library"

As you have seen from the Craigslist post, and the propaganda post of ALA, the Ron Paul post, and the Comic Book post, this is one heck of a crazy world we live in. We have people who are verbally under-literate and more attuned to the visual. Just listen to C-SPAN some morning or some of the call-in radio programs and you'll wonder what planet some folks are on. ALA tries to put a brave face on the situation, but continues to look towards the outcome of the Darfur situation. Have you ever wondered WHY Laura Bush is no longer a librarian? I recall that the 1990 White House Conference on libraries, titled, "A Nation at Risk", was a dud. Just a joke by Pres Bush #41, and that's about all the attention it got. And for the next decade it's martini time in the hospitality suites at ALA conventions.

We have a field that can't seem to find its arse with both hands. And the hits keep on coming. I wonder if we won't see the day when some public library system teams up with an Indian Tribe to open up a casino to support its system. Come to think of it, if schools can get state lottery funds.....? What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Re: Thicker skin.

Do you work in a public or academic library? I assume you do not work in a special library because those librarians seem to be happier than most, but I could be wrong.

If you work in an academic library, is it possible for you to take on a project you find mildly interesting that would allow you to work independently? Could you become more involved in your state's organization, etc.? The point is to try to distance yourself as much as possible from the toxic individuals and continue to develop professionally.

If you work in a public library, you may be more restricted.

In general, I would suggest cultivating a hobby outside of work that gives you a feeling of accomplishment, etc. My hobby has sustained me while I held some craptacular jobs.

I hope this helps.

May I propose a topic? In the future, I would like to see AL post about technology and the whole idea of having to keep up, etc. I think technostress is often ignored. I'd love to read AL's (and everyone else's who frequents this blog) opinion.

Anonymous said...

Why do the librarians get a spring break week? Wouldn't that be a good time to catch up on stuff that is hard to do with a bunch of students running around asking question that require you to tear yourself away from your work?


Anonymous said...

Anon 9:02, I'm a special librarian. ugh.

I'm Kat! said...

Anon 9:02, I think that topic gets hit upon at least once in almost ever new post form the AL. When you see references to DDR and Wii and guitar hero in the library sort of thing.

It isn't just technical technostress with these new technologies - it's technostress due to the changes they are creating among libraries' social communities.

And libraries plod along...still stocking 8mm tapes...and the 8mm projector to play them too...


Anonymous said...

Oooh, I like the idea of a casino in the library!

What a lovely idea....

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I like the idea of a casino in the library!

Double down on those library fines.

Would give the seniors a chance at getting rid of their fines without having to bust a move on DDR.

Anonymous said...

I think that topic gets hit upon at least once in almost ever new post form the AL. When you see references to DDR and Wii and guitar hero in the library sort of thing.

I should have explained things better. I was thinking more about the push for librarians to become ersatz computer programmers, etc.; the idea that there is so much to learn and so little time, but is this all really necessary in the end?

I'm a special librarian. ugh.

Does this mean it is more difficult for you to work independently? It seems at least every workplace has at least one condescending person. I've gotten better with dealing with these types as I've grown older. Plato's Allegory of the Cave helps a little bit.

Anonymous said...

"The Anonymous Librarian" Pt. II

God, I feel like a substitute teacher here. Good thoughts, keep it up, and all that. I had wiondered what areas of linrary work were considered moere rewarding.
My experience in Public Libraies would require language best not used in polite company FROM ME, describing what insanity I had to deal with. Boards, I think, were at the root of things. Don't ask.....
So, what DID you like about Special or acadamic library work?
Reply before midnight friday with two box tops.....Whatever. :-).

guilty as charged said...

AL, when you get back, can you please explain why almost no one famous for blogging about libraries (except thyself) actually holds down a full-time job at a library?

... Jessamyn West, Jenny Levine, Aaron Schmidt, Michael Stephens ...

What's with the leisured biblerati?

Anonymous said...

no one famous for blogging about libraries...actually holds down a full-time job at a library?

I wonder if this might be related to something I noticed in my MLS program.

Back there, it struck me as weird that the profs most excitedly extolling the dazzling possibilities of librarianship had never spent significant time actually working in libraries.

The teachers who had logged considerable time behind the desk would get excited about libraries, but it was the ones without practical experience who got off on librarianship.

(Of course, the only truly great teacher in the bunch, who had both significant experience as a (non-library) academic and as a practicing librarian, wouldn't get excited about any of it. In private and off the record, she could even be coaxed into talking about how the image of the field held by most librarians was a self-important sham. I liked her a lot.)

Anonymous said...

no one famous for blogging about libraries...actually holds down a full-time job at a library?

Right. Most of us who work in libraries have to do a bit of the unglamorous grunt work. It seems like there is a tremendous disconnect between "pie in the sky" ideas about what libraries should be accomplishing in the technical realm and the general service issues that need to be resolved. For example, a lot of libraries cannot afford to develop their own in-house ERM, so it makes sense to either purchase one already built or go the open source route. Not every library has the personnel or the funding to be mavericks. Many libraries are still trying to implement utilities that will enhance their core services. I feel like the whole thing is an absurd arms race.

panoply said...

if we all hate our jobs so much, get paid so little, are not necessary in a google world, then why are we librarians? are we masochists? or is it that we love having jobs where we can blog all day and night about ourselves?

I'm Kat! said...

panoply, I am merely in the MLS program to give me some time to catch up - that is, on things like databases and the multitude of programing languages asocaited withthe modern web/computer interface. In short, this is work to build a second career plan it eh even the first career plan goes sour. Mind you the first career plan was sour before I started the mLS, but by chance I met someone in the MLS program who connected me with the people in my first career field. Now I am very happy and paid better then most librarians do...and working only half time.

The reason they don't want to overly train librarians on computer and web programming is because we would realize we can get better jobs in those fields instead - and abandon the library like many others have already done!

Anonymous said...

panoply: About a quarter of my library-school classmates would admit in private that they sought the MLS because they couldn't hack a PhD program in the humanities or social-science field they enjoyed and saw few other viable career opportunities.

Two of my current colleagues concede that they ended up in librarianship after washing out of their careers of choice.

I don't claim people like this are representative of librarians in general, but there are enough of them around to account for the amount of spleen you see being vented.

i'm kat: I'm not trying to be contentious here, but I don't understand this bit:

they don't want to overly train librarians on computer and web programming is because we would realize we can get better jobs in those fields instead

If your lessons aren't deep enough to transfer outside the library context, I don't see how you're being taught "the multitude of programing languages asocaited withthe modern web/computer interface" in a meaningful way. What am I missing here?

Anonymous said...

"if we all hate our jobs so much, get paid so little, are not necessary in a google world, then why are we librarians? are we masochists? or is it that we love having jobs where we can blog all day and night about ourselves?"

Because most librarians feel they are stuck in the field [and may well be].I personally know of some people who lost their jobs and were forced to choose between some other library job that obviously sucked or taking another path. It wasn't always easy when they did, but at least one person says they managed to get their soul back. The same individual holds certain former teachers, those primarily without actual library experience of note, with the same respect you would a used car salesman.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever felt like this concerning your library career?
Police: After night of drinking, man wakes up just in time inside garbage truck
Saturday, March 29, 2008
MUNCIE, Ind. - William M. Bowen woke up after a night of drinking with friends and realized he was inside a commercial trash-collection truck full of waste.

The driver had just emptied a commercial trash bin into his truck and was about to activate its compactor when he heard Bowen screaming.

"He looked up and this gentleman was standing out the top of our truck," said Larry Green, market safety supervisor for the Rumpke waste disposal company. Green said the only thing Bowen said to the driver was that he was cold.

"This gentleman was extremely intoxicated," he said.

Bowen told police he had been drinking with friends at a Muncie bar until about 3 a.m. Thursday. But he said he did not recall how he ended up inside the trash bin, and he would not tell police who his drinking pals were.

Bowen was treated for minor injuries.

"I'm just glad it turned out the way it did," Green said. "We didn't have a body that was dead. We had a body that was talking."

There was no telephone listing for Bowen in the Muncie area.

I'm Kat! said...

If your lessons aren't deep enough to transfer outside the library context, I don't see how you're being taught "the multitude of programing languages associated with the modern web/computer interface" in a meaningful way. What am I missing here?

It's really quite simple: the MLS degree programs provide introductions and quick glimpses of these topics, but they do not and cannot go deep enough into the material to enable mastery skills. But they do show a context in which the languages are used.

In short, the current MLS degree programs will never be able to properly teach students how to become proper programmers. 36 units is simply too short of a degree time to really develop upper level mastery of these skills. Students get a quick taste and are then graduated out of their schools with a flimsy piece of paper that holds little value in the real world. As budget crunches get worse, I guarantee you will see more MLS positions being chopped up and reduced to part time cleck positions, and positions that require a MLS will be far less common [and much harder to get].

If the MLS degrees graduated all of us as full fledged programmers with full capabilities of using these languages, we would forgo the 25-30k librarians jobs for the 80-95k programming jobs - at least, that is in my area. And the schools and ALA like the thought that they are graduating more librarians to infiltrate the world - because it shows that their library schools are still necessary!

That leaves it up to the students to step outside of their programs and pursue those skills on their own. It's kind of like learning to play a musical instrument and making beautiful music on that instrument. You can certianly learn the basics about the programming languages and database design in an MLS course - if you take the right electives. But if you say you can program when you are finished with only what they give you in MLS school, be prepared for much laughing and merriment at your expense when you're finished - you may be able to play the instrument, but you are FAR from a concert violinist!

Most people who graduate from MLS are at a point that when they get done, they will be exhausted or tied up with paying back student loans. Life catches up when you leave school, and then higher education becomes more difficult to get back into. And many MLS students are already those who have struggled to get back for this second round of education. When they get done with the two years of MLS, they have much less time to pursue ANOTHER set of accredidations. Top that with a field that does not pay much in general - and you have a career that keeps one harnessed until retirement - but if the librarians is smart, they use some of their work time to delve further into other professional pursuits while on the floor.

In my case, when I finished my Bachelors, I needed time to think. I didn't have a job and I really didn't have confidence in myself in that field. I further did not know what I needed to to do in the future. Now I know both. And my little "Reorganization" is going very well. When I finish this MLS, I will be able to work part time, make more then a librarian, AND study up on computer languages, where necessary, for the next 2-5 years as my personal training projects direct me.

The opportunity cost of the MLS program, though, can be steep if one does not manage themselvs carefully through the process!