Wednesday, June 04, 2008

In the Mails

A couple of people emailed me things today I just had to share.

If you think you're bitter about librarianship, check out Dr. Tim's comments on a Chronicle article about a librarian holding office hours in an academic department. The comments begin at #8 and veer just a bit off topic. Dr. Tim, according to him, is a failed professor turned failed academic librarian turned successful psychiatrist. Of course the failures are all because of affirmative action and and socialist academics and all sorts of other evil machinations, and probably had nothing to do with a lack of ability or the fact that he sounds like a big pain in the ass. I'm sure he can prescribe himself some drugs that will help him calm down.

The second item I'm posting just to help all you librarians who need a job. Check out this job ad. A small town library in Illinois is looking for a library director, and they're offering good money: "$30,000-$36,000 (depending on qualifications)." That "depending on qualifications" cracked me up. Librarians work hard for their money. They're being picky, too. See the requirements:

"Bachelors degree from accredited academic university, MS Library degree preferred. Three years library experience in a position of responsibility Staff, financial, and facilities management, book selection and collection management. Experience working with boards, knowledge of library appropriate technology, Excellent leadership and communication skills."

And some of you complain that there aren't any library jobs out there. Shame on you.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I do not believe for a second that Dr. Tim is a real person. I know of at least one academic librarian whose hobby it is to try to get silly rants published in the comments section of the newspaper. I would suspect him of being Dr. Tim, but I know that where there is one goofy librarian there are probably others. The thrill is in being as ridiculous as possible, but still having people believe that you are serious.

Don't want to be anon said...

Actually, Tim is a real person; I have inside information. I suspect he is the same Tim Harris who worked as an academic librarian in the Southeast who recently had to relocate to another southern town. He is not really a doctor, either, but his wife is and she was very pregnant a little over a year ago (he referred to his 11 month old drooling on the keyboard or whatever). He has a second masters in history from a bottom-tier history program and failed to secure an academic library job from the town he relocated to. Upon rejection from a job, he usually threatens to sue and brags that his wife makes tons of money anyway. The guy has some serious problems. A few years ago, he posted several rants in the Chronicle about affirmative action and stated his university affiliation. I know for a fact he was not lying about where he adjuncted. I mean, it is possible this is another Tim Harris or someone who is using his name to be funny, etc. I just thought I'd throw this out there.

I am not making this up.

klsmargi said...

wow...someone even more annoyed than the AL.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, Phd, psychiatrist, mls, whatever, and he writes, "Do something better with you life." I think I see the problem.

Anonymous said...

First off, I just want to say that medical doctors stole the "doctor" title from doctors of philosophy--the real doctors! I'm sort of the opposite, I admire PhD people more so than MD people. I mean, don't MDs work with their hands?

Hey, AL, please do a piece on sexy librarians! My dept head is HOT! I know people make fun of how librarians dress, but this principal librarian has that sexy business-dress look. I think I'm madly in luuuurve! Help me before I do something stupid at work!

Anonymous said...

Not every library can afford to pay someone with a master's degree, even with the low salaries in the field. That job ad you posted is for a rural town of 5,700 people that's pretty much in the middle of nowhere in Illinois. What good does it do for you to make fun of them?

davimsg said...

"In hghe education, and no one wil admit it but it is true, if you don’t agree with the liberal/socialist propoganda being regurgitated towoard students today" etc., etc.

If this Tim Harris guy actually got a PhD, his advisor should be fired. No wonder he couldn't get a job. Remind me to avoid psychiatrists.

Anonymous said...

Tim is a fraud! Read the latest comments!

Anonymous said...

Gotcha beat, AL. A while back, my home town had an opening for Director. The pay was $24,000.

Anonymous said...

I feel very sorry for Mr. Harris's wife. Geez.

Anonymous said...

Dang, I look normal compared to that guy.

Anonymous said...

The guy is certifiable and for a "doctor" he seems to have a lot of time on his hands.

Anonymous said...

I think it is ok to point out the absurdity of a place that is posting a position of director with a salary of about 30 grand a year and should have lots of related library experience...lots of places cannot "afford" to pay people with exp., and therefore seem absurd when asking for applicants with it. Also, I saw this ad posted recently too, in a Chicago-area Library system job board, where the going rate for a director is about double to triple that, even more absurd to advertise there...

andrew the a/v guy said...

My brain hurts! Mr. Gumby needs a doctor... but not this one.

Dances With Books said...

Forget Tim Harris's wife if she actually was less than smart in marrying him. Think of that poor child: all the crap the child will have to grow up with. Maybe someone ought to call Child Protective Services.

Think of the child!

Minks said...

That Tim fellow,, what a dork. It was kinda fun reading his rants tho,, verbal candy. Hmm,, sweet and satisfying.

And as far as $36,000 a year for a directorship,,, not a bit surprising. Get ready for more like it!

Anonymous said...

My father was actually born in Watseka....keep in mind that although the salary seems very low, your cost of living there is going to be correspondingly low. You could live on that there.

Anonymous said...

. . .keep in mind that although the salary seems very low, your cost of living there is going to be correspondingly low. You could live on that there

You could survive on that salary, but you couldn't live. Why, I bet you can't get a good martini, tenure, or any of the other perks that are required by today's librarians on the move. That is flyover country, not worthy of anyone's time or genius.

Hell, they probably want you to shelve books too!!

AL said...

I proved conclusively on my now defunct martini blog that one can make an excellent martini at home for under $1.50. As for the rest, why would anyone want a librarian job with no tenure and bookshelving duties? Takes all kind to make a world, I suppose.

soren faust said...
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Anonymous said...

one can make an excellent martini at home for under $1.50.

I am sure that the town would not want their librarian swilling martinis at home. They already have a town drunk.

Keep your hair in a bun and go home to feed your cats -- that is what flyover towns want in a librarian. Not some floozy reeking of gin.

AL said...

My dear sir, one does not "swill" martinis, at least not in civilization. Perhaps that's what the folk in flyover country do, though, which is enough reason to avoid it.

Brent said...

AL, maybe make a business out of making martinis and delivering them to different places in the area. I'd tip adequately.

Kristen said...

"I think it is ok to point out the absurdity of a place that is posting a position of director with a salary of about 30 grand a year and should have lots of related library experience...lots of places cannot "afford" to pay people with exp., and therefore seem absurd when asking for applicants with it."

Thing is, all they're really asking for is a BA and three years experience. That's not much at all.

AL said...

I think it would be easier just to invite all the readers over to my apartment for a cocktail party.

DearReader said...

I'd be surprised if Watseka has trouble getting a director; it's just barely an hour away from University of Illinois. There must be some new graduate who wants to live nearby. True, some UIUC grads will think this job is beneath them, but that's a different issue altogether.

Sarah W said...

One funny thing about that whole thread is that there is a Dr. Tim Harris, who is a professor of history at Brown. I've met him, and he is one of the nicest people I've ever had the chance to meet in academia.

Anonymous said...

I think Tim Harris needs to hook up with Marty Nemko (martynemko.com), who also hates affirmative action but thinks that being a librarian is one of the coolest careers around.

Unlike Harris, Nemko actually says some well-reasoned stuff, but it's hard to take him seriously when he either doesn't know or doesn't care about the lousy library job market.

Anonymous said...

Poor Dr. Tim Harris: all that valuable life experience, and he still can't spell. Perhaps his 11 month old can or will do it better.

Is a $1.50 martini drinkable...I ask you, AL...?

mdoneil said...

What worries me is that none of the librarians here actually took the time to look for Tim (or Timothy) Harris in any medical license lookup sites.

L-N says there are 8 of them.
Now if I were motivated I would look up more information about those 8 to see if they note undergraduate or graduate degrees other than medicine.

I am not that motivated.

I was going to be a dentist, accepted to Northwestern in the early 90's, but my friends who were physicians and dentists (I was an RN so I had a number of them) told me the HMOs were all going to ruin it soon, just like they ruined medicine. Never became a dentist. However when I retire in 7 years I will go to medical school at Universidad Mayab and practice as a volunteer physician in other countries (no US practice for me, I want compliant patients who don't feel I owe them narcotics because they got out of bed to come to the physician's office.)

soren faust said...
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soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don't want to be anon said...

What worries me is that none of the librarians here actually took the time to look for Tim (or Timothy) Harris in any medical license lookup sites.

I did that a few days ago and couldn't find anything that disproves my strong suspicion about Tim. I am pretty sure I know this guy. Too many pieces fit. I have an academic background in linguistics and am hyper-attentive to things like syntax. I have seen writing from "Tim Harris", the jilted applicant, and the "Tim Harris", the message board troll, and they use the same exact syntax. It is remarkable how their promiscuous use of ellipses and capital letters are identical.

All I know is that "Tim Harris" has garnered quite a reputation in his new state of residence and will probably have a difficult time landing work. His online presence has rendered himself untouchable. I would caution new librarians to learn from his folly.

nolajazz said...

I'm starting to resent all this talk of "flyover" towns. Some of you may be having a laugh but to stand up for the flyovers of the world....

Just because some people still live in small towns and their library isn't the size of Seattle Public (or whatever huge library comes to your mind first), doesn't mean the people of that town are rural, morons and don't deserve decent library service.

I have lived and worked in cities large and small, from central Indiana; to Chicago (in the city, not the suburbs); to the French Quarter of New Orleans; to smack-dab in the middle of South Dakota. Every one of these places is just as deserving of a qualified librarian, even if they don't get paid as much as Dr. Tim thinks is up to snuff.

I may not be paid "well" - a fact I often internally (and sometimes externally) lament - but I where I live, I can rent a 5 bedroom house for less than $800 a month.

AL, I do love you, but poking fun at what a small town can afford to pay a library director is a bit of a low blow.

Anonymous said...

My mom sent me that ad because I'm a new graduate from library school and my hometown is the next one down the road from Watseka. I wasn't interested because I don't want to move back to that county--and had just accepted a job elsewhere--but the money wasn't the issue. Consider the fact that they would probably be open to hiring a new MLS and the fact my brother's friend not long ago bought a two-bedroom house in a town that's a 15-minute drive away from the library for $20,000, and the money is actually good.

The real issues are that few people who didn't grow up in such a rural area would like living there, that anyone non-white is going to face significant racism (not necessarily from the libary, but from the community), and that a trailing partner would have nearly no employment prospects.

Anonymous said...

A quick follow-up to my previous post re: Watseka's cost-of living. You might have to teach your local bartender how to make you a martini, but I know of at least one area bar that has been known to serve four fingers of top-shelf liquor on the rocks for $4. You'd expect to pay less than $2 for a domestic beer at a bar.

AL said...

"Is a $1.50 martini drinkable...I ask you, AL...?"

1.75 liter bottles of Beefeater or Bombay or Tanqueray around $35. 750ml bottle of Noilly Prat or M&R vermouth about $6. At a 5:1 ratio with a 3oz pour, one gets 50 martinis from 2 bottles of gin and one of vermouth, which, when shaken or stirred fill most of a 5oz martini glass. Martinis are supposed to be served in small glasses so they don't get warm, and these monster glasses most bars use are a travesty. Total price $76, or $1.52 for a very drinkable martini indeed. Since we're in a recession, you could go the cheap route and use Gordon's gin ($17/bottle)and make a decent $.80 martini.

Anonymous said...

Recession? Do tell!

Fabulist said...

I didn't think AL was being disparaging of the community or the library. What I got from the post is the irony of a Director's job that isn't seeking a MLIS, that contains a list of desired experience, and has a lower pay rate.

It makes sense to me that if they don't "need" someone with a masters that the pay is fine, but someone with the kind of experience they want will likely have the MLIS and may not be interested in a lower paying job in a small town.

It's the juxtaposition of pay vs. experience that I think makes this job post odd and possibly hard to fill.

I do not think that there isn't someone who will like this job, but the fact is library directors do get payed more than this because of experience and degrees.

Anonymous said...

I may not be a real doctor, but I play one on the Internet.

---Kurt

Wacky Mommy said...

Just found your blog -- love it. I'll be back later to start on the archives...

Anonymous said...

Too late, this blog is dying.

Anonymous said...

This blog is not dying. It is just going into hiatus because all the beautiful people are getting geared up to go to ALA and then have a relaxed summer while the academics take a MUCH deserved break.

People in the real world will still be working and doing what it takes, but of course we are no where near the cutting edge like the AL.

We are just martini less peons.

Anonymous said...

re: This blog is not dying. It is just going into hiatus << It's obviously been assigned to a graduate student or intern for the duration. You're better off with Doonesbury re-runs.

Anonymous said...

Graduate students or interns are too busy with Library 2.0 and the future to be wasting their time here.

Anonymous said...

"...but someone with the kind of experience they want will likely have the MLIS and may not be interested in a lower paying job in a small town"

That's kind of the point--there's little chance that they would actually attract someone from the outside unless they OVERpaid (on a state-wide or national scale). But someone working in one of the other small-town libraries in the greater area likely doesn't have an MLIS, has the desired experience, and would be getting a step up in pay at $36,000. (You might question why the library would advertise this postion widely, but they may feel they need to make the good-faith effort or that there's always a chance of the miracle candidate.) To say who "likely has an MLIS" in this situation is, I think, a mis-judgment of the peer group and of the local economy. While I personally think that library directors have a high value, it just doesn't make any sense to pay someone completely out of the scale of all the other jobs in town.

I'm Kat! said...

You know, just because they advertise "must have an MLS" does not mean the person actually has to have an MLS. If they find an Excellent candidate with great leadership experience, and perhaps experience in management or organizations, and maybe a little library experience, but they are missing an MLS...they will hire them anyway.

It has happened time and time before.

Of course, once the budget shrinks, they will cut the person for the obvious reason - "You don't have an MLS!"

Heather said...

Alas, the job posting is gone. I wanted to email them and tell them that their wishful thinking is both amusing and insulting, but perhaps they have been hit by the clue bat and decided to rework the posting and/or the salary to more closely align with reality. Probably not, but one can always hope.