Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Thread

What in the hell happened to the comments section on the last post? I know I'm not posting much these days, but how did a comment on the mindless lists become an argument about Palin? I wasn't even paying attention to the comments until today.

Anyway, it just goes to show that one of the functions of the AL is to provide a forum for anonymous librarians to complain about things. For that function, I apparently don't even need to post, as evidenced by the nearly 200 comments on the last post, most of which have little to do with the topic. This makes things a lot easier on me.

So today, there's no topic. Comment on, commenters!

170 comments:

Infosciphi said...

Time to catch up AL. We twopointopians know that thread hijacking is a matter of course. ;-) It's the evolution of the conversation. Ends up in a totally different place than where it started.

Anonymous said...

twopointopians -- today's word meaning ninny.

Anonymous said...

You know, "ninny" is such an underused word these days!

Anonymous said...

As a frustrated, unemployed recent LIS graduate, I struggle to maintain a sense of self-worth in the face of so many rejection letters. Just when I feel so sorry for myself that I can barely function, I find your blog and get exactly the jump-start I need. In the world of library job hunting, expectations may be high, but the stakes are so damn low that I’d be an idiot to let rejection get me down! Sure, I might be better off going the corporate route or becoming a super-model, but in the meantime, there are few library positions out there that I’m NOT qualified for—-I just have to do a better job convincing potential employers of that. Thanks for the perspective AL!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (tee hee-- let's sign them ALL that way): Welcome to the ranks of the recent LIS grads-- I too am feeling the bitterness...

Anonymous said...

You get rejection letters? That's hilarious, must be a public library thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ut__J-_1mY

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I prefer the word 'ninnyhammer' as it is even less used than 'ninny', thus conveying a quaint archaic je ne sais quoi, or possibly revealing my taste for regency period novels. I love the theme for today - just ramble on and bicker amongst yourselves - you will anyway :) I just hope that this will imbue the comments with a pacific, zen quality, just for the sheer perversity of it :) I won't hold my breath though...

Anonymous said...

Recent grad: Guess what? Rejection isn't a new thing.

Twenty some years ago, when I was a ninny just out of library school, I could paper a good sized den with my rejection letters.

I could have done a much bigger room but most places don't even bother telling you that they don't want you. You call or write back and it is "Oh, that position has been filled."

Just remember the library world is looking for marrying material and you are a whore selling yourself. Try not to take rejection personally and console yourself with the fact that they are heartless bastards and it wouldn't have been a good fit anyway.

In the meantime, start a blog. It will entertain you for hours.

Coral said...

I had never really thought to read the comments on this blog. It comes to me via RSS feed, suggested by the all-knowing Google Reader. But, yeah, they were pretty crazy, last post.

Snark on, AL. Snark on.

Dances With Books said...

I had to go look at the last post again. Indeed, how the hell did the mindless Beloit list become a Palinpalooza? I guess that's 2.0 for ya. Snark on indeed, AL.

Anonymous said...

The AL can really phone it in now and sit back and suck down the martinis.

Anonymous said...

If you put lipstick on a ninny, it will run for president.

SafeLibraries.org said...

AL, you make me laugh!!

Hey, the "word verification" to post a comment has xeyfg. Maybe you could blog on that and get 500 comments!

Anonymous said...

The AL is getting great power among the disaffected librarians out there.

Along with great power comes great responsibility.

I think the AL should create more of a forum rather than a blog and start turning this energy to the greater good of humanity.

Remember Uncle Ben.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Perhaps we should hijack a political blog to talk about DDC22.

Anonymous said...

As someone who is post-"got my four year in History" and pre-MLIS, can I say neener-neener since I already HAVE a job at a library? It's an academic one too.
I oozed my way into the job as a student worker with the federal work study program. Yes folks! I'm still in the same place! They knew how well I worked, they didn't have to train me much, and they already knew I'd work for cheap!
I have arrived!!
But I'm still hungry...

Anonymous said...

McCain 08!

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger Verdi said...

I thought this thread was going to be about Palin!

Love this quote from her:


God made dinosaurs 4,000 years ago as ultimately flawed creatures, lizards of Satan really, so when they died and became petroleum products we, made in his perfect image, could use them in our pickup trucks, snow machines and fishing boats

mdoneil said...

Roger,

That quote is fictional. Have a nice Factiva search for it and you will find all sorts of interesting things such as this where it is clearly identificed as a hoax by the person who spread it.

You can always try LibrariansForPalin.com, they are big on authority since they are ...well librarians.


AL, can I buy you expensive things?

Anonymous said...

I remember my year long rejection. I was heart broken before I got my current job. I worked on my computer networking skills, spent me a late night dodging bill collectors, worked on some software design, build a large shed and met a gal from Australia on the IRC. So just keep busy. Search the net join groups of librarians and watch those trips into Second Life :P

PS Vodka helps even after you get the job probably more so

Brent said...

I lost respect for myself reading this thread. I read it to see if AL would make a surprise comment. I feel the same kind of shame paparazzi must feel camping outside Britney Spears's home, waiting to get a glimpse of her.

Anonymous said...

Oh job rejection: It happens, and especially in this economy, it's going to happen more. I wish all of you the best in your job search if you're currently going through one. Just hold on and you'll make it.

Oh politics and libraries: Chill out, folks. I can't stand how "progressives" preach diversity and forget that part about diversity of opinion. So, long story short, I know you like to claim you have moral superiority, but Palin is simply defending her community from what she believes is bad like you do your book stacks.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I never knew monty python was so popular with librarians.


YOU NINNIES!!!!

Debbi said...

What a way to blog--don't post anything, just tell your commenters to "talk amongst yourselves."

I love it!

Librarian w/o Portfolio said...

Recent Grad;
Try to remember that the overall job picture sucks right now. I used to worry about NOT finding a library job. The ones I got sucked. The job twhere you eventually have an offer may well be one with a revolving door. Look VERY carefully before you invest time and money to relocate, especially over a long distance. I used to joke to relatives that, the way things looked I had a better chance of ending up in a major Hollywood production as finding a decent library job. The irony is it was true - sort of.

It was actually easier for me to get a book contract, and for that book to be a finalist for a major book award. A few years later I ended up on a DVD "Extra" featuring some major actors in an award winning film [which this was for]. It boggles my mind when I think that it was easier to get the book contract, and later end up on the video, and get the rejections. Remember one other thing, you may be considered a threat to some if you are really qualified. I was rejected out of hand for a slot at an academic library. I have written extensively, but my guess is that most, if not all, of the staff is the reverse. In an area where librarians strive to be accepted as faculty, it doesn't look good if one of your staff is a recognized expert and the rest could as easily be selling mobile phones down in the strip mall.

I have some other books in the works and can only shake my head after what I've seen, and other things I read on this blog about the situation [which generally reinforced my suspicions]. It was hard for me to accept for a while that some of my teachers might have sold me a bill of goods, but it sure looks that way. Be thinking, what OTHER lines of work could I work in.

Anonymous said...

AL, if you post a mindless thread, about a mindless list, what do you expect? This blog needs to be shown the path to enlightenment or it will go the way it did.

Anonymous said...

Nice experiment!

I hope you'll let it run for some time.

And thanks to google in a few days (or earlier) this thread should be a major place to discuss librarians' attitudes concerning the qualifications needed for "selling mobile phones down in the strip mall".

Anonymous (of course)

Anonymous said...

if you post a mindless thread, about a mindless list, what do you expect

Once again, another example of someone who does not get it. If you read the post carefully you will find that this is exactly what AL seems to expect from this non-thread. Come on, everyone else seems to get it!

It's called reading comprehension.

Anonymous said...

To the recent grad, just remember it is Bush's fault that you don't have a job.

He personally goes over every resume (a little known component of the Patriot Act is that every job application goes across W's desk for a decision) and if he doesn't like something about your resume or application, you are never going to get hired any where.

If at the ninny shop.

Anonymous said...

I like nincowpoop (in Bugs Bunny speak) better than ninny - it's so much funnier to say.

Anonymous said...

You are just a maroon.

savoirfaire said...

"What would Gidget do?"

pass it on...

Anonymous said...

A am a twopointopian.

What's a Gidget?

Anonymous said...

Shut-up shuttin up, Rabbit.

Anonymous said...

What an Eskimo Pie Head.

savoirfaire said...

IMDb "Gidget," then see Pat Bagley's widely published Salt Lake Trib cartoon of 8/31.

Anonymous said...

Cultural icons lose a lot when you have to go all over the Internets to find out what folks are talking 'bout.

We need references that are under 25 years old.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

My references were all under 25 years old, but I still didn't get a job!

Evensong said...

"As a frustrated, unemployed recent LIS graduate, I struggle to maintain a sense of self-worth in the face of so many rejection letters." If you haven't done so, check your letters and resume for spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors. We had 11 applicants for a night position and most were kicked for errors in their applications, letters or resumes. I don't want to waste my time talking to someone who doesn't have enough sense to have a picture-perfect letter and resume.

Gary said...

The field of library jobs is shrinking. Meanwhile, library schools keep churning out more grads. It would not be in their best interest to tell students they're chasing after fewer and fewer jobs. If they did, THEY wouldn't have a job.
In addition, a lot of those library jobs aren't what they're cracked up to be, high- or low-paying. Even if you're employed, it isn't easy finding another job. It isn't a bad idea to explore other careers; but the consummate question is: what else CAN you do with a library degree?

Anonymous said...

Since most librarian jobs today are heavily customer service oriented, guess there's always a place at the Gap or Banana Republic.

Or maybe the Dairy Queen.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you for the very good laugh I had today. You know it's healthy for you and lengthens your life.

Even is you don't know it's moron and not maroon.

Nincowpoop is still fun to say :)

Anonymous said...

Well, no matter where we are, we can all thank our lucky stars that we didn't go to school for "Museum Studies". I almost got on that particular boat when I was still young and optimistic, but after talking to a friend of mine who just finished his MA, I think the average punch-card operator has better prospects for employment. At least librarians have potential job opportunities in just about every dirt-water town in America: "Museum Professionals" are out of luck just about everywhere. Except maybe in New York where sleeping with the right curator might land you a gig or two.

And speaking of creative ideas for job hunting, has anybody yet stolen my idea for a video game about hired assassins who bump off aging Baby Boomer librarians so those of us under 35 can find work? "Second Death"--or something like that. Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

"You are just a maroon."

What do you mean "just" a maroon? How do you know he or she isn't a darn good one, like those ones that held off the Dutch from their Surinamese rain forest settlements or whatever for decade after decade.

(And the person who knew who Mahan was gets that I bet, as do others. Most don't care but that doesn't bother me. I like the opportunity for non-sequitors or free-associations as long as AL isn't writing anything good. It keeps me entertained.)

Have a nice day. Drink martinis. Be snarky. Whatever suits ya'll.

Anonymous said...

I think a good game would be "Library Instructor", where you get to waste the time and money, and ask instulting questions to, former Library Instructors whose diploma mill programs folded. It could have alternate scenarios, like the instructor applying for a job selling cell phones. As you can possibly deduce, I hope there's a special place in hell for such.

Anonymous said...

One problem with MLIS programs is the cost. The only ALA accredited program in Northern Illinois charges more per credit hour than law school, and you don't come out making law school money.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hey Daffy, it is maroon.

You obviously don't waste time watching cartoons.

Ninny.

The.Effing.Librarian said...

if AL won't post, can we enable images so I can upload squid lolz?

Anonymous said...

I’m the frustrated recent grad guy. Thanks for the feedback, everybody. My resume and cover letters are pristine, but they could probably use another looking-at; I don’t generally like methadone or vodka, but I might give them both another chance; and while I may be whoring myself to a Marrying profession—I’m a hooker with a heart of gold. Any day now, a wealthy Richard Gere-style Director of Circulation will most surely come to sweep me off my feet in a real-life romantic comedy scenario.

Truth be told, most of the jobs I’m applying for are way beneath me—not that I’m prepared to be a department head or any such nonsense just yet--but most library work is just glorified office management and I could do that crap in my sleep. My agenda is to gain enough crap experience in the next two to three years to obtain a more cushy and challenging position in the future (and also to justify the expenditure of a teeny-tiny almost insignificant amount of student loan money…).
I think the key to my library job hunt is to
A. convince potential employers that I really do want their crap jobs I am well-prepared to do them and
B. remember that being rejected for a crap job is not a reflection on my own intelligence or potential--just on the limitations of my “Demonstrated ability” with crap.

Crank that last part up, and I’ll be working long hours for a substandard wage in no time!

Anonymous said...

Nice threads,
I really feel for the recent graduate trying to find even a crap job in this economy. Mind you the AL is the source for jobs that suck. Who does not want the job satisfaction of being an unpaid document scanner or an on-call adjunct librarian.

Anonymous said...

The profession seems to want 20-somethings to have the experience of a 40-something, and have a youth-oriented approach, too. It was also that way in the 90s. So what's going to happen when the baby boomers retire and there are few ready to take their places for the high level management jobs? In a few years, I'll be in one of those positions and will be making hiring decisions. It's my belief that gaining some experience before graduation is important, but it can't be the only factor considered. What about potential?

Anonymous said...

Frustrated--You could always go back to school for a second subject Masters. Go get 'em, tiger!

Anonymous said...

Come into my library with the attitude that the job opening is crap and beneath you and I can show you the door in no time flat.

Ninny.

Anonymous said...

"Come into my library with the attitude that the job opening is crap and beneath you and I can show you the door in no time flat."

And that nut case woman or man on the Library Board can send you packing just as easily, Ninny. Believe it or not, in some instances they can even wreck a tax supported library system, too.

Anonymous said...

Hey if you think you have it bad, come up to Canada and try to find a job. Since there are very few private colleges, academic librarian positions are few and far between ... mind you, if you can score one, the pay is decent because of all the unions. BUT, then you just have to get along with the union brass, which are worse than management and take advantage of their position every chance they get ... with nobody to put them in check. When was the last time librarians gave their union reps the boot? I have seen some things happen here that would make your skin crawl ...

j- said...

*It's my belief that gaining some experience before graduation is important, but it can't be the only factor considered. What about potential?*

Potential is for junior Senators.

Re: Nincowpoop...what BB called the bull he was fighting, whom he later blasted with a rifle, after setting him up to head-butt an anvil. Good times.

*Have a nice day. Drink martinis. Be snarky. *

Martinis are so 2001 wearing 1960's hand-me-downs. I nominate Bloody Caesars for the drink du jour. We all need more veggies than 2 olives.

*So what's going to happen when the baby boomers retire and there are few ready to take their places for the high level management jobs? In a few years, I'll be in one of those positions and will be making hiring decisions*

It's even better to be in that position now with baby boomers as your employees.

DirectorWho said...

anon 4:50 said
And that nut case woman or man on the Library Board can send you packing just as easily, Ninny.

Yep, just ask the director who was fired -- um, asked to resign -- yesterday because someone had complained to a County Commissioner once too often that he/she didn't like the new director's style, and "neither does the staff". So I'm -- er, HE'S -- been asked to clean out his office and not come back. No word as to what the complaint entailed so he could attempt to correct the percieved problem.

At least the pay will continue through the end of the month.

"The (former) Director"

DirectorWho said...

P.S.,

Anyone know of a library hiring a very good librarian who failed at being a director in only five months?

"The "Oh, forget it.

Anonymous said...

Well dog my cats.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Oh pish, posh. Crap jobs are crap jobs and should be called by their rightful names.

What kind of person would pay for a degree and then subject herself to working six days per week including three 10 hour days, Saturdays and "occasional evenings and holidays" in a crumbling, underfunded library for 30 K per year and think it was all quite fitting for her personality and ambitions?

A bright person? A talented person? A person with self-esteem? "Director material" perhaps? No, it would be an ex-con on work release or a dullard with few prospects (and probably fewer brain cells to rub together) or a recent LIS grad willing to project fake good humor and cheerfulness while paying her dues until something better comes along.

I can't stand it when library professionals fool themselves into thinking that, for people of intelligence and ambition, entry-level work is anything but an endurance contest. And unlike law clerk positions or medical rotations, librarians have little hope for a profitable future unless they're able to call crap jobs by their rightful names and move onto management positions.

Smart people don't mistake shit for champagne.

Anonymous said...

Ballad of the Superfluous Masters Degree.

Dick: "I have a Masters in Postal Work Science."
Jane: "Me too! Did you specialize in Clerking or Zip Code Studies?"
Dick: "Neither. I went to Pitt so did Mail Sorting...obviously."
Jane: [Pause] "You Mail Sorters are such snobs."

Librarian w/o Portfolio said...

P.S.,

Anyone know of a library hiring a very good librarian who failed at being a director in only five months?

"The "Oh, forget it.

-------
Directorwho,

I have a "friend" who went through the same experience, except this individual was axed at an illegal
secret meeting, held on a sunday, which, apparently not all of the board were aware of. This person was, likewise, told about "complaints", but never told exactly what they were, and had people stutter and stammer and evade the matter when asked. The librarian in question was later approached by a woman who mentioned, wink wink, nudge, nudge, that the police in the community had sometimes pulled people over, planted drugs, and then arrested said people. Message received; get outta' town - quietly. No legal action if you know what's good for you. A number of years later the FBI caught some local "law enforcement" officers in a drug sting, posing as underworld types from Chicago.

There was another case I heard about af a diector who received a box of cookies from a relative around Christmas. Had them in his office and someone came in and walked out with them. The woman was caught before she left, but the librarian was fired by friends on the board.

Then there's the case of the board of a regional library system. A new member was appointed by one of the political big-wigs of the county he represented. The family, it seems, had always been big supporters of said politico. New board member had come back to his hometown with a masters in art, time on his hands and no job. Tried to get one with the local bank, for which he had big ideas on how to run things. They knew better. Next stop is the Board. Said person has idea that by pulling out of the system he can improve service. Starts with complaints to head of library about the size of the library in his hometown, she sends an assistant down who says, yep, time to move to a larger location, given the circulation. Board member digs in his heels and sandbags it. The library in is part of the town hall and pays rent. This particular county has, shall we say, "peculiar" politics. During a fuss over something regarding school board politics, one individual who had voiced complaints was awakened one morning by the local sheriff, and told to get their car out of the nearby river. It didn't belong there. Must have levitated out of the driveway. Message sent; shut up or get out.

Back to our story,this fellow pulls the county out of the regional system, which had been supplying books and materials to the county schools. The local teachers assn. passes a resolution "deploring" the act of the board. County school system gets downgraded in its state ratings from A to B.

Years later a woman who fell for the stunt runs into the head of the regional library, now retired, and confides that it was a mistake and Joe Boardmember messed things up further, later, before leaving.

Anybody got any other stories in like vein? These never made it into AMERICAN LIBRARIES for obvious reasons.

SafeLibraries.org said...

"Anybody got any other stories in like vein? These never made it into AMERICAN LIBRARIES for obvious reasons."

AL, do a post on stories that don't make it into AL.

I'm Kat! said...

Just when you thought High school was over...just as when you thought the Junior High Lunchroom was behind you, just as when you thought the elementary school yard was no more, just as when you thought the Preschool sandbox had finally come to rest, it all comes to reality: some people have STILL not grown up beyond Childish Tactics.

And now it's called "Politics" in order to give it a "Legitimate Excuse for Existing."

It's still nothing more than Bullshit and we all know it.

Anonymous said...

"And now it's called "Politics" in order to give it a "Legitimate Excuse for Existing."

It's still nothing more than Bullshit and we all know it."

Ain't it the truth. High School with lots of money, or was that Hollywood? B.S. and power.

I second AL doing something on stories that never made AMERICAN LIBRARIES. I doubt that you'll find much of the subject matter in this blog there. It's all about LIBRARIES, remember, not LIBRARIANS. Just pay your dues, drink martinis, got to Anaheim for their convention, and read their rag.

Anonymous said...

"The politics of the [Library] are so intense because the stakes are so low"

Without librarians, many computer screens would never have the snot wiped off of them.

This is why we fight.

Tim Reynolds said...

Ok here is my rant. "Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently awarded $255,040 to the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information to study the collection and preservation of massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, which often involve interactive role-playing."

Do not get me wrong I been role-playing for almost 30 years both table top and computer games. I have even published in magazines. But $250 grand to archive MMO's? Who needs an archive of World of Warcraft that much?

Now if it was given to an online project with some social value I would be ok with this. Look at SL libraries and museums professionals are doing volunteer work to do the work of this lucky professor. But at least they are serving a small public.

My point is the money could have been spent on a better project. What about education in a VR environment? Presenting books in VR, Children's Librarianship in VR. The list goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

Video Games Pork.

Anonymous said...

I think this grant was awarded with a focus on Archives and Preservation rather than instruction. I'm not sure if I think this particular award is worthwhile nor do I disagree with your point, but functional standards for the collection and long-term retrieval of complex digital materials are rather unclear for now.


Hey, maybe I should start writing some grants to study stuff...

j- said...

OT: David Foster Wallace was just found dead at his home. It may be months before anyone knows why, however, as his suicide note was 2,000 pages long, 2/3 of it being footnotes.

Anonymous said...

Reposted from backpage.com...

25 year old male needs a job
posted: September 13, 2008, 05:12 PM

Reply: [---]gmail.com

I am currently employed with the Counrty of San Diego Library as a Substitute Librarian but they have not been calling me lately to come in to work.

I am looking for something so that I can grow within the company and to grow the skills that i already have.

Even if the job is mowing lawns, or yard work, I will accept anything that I can get my hands on.

If you do not have anything for me...please help me by telling me if you know of anyone that can use my skills.

...as somebody with an MLIS, I can't believe I'm competing with a paraprofessional for lawn mowing and other yardwork opportunities. This is an outrage! I got my degree so I would be qualified to do the exact yardwork, janitorial and burger-flipping jobs that are now being assigned to parapros.

What are they going to do next; reclassify "temporary, part-time telemarketing" as a paraprofessional position as well?

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The ORIGINAL Anonymous Librarian said...

Suggested reading for ALA staff, particularly those who persist in talking about a "Librarian Shortage".
AL really ought to comment more about the field's own "Denialville" mentality. It's going down hill with a pretty face.
A topic on stories that never or wouldn't make AMERICAN LIBRARIES is in order.
-----------------------------
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life.
By Eviatar Zerubavel.
Highlights the social pressures through which individuals, cultures, and whole nations sometimes deny what confronts us. Provides many examples and case histories, and discusses the psychological damage created by long term denial. 162 pages. Published by Oxford.

DirectorWho said...

as somebody with an MLIS, I can't believe I'm competing with a paraprofessional for lawn mowing and other yardwork opportunities. This is an outrage! I got my degree so I would be qualified to do the exact yardwork, janitorial and burger-flipping jobs that are now being assigned to parapros.


My wife suggested I get a job at a bookstore until a librarian position comes up.

Sigh. I QUIT working in a bookstore so I COULD work in a library. Talk about going in circles.

Librarian w/o Portfolio said...

"My wife suggested I get a job at a bookstore until a librarian position comes up.

Sigh. I QUIT working in a bookstore so I COULD work in a library. Talk about going in circles."

In this economy, be thankful if you get that. Also, be glad you have a wife pulling in some income.
The individual that I mentioned earlier would have been out on the street, literally, if he hadn't moved in with his parents. It happened that he had taken the job, in part, because his father was having health problems and he was the only child.

Be thankful, too, that you were allowed the courtesy of resigning. In the case I mentioned, with the secret meeting, the person was fired. The public, and his successor, were told that he'd "resigned due to an illness in the family". Unfortunately, he had to TRY to explain the situation later to other potential employers. It was crap job city, as far as serious prospects, and not wanting to jump from the frying pan into the fire he decided to [ book store jobs only went to try other things, as the crap jobs women at this time and locale, he soon discovered] would have entailed a major, costly, relocation. He had to deal with a father dealing with gradually increasing dementia, brought on by a minor stroke or strokes, for around ten years, when both parents went into a nursing home.

Needless to say, this individual was pretty burned-out with the whole business. One of the board members had political connections, both state and local,
and former "colleages" who had supported him in the past, including former teachers, suddenly distanced themselves. Said former teachers, who had preached "professionalism" and "ethics" suddenly "couldn't become involved". Two of them later found cushy high level state funded library jobs when the library program folded in the late 80's.

Librarian w/o Portfolio said...

" It was crap job city, as far as serious prospects, and not wanting to jump from the frying pan into the fire he decided to [ book store jobs only went to try other things, as the crap jobs women at this time and locale, he soon discovered] would have entailed a major, costly, relocation."

CORRECTION:

It was crap job city as far as serious library prospects were concerned, and these would entail a major, costly relocation, IF he could get out from under the family situation. Local book store jobs were women only, he soon learned. It was rather blatent, with one ad specifying gender, no less!

Anonymous said...

AL, your blog is, to this field, what junkscience.com is to medicine. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

The profession seems to want 20-somethings to have the experience of a 40-something, and have a youth-oriented approach, too...What about potential?

The key is as you advance in age, is to maintain a youthful appearance via diet and exercise. I know it sounds totally superficial, but it works. Even if your colleagues know your chronological age, they will still treat you like you are younger than your real age, which, of course, can be a double-edged sword.

I agree with you about the importance of potential, but it really depends on the position. My biggest problem is with job descriptions that seem to be entry-level, but in reality, the search committee is looking for someone with several years experience. You see, the problem is that there are so many crap jobs and we are all clamoring for extrication from these sub-standard gigs. And many of us have 5-10 years experience. Unfortunately, many new grads cannot compete with that. The good news is that you would be surprised how many people with that amount of experience can barely write a passable cover letter, let alone interview well.

I really do feel for new grads because I think they have been sold a bill of goods--not only by faculty, but also by some of the nextgen bloggers who have "made it". Frankly, I'd be a bit suspicious of someone who constantly felt the need to blog about their great job. I am not saying that all library jobs suck, but those with pretty good gigs are usually too busy to blog about it. I know I am. :)

I truly wish all new librarians who really want to be in this field the best. I am very friendly in person and tend to talk with new librarians at conferences, etc., so don't snub anyone with 5-10 years experience who is trying to talk to you :)

I also think it is a good idea to look at other opportunities outside of librarianship, which is easier said than done.

Anonymous said...

Why should we come back here?

We might as well go argue with the drunks on the corner.

AL used to be a place for pointed snark, now it is a martini besotted wasteland.

Sad.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If it is a crap job and beneath you, do everyone a favor and don't apply unless you really need the work so you can get of the Alpo diet.

If that is the case, suck it up and go in with a positive attitude.

Anonymous said...

"If it is a crap job and beneath you, do everyone a favor and don't apply unless you really need the work so you can get of the Alpo diet.

If that is the case, suck it up and go in with a positive attitude."

Depends on whether the crap job is
at a long distance, in South Podunk, and a likely revolving door. With jobs like that you are better investing in lottery tickets.

Back in the 60's and early 70's I've heard there really WAS a shortage of librarians to fill GOOD jobs, with three jobs to choose from, in some cases, for each grad. Those days are long gone, and with the situation in the public sector as it is, I doubt we'll see a return anytime soon.

If grads aren't able to find work they should write the President of the school they attended and close down the diploma mills. When "education" becomes a rip-off it's time to draw the line.

Anonymous said...

I rarely read AL, until someone alerted me about the non-post which I thought an interesting 2.0 concept from someone who likes to say she is against such things. Yes, in the 60s and early 70s there were numerous jobs, according to retired librarians I know. My point earlier is that considering only whether the person has done That job for years will not be my lone hiring consideration in a few years when baby boomers retire and my much smaller Gen X is doing the hiring.

Anonymous said...

If grads aren't able to find work they should write the President of the school they attended and close down the diploma mills. When "education" becomes a rip-off it's time to draw the line.

If you can't research a job field on your own and know your prospects, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't become a librarian.

Anonymous said...

If you can't research a job field on your own and know your prospects, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't become a librarian.

Even the Occupational Outlook Handbook, up until last year, stated that there was a great prospect for new librarians entering the profession. So, I wouldn't go as far as to assume that it was just a simple matter of doing the research. If many, if not all, of the authoritative resources are stating the same thing, the human thing, libraian or not, is to think that what's being said, has some weight to it.

Anonymous said...

If you can't believe the Federal guvmint for accurate projections, who can you trust?

I mean, we were out of Iraq under budget and early, right?

Do your homework sonny.

Talk to people.

Look at the help wanted ads BEFORE you start on a career.

That or become a rock star.

Anonymous said...

Anybody here says "hijacking" again, and I'm calling security!

I was such a ninny that during my 6 month initial post-MLS job search, i amused myself making a pseudo-research project out of it. Had an extensive multi-color bar graph noting dates I saw ad, when I responded to ad, closing date; date of first peep out of hiring people; date of rejection letter. I could give you average length of time for and between anything involved. Lots of fun.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the help wanted ads is a great idea.

Except that, even now, even knowing exactly what the job market is like for librarians, the job boards look pretty good. There are jobs being posted. They sound OK. What you can't tell is how many people are applying for them, or who actually gets the job, or how much experience that person had to have to get said job - even if the ad specified 2-3 years' experience.

Talking to people is also a great idea, but you have to know who to talk to, to get an honest answer. I did informational interviews with HR types and head librarians before I applied to library school, and all I got was positive encouragement. I have since applied to jobs at both institutions, and not heard a peep from them. The line you get from the actual library schools themselves, well, even taking it with a grain of salt, it sure seems like they think it's all roses and rainbows on the job search. And the Job Futures projections put out by the government do support the idea that most of us should be employed in our field after graduation.

So give some of the new grads a break. Some of us did our research. We just didn't know where the crusty, embittered, and honest librarians were hiding to ask THEM.

I really wish I had.

Anonymous said...

It took me about two years from the time I got my MLIS to get a job, and when I finally got one, it was part-time, not full-time, as I had hoped, and desperately needed by then, with all the accrued debt. The positives are that the part-timers here get health benefits and I do like my job and my coworkers. When I was job hunting I found a lot of jobs required at least 3-5 years of experience. This is my second career. I had a lengthy career in social services and education prior to becoming a librarian. Unfortunately, none of my previous work experience has mattered when I put it on job applications, no matter how I word it. Luckily my current employer was willing to overlook the 3-5 years of experience requirement and took my schooling, library volunteering activities, and previous work experience into consideration. While I do have a very long daily commute, I'm keeping the job for now, as it's helping pay the bills. I know what you all are feeling, though. It is so frustrating just trying to get one's first break, and getting rejection letter after rejection letter. I once asked the HR person in one of the cities I had applied for what counts as work experience to them. Working at a bookstore was one of them. A Master's was not necessary, but preferred. The pay was barely decent, and they only give you credit for half of your volunteer work experience. So, if you volunteered for a year, they only take into account 6 months. Yet, they want 3-5 years previous work experience in a library or bookstore. I don't understand why they don't do what I've seen in some ads, give applicants work experience credit on a year for year basis, for their education. Many of us completed huge collection development projects, wrote grants, etc. I see a disconnect with a lot of places in this regard. Getting into academic libraries is even harder. If you didn't get into an internship program while in library school, good luck. Again, somewhat of a disconnect there, I think, since for most of us this seems to be a second or third career, and many of us had to work our way out of our old jobs before we could get a new profession. For me, anyway, the thought of an internship while working a 40 hour job, going to grad school full-time, and getting zero hours of sleep while pregnant with my daughter was just not appealing enough to put myself through the internship part. Okay, I've ranted. I'll go and have that martini, in about four hours from now. First I'll go skim the want ads for any bookstore clerk positions. Not long ago I interviewed for one. The pay was $8 an hour. Sigh. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't, aren't you?

Library Mermaid said...

is ninny a sibling of nincompoop? I declare it to be so since, as we all know, librarians are allowed to make stuff up.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

There is a librarian shortage. The problem is, few LIS programs are training librarians in the knowledge and skills needed to be the 21st century librarian of which there is a shortage.

There are legions of librarians across all library types without the requisite technology skills for the profession as it is today.

These librarians refuse either to retire or to acquire the new skills needed to perform the kinds of information mediation needed today.

These librarians should be fired if they refuse to keep up.

People who received their LIS before around 1995 should be required to refresh their skills with professional development. They are fundamentally unqualified to be a librarian if they have not demonstrated capability with today's technology.

Librarianship is one of the few professions that doesn't require ongoing continuing education to maintain professional status.

And, this will be the death of the profession.

Do you want to see a doctor that hasn't been refreshed since 1995? Not me.

If you can't keep up, retire, damn-it. You are definitely in the way, and you'll mark the death of the trade you profess to love.

Feh to tenure and seniority.

What have you done for the profession lately?

SafeLibraries.org said...

What's a "libraian," as someone said. Is that someone from the constellation Libra?

Anonymous said...

Yep, I'm anon at 6:56. I agree. I am constantly looking for opportunities to update my skills in some way. Luckily my employer is receptive to that. I am relatively new to the profession, having graduated some two years ago, but a lot has happened since then, even. So, can't say that I'm in the same boat as the resisters. On the contrary, I'd like to learn more because I know there's still a lot to learn.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evensong said...

It's never been easy finding a job in a library. I got my first 24 years ago (yep ... I'm one of those damned baby boomers who ain't retiring) and I had to move to a city I loathed. I survived the trauma of leaving a great city for a cultural backwater. There are jobs out there, you just might not envision yourself in one of the world's armpits. Life's hard.

Anonymous said...

If experience counts then why don't programs require substantial fieldwork? My maiden aunt who got her MLS in 1962 was required to work in the library as part of her training. "If we weren't in class, we were in the stacks" she told me.

I suspect members of the Academic-Industrial complex infiltrated the Committee on Accreditation and pushed the elimination of fieldwork as a means to increase enrollment.

Frankly, if all MLIS programs included one year of class and one year of fieldwork, then graduates could at least be halfway qualified for professional positions.

Of course, 3/4 of library programs would probably fold under these requirements, but I think that would be a good thing. Wouldn't it?

I'm Kat! said...

If you want to suggest there is a conspiracy going on, compare the average Salaries for Librarains between the Center for Housing Policy and salary comparisons done by Job websites.

The CHP says a Librarian earns an average of $49,210 in my city.

I found a Jobs site once though, I wish I could remember what it was, because it was a bit different and it had nice comparison cahrts with other occupations; it showed librarians in my city making around 22.5k-32k. If someone finds it, please bring it to light!!!

[Indeed.com shows 41k; Salary.com shows 51k; Yahoo says 40k; It just goes to show that the disparity is indeed there! I still wish I could find the site I saw months ago, but...it's not of any matter now!]

Now who are you going to trust? The people reviewing Everybody including those with jobs normal people will NEVER have because they were landed by politics, timing, and luck not to mention wealth, status, or prestige? Or the people who deal with new hires and the postitions actually available to people like you and me on a daily basis

Hmmmm, there seems to be something Fishy going on!!!

[Mind you, finding a job outside of the field isn't exactly as hard as it is to say, especially if you have real skills like work ethic, intelligence and honesty! ;)]

P.S. Paycheck to Paycheck, on the CHP site, is quite a cool tool to play around with! You can discover a load of useful occupational information!!!

I learned about CHP in MLS school, from a crack Rent-a-Professor, those who are so good [or so bad] they can demand an exhobinant amount of money, only teach week long three credit courses, and in general do what they kind of wish!!

Anonymous said...

I suspect that ALA's Library/Industrial Complex is feeding the data to the govt. and other NGO's that might want info..
Just make it seem somewhat believable. My first job was in a backwater and for three years put up with it. Life outside the field is WAY more interesting and challenging than "internal exile in Gorky", if any of you remember what that was back when. I could have had a job in an area that was in what I'd call "Hurricane Alley", because the location has been hit hard more times than I remember over the years, and had to be evacuated almost annually. I didn't see my life becoming a replay of "Waterworld" either. In short, I don't have masochistic tendencies. Maybe that's what one needs. Over the years I lost faith in the true "professionalism" of this business, with all the times I was lied to and fed B.S.. Maybe that happens in other fields too, but I can only take so much. I at least have control over where I live. I found I could do things of more substance than I was allowed to do as a librarian, too.

AL might want to look at junkscience.com before she takes the "compliment" above, which may have come from some snark with ALA.

Anonymous said...

There are legions of librarians across all library types without the requisite technology skills for the profession as it is today.

What kind of skills are you talking about? Programming skills? Network administration skills? The ability to create a website with XHTML and CSS? Or are you referring to being able to play on Twitter?

Feh! As long as we have plenty of librarians who have been in this field a long time who patently refuse to address electronic resource management issues, we can forget about these people learning basic programming skills.

People who received their LIS before around 1995 should be required to refresh their skills with professional development. They are fundamentally unqualified to be a librarian if they have not demonstrated capability with today's technology.

What kind of programs did these people attend? As much as a particular "famous" blogger slags on FSU (FWIW, this person completed the program via distance ed.), I had a very different experience, probably because I uprooted and moved to Tally. The faculty that was there in the early to mid-90's made it very clear from day one that continuing education was essential for longevity in this field.

If you think new grads are coming out armed with Unix programming skills, I'd like to have what ever you are drinking.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Hello HeLLOOOO--I'm a recent grad and my program taught me Unix skills! And to write XML. And HTML (Not Dreamweaver but the real thing)

Actually, my program didn't teach this; one particular professor who taught 1/3 of my giant class taught this. The other two professors taught out of a technology book designed for high schoolers/undergraduates.

Of course, virtually all of the technology jobs I've seen advertised require two years experience or really high level skills that I just don't have. So, I'm still unemployed, I can program in Unix, dammit!

Anonymous said...

Life's a bitch.

And then you die.

Have a nice day.

Oh, and grow up.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Of course, virtually all of the technology jobs I've seen advertised require two years experience or really high level skills that I just don't have.

Apply anyway. Usually the position descriptions are a wish list.

Sorry, you are just going to have to get experience as a techie grunt in the middle of nowhere and move after 2 years. I just wish the current crop of LIS professors were more honest.

Anonymous said...

If you are applying to academic postitions, be prepared for a long wait.

Many universities have a myriad of committees that have to review the use of staples versus paper clips.

Or you could become a blogger.

You don't need to do anything but post up crap and then sit back and watch the comments run the place. With a martini in your hand too!

Anonymous said...

Just noticed this from AL. ok so I am slow

So today, there's no topic. Comment on, commenters!

So what we discover is that commenters are whinny, bored, not working both at their jobs and not employed. Under paid and under or over trained. We have some politics, and snarky people (arnt they the same?)

I am sorry for Director Who, I wish you the best of luck, and for recent grads hang in there. I have enjoyed my 5 years in the armpit of America and am getting ready to move on. You can have my job. Its a lot easier now that there is professional staff in place you can thank me latter.

Anonymous said...

I'm so tired of having to work! Everyday, I have to get up and get dressed to come to work. No one ever told me it was going to be like this! Why do I have to work? Why? Why? Why? It isn't fair. You don't understand, I get tired easy and my boss won't let me go home early. I don't see what the big deal is if I wanna take a nap after lunch, but no, I have to go to these boring technology classes and learn stuff that's so boring! Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I all alone in this world?

j- said...

*So what we discover is that commenters are whinny, bored, not working both at their jobs and not employed. Under paid and under or over trained. We have some politics, and snarky people (arnt they the same?)

I am sorry for Director Who, I wish you the best of luck, and for recent grads hang in there. I have enjoyed my 5 years in the armpit of America and am getting ready to move on. You can have my job. Its a lot easier now that there is professional staff in place you can thank me latter.***

What I discovered is that there are too many anonymous posters and that most of them have no spelling or grammar skills whatsoever. One needn't wonder for a nanosecond the reason why they are "moving on" from the "armpit of America"--the denizens of said armpit probably asked them to leave. One can also surmise that they are moving on to an even more malodorous section of this great land.

Anonymous said...

One can only hope so, j-, only hope.

Clarence Thomas said...

"What I discovered is that there are too many anonymous posters and that most of them have no spelling or grammar skills whatsoever. One needn't wonder for a nanosecond the reason why they are "moving on" from the "armpit of America"--the denizens of said armpit probably asked them to leave. One can also surmise that they are moving on to an even more malodorous section of this great land."

F**K You Buckey! I'm in a hell of a better place than you are or ever will be. Get over it!

Anonymous said...

"J" is one of those anonymous trolls who has a blog that you have to register to see. The photo could be of anyone.

At least some people have the sense to stay out of armpits in the first place.

Anonymous said...

If you want a faculty librarian appointment in an academic research library, publish well-researched, substantive scholarly articles. Some academic libraries care about this. Others do not.

Publishing may help you get jobs in the former, but you need to ensure that the work isn't trite, isn't goofy, and is in one of the handful of library-related journals that actually have standards.

If you do not like research and publishing, then consider whether it's really in a university's interest to have you in a faculty position.

(Academic libraries in which the librarians are staff are another story.)

OK, snark-meisters and other assorted angry commenters, have at it.....

Anonymous said...

"Its a lot easier now that there is professional staff in place you can thank me latter.***"

Spelling "J", isn't it "later", with only ONE "t"? People who live in glass houses.....?

Anonymous said...

Saying life's hard doesn't really say much, does it? I'm assuming those who are saying that have jobs they're satisfied with. For some of us, even living in the armpits of the world doesn't guarantee that the job requirements in some of those places aren't ridiculous for the amount of pay offered. Trust us. We've tried to apply even there. One can certainly say something about that. Of course, we're not the ones in a position to make the changes to the job descriptions. So, this is probably just a forum for us, right now, to see how many of us are going through the same thing, or just to simply vent.

I'm Kat! said...

I completely understood what J said and that little spelling error had no effect, way, shape or form in changing how I think about what he has to say.

The Grammar/Spelling Nazis in this country need to catch up with 2008, where we forgo wasteful excessive spell/grammar checking in informal situations such as this setting.

Would you prefer if we cut our statements down to just "LOL ,ROFL, KTHXBYE?" Because that is what the 1990's babies did. That Beliote list sure missed that one!

Attention to detail is valuable within the job setting, but here, this is an informal blog, you freaks!! We're NOT on the clock here and your Ideas are NOT going to change no matter how well you spell them!!

I will take one person who can't spell correctly but has clear evidence of critical thoughts over three hundred Idiots who can spell and use grammar perfectly and catch every mistake made ont eh planet. You people would make great rail inspectors or road inspectors, but the rest of us are more intent on going down the road to where it leads, rather thancritically analyzing the road every inch of the way as we go down it.

K'THX'BYE.

The Gossiping Librarian said...

I would just like to wish all those jaded miserable MLS graduates the best of luck in their search to becoming jaded miserable librarians... or more realistically as McDonalds employees :)

Anonymous said...

I kept seeing posts that mentioned "whinny" librarians and I was wondering how it was that frustrated librarians sounded like horses.

Then I thought "Oh, they mean "*whiney*" as in "To utter a plaintive, high-pitched, protracted sound, as in pain, fear, supplication, or complaint."

I get it!

Complaining, right?

But then I thought maybe "Whinny" was some sort of double-secret-insider-librarian play on the word "Ninny" which I saw popping up here and there as well.

"Ninny" means "dumb", right?

Anonymous said...

Someone should go out and check on the health of the AL.

I am assuming that it was one martinin too many and the AL is lying in a pool of vomit somewhere not able to type or update this blog.

God Speed on your recovery, AL!

Anonymous said...

This is the AL's lawyer speaking: The AL is in a state of blackout lying in a dark jail cell waiting for me to post bail. As soon as I can scrape the 1.2M together I'll have her out and back on the blogging circuit in no time. She'll be writing to you from rehap between 12 step meetings and detox meds.

Anonymous said...

As soon as I hear from a Nigerian Prince, I will be able to send you the bail money you need.

Talk about your amazing e-mails.

I will be able to quit my crappy library job in flyover country and move to the big city plus have plenty left over to help out imprisoned library bloggers.

God Bless America.

Anonymous said...

Publishing may help you get jobs in the former, but you need to ensure that the work isn't trite, isn't goofy, and is in one of the handful of library-related journals that actually have standards.

Only tenure committees at R1s care about impact factors. The publishing and research bar is much lower at other places.

For some of us, even living in the armpits of the world doesn't guarantee that the job requirements in some of those places aren't ridiculous for the amount of pay offered. Trust us. We've tried to apply even there. One can certainly say something about that.

Right! Just because a salary is absurdly low, doesn't mean the job duties and requirements are easy.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Annoyed Librarian, if you're reading this...maybe you'd like to comment on the Hennepin County Library system (which includes the Minneapolis Public Library system) seeking a waiver so they can offer a competitive salary for a new director. They'd like to be able to offer up to $160K. Personally, I don't think that's out of line for someone who's running one of the 15 largest public library systems in the country, but the commenters on the linked article feel differently. Enjoy!

http://www.startribune.com/local/west/28488059.html

Anonymous said...

"Only tenure committees at R1s care about impact factors. The publishing and research bar is much lower at other places."

I agree with that, but I believe many of the academic jobs that pay decently, fall under non-twit supervisors/department heads, and facilitate the legendary martini-drinking academic lifestyle are at those very Research I universities. As an added bonus to the non-twit supervisor/department head and the opportunities for consuming your drink of choice (mine's a cold beer rather than a martini) many such academic library jobs actually have substantive, challenging, and intellectually/professionally rewarding duties. Imagine that!

It's just that those who do the hiring and the rewarding of tenure in such places often want those in the job positions to act like faculty, not just claim the status, talk about how important it is, how the MLS/MLIS merits it, etc. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I do not run across them frequently. Perhaps others have knowledge or familiarity with exceptions and can enlighten us poor snark-deficient ones.

Anonymous said...

"Right! Just because a salary is absurdly low, doesn't mean the job duties and requirements are easy."

Right! I forgot! Logical people need not apply! I don't know what came over me! I think that's been my problem all along!

"I would just like to wish all those jaded miserable MLS graduates the best of luck in their search to becoming jaded miserable librarians... or more realistically as McDonalds employees"

Hey, if I can get a full-time gig, and a nice benefits package, why not work for them? I'm just not into flipping burgers or using my education and work experience on a job that probably pays just a bit less than what a librarian makes in some parts of the U.S. However, if they have a job for a librarian at corporate, count me in!!

Has anyone ever worked as a librarian out of the country, and what was that like? Any better?

For those posters who thought the other posters were getting too whiney, or whinny, or ninny, or whatever, perhaps we should start swapping wine, (instead of whine) reviews? Nothing like taking a blog and putting it to good use!
:-P

Signed,

Just Another Annoyed Librarian

Anonymous said...

Death, is all I've got to say.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to see the AL throw in the towel like this.

I hope the martinis are good.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to see the AL throw in the towel like this.

I hope the martinis are good.

Anonymous said...

The is no joy in Libraryville.

The mighty AL has passed out.

Leslie said...

Where are you AL? This thread has been interesting but I'm in need of a new rant ... :(

Anonymous said...

When I first started reading AL's blog, I liked it for AL's apparent ability to present nearly Voltaire-worthy satire about the library profession. Now that I've gone back and read some of the earlier postings, she seems (in some cases at least) more like the angry whiners she attacks.

Let the blog die.

j- said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
j- said...

*"J" is one of those anonymous trolls who has a blog that you have to register to see. The photo could be of anyone.*

Ha! If that were the case, I'd have picked a much more stunning photo, wouldn't you think?

And "J" isn't anonymous. I have a blog. You can ask for access, but I don't give it to anonymous trolls...or whiney librarians.



*"Its a lot easier now that there is professional staff in place you can thank me latter.***"

Spelling "J", isn't it "later", with only ONE "t"? People who live in glass houses.....?*

Anon Dude(tte), that spelling error wasn't mine--it was pasted from another poster's entry...see those asterisks? I suppose I could throw in some html, but why bother? Over half of the posters here can't even name themselves.

Ergo, glass house still intact.

Another thing we have learned, therefore, is that anons also can't read upthread, either.

Anonymous said...

I think the "whining" appears when people who bought into the profession's high opinion of itself discover the tedious reality.

Being a Librarian is usually like being a postal worker or a county clerk. It's "a job". The ALA wants to to think it's a "calling". To hear the paid spokespeople talk, you'd think librarians are turning the earth backwards on its axis to rescue Lois Land from a landslide.

"Oh, the places you will go"

"Make a living making a difference..."

"Just as not everyone who works in a hospital is a doctor, not everyone who works in a library is a librarian!"

Yeah, create in your reader's minds an analog between hospitals and libraries--clever. Most hospital employees are clerical workers who sit in front of computer screens all day or "aides" who clean up poop. Sort of like most librarians, they don't make a huge impact on the world, they just do their thing.

Real Library work can be exquisitely frustrating for intelligent, energetic people who entered the profession because they really did want to "make a difference."

Poking holes in this profession's absurdly high opinion of itself is a valuable reality check, both for frustrated librarians and for wannabes who need exposure to more skeptical viewpoints about their professional futures before they take out student loans.

I'm Kat! said...

The fact of this matter is that Libraries and the Librarian Enterprise are still stuck on 1960's technology as if it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Then they resisted the new change as evident by the card catalog that was not removed from my University Library until 2005.

Further evidence includes the old PINE system still in use up until about 2005 in various areas around the library.

Meanwhile, a new throng of librarians discovered the Web, although a little late, but they still thought it was the best thing since strawberry preserves. They instantly slapped the "Library 2.0" on everything, and are perhaps the origination of whole "2.0" concept in the first place. If not, it's just proof that there are idiots in other fields too!

Meanwhile programmers are lightyears ahead of the library field, building more and more tools that are increasingly falling into the hands of third party vendors instead of what could be open source libraries.

I feel librarians really missed the point of digital databases and computer database potential since the 1970s, and hence why libraries have suffered in serving the sciences on campus. A decade or so back, my college, the geoscience department, even issued a vote of "no confidence" when the university library sent out a survey seeking support.

As long as librarians are stuck on the idea of libraries are about books and serving people by physically interacting with them one on one, they will forever be number two to the rest of the world. the people want their information needs to be served before they ever even ask, and that is the challenge librarians should be focusing on.

Hence, I am so glad I am not employed in the field. I do volunteer, but then that makes me an enemy to normal paid salaried librarians. If volunteers are successful, I foresee a number of positions further reduced into the gutter. I only laugh though, at the thought of a sewer position that requires 5 yers of experience and a MLS degree. The field really is full of itself.

j- said...

*Then they resisted the new change as evident by the card catalog that was not removed from my University Library until 2005.*

This could be the result of retroactive cataloging not being complete on the old items, forcing the library to keep the cards available for users as it is the only way to find these items. It takes time to enter cataloging records for millions of holdings.

Norma said...

Please stop by and view the Helsinki Complaint Choir; you'll all feel so much better hearing your complaints set to music (except the sauna complaints we don't hear much)

http://collectingmythoughts.blogspot.com/2008/09/helsinki-complaint-choir-we-all-have.html

I'm Kat! said...

Retroactive cataloging was supposed to work through libraries all chipping into the OCLC project, where the OCLC would pay so much for each record submitted and charge so much for each record downloaded. Somewhere along hte line libraries decided they could just let another library do the cataloging, took down their own cataloging teams and then waited for someone else to do the heavy lifting.

And thus, the card catalog remained a fixture in the libraries fifteen years beyond their usefulness and twenty five years beyond the beginning of a really great idea that only went bad.

LIbraries are still in this "holding pattern" style of business, cutting more and mroe staff positions along the way, while thrid party Databases and the Bookstore and Amazon takes over the bibliographic universe.

In short time the library will be completely superceded and it is only due to libraries not keeping up with technology through the eighties and nineties.

You will argue that libraries did not have the budgets to do this work, or other such whines about how libraries do not have the money. Here is where ALA should come into play; they should be at congress right now hardpressed at Lobbying for large bibliographic projects.

Instead the ALA is...dicussing CUBA???

Someone Somewhere Dropped the ball - and probably because they simply did not want to do the work.

j- said...

*In short time the library will be completely superceded and it is only due to libraries not keeping up with technology through the eighties and nineties.*

Let's face it, librarians are like blacksmiths. See many of those around anymore?

*You will argue that libraries did not have the budgets to do this work,*

I won't argue that point. I haven't been around forever, but I've been around long enough to see some lazy-ass catalogers.

*or other such whines about how libraries do not have the money. Here is where ALA should come into play;*

Again, I won't argue that point. If you don't have the money, figure something else out.

*they should be at congress right now hardpressed at Lobbying for large bibliographic projects.*

Congress and the ALA both suck ass. Why bother waiting for them to solve your problems?

*Instead the ALA is...dicussing CUBA???*

The ALA should be deported to Cuba. They'd get along fine with the other socialist nitwits there and the rest of us would be much happier.

/unrelated--anyone heard the 5.1 remaster of Bowie's "Young Americans"? Is this the same freakin' album? It's almost like that Dennis Miller joke about Manson hearing the White Album on CD for the first time.

The Gossiping Librarian said...

J you are so negative. When the economy totally collapses people will have to use the library because they can't afford the internet and computers. Be hopeful!

SafeLibraries.org said...

The Gossiping Librarian said, "When the economy totally collapses people will have to use the library because they can't afford the internet and computers."

That perfectly explains "Librarians Against Palin."

Kimbre said...

I read AL from time-to-time because she is funny and is a good writer. Much of what she says I don't take seriously. I rarely read the comments, and if this is a sampling of what is usually posted, I've missed nothing. Reading some of these comments, I don't get where many of you are coming from. My library, like most I've seen, offers a huge range of services that can also be accessed from home, and are. Still, we are packed most of the time with people who desire these services, and who wish to participate in the numerous programs we offer. When I worked in academic libraries, which included my time on a statewide virtual reference desk, the libraries were well used, too. Our biggest challenge is to keep up with increasing demand, not that the demand isn’t there.

So, why do you hate being librarians so much, and, if truly you do, why don't you find something else to do? Being a librarian is a fun and interesting job that has continual challenges and variation. If you're not finding those challenges, perhaps it's because you're not creating them.

Anonymous said...

Well Kimbre, I think the problem is that some of the fun and challenging jobs have to deal with the fun challenge of dealing with administration and/or the tech department. It took me 7 months to get my tech department to give me an OPAC in my children's room. I had to explain to tech after tech why children and their parents need to be able to look up the library holdings. To me, this was obvious. To our IT department, it was not. This also applies to having regularly working computers,ink for printers, etc. Deal with this day after day after day and you will find your job satisfaction dwindling.

I am thinking of getting an IT degree so that I can get paid more and have the opportunity to be incredibly rude and obtuse whenever I feel like it.

SafeLibraries.org said...

"Ink for printers"? Yecch! Get a laser printer!

I'm Kat! said...

ummm...laser printers still require toner...which is still not cheap!!

SafeLibraries.org said...

Correct, toner is not cheap. But the time it takes to buy and install a hundred ink jet cartridges, and the reliability of the toner versus the ink jets, and the way the toner dies noticeably (in fact you can rock the toner a few times and get a hundred or so more pages out of it) while ink jets take near total nose dives make it almost a no brainer, in my opinion. Besides, toner is likely cheaper than all those ink jet cartridges anyway, only you have to pay more at one time.

Kimbre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Things are so simple for Kimbre. Gosh, the world should just listen and all our problems would just vanish.

Kimbre said...

Regarding this comment: “Things are so simple for Kimbre. Gosh, the world should just listen and all our problems would just vanish.”

Ahh, you think so, do you? At least I'm not hiding who I am, and you could find me in an instant through Google. I graduated less than three years ago, and worked myself into the ground to obtain my current job -- day and night for seven months, every moment while I was not at work after graduation (not including the five months before graduation), no breaks, no television and no blogs, or anything that would be negative and distract me from my purpose of getting a job. But in the end, I had to leave my family and everything that mattered to me just to get a job. I'm not bitter. I'm enjoying life in the so called "backwaters." Two months after I accepted this job, my dad died and I had to deal with grieving. The library where I had just been hired wouldn't grant me leave unless it was out of my own pocket. Not right, but that's life.

I worked in libraries for years before graduation. So, I have a great job, but there are always politics and if you think it’s any better in the corporate world, it’s not. I've worked there, too. This is a tough world, and we make our own opportunities, and we decide how we wish to perceive these difficulties. If you choose to look at the world as I've seen here, that is what it will be for you.

j- said...

Kimbre, I will thank you for becoming the thread punching bag. For a minute, I thought it would be me.

Now I can concentrate on the remaster of Bowie's Station To Station [seriously, these things kick buttocks] and my Sarah Palin poster. If McCain wants to win, he's got to convince her to get rid of the up-do.

Seriously, though, I was thinking of my career in light of being surrounded by all of this bitching. Firstly, I've got to ask all the bitchers--what do you want the rest of us, who might be happily employed, to do for you? I sent out apps for over a year after I finished my MLS. I had to widen my geographic arc to include non-glamorous locales and then to include non-glamorous institutions. Finally I took a low-paying job in a big city just to get the proverbial foot in the door and a professional title. After that I moved to the sticks to get into a better paying position that would give me better experience and used that to move up. I have moved across the country twice, now, in the span of 5 years. Now I "run the joint". I didn't have any ins. I didn't have friends who hired me or family or school connections. It was mostly luck and the willingness to go anywhere. So it's not impossible, but it doesn't happen overnight or in two weeks and it may not happen two blocks from where you live. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Kimbre is being a little strident by stating "find another career", but her story is pretty much spot on in describing the plight of most entry-level librarians. Being mobile at first is key.

I am in my fourth position which is one that I like quite a bit and can see myself doing for a very long time.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"What is it is a valid expression from someone who is finding their circumstances difficult and is sharing it with others. So what!"

And what Kimbre is doing is also valid: trying to help someone find the positive and improve their situation.

This is just the old, "I want to bitch but he wants to solve my problems." Sometimes, other people don't know you're bitching just to bitch - we think you want help, so that's what we offer.

Then the person becomes irate and a fight ensues, when really, we're just trying to help each other out.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem is that people graduating with an MLS think that they are librarians.

Before I became a librarian, I got my undergrad degree in engineering. After four years of classes we were ready to graduate and move on to the working world, the head of our department told us "You are not engineers. We have hopefully given you the tools to become one, after you have worked your way up. What this school does is educate you to think like an engineer and how to approach a problem. Anyone who thinks they are an engineer now is in for a big surprise."

After an abbreviated program, people are being introduced to the concepts of what a library is. Are you librarians? Not by a long-shot. If you think you are a librarian and can come in and tell everyone how the world should be run, you are in for a big surprise.

What you can do is plan out where you want to wind up and work out a logical path on how to reach there. You can change the library world but it is going to take you some time and effort.

Anonymous said...

"Part of the problem is that people graduating with an MLS think that they are librarians."

I agree with everything you wrote.

My question: is this problem unique to librarianship? You mentioned that there is a similar attitude in engineering, is it the same in other professions? Having an undergrad in engineering myself, I don't really know!

Anonymous said...

Like all of you, as a librarian I have a challenging job - with all the bad and good that comes with it. But I'm a husband first, a father second and way back there in the rearview mirror I'm a librarian. And nothing that goes bad here at work will ruin my day. I don't define myself by my job. But I can appreciate everything that everyone 'out there' must deal with - and I applaud you all. It's a thankless job that requires a lot of effort. Hang in there.

Today at my library it's relatively slow and quiet, and tonight I'll go home to my wife and two young children. We'll eat dinner. We'll play in the yard. We'll gather in the living room later and laugh and talk about how our day(s) went. And I'll come back tomorrow, work hard and try to do the right things.

Anonymous said...

"Today at my library it's relatively slow and quiet, and tonight I'll go home to my wife and two young children. We'll eat dinner. We'll play in the yard. We'll gather in the living room later and laugh and talk about how our day(s) went. And I'll come back tomorrow, work hard and try to do the right things."

Good for you, dude! It's nice to see someone being positive on here. I bet your patrons appreciate it.

I'm Kat! said...

My girlfriend is currently working on a paper for her class about the degradation of standards and Grading policies.

Part of the problem nowadays is that the curriculum is so watered down so even the lowest common denominator can graduate that overall curricula has basically gone morally bankrupt.

Sure, a motivated person can reap great rewards now by riding out the system, but then again, why work your rear off when you can do nothing and skate through and recieve roughly a half grade less by only doing one tenth of the work?

Even smart kids know enough cost versus benefit analysis to know which option is better. Option B! Because you can then go and do a whole second life while in school!!

Anonymous said...

...why work your rear off when you can do nothing and skate through and recieve roughly a half grade less by only doing one tenth of the work?

This is interesting, because in my program it was the hard-partying slackers who got the top grades, the accolades, and the position as go-to guys and gals for the faculty. The people who buckled down and sweated invariably produced work that was undistinguished at best.

This could be why I entered the field with a jaundiced eye.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how Kimbre's responding negatively to a valid criticism of someone's library can be interpreted as being helpful. Kimbre has a successful career ahead of her in library administration. Whenever her staff members bring forward a valid problem, she can just tell them to quit rather than admit the problem is valid and must be dealt with accordingly. She'll be a director in no time.

Evensong said...

The MLS is a union card. One learns to be a librarian by doing the work and having great mentors. BTW - it is a calling, it is challenging and it is still fun. And I'm 24 years into it. That said, lots of my fellow union card holders see it as "a job" and do it poorly. I work with a couple and they're not worth the pennies we pay them.

Anonymous said...

So, are you saying that a librarian who doesn't look at their work as a calling is going to do a poor job? No. You aren't saying that. I know that.

There's two kinds of people in every choosen field. Those who submit themselves totally into their careers and give their hearts to the work. And those who 'look at it as a job.'
Is either one wrong? Is either one right?

I work to live. I don't live to work. Being a librarian is not my calling. But, I believe I do a good job. I give 100 percent while I'm here.

And I might add - you pay for what you get. And for pennies you get 'workers.'

Anonymous said...

Well said, Anonymous at 3:02.

It's also worth mentioning that passion and ability are independent of one another. I've known plenty of people who live, eat, and breathe libraries but are incompetent at anything other than cheerleading, and I've known plenty of others who are just doing a job but manage to mop the floor with most of our peers.

Believing in something with all your heart doesn't mean you're going to be any good at it. Otherwise publishers' slush piles would be a lot smaller, and there'd be no such thing as a failed diet.

I'm Kat! said...

I've read it on this blog somewhere...I'll rephrase it now...

When you start hearing people say "the field is a calling," calmy back up, turn around, and go back out the door you came in, because that also means the field is under compensated, under-respected, and underadvanced.

You will never be a millionaire at this job nor worry too much about taxes; at tax time you may just qualify for a big whopping return check. You will never be able to retire, but then if you ever did retire, you would not know what to do because all you could afford to do when you had the job was *gasp* work, and when you weren't working, you were *gasp* THINKING about work!

Even though you worked your life off in the institution, you will still be considered a sub-par contributor to the human race. You will never have the same respect as your fellow peers in medicine, law, engineering, or even McDonalds. In short, you are essentially in the same category as teachers. Yes, it is true, the public always dumps tons of praise on these people and the wonderful thankless job they do, but they use that as an excuse to casually "forget" about adequate funding.

Finally, you will find yourself surrounded by technology, in both physical as well as ideological forms. Unfortunately, you will then notice that the place is littered with old junk equipment like telophones with push buttons from the 80s mismatched with the most recent releases like iPods and Cell Phones and Blackberries. Meanwhile, the infrastructure necessary to actually support a working information system is of course nothing more then a hampster in a wheel on the director's desk; allas, the hampster is hopelessly missing.

You will then approach the ideology side of the business, hoping maybe this will make up for the mismanagement of technology. And there you discover that the methods are still technically in the "hypothesis" stage of development while the theory and operational ideas are still rooted in the old school way of doing things - like your grandmother-Ethel-from-the-Garfield-administration Old Skool. Then again, perhaps maybe it's the inverse and the metholdogy is eprfect, but the rest if going ot a handbasket; or worse, it's both.

There is evidence by way of many meetings throughout the week that the "Team" is working on a "Solution." Unfortunately, the only product you have ever seen from any of these meetings is the word "Synergy!" in a big sloppy circle drawn with a dying blue markerpen on the whiteboard.

Step back, turn around, and walk away!!! ;)

The wheel is turning, but the hampster is dead!!

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