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Gulag Archilibraria

A kind but annoyed reader informed me about this story. I haven’t noticed the ALA pick it up and complain about the lack of due process, but I could have just missed it. They probably don’t care anyway. After all, as they note from time to time, it’s the American Library Association, not the American Librarian Association. So the Annoyed Librarian Association will have to do for now.

Patty Wanninger, the former director of the Manitowoc Public Library, is suing the library Board of Trustees to get reinstated and her back wages. (That’s Mantiowoc County, Wisconsin, by the way. Has anyone but me noticed that the news websites most places just assume you know where the hell they are? Would it be too much of a waste of page space to put "Wisconsin" somewhere on the page? Would it?) Anyway, being a public library director seems a hazardous job, what with having to deal with the library boards. I’ve heard from another once who finally resigned in disgust at the corruption and cronyism going on at her library. This librarian was definitely fired, but nobody seems to know why. Perhaps some of you do.

She claims after being hired she let the library board know about various problems in the library. She "says the board was overly sensitive to her criticism of the library — including contentions of poor communication, customer service and technology, as well as library system flaws." Sound familiar? Based on the article,Wanninger seems very forthright. Perhaps she was insufficiently deferential to her betters and they didn’t like it that she was so uppity.

Wanninger doesn’t sound too critical of the staff. "’The library is a fabulous asset to the city of Manitowoc, and the people who work there are devoted public servants,’ [she] said. ‘They do a good job every day, and they try really hard. I don’t know what the hell happened.’" Thus, the communication problem seems to be with the library board.

There’s not much evidence that this library board likes to communicate, so there may be some truth in her claims. The board posted a notice that they would have a meeting two days later, but didn’t mention that at the meeting they’d be discussing firing the library director. At the meeting they went into closed session and had a discussion but neglected to take any minutes. Then they opened the session and had the vote.Wanninger accuses them of having the vote in the closed session, which is apparently illegal. They deny it, saying they’ve been around long enough to know that they can’t vote in closed session.

As one of the commenters points out, they apparently haven’t been around long enough to know you shouldn’t have meetings without taking minutes. The board claims they didn’t take minutes because their secretary was absent that night. The poor dears couldn’t lift a pen or type on a keyboard lest they soil their pristine hands. From the story: "The only document the library has from that meeting was provided to theHTR by interim director Carol Gibson. A handwritten note at the bottom of what Gibson called a ‘cheat sheet for going into closed session’ reads:’"Motion made by Chris (Able) that the (library board) discontinue its relationship with the (library) director.’ The motion was seconded by BobVollendorf ."  Discontinue its relationship with the director? On second thought, anybody who writes like that probably shouldn’t be allowed to take minutes. To write "discontinue its relationship with" instead of "fire" should be an exit visa from the human race.

It’s tempting to think that the library board was just being especially deceptive and morally dubious on this occasion. However, a commenter notes: "Check out the website. The Board has a secretary. The board hasn’t posted minutes for 1 1/2 years. Not too keen on access to public records. Where are the bylaws for this Board? Maybe someone should look into how this board is being operated." Maybe someone should, indeed, though I think we all know no one will.

After all, this library has apparently had a lot of turnover recently, and nobody’s bothered to investigate whether the problem is that the library board is a group of incompetent moral degenerates. (I’m not saying they are, I’m just saying nobody’s asked the question). Check out this comment: "The Manitowoc Public Library has had a huge turnover in their professional library management staff. Rumor has it that almost all resigned of their own free will for jobs with less pay and less benefits prior to the actual departure of former library director Alan Engelbert….From 2005 and on, the following full-time librarians left theManitowoc Public Library: Patty Dwyer Wanninger, Alan Engelbert, Hallie Yundt Silver, Dale Gort, Lisa Bruere, Kathy Schmidt, Amy Healy, Hazel Daklke, and Brian Simons ." The specificity of this makes it sound plausible, though perhaps it’s wrong. Still, that does seem to be a lot of turnover if there aren’t major problems in the library.

From the article, it sounds like Wanninger wanted to come in and solve those problems, but the board would rather just hush them up. Come to think of it, just ignoring problems is much easier than trying to solve any, so the board is only taking the most efficient action. They should trumpet that efficiency at a board meeting. In fact, the most efficient thing to do would be not meet at all, though the article notes they’ll be meeting this week to discuss filling the director position. Maybe they’ll learn how to take minutes and post them in a timely manner to make their discussion and decisions more transparent. Oh wait, only competent people want to do that. Incompetent people want to hide their actions.

So what gives here? My correspondent implied that all sorts of bad things like this happen in public libraries all over the country, and that academic librarians just don’t understand how bad it is. It’s true, we’re all in our ivory towers sipping tea and reading the New York Times Book Review and getting shoulder massages from the student workers, but that’s not to say we don’t care about the well being of those of you out there who have to work for a living. Thinking of all these dysfunctional public libraries run by incompetent, secretive library boards humiliating and mistreating the librarians somewhat inspired the title of the post. If you haven’t read Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, then you should. It’s one of several important books that are hard to finish without concluding that communists are a bunch of soulless, evil gits. In that book he describes the system of Soviet gulags that were so secret nobody knew about them except the prisoners who were sent there to labor often unto death. I’m not saying public libraries are like forced labor camps for librarians, though they might be. I’ll let my more informed readers comment on that.

The furtiveness of this library board reminded me of the opening of The Gulag Archipelago, which concerns his arrest.

"If you are arrested, can anything else remain unshattered by this cataclysm?

But the darkened mind is incapable of embracing these displacements in our universe, and both the most sophisticated and the veriest simpleton among us, drawing on all life’s experience, can gasp out only: ‘Me? What for?’

And this is a question which, though repeated millions and millions of times before, has yet to receive an answer."

Is firing arrest? No. Is Wanninger Solzhenitsyn? Certainly not, and I’m not trying to elevate her or trivialize him. But something about this event reminded me of that opening moment. Why has she been fired? That question has yet to receive an answer.

It also seemed appropriate because I purchased my copy of The Gulag Archipelago at my local public library’s book sale many years ago. Maybe they were selling it because it reminded the librarians too much of their own fate.

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Comments

  1. Annoyed says:

    Sorry, but you’re off base. You don’t take notes of the discussion. Only motions and actions. Robert’s Rules. Look it up.

  2. one man and one woman says:

    A librarian got fired.

    STOP THE PRESSES!!

  3. Mr. Kat says:

    AL, it’s a sad and troubling world these days but unfortunately I see these kinds of activitites more often then not and not just in the library setting. I have seen directors given the work of two people and then simply replaced with a new person.

    And another thing: she wasn’t “fired.” She was “let go.” No board wishes to “fire” anybody anymore, that’s just too spiteful. They just want a nice clean release. And the sooner the released runs away and never says anything again, the better.

    I have met a prominent business Mogul from the computer industry [the first CEO of Apple Computer] and his operating policy is to simply never take notes as any meeting. This way there is no record of what happened in the meeting much less any record that the meeting ever occured in the first place. Cover your Donkey.

    Let’s hope the entire board gets replaced!! Unfortunately I feel it will be business as usual – and this board has incorporated standard corporate operational tatics into their daily protocol.

    Naysayers, just remember, some day this could be YOU.

  4. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    I think the relationship between the board and the director of a public library is important assuming both are doing their jobs. The director needs their support to carry out activities. If they do not then they can have their relationship discontinued. On the other hand the board should understand the director’s position, and support them so, that work can get accomplished, or the library will get a bad reputation and be turned into a combination computer lab and indoor skateboard wring (what are we going to do with the extra space when the libraries close).

    In the management classes that are taught at the over inflated LIS programs I wish they would talk more about the relationship with the board and the city or the principal or even the chancellor. This would be a big help to those actually thinking libraries will be around in 20 years.

    This article shows how wonderful life can be for both if they fail to do their job.

  5. Free Bird says:

    Why is everyone assuming the director didn’t deserve to be fired?

  6. REAL Original Library Cynic says:

    If you’ve ever worked at a public library, you realize that everyone needs to be fired.

  7. Morse says:

    A minor matter, but if they’re not supposed to take minutes of a meeting, then why didn’t they just say that, instead of saying they didn’t because their secretary was absent?

  8. James says:

    Free Bird: I assume she didn’t because no one is coming forth with a reasonable reason for firing her. If she deserved to be fired, they’d be saying so.

  9. Brent says:

    I’d say AL could become a reporter, but that industry is losing jobs left and right.

  10. Haphazard Librarian says:

    Wisconsin seems to have a major issue with meeting laws. Every couple of months there is another story about some public entity getting in trouble for not following the law.

  11. Free Bird says:

    I assume she didn’t because no one is coming forth with a reasonable reason for firing her. If she deserved to be fired, they’d be saying so.

    Since we’re making assumptions, why don’t we assume that she deserved to be fired and the board hasn’t said the reason because they want to keep personnel matters private.

  12. Anonymousse says:

    I have always found it interesting that library boards have so much power, yet most often do not have anyone on them that have the “all-important” MLS.

  13. VNT says:

    Yeah, well, the boards of museums and other cultural institutions don’t always have people on them with the qualifying credential of the field of study associated with the museum, institution, etc. either. So it’s not just libraries and their boards. Remember that if you’re tempted to extrapolate from your observation another piece of evidence of the MLS’s worthlessness, librarians’ meaninglessness, etc.

  14. Display Name says:

    Why does the AL care? The public library probably just promotes Library 2.0 and has a bunch of gaming nights. I say good riddance and hopefully we can get rid of all public libraries.

  15. Bunny says:

    Not related to libraries, per se, but the other great thing about the Gulag Archipelago is that Solzhenitsyn points out that it wasn’t only Stalin who was soulless and evil. Stalin’s the convenient scape goat for those apologists who like to claim communism would have worked had the USSR followed Lenin’s path.

  16. Display Name says:

    Get back to work or I am going to have to report your behavior to the board. You have been warned.

  17. Anonymousse says:

    VNT: I’m not saying the MLS is worthless. If I was, I would have stated it as I had in that last sentence. I just find it amusing, and annoying, that library boards are often run by people who have no experience with libraries. And often, no common sense. Yet the board has a lot of power to make or break a library.

  18. Mr. Kat says:

    Anyone who is aware of what is happening spiritually in the free world today, and reads this book with an open mind and heart, will find that it is not merely a description of something that has happened and is happening far away and to others. Solzhenitsyn himself, after being banished and finding that his brutally frank revelation of an “internal affair” of the Soviet Union was interfering with the progress of “world peace,” and in particular with the “detente” between the USSR and the USA.

    No civilized man in the West can afford not to read at least part of this great work on life in the 20th century. It has already achieved, in fact, a certain fame in the free world. But how many can dare to look for long at the stark and bitter reality it describes? The free and easy life of the West is more conducive to sleep than to awareness… until the time comes when we too must face something like Gulag. Solzhenitsyn has told us in advance.

  19. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    Brent said “I’d say AL could become a reporter, but that industry is losing jobs left and right.” My best friend is a reporter and recently I told her I would meet her in the unemployment lin..I ll be the guy with the cat food. It was the day the Google law suit was settled and the Christian Science Monitor went all Internet. Ahhh you know what they say information wants to be free.

  20. Vegans For Meat says:

    In 20 years, libraries will be the only institutions left standing and librarians will be rightfully restored to their proper place as kings of the Earth, sayeth the Lord.

    –Dewey 12:1-3

  21. AL says:

    Enough already with the gay marriage comments.

  22. Scott says:

    While I cannot speak to any issues at Manitowoc Public Library, certain cites do get a reputation for problems between the city librarian and the Board. Atlanta Fulton County had a horrible reputation for a long while, but I think that one has finally improved. While people on the boards do not necessarily need to have an MLS, they do need an understanding of libraries, of good management, good communication, and common sense would not hurt. It is also fair to say that some library directors simply are a bad fit or are bad managers such as the Michigan Library director fired for many things including moving furniture while only wearing a bra as a top.

    I also agree, places should tell us in what state they are located. Most of us really don’t know where the heck your town of 17,000 is located. We should have to work this hard to get information. It isn’t a scavenger hunt with a piece of chocolate as the prize for figuring it out.

  23. carptrash says:

    Wanninger’s case sounds like a slam-dunk and in my mind I agree with her and you.
    In my heart I agree with Shakespeare, “First we shoot all the lawyers.”
    eek

  24. carptrash (pt. 2) says:

    As for, “most places just assume you know where the hell they are? Would it be too much of a waste of page space to put “Wisconsin” somewhere on the page?” Let’s shoot some web designers too. I am always tracking down libraries on the internet and sending them some email and getting a, “This is Jackson, MT. You must want Jackson MI, or ME, or MA, or MS, or MO” and if they would just put it on their HOME PAGE, well there it would be. It’s a big world. eeek

  25. someone says:

    I didn’t know where Mantiowoc was, but I know how to use both print gazetteers and Google Maps. Both helped me learn, within less than a minute, that it was in Wisconsin.

    So settle down.

  26. yoyoyo says:

    Totally agree. You’re sending emails to organizations and you don’t even know what state you’re sending it to? Take some responsibility for your own actions instead of looking for someone else to blame for your laziness/ineptitude.

  27. carptrash says:

    You’re sending emails to organizations and you don’t even know what state you’re sending it to?
    Well often it does not matter and that’s okay, but in a few instances when it was going to make a difference I have spent a fair amount of time at web sites trying to determine what state they were in and was not able to do so. I do have my areas of ineptness but this is not one of them.
    eeek

  28. orthogothic says:

    Annoyed’s response says Robert’s Rules of Order preclude minutes of discussions. What makes Annoyed think the Board uses RRoO? What else do you know that the Board isn’t telling the rest of us?

  29. HarleyGrl says:

    In my Library Management class at library school, they never once touched on how to run a library. We logged into some website that had scenarios about management issues and we had to write up what happened, what we thought, and how we would have handled it differently and why. And not ONE of those scenarios was in a library. It was crazy! I wrote it up on a critique but I’m sure that ended up in file 13. Of course, I didn’t write it up until AFTER I got my A. That was my most writing-intensive course in my entire MLS and it shed absolutely no light on library management. And I know, I’ve been to lots of professional management schools. It would have been cool to have this subject as the scenario and have the student say what the recently let-go librarian should do. And if the student is on the ball, they might get a hint of life could be like in the PL.

  30. Library Cynic says:

    Any sentence that starts with “In my library school class…” is meaningless.

  31. HarleyGrl says:

    LC you ninny, that’s not what it says. It says, “In my Library Management class at library school”. You should get your dyslexia checked. And anyone who has been reading AL for any length of time knows full well that we refer to the pursuit of an MLS as going to library school. It is a tongue-in-cheek way of making fun of the MLS cirriculum. If you’re going to be critical, then get it right.

  32. AL says:

    You go, girl!

    Come to think of it, I haven’t done a post on library school since moving here. Maybe it’s time to introduce the new readers to some classic AL.

  33. Mr. Kat says:

    Harley, the Cynical squeem is trying to tell you that Library School does not count for anything out in the real world, and thus, it is meaningless in a real world situation.

    And this after you so nicely stated the precise same thing, only backed up wilt evidence. Even though it is anecdotal because we cannot verify it and everyone’s experiences differ [imagine those chirpy rah-rah library bibbies who no doubt got jobs two seconds ater leaving the diploma handshake taramac and heading off down the graduation runway] it shares my experience as well.

    Cynic wants you to be concise. Your post should have said “Library school is too disconected from reality to touch this subject.” And I am sure even that is too elaborate.

    And my post should have only said “Boo! Look at me!”

    Anyone else here think it’s a good idea to live life trying to appease others by living like they want you to live? Yeah, not me!!

  34. anonymous says:

    “Since we’re making assumptions, why don’t we assume that she deserved to be fired and the board hasn’t said the reason because they want to keep personnel matters private.” This doesn’t make sense. If the librarian is taking the matter to court the matter will get exposure to the public and the media. The reason for sunshine or open meeting laws, in the first place, is to make the action of the board transparent. Normally, any action taken by a board in a secret meeting is null and void – illegal.

  35. Curious Librarian says:

    Below are some comments to the story of the lawsuit off a website in Wisc..
    ————-
    THE PRESENT LIBRARY BOARD DOESN’T HAVE CLUE ON HOW TO RUN A LIBRARY. IS THIS A PAID BOARD POSITION OR IS IT A NO PAY PRESTIGE POSITION? YOU HAVE TO GET THE ROTTEN
    APPLE OR THE ROTTEN APPLES OFF OF THE LIBRARY BOARD. LETS SEE IF THE MAYOR COULD
    MAKE THE LIBRARY A HAPPY PLACE TO WORK AND MAKE IT A JOYABLE PLACE TO VISIT. IF IT’S A NO PAY PREATIGE POSITION, THEN THEY JUST LIKE TO SAY THAT THEY ARE ON THE LIBRARY BOARD TO MAKE THEMSELVES SOUND IMPORTANT AND PUT THEIR NOSE IN THE AIR. REMEMBER THE ” (PEANUT BUTTER PHRASE) ”
    12/7/2008 12:33:04 AM THE PRESENT LIBRARY BOARD DOESN’T HAVE CLUE ON HOW TO RUN A LIBRARY. IS THIS A PAID BOARD POSITION OR IS IT A NO PAY PRESTIGE POSITION? YOU HAVE TO GET THE ROTTEN APPLE OR THE ROTTEN APPLES OFF OF THE LIBRARY BOARD. LETS SEE IF THE MAYOR COULDMAKE T HE LIBRARY A HAPPY PLACE TO WORK AND MAKE IT A JOYABLE PLACE TO VISIT. IF IT’S A NO PAY PREATIGE POSITION, THEN THEY JUST LIKE TO SAY THAT THEY ARE ON THE LIBRARY BOARD TO MAKE THEMSELVES SOUND IMPORTANT AND PUT THEIR NOSE IN THE AIR. REMEMBER THE ”
    womancat wrote:

    The Manitowoc Public Library has had a huge turnover in their professional library management staff. Rumor has it that almost all resigned of their own free will for jobs with less pay and less benefits prior to the actual departure of former library director Alan Engelbert who went from his MPL job for one paying $95,000.

    From 2005 and on, the following full-time librarians left the Manitowoc Public Library: Patty Dwyer Wanninger, Alan Engelbert, Hallie Yundt Silver, Dale Gort, Lisa Bruere, Kathy Schmidt, Amy Healy, Hazel Daklke, and Brian Simons. The only permanent librarian employed by Manitowoc Public Library now is David Ellison.

    The library managed to cut lots of salaries and positions and these librarians are all probably less miserable elsewhere!

    luts4659 wrote:

    Well, that is pretty pathetic that the board did not request that somebody else take the minutes when the secretary is absent. As a past student forum representative at SLC, we (as students) had to have a backup person to take minutes when the secretary was absent. That’s ridiculously embarrassing that our supposedly educated and professional library board would not have minutes for such a crucial meeting. I certainly don’t approve of Wanniger’s statements, in fact, they are quite profane considering her circumstance. That said, I personally feel that the board is more negligible according to this article. I don’t think she should be reinstated but she should definitely receive some compensation. The description of her ousting (with a public official at her side and the changing of locks as she walked out the door) was rather disheartening. I thought our public would have more class and respect for its workers, whether they are good or poor workers.

  36. anonymous says:

    “Come to think of it, I haven’t done a post on library school since moving here. Maybe it’s time to introduce the new readers to some classic AL.” Right on! This is a good post BTW. Practices of this sort normally get swept under the rug, along with the reputation of the librarian being unfairly trashed. In a tight job market this can be a real killer. You have six candidates, or even two under consideration for a job. Who are you likely to hire? Good case study for a library management class.

  37. Mr. Kat says:

    But then MLS students will be aquainted with the reality of the Real Library World and not the Real World library the puppy mills want students to be thinking about.

    It would completely be a downer for a system addicted to koolaid and sunbeams and crack. Lots and lots of Crack.

  38. Jim Rettig says:

    Library school is too easy a target. I suggest expanding your range a little bit.

  39. Fruitcake says:

    It sounds like she deserved to be fired, so what’s the big deal if no one took minutes at a meeting?

  40. Fred says:

    Why don’t we all comment on an issue we are all ill informed about?

  41. annoyed more often then not says:

    AL, care to comment on this comment on an SLA Solo list? –
    “Why is there such a concentration of women in [library] jobs…it didn’t used to be that way 50 years ago? Possibly a number of reasons: a. The jobs do not pay enough to support families that the male has traditionally been looked to for such. OR b. Women tend to hire women. Since most HR jobs are also women, it’s quite possible there is reverse discrimination.
    I’ve run into the perception of a few patrons that unless they are talking with a woman they are not talking to a librarian. e.g., Once as director of a University branch library, when I asked a student if I could help him, he said, “that’s OK, I need to talk with the librarian,” and turned to ask his question of my student assistant standing nearby. And a lot of women working at front desks of libraries are considered librarians by our patrons, when in fact they are volunteers…not even assistant librarians.” –This was posted in response to someone who posted a link:

    Where Are the New Jobs for Women?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/09/opinion/09hirshman.html?th&emc=th

    Aren’t there more male directors than females? Who is discriminating in those cases?

  42. AL says:

    Until the term “guybrarian” came along, I thought the word for male librarian was “director.”

  43. Original Anonymous Librarian says:

    Before this thread was hijacked, the question was raised what a person should do in a case like this. I know of one instance where a library instructor said
    “I wouldn’t do anything if you want to work again anytime soon.” The librarian didn’t anyway. It ruined an otherwise good work record. How do you expect to compete in a tight job market if there are six or a dozen candidates for a job, and a board, or clique within a board, with others rubber stamping, capriciously
    went into a secret session and pulled something like this in a Star Chamber session, perhaps without the librarian even being present? Ok, Let’s say the librarian is charged with “inefficient administration”, very vaguely. What are the specifics? The board hems and haws and refuses to be specific, finally telling said person, “You know!”. Then let’s say they list “personal complaints”, who and what? Again no specifics. They refuse to say. What do you do? I’m speaking now of a case that I know of, and not the one in Wisconsin. Just what does one do? How does one explain this to a potential future employer, when the person who was fired was left in the dark? This is the reason there needs to be due process in a Public Library situation. You can have totally bogus reasons, or no reason, given, for discharge. Many peole assume that if you are fired, and not offered a chance to resign, that you must have done something really bad. It can be nothing more than some board member being in a snit over something minor, a perceived slight. I hope you see how something like this could be used to get rid of a librarian in a censorship case, too. The librarian counters a censor, then after the bruha over the book is dumped in a secret meeting with other vague allegations.

  44. AL says:

    Someone earlier commented it looked like she deserved to be fired. I didn’t see any evidence of that in the one article. But if she did deserve to be fired, why make such a public stink about it? If it comes out in the lawsuit that there were good reasons to fire her, she doesn’t benefit. Maybe her response to to forestall criticisms that the previous commenter brings up. The assumption will be that she deserved it if she wasn’t just allowed to resign.

  45. Owen Marshal says:

    Anyone who is subject to any kind of board approval — ie librarian, teacher, whatevah — that loses that boards confidence in only four months either didn’t understand what was expected of them or did something that was bad or was just a horrible fit. Suck it up and chalk up the firing to a lesson learned. Leave the courts free for important cases.

  46. Judge Ito says:

    She’s making a stink about it to conjure up public support because we all know most people just make assumptions based on media headlines. This post is a perfect example – most people were jumping all over the board without knowing the facts.

  47. Toady the Sock Puppet says:

    *Why don’t we all comment on an issue we are all ill informed about?*

    95% of all comments on the internet would disappear if the ill-informed simply stopped typing.

  48. Mithrandir says:

    yet another AL thread littered with trash.

    I wonder how many of the people that post on this site actually use a library?

  49. hot straight guy says:

    Interesting and insightful comments.

    Most womyn I know don’t dominate blogs though. They just speak on them openly and thoughtfully.

    Who the hell knows who’s actually on this blog though, what with all the psuedonyms…

  50. carptrash says:

    “most people were jumping all over the board without knowing the facts”.
    I eagerly await your posting of these facts when they become known. Until then, in my mind the BOD screwed up (can I say that here), and will pay the price in court. I’ve been to lots of board meetings, all sorts of boards and some poor slob ALWAYS gets pressured into taking notes if the secretary is not there. Even I’ve taken notes. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

    “I wonder how many of the people that post on this site actually use a library?”
    And I wonder how many folks who have nothing to do with libraries frequent the Library Journal much less its remote tributaries?

  51. carptrash says:

    And I’m with “Hot straight guy” here. Women can manipulate in all sorts of fascinating ways, but dominating on the internet is not (opinion) a common one. Cold straight guy – ‘cause the power went off due to the ice and snow, so not much heat. The patrons seem happy enough because the library is still warmer than most of their homes.

  52. hot straight guy says:

    This goes to show me what happens when I don’t write in complete sentences like I was taught to do. I meant that even if a blog was dominated by womyn, I’d expect interesting and insightful comments – yet most blogs aren’t dominated by womyn in the first place. (The commentor above, Gallant, had asked what to expect from a blog dominated by “womyn”.)

    I think I’ll go pair up with “hot straight woman” (a real person, though that’s not obviously her real name, and also a librarian) now. By time the comments on an AL post get up to no. 40 or so they’re not any fun anymore.

  53. Mr. Kat says:

    Blogs might not be dominated by women but there is definitely a marked differnce in gender behaviors online.

    One of the most commonly discussed topics regarding identity and the Internet is the exploration of gender and s*xual identities. Despite the increase of social respect and equality for all genders and s*xualities, a degree of discrimination, value judgement and preconceived notions still occur in the reality. The anonymity and inability for physical repercussions that are offered by the Internet have resulted in a steady increase in the number of users participating in gender and s*xual identity construction.

    The online world provides users with a choice to determine which s*x, s*xuality preference and s*xual characteristics they would like to embody.

    This issue of gender and s*xual resignification raises the notion of disembodiment and its associated implications. Disembodiment refers to the idea that while one requires the use of the body to connect to the Internet, once the user is online, the need for the body is no longer required, and the user can participate completely separately to it. This ultimately alludes to a sense of detachment from the identity defined by the physical body. In cyberspace, one’s s*xual prowess, dysfunctionality, confusion, g*nitalia and many more aspects, all become blurred and are only defined by the user.

    Online identity has ultimately raised the societal notions of identity fluidity and the human desire to experiment with the differing emotions, sensations, thoughts and experiences that are tied to specific genders, s*xualities and s*xual characteristics. The new media revolution of the Internet and its subsequent social issues are emerging, with online identity, and s*xual and gender construction particularly, raising worldwide discussion over the potential to redefine how identity is perceived by society. The idea of a completely unique online identity to that of the real world is unlikely. However, its opportunity to highlight the interplay between social circumstances and how people choose to construct their s*xual and gender identity in response to this can be analysed via the online opportunities that the Internet presents.

  54. Mr. Kat says:

    I am perplexed why an imposter has posted this. Anyhow.

    These cases where public governing boards are not functioning properly NEED to be reported and fully fined to the fullest extent of the law whenever they do happen. We have rules in this cournty, and if the governing entites start doing what ever they want inspite of thiose rules, our government is no longer one Of, for, and by the people. This notion extends to all governments within our nation, form the biggest at the top to the smalled club with a charter and a constitution. If the library board has a rullebook and they aren’t following it and yet real people are suffering as a consequence, it is time to make those people feel the heat they are trying to avoid

  55. Mr. Kat says:

    That previous post was by an imposter. I am fully in favor of due process and I don’t see any evidence that the board has acted improperly, other than failing to record meeting minutes. However, if facts arise that show the board acted wrongfully then I will support my imposter’s position.

  56. Mr. Kat says:

    Ok, now this is just ridiculous.

  57. carptrash says:

    If kats do have 9 lives I feel it’s about time to go through 8 of them.
    Quickly.
    eeeek

  58. Bullwinkle says:

    Make sure you get rid of all the trash posts, AL.

  59. Mr. Kat says:

    More like 72 of them we need to go through…there’s 9 kats.

  60. library peon says:

    Alan Engelbert is currently the director of the Kanawha County Public Library in West Virginia. In the year and a half since he accepted the position 4 people in administrative positions have left rather than deal with Mr Engelbert on a daily basis. Hmmm.

  61. library peon says:

    Alan Engelbert is currently the director of the Kanawha County Public Library in West Virginia. In the year and a half since he accepted the position 4 people in administrative positions have left rather than deal with Mr Engelbert on a daily basis. Hmmm.

  62. Homer says:

    Sounds like a Humperdink.

  63. Homer says:

    Sounds like a Humperdink.

  64. Detached Amusement says:

    “Alan Engelbert is currently the director of the Kanawha County Public Library in West Virginia. In the year and a half since he accepted the position 4 people in administrative positions have left rather than deal with Mr Engelbert on a daily basis. Hmmm.” Wonder how long these four people were at the library? Or was it four different people in the same job, on a revolving door basis? Don’t ya’ just love it when a new head librarian arrives and there’s a sudden exodus?
    Is it one of those situations with people getting called in for their bi-weekly brow beating? And I’ll bet they went to library school because they thought it was such a wonderful career, too. Maybe up to that point it had been.

  65. Jim Rettig says:

    Maybe you don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t let the facts get in the way of your opinion.

  66. Friend of says:

    library peon,

    Nobody who works in a library and cares about that library is a ”

  67. Friend of womancat says:

    In response to “library peon”:

    Nobody who works in a library and cares about that library is a “library peon” –but it is really a shame when one is treated as such.

    Regarding the 4 people in administrative positions that have left the Kanawha County Public Library in West Virginia since Alan Engelbert took over as director:

    I am unfamiliar with the records law of West Virginia and I’d appreciate learning how to go about finding out these names. So if anyone here can help me out….

    THANKS!

    You’ve given us some important information that I (and some others I know) have been wondering about for quite a while.

  68. Wisconsin library patron says:

    Patty Wanninger’s firing was a case of censorship.
    Wisconsin’s open meeting law requires that if a governmental board is planning to go into closed session to discuss termination, that board has to give the public employee written notice along with a statement that the employee can request that the scheduled closed session be held in open session.
    According to everything I read, Wanninger wasn’t ever given such written notice, so by not following state law, the Manitowoc Public Library board was not only censoring information — but censoring that information illegally. So here we have a library board who doesn’t believe in computer filtering for kids, but it does condone their own brand of library-board filtering for Wisconsin’s citizens.