The job market keeps getting better and better, unless you want to find a job that’s actually good. Wait, maybe that means things haven’t really changed. Regardless, I wanted to take a look at a couple of job postings sent on to me by kind readers, to get an idea of the wonderful opportunities out there.
In Connecticut we find an ad for a librarian with one of the best job titles I’ve ever seen: Extremely Part-time Substitute Library Worker. You can’t blame them for a lack of truth in advertising. They really lay it on the line. They want a librarian with an MLS and some experience willing to work whenever they might need help with no guarantee of any hours or employment. I have to say, this is at least more honest than those who claim to be building a "pool." And it’s probably a great opportunity for those fully employed librarians who have found that full employment as a librarian doesn’t always pay the bills. "A good sense of humor and familiarity with Triple I will go a long way in this position." I bet!
But there are full time jobs out there that not only want to employ librarians, but improve their health. Check out this one looking for a cataloger in Michigan. The librarian in this position gets to catalog, supervise other catalogers, and all the other exciting things that catalogers get to do. Considering what I hear about the state of cataloging jobs these days, it’s good to see a library actually thinks it’s worthwhile to hire someone to do original cataloging.
Not only does this library care about quaint things like original cataloging, but notice this among "Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities": "Supports and promotes ‘Lean’ practices and participates in the Library’s ‘Lean’ Culture." I can only applaud promoting lean practices and cultivating a lean culture in libraries, because, lets face it, librarians don’t tend to be "lean." They definitely tend, on average, to be, as we might say, portly. Maybe we should just say "pleasantly plump." That sounds better. Librarians are often pleasantly plump.
But pleasant plumpness isn’t always good for one’s health. Heart problems, knee problems, one could keep going with the problems that pleasant plumpness could cause. Thus, a "lean" library isn’t just trying to help patrons get books and videos and such, but it’s also performing an altruistic service for librarians by helping them to get lean.
A lean library culture would ask that librarians give up the ho-hos and hot pockets and eat unbuttered popcorn while walking on the treadmill. This is something we should celebrate!
Or maybe I’m misunderstanding this, and this library doesn’t really care whether their librarians are lean or morbidly obese. Is this some code? By "lean," do they really mean stripped of all padding, protection, leeway, dignity, you know, all those things that make library work tolerable. I guess that could be. Is this some sort of management fad? Management fads are candy for the weak-minded, but that doesn’t mean smart librarians couldn’t fall for them occasionally.
I prefer to think that "lean" means lean, though. It will preserve my faith in humanity and give me a cause worth fighting for. A "lean" library culture should mean a lean librarian culture. Anything else is just a way to let mindless management consultants make all our lives worse.