I can’t figure out precisely what crazy shenanigans are going on in Soldotna, AK, but one thing’s for sure: some people there sure love their librarian. Rather, they love their former librarian and are protesting at her being fired. It’s kind of touching to see so many people stand up for a librarian.
The basic facts are that without giving a reason the city manager fired the public library director who had worked for the library for 28 years, and lots of people showed up at a city council meeting to protest.
There are a lot of protests in the comments to the news article as well, with such deliciously small town comments like “First dumb move was to hire a new york lawyer to run Soldotna.” Those New York lawyers can’t catch a break, although another story on the firing indicated he’d been a lawyer in upstate New York, which is hardly the image conjured up by “New York lawyer.”
Not everyone is protesting the dismissal. One person described how the librarian in question was dismissive of her many years ago, when the commenter was eleven years old. That’s pretty damning evidence.
Another complains that the Soldotna library isn’t very cutting edge. I guess cutting edge libraries are the norm in rural Alaska. Based on a Google Image search, Soldotna is mostly a picturesque place to catch large fish and kill bears with handguns. There’s probably not a lot of time to keep the library cutting edge with all that going on.
From the reporting and the comments, there could be all sorts of interpretations. Lots of people seem to dislike the city manager and think he got rid of the librarian from spite, because that’s what New York lawyers do.
Then again it could be that the librarian did some bad thing that the city manager isn’t making public to protect her reputation. It seems unlikely, but it also seems unlikely for librarians or former librarians to plan torture murders or be 6’7” bodybuilders with Tourette Syndrome. Strange stuff happens.
Other people think he might have used her lack of a library degree as an excuse to get rid of her. One comment even speculated that the lack of a library degree helped explain the alleged backwardness of the library, which shows that person doesn’t know much about what library school was like 30 years ago. It didn’t exactly prepare people for the Internet age.
What people might miss in the story is the criticism of online library schools. Explaining why someone working in a library might not have a library degree, one of the library workers said,
you can’t get a library degree in Alaska when you’re living here. You have to do it by correspondence — people don’t look well on correspondence degrees — or you have to leave the state. Not all of us have that opportunity, even if we had the desire, to leave the state to get a master’s degree in library science.
Take that, San Jose State! “Correspondence degrees.” Small towns are so quaint.
It’s one of the beauties of the Internet that the city manager maneuverings of a tiny town in Alaska can be followed by the entire world. We get a little drama safe in the distance the Internet creates for us, sort of like the people who were identifying false suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings on Reddit and Twitter.
It’s a wonderful world.