Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Vows for the Greater Glory of the Library

Not everyone was persuaded by my statement that overall librarians are doing pretty well economically, at least compared to other people. One commenter noted that much of available library work is part time, which would mean that median wages per hour might not be equal to a full time wage. That is a possibility that I barely considered, and when I was focusing on how much such a librarian would make per year I was assuming full time work, which is still pretty common in libraries. Another brought up the possibility of children, and opined that, Suddenly this so-called “doable” wage is blown out of the water if you have young children at home. Do you know how much day care costs? We have had a handful of librarians quit working because they had babies and could not afford childcare even on their library income combined with their partner’s. (They were in the bottom 25% as mentioned above). Living on one paycheck was more “doable” than living on two while having to pay for ...
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Librarians Fighting the “Law”

By now you may have read that the librarian arrested in Kansas City last year for “being in the path of overzealous off-duty cops” has been found not guilty. Good for him. The prosecutors and cops were just trying to cover up their stupid mistakes anyway. In the same story we read about the Mid-Continent Public Library, which is somewhere in the middle of the continent probably. It also had trouble with some off-duty cops providing security, because apparently those people just can’t help themselves. Fortunately, instead of roughing up a librarian, the cops merely objected to a book display called “Black Lives Matter—Books About African American Experiences.” Without just coming out and saying black lives don’t matter, the cops protested because they believe black lives don’t matter. Otherwise, there’s nothing to protest. Supposedly, they didn’t object to the content of the display, because that would have made them look even more racist than they already look, so they ...
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Librarians and Social Class

A comment on the response from my imaginary library school professors helps highlight something about library school and the profession. I’m just not sure what yet. A friend and library director was publicly taken to task for not offering $25 an hour for a starting position. In the south. LIS Profs really have no clue. I’m assuming this is for public library starting positions. LIS profs probably do really have no clue, because it’s highly unlikely any of them were ever public librarians. While there are library school professors who spent some time as public librarians, that’s hardly the norm as far as I can tell. Probably more of them were academic librarians, where the pay is generally better, but probably not as good as professors get paid. There’s that extra graduate degree and all to account for. And that might have something to do with a professor’s belief that people who have put in the time earning a master’s degree should start at $25 an hour, which depending on ...
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When the Rules Don’t Apply to You

I’m not quite sure what to make of this article in the School Library Journal. It’s explicitly about a librarian who got kicked off the Newbery Medal Committee because she very obviously broke a committee rule against posting about Newbery contenders on social media. It’s implicitly about how she was right to do so, or at least the committee was wrong to have such a rule, or at the very least they were wrong to enforce the rule in this case. For example, the opening paragraph: “Social media guidelines for Newbery Committee members went into play a few years ago to avoid controversy about how the prestigious book awards are determined. But the guidelines, it seems, have sparked contention of their own.” They’ve certainly sparked contention from the ousted librarian, who, instead of being even remotely apologetic about obviously breaking a committee rule, focuses on how bad she feels about being kicked off the committee. Or this passage: “But the rules, rather than ...
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The LIS Profs Strike Back

Wow, the response from my imaginary library school professors to my last post was pretty harsh. They thought it was unfair to characterize them as unable to handle the hustle and bustle of modern libraries, and they had a few not-so-kind things to say about public libraries and the sort of people who want to work in them. I’ve compiled some answers and edited out the profanity, but this is the gist: You say we can’t handle working in public libraries? Let us tell you, buddy, working in public libraries sucks. The pay is terrible. There are homeless people everywhere. And nobody knows what they heck they’re supposed to be doing. In our course, “Library 101: the Library and You,” we teach a nice, pristine vision of what public libraries are supposed to be doing. They’re the bedrock of democracy, because an informed public is a necessity when any bonehead who manages to make it to 18 and stay out prison can vote. If public libraries followed that vision, we wouldn’t be in the ...
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Consider the Poor LIS Professors

On last week’s post about how great librarian jobs are and thus why they’re so hard to find, someone left a comment that might frighten even the most jaded of library school professors: I will give you a hint when I graduated in 1994 it took me 6 months to find a job. The average size of a MLIS graduating class? 12. Now the average size of a graduating class is over 200. We need to tie accreditation to job placement (98% fulltime employment in an MLIS related field within 6 months of graduation) or the school is out. Sure we will lose most of the schools (which have turned into diploma mills anyway) but in the long run it will be a good thing. I surveyed several imaginary professors at library schools and even some of those fancy “I schools,” and they all agreed this would be a terrible idea because it would endanger their schools and their livelihoods. It’s hard to argue with that. The argument for is that librarian jobs are so hard to find because there are way too many ...
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