April 19, 2018

Feedback: Board Gaming’s Golden Age, Leaving Librarianship, and More Letters to LJ

“Many people have no clue that we live in a golden age of board games, with hundreds of exciting, new designs coming out each year”

Players’ advisors

Kudos to M. Brandon Robbins for a nice piece on the board game Ticket To Ride (LJ 3/15/14). Many people have no clue that we live in a golden age of board games, with hundreds of exciting, new designs coming out each year. Unlike games that force players around a track simply to see what happens (e.g., Monopoly, Life), Ticket To Ride exemplifies upbeat, artistic, challenging and social modern games.

These games allow families, friends, and classmates to share tangible, face-to-face experiences that face-to-screen video games cannot offer. In his teaching blog, “Because Play Matters,” librarian Scott Nicholson demonstrates the relevance and value of this medium. Brian Mayer, coauthor of Libraries Got Game, shows that board games can tackle the most delicate subject matter with his new design, Freedom: The Underground Railroad. Informed librarians can provide “players’ advisory” just like readers’ advisory, since board games are not just for preteen night anymore. And the research is fun! Visit a local or online game or hobby store and ask questions. Then, game on!

—Philip Hendrickson, Dir. of Lib. Svcs., Concordia Univ. Nebraska, Seward

Set ’em up!

Will they serve alcohol at the genius bar (Michael Stephens, “A Genius Idea,” Office Hours, LJ 3/15/14)? Upon learning that Excedrin follows our Twitter feed, technology appears to have morphed into little more than one more advertising delivery device…. Technology has its place, but you will have to pry the hard-copy, three-dimensional, fixed-ink-on-paper book from my cold, dead fingers.

—Dan Cawley, Libn., Seaside P.L., OR

New patrons’ needs

Siobhan Reardon has it spot-on when she says we need to appreciate this moment and grab hold of it (Ian Chant, “Proposed Budget Would Return Philly Libraries to Six-Day Service,” LJ 4/1/14). During the recessionary downturn, the Free Library of Philadelphia saw huge increases in library services, as out-of-job workers, students, and those without discretionary income flocked to the library.

Now that we seem to have come out of the worst of it, we need to reinvest in the library and take full advantage of the opportunity to meet the needs of these new patrons…. Way to go Mayor Nutter and Siobhan Reardon!

—Ron J. Stefanski, Chief Business Development Officer, ed2go, Detroit

Love is not enough

Dorothea Salo’s “Can We Block the Pipeline Out?” (LJ 4/1/14) is a great article…. Far too many of my friends have left the profession and never looked back.

I graduated from library school in 2013. I knew from the day that I began that I was never cut out to be an academic librarian. Frankly, I never wanted to be one. I saw from the outside and heard from so many of my peers and friends the problems that they were facing as new academic librarians of color who also happen to be “smart, tech-savvy, creative, passionate, hard-working, up-to-date, and consciously committed to staying that way.”

The field recruited the best and the brightest it could find within all fields through advertisements detailing the need for librarians, scholarship programs, and by leaning on a person’s desire to help others. Unfortunately, when these great minds found their first job, they were treated to many of the conditions Salo mentions…. These new librarians were also given low starting salaries, mediocre raises…and minimal professional ­development….

When these librarians questioned their directors, deans, etc., they were often told “you are lucky to have a job” or “you shouldn’t do this job for the money.” I have heard this statement and this sentiment time and time again…. This kind of thought process needs to stop.

The love of a job is not going to pay a mortgage or your student loans…. The library world is foolish to think that its best and brightest will stay simply for the love of the job. There are far too many jobs out there that will gladly pay for librarian talent and skills, assuming the candidate doesn’t mind being called something other than a librarian.

—Ben Rodriguez, Technology Mgr., Chicago

The lucrative way out

I fit your sample population perfectly (Dorothea Salo, “Can We Block the Pipeline Out?” LJ 4/1/14). I’m an older librarian with a technological background and a specialization in data management….

I lost patience with the academic library system I have been working for as an adjunct and full-time for almost ten years and left librarianship for a data analytics position at a major research university. It’s better pay, more opportunity for advancement, and I already feel more appreciated than I did in a decade of librarianship. Not to mention the satisfying feeling of a job well done that directly impacts the university’s ability to function.

You’ve identified a genuine problem. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution I can offer up since I took the easy (and lucrative) way out.

—Jonathan Barber, Data Analytics Mgr., Arizona State Univ., Tempe

This article was published in Library Journal's May 1, 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.