Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

A Weekly Roundup

This has been a busy week, and there are a lot of things I wanted to write about, so this is a bit of a blogging roundup.

First, I was contacted by someone who’s been working against the idea that seed libraries are forms of agroterrorism. He saw last week’s post and wanted people to know that they could help fight the PA department of agriculture among others. Here’s a bit from the email:

We’re glad you wrote about the crackdown on the Simpson Seed Library.  We thought regulators over-reached, so Shareable teamed up with the lawyers at the Sustainable Economies Law Center Center to find out:

Turns out, they likely did over-reach and there’s also an easy work around that this and other Pennsylvania seed libraries can use to operate within the law as a peer to peer seed exchanges.

Normally I don’t participate in advocacy like this, but it seemed relevant to the post, and I thought that move against the seed library was definitely overreaching. While I don’t want to plant any seeds myself, I like the idea of the seed libraries, and the claim that they’re potential targets for agroterrorists strikes me as silly.

More good news for public libraries is that someone in the Wall Street Journal actually defended them when comparing them to Amazon’s new Kindle UnLimited service.

I don’t know why, but I always expect WSJ to take the “libraries are socialism” route. They must have let a guest contributor sneak in or something.

The piece is a good reminder that “libraries serve nobler purposes than just amassing vampire romances.” If only all librarians could remember that.

Given that it’s the WSJ, the article does end with a market twist: “The rise of paid subscription services is proof that there’s demand for what libraries can offer in our Internet era.”

It’s almost as if libraries provide a community service that either couldn’t be provided privately or could only be provided at greater cost than libraries spend now. Libraries: the original crowdsource for books. Ruminate on that.

And thus we discover that in the competition between the WSJ and Forbes as to which publication understands libraries and economic better, WSJ wins, unless the award is for most uninformed about both.

Finally, I have some news for you librarians looking for a job. A Kind Reader forwarded a job ad on to me, and it’s a doozy. Here’s the work:

Provide library services…, including reference and circulation services to students and faculty. Provide information literacy instruction to classes upon request. Assist in the development and implementation of library policies and procedures. Participate in the creation and dissemination of library information. Maintain library statistics. Other duties may be assigned. Daytime, weekend, and some evening hours required.

That doesn’t sound too bad! Oh, wait. Except it’s part-time, 19 hours/week. Combined with the “daytime, weekend, and some evening hours,” that likely means a chaotic work schedule and almost certainly no benefits, so don’t get sick or anything.

You also might be subject to a criminal background check, although the person who created this job seems to have passed one, so how thorough could it be?

All you need is an MLS and a minimum of one year’s experience. They’d also like “Experience teaching information literacy instruction, experience with online library databases, the most current computer applications, popular applications software in libraries, and work experience within a community or academic library.”

That doesn’t seem like too much to ask for a part-time $15/hour job, does it? That seems just the sort of situation someone with a graduate degree should be seeking, as opposed to someone with, say, a high school diploma.

I won’t tell you where it is. You’ll just have to track it down if you’re incredibly desperate. Serious professionals need not apply, but for a local unemployed librarian who just needs a little pin money, this would be perfect.



  1. Unfortunately that’s the general state of library job openings – hiring managers can ask the world because there are so many desperate MLIS-holding job seekers.

  2. Frumious Bandersnatch says:

    Hey, that’s a whopping 6 dollars an hour higher than the average pay for a Walmart door greeter, according to the always reliable interwebs. Of course once your life and finances are destroyed by the crushing student loan debt you’ll accrue in pursuit of the Master’s degree, you’d probably have come out ahead choosing the door greeter gig.

  3. anonymous says:

    19 hours. The magic number for employers who otherwise would be obligated to provide health benefits. Also, the number of hours per week at $15 / hour an individual would need to afford a health plan on the exchange. Sweet!

  4. Peter Ward says:

    Our profession has been so degraded that if we were a patient on life support, somebody would pull the plug. Let’s face the facts. The dumbest-common-denominator is the majority in this country. No place for librarians in their world.

  5. Library Observer says:

    When you turn yourself into a Internet Cafe / Video Store / Entertainment Centre don’t be
    surprised when you get Internet Cafe Staff / Video Store Clerk / Entertainment Centre
    worker wages.

  6. Our library has gone to 19 hours, or often much fewer, for every new hire, including professional staff. In fact, several of the jobs have been listed at “19.75” hours. It’s embarrassing, really.

    In addition, they’ve now decided to get rid of the reference desk, move to the one-desk service model, and staff it without para or professionals for reference help. The circ staff will now be answering all reference questions, dealing with programming, assisting customers with tech questions, basically all used-to-be reference duties. HS diploma required. The pay? $8.75/hr. Guess they thought the reference staff has been wayyyyy overpaid for the same duties.

    Where is the reference staff going, you ask? Being moved into “community engagement” and teaching computer classes (even though those participants are dwindling as the computer savvy generations get older and don’t need help with Facebook or email) until they retire. At least they aren’t being let go, I guess…for now.

    • Library Observer says:

      Technology has replaced big chunks of many professions. All I have to think of is my accounting career. When I started in the 70’s computers were over $ 150,000, yes one hundred and fifty thousand dollars for an IBM system 34 with 20 MB of hard drive space and 1 MB of RAM — yes megs not gigabytes.

      As technology improved, a $ 300 laptop could beat the sh*t out of that old system 34 by a factor of thousands. Software vastly improved also.

      As a result of this many accounting department personnel lost their positions. Junior pools in Accounting Firms were severely decreased ( no more manual posting of entries into general ledgers or spreadsheets ) and replaced by keypunch staff. The CaseWare program which produces Balance Sheet and P&L working papers further replaced the Junior pools and started eliminating some of the Senior Positions. The Laser Printer totally eliminated the Financial Statement Typists which was the highest paid clerical position. The number of accounting firms themselves was at least close to halved — with even some international names that had been around for close to a hundred years either closing or merging — with much of the staff eliminated.

      Now it’s happening to the Public Library systems. For example, when the reference staff due to Google has been reduced to typing in and reading off the relevant ” Google results” or answers from Wikipedia —- you will be replaced by somebody getting minimum wage or close to it. When almost all requests, transfers, searches, etc can be done by smart twelve year old with internet access — look out ! All the people replaced in my profession and many others were done by either people making minimum wage ( or close to it ) or Software programs.

      In your own life, or maybe your parents ( don’t know your age ) remember how many Bank branches there were, and Bank Tellers. What happened when ATMs got installed everywhere? … well people liked it. The amount of bank tellers got at least halved or more. Did you sign a petition that Bank Tellers be reinstated, 24 hour access to your money be done away with, and/or ATMs be ripped out of everywhere? Betcha not! Rotten as it sounds, people usually only start getting concerned for positions being eliminated when it affects them, their family, or maaaaybe a good friend.

      And now, sad but true —- it’s the Public Library’s turn.

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