Okay, so my Onion-ish take on the Annoyed Librarian’s article about those Philly library schools is a little bitter. Why should I be bitter? I’m gainfully employed, right?
But alas, the AL did bring up a few points that I’ve often thought about myself: 1.) Why the heck would anyone enroll in a library program NOT accredited by the ALA (I haven’t seen a job ad that doesn’t require this) and 2.) the Philadelphia pool of library jobs is shrinking at an alarming rate while hoardes of librarian wannabes flock to area programs (and even distance programs — Pitt is currently offering a Philly cohort of its FastTrack program). You know something’s wrong when the crappy part time “circulation assistant” or “media services assistant” positions are going like yesterday’s hotcakes. Why the sudden glut of libraryness?
As an almost-professional librarian (still the dreaded ‘paraprofessional’) who is secure enough to poke fun at herself and the profession that many quip “you need to go to grad school for THAT?”, the view from the ground is stark at best. Positions in Scranton and Erie suddenly look appetizing. Now one can justify an hour-and-a-half commute each way, thinking, “but I could get so much reading done on the R6…”
But there has to be a reason, right? I mean, these jobs must be fantastic for them to be in such high demand and pay such middling wages, right? Please? Yes?
Techdirt provides one perspective on the increasing trend towards downsizing or even eliminating reference/research librarians altogether.
Most recently, the WSJ has announced that it has gotten rid of its two research librarians for good. Now, reporters will have to do their own research because of the abundance and simplicity of the tools that are now available onlilne.
I do realize that times are tough and that belts do need to be tightened, especially in the newspaper industry. However, when you remove a core element that helps create validity for an entire industry, I begin to worry about the direction other papers will take on seeing this decision. Not that they wouldn’t do it anyway. But the seeming lack of concern for credibility in a profession that depends on getting the facts exactly right (okay, minus the tabloids — but I think they’re strangely in less danger than the big guys) makes me wonder if I got into the wrong gig after all.
But alas — never fear — I could always snag one of the Annoyed Librarian’s “Jobs that Suck.” Whoopeee!
“Are they your friends? Do you have a real love for books and learning?”
“Do you like people? Do you like all types of people?”
I especially enjoy the part about “professional men” and how administrators are referred to as “he,” while the stereotypical frumpy spinster checks out books to happy-go-lucky Jack and Jane on their way home from the ice cream parlor.
Oh, and if you were wondering, librarians’ salaries are “comparable to those of similar professions.” I wonder what those “similar professions” are? And how much those mystery people make?
Filed under film, fun, library
I couldn’t let Halloween go by without throwing a little creepiness into things — and yes, you guessed it, it involves haunted libraries! Apparently the Phoenixville Public Library is haunted by a woman in the attic of the 1902 Carnegie designed building. “She’s wearing a bustle dress, a high hat, and having a grand old time” says director John Kelley. Photos taken by the Chester County Paranormal Research Society document the oddities seen by various staff members in different parts of the building.
Want to know if your local library’s made it to the H-List? Check out this listing for some spooktacular times.
Quite recently, some good people at Carnegie Mellon have come up with two amusing virtual arcade games. Okay, no harm there. But the kicker? They’re library games; one focused on shelving accuracy, and the other focused on helping patrons with reference questions. Nerdy? Yes. Helpful with training green students? Maybe. I’m thinking of trying this out on some guinea pigs this semester. We’ll see how challenging they find putting colored rectangles in LC order.
So what are you waiting for? Try out Within Range and I’ll Get It! today. It could be the start of a beautiful relationship.
You could put it that way in the Washington Post article that outlines the disturbing statistics found: 13 percent of materials, or one sixth of the collection, is nowhere to be found at the Library of Congress. I’d say that’s something to be concerned about. Now that I’ve got a bit of an inside view at conducting a library inventory (the library I work at hadn’t been inventoried ever in anyone’s recent memory) and the horrors that show up (you mean there are books on the shelf that have never been cataloged??), maybe the LOC isn’t doing too bad. I mean, who really reads all of those books anyway? It’s not like you go there to do some “beach reading” and then grab a Cosmo for the metro ride home. But, alas, I suppose it is important that the top library in the country have some sense of pride in its massive collection. Hopefully the culprits didn’t have too much fun with those missing copies of Huckleberry Finn and The Street Lawyer.
Filed under library, news