Mini rant

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Mini rant

sep 21, 1:01 pm

A little background: I live in a small rural town in the Ozarks. Two months ago, the town librarian quit in protest to a stupid new Missouri law. She and a board member that I know offered the job to me. I just retired for the 2nd time, and declined, (tbh, partly because of the new law). Also, they don't pay enough for the aggravation of being in charge. Anyway, they hired a new librarian, a young woman with no library degree or experience (not sure if she has any kind of degree), and I met her yesterday to bring some items to donate to the children's department. She was on the phone with a patron, discussing putting the patron on the wait list for a new book. Then she TOLD THAT PATRON THE NAME OF THE PATRON WHO CURRENTLY HAS THE BOOK CHECKED OUT. When I got home, I texted the board member aqaintance that I'd met the new librarian. When asked what did I think, I just said she's very young. I made no mention of the conversation I overheard. There is a very good chance that I will be serving on the Board, and on Friends of the Library. I offered to mentor if she thought that would be appropriate. I've left it at that.

sep 21, 3:09 pm

The town/board are getting what they pay for. I'm a firm believer in "decisions will bite you in the ass."

I can teach anyone my job. My library job isn't rocket science or brain surgery; but I learned the ethics, the professional responsibilities, the theory while earning my MLS degree. Then I cemented all of those "soft skills" ( I guess that's the best term) over time in the various jobs.

sep 21, 4:51 pm

If you want a professional to work in a small rural town in a place with repressive laws, you're going to have to pay them. As >2 lesmel: said, you get what you pay for!

sep 22, 9:43 am

Honestly, as a person who works in a large library system in a blue state with a lot of MLSs, I'm constantly amazed by how little an understanding of privacy a lot of them have. I don't know if it's the general erosion of privacy over the past ten years or what, but things like "don't give out account information to people other than the account owner" don't seem to stick even for the MLSs.

(we won't even start on the security camera choices made by our higher-ups.)

Offering to mentor would be a great idea, though, especially if (as it sounds like) she's mostly working alone. She won't learn those things without someone to teach her and pass on the ethos.

sep 22, 11:03 am

By all means, be generous and help the poor woman! I remember my first job out of library school I was hired to manage 7 branch libraries and a multi-county bookmobile system. I had never worked in a public library before then. I made tons of mistakes, and learned to listen carefully to the non-degree librarians who kindly helped me get my footing.
There is so much to learn as a librarian from authors, patrons, to what to do when a child vomits on the carpet. Offer to help when possible.

sep 22, 5:17 pm

I'm with #2 an #3 on this. It sounds to me like your town is trying to fill the job on the cheap with someone unqualified to do the job. Without wishing her ill, unless she makes a complete hash of the job the other members of the Board are going to turn round to you and say "Told you we don't need a qualified librarian. Anyone can do it".