AshtabulaGuy's blog

Substitute Teaching: Book Ends to My Week

On Monday I had "wonderful" children in a sixth grade class I was subbing for. Today? Today I have a half-day call-out to teach physical education in that same district. Such should be fun. The normal per diem for substitute teaching in this particular school district is US$100. Since I have the second half of a day I get US$50. I only wish I would get more calls.National Day of Prayer went well in Conneaut yesterday. My supervising minister directed me to carry out a last minute media blitz to promote the event quickly which meant I wound up recording Public Service Announcements for radio on Tuesday and dropping them off at radio stations with a cover letter from the minister. The cover letter specified that the minister and/or would be available for interview about the event and thankfully one radio station took a shot at that and interviewed my supervising minister Wednesday and aired the interview Thursday morning before the event. I filmed the event Thursday afternoon, edited it down as a rush job that night, and packaged it to go on local public access television with my usual tags (space was left for a "bug" to be inserted if need be). All of this was wonderful media stuff I have done before (I was a working journalist from May 1998-October 2000 but got out because I was "too nice" and could not hack it any more) but I at least can say now that I am an "information professional" for all that that is worth.The job search has just been lousy. The Holt & Strock article hits home hard still. Family read it and were horrified. Discussion is now earnestly ensuing as to me being shipped off by my church as a missionary to Australia perhaps or to Arizona to work with the Navajo. A friend of mine married an Aussie dude and lives around Sydney. Perhaps the local churches there might need some help growing. Within the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement churches anywhere outside Tennessee and Texas need help. I just want out of the US for a little while to do such work at least initially, though.LIBRARIAN FOR RENT!!!!!

Hiring Madness Discussed in LJ

Rachel Holt and Adrienne Strock of NEXGENLIB-L wrote this in an article published by Library Journal:While there is an intense, ongoing campaign to recruit new MLS students, there is no concerted effort to hire them once they've graduated. It is unreasonable to invite an influx of new colleagues into the profession without making room for them. It is unfortunate that those entering the profession are being told that there is a current shortage of library workers, since this is not entirely true. Schools recruit an excess of people into MLS programs. While some who are recruited will fail to finish their degrees and others are already working in libraries, there will be a large number who would make excellent librarians given the right opportunities. They reach the job market and discover there are far fewer options than they had anticipated; they conduct lengthy job searches, settle for underemployment in paraprofessional or part-time positions, or, if they're fortunate, find a professional position. Some of them move to nonlibrarian work that pays better and carries more authority and prestige. Read it all by following this link.Please, DISCUSS.

The Joy of Substitute Teaching

Still no library job. I now get letters of rejection trickling home (when they actually even do) that tell me that even though I truly am qualified for a position my credentials do not fit the library concerned's needs. As such I am sticking to substitute teaching for now as delivering newspapers really brings in not much of anything.Yesterday was an adventure as I apparently had the roughest sixth grade class in a building. I was called a racist, a retard, and more over the course of the day by very belligerent sixth graders. Of course, they all claimed they do nothing wrong and apparently after as much of the year as they have had with their overly lenient teacher they have come up with some of the most other-worldly psychotic excuses for improper behavior. Granted I am still a rather youngish "NexGen" but even I do not remember fellow students being that bad when I was in grade school. I could tell it was a bad class when even other teachers in the grade level told me I would be justified in refusing calls to that classroom ever again.No call-out today. I have only had five this academic year. Then again, after yesterday, I do not think I would have been too effective in the classroom today at all. Fortunately the scheduler either realized that or had a "fun chat" with the building principal who very much deserves canonization.Cataloging is not hard. Playing with MARC21 is fun. Cataloging even the most obscure bibliographic entity is nothing compared to the class of sixth graders I had yesterday...LIBRARIAN FOR RENT!

Options

Where to proceed from here? I have no idea. These are options I have in mind:1. Run away to Australia as a missionary. My church's elders are in favor of such and I have a friend in New South Wales who says the local Campbellite congregations are in need of help. Further discussion must ensue as to this one. A variant would be shipping out on mission to the Navajo nation, too.2. Waiting. And Waiting. And Waiting. Waiting for responses from potential employers eerily reminds me much of the major plot line of Waiting for Godot.3. Back to school? It has got to be way too late in the year to try that. I am still trying to try, though.What is my purpose in life anymore? That has been unclear.

Snow? AT THE END OF APRIL?

Oh. My. Word. Apparently weather conditions in Ashtabula County mimic those of November. Lake Erie is the right temperature for a proper gust of wind to blow over which would otherwise bring nasty, awful wet snow that will be heavy. I thought I was done with winter seeing as how it is almost MAY!What a way to end such a screwy week as the snow is expected tomorrow...

On Interviewing...

I know 7-Up often touted itself since I was born all those few years ago as being "The unCola". What does it take to make an interview a "non-interview interview"? Yesterday was a very odd day.

Prayer Request

Please pray for me as I trek into an interesting area south of Pittsburgh (a long haul from where my butt is sitting right now) for a job interview today that kicks off at 1400 EDT. I really want to finally be working and this is my last shot for a while on the job hunt.

The CD, the A/V Dude, and Frustration

Continuing in the vein of talking about what we do is LIS, perhaps I should write further today. A member of our church who works for a local criminal justice institution (I am not going to identify the member) called me out of the blue last night. The member asked me to come out to the church's building to help him with seeing an audiovisual on the auditorium's audiovisual system. The system in the auditorium is nice as we have a computer that pushes our PowerPoint slideshows up to a decent projector as well as the capability to push up video from VCRs or a DVD player. The sound system in the auditorium is also decent enough to support a music group but due to being part of an a capella tradition we really do not see people use instruments inside.I usually do not get out to the building on Monday nights. Usually I am typically on-site Sundays and in the morning on Tuesday to work in our "Clothing Closet" outreach ministry as well as in the office. The drive from north central Ashtabula County to the northeast corner was nice. Too bad there was apparently a major automotive crack-up on a road (Ohio Route 531 off of Ohio Route 193, I think) as Ashtabula Township Fire Department, North Kingsville Village Volunteer Fire Department, and Conneaut City Fire Department all raced to respond. I prayed silently for them.Getting to the building, I found that the member's burnt CD did not work. I engaged in a process very similar to a reference interview to figure out how the CD was created in the first place. I tried the CD in every different piece of hardware I had access to. I knew something was burnt to it due to the color shift on the substrate indicative of something being burnt. I recommended further action to the member and presumably he will handle such at work today.Now, where do you get taught by most library schools to handle consulting like that? I wish I was receiving pay for what I am doing for the church. I easily show each and every week that I have the versatility to work in a "real library job", whatever that is.

So, what does an "information professional" do for a church?

Blake says we should write more about what we do as information professionals. At present I work for my local church as an information professional serving the elders. Within the Stone-Campbell restoration movement east of the Mississippi River and north of Woodmont Hills (the congregation the (in)famous Rubel Shelly works for in Tennessee), such is an odd thing. Of course, then again, finding a congregation of the Churches of Christ in this area is strange enough as it is anyhow.I administer the church's website. Although I kept forgetting to tell Blake before Computers in Libraries, I carried out a paradigmatic shift in how our church's site functioned by shifting much of our content (which definitely would be considered a "continuing resource" under AACR2r as compared to some of the static pages) over to a collaborative group blog under WordPress. This allows me to get out of being the sole POC ("Point of Contact") for maintaining our site's content. I can now devolve (hmm...a good British term) responsibility on the heads of ministries such as the preaching elder, the worship leader, our World Bible School coordinator, and others. Right now I am having fun playing with the back end of things and have been trying to adapt the latest whiz-bang ideas in LIS for communication to working at our church (I have to paw through my archives to locate the article from Internet Reference Services Quarterly to give a citation to the idea I adapted). Having seen the awstats report, I am happy with such as it shows that what we do as librarians can go to other fields.I also handle current awareness and sometimes reference questions. Right now I have been keeping an eye on the Terri Schiavo case so as to look at some of the moral issues involved as well as the continuing saga relative to the Episcopalian Bishop of New Hampshire. Both provide many avenues for introspective contemplation as to where I stand in faith. Of course, with local affairs in Ashtabula County being as messy as they are right now, the leadership does not have all the time in the world to look into such things so I stay up to speed to answer questions that may arise.I also teach from time to time and handle public relations. I have spoken to the teen class relative to Paul's speech from the Areopagus as recorded in Acts and how his words still ring true today in terms of a call to mission. I have now preached to the congregation three times since February 2004 on a fill-in basis. I cut press releases from time to time for church activities such as our free clothing give-away that is coming up on April 9th. I even cut a radio public service announcement that hopefully will be gracing the airwaves around the church on a local radio station too.There are some downsides to this. It has been quite a long time since I have been paid. Right now I am handling this on a bi-vocational basis but sadly the only paying work I have right now is as a substitute teacher. I am living at home with family while I try to get out of striking out on the jobs track in a town where seemingly my name is mud because I am a "young person" who breaks the seemingly preferred mold of being a quiet and invisible taxpayer who makes no waves.Librarian for rent! I can handle tech services, reference, audiovisual matters (even doing production), and more. Librarian for rent!

Spitting Up Communion Juice

I figured that this week, often referred to either as "Holy Week" or "Passion Week", was going to be hard this year. Things started off oddly enough Sunday with me spitting up the communion juice while I was trying to supervise the PowerPoint slideshow and run the sound board (usually my father runs the sound but I had to cover for him in addition to running the slideshow due to him hurting his back quite badly). Why did I spit such up? Apparently there was some foreign solid in my cup. I was not amused.This week undoubtedly is going to be interesting this year. I got the church's WordPress implementation running as of late and am presently playing with phpFormGen to try to get it to spit out a nice starting point that I can tweak to be a good worship service feedback form. I am always hopeful that I will get some sort of substitute teaching call-out every day, of course...EDIT@0041Z-22Mar2005: I always forget to note that my congregation is seemingly one of the rare few north of Woodmont Hills to have at least one producer...

RF Fun and Foolishness

RF? Such is meant as in RF energy or as more commonly known to the layman radio waves. With the odd weather lately AM radio propagation has just been freaky weird.Stations heard recently in the evening hours: KDKA, KXEL, KYW, WHO, WBZ, WABC, WCBS, WTAM. The oddest one of tha bunch is KXEL. Where is it based? Try Iowa. Yes, Iowa. If they had not had a helpful station website I would have went trundling through the records of the FCC Media Bureau to figure out where they were located.Oddly enough, I have yet to hear WLIB or any nearby affiliate of Air America Radio. WLIB is in a graveyard slot for signals in this area which means they get stomped on by pretty much everybody else on frequency from elsewhere in the US and Canada. Oh well.And now for something completely different...As a note to K.C. Tipton, I merely note that I wish I had overreacted. Good cause was shown on the ground where I am at that I did not overreact. Things are slightly dicey in a certain matter right now and I cannot really go into it further here.

I'm sorry

Today is one of those days that I am honestly sorry for a lot of things. Today is a day that I was told multiple times that I am dangerous and a threat for just wanting to get people information. Today is a day in which I question why I even bother to help and to serve. Today is a day when I realize that even though I am 23 years of age (two years past the legal age of being "an adult") that in the town where I live I am considered still an irresponsible, immature "child" who is not to be allowed any responsibility beyond even perhaps the dullest of spoons to eat with. Today is a day that I learned that initiative leading to hopefully something good is rewarded with brickbats and condemnation.Some days I am truly sorry I want to stay in the area where almost all of my maternal relations live. If I want to be close to family then sadly they all live here. I have almost 100 maternal blood relatives within first to second degree that live around here. Most of my paternal relatives live in Cleveland but there are not nearly as many there.Even worse is that this is that day...

Camp, USMARC, and Teaching "Special Ed"

So today got very interesting. Instead of working as a librarian (still no professional job), I wound up as a substitute teacher today. Originally I was supposed to substitute for PE/Health at Lakeside High School in the Ashtabula Area City School District. I got there, checked in, and was promptly reassigned by the building administrator to the Lakeside 9 building in the harbor district.I wound up handling "special ed" today. This mean I had a mix of DH students, SBH students, and more. Experience as a former camp counselor in terms of discipline as well as the horrors I saw while learning USMARC (as well as how to catalog) helped support me in handling the students. I was dismayed at how much students threatened me with things like calling the superintendent or the school board about me if they did not get their way. Of course, said students wanted to do things like rifle through the teacher's desk and leave the classroom when they were not supposed to. I just ignored the threats. I am not afraid of the superintendent or the school board. They either know me or know of me and know that I am not an idiot. Besides, after having faced the "fun" of OCLC tech support when Connexion went down on me during my brief tenure as a working cataloger, the kids did not scare me.Lately I have been doing more classroom teaching than library work. I still do research projects for friends and family though. A friend in the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University has occasionally thrown ref questions at me after his campus library has closed to see if I could point him to usable resources. After getting the master's in library science I have yet to really work in a library and instead work as a substitute teacher. Something does not seem right with this...

When Teaching 5th Graders...

I had an adventure yesterday. I have been a licensed substitute teacher in the State of Ohio since August. I have no degrees in education, though. As long as one holds an accredited baccalaureate degree in Ohio one is able to receive at a minimum a "short-term" substitute teacher's license that lets you work in the same classroom on the same assignment for up to five consecutive days.Anyhow, I had fun with the kids. I only lost control of class once during the rotations time (I subbed for the social studies part of the rotation which was nice since my bachelor's degree is heavily in history) but then again the students were working in relays to disrupt things. All of such tired me out big time (never "taught" in a public schools classroom before...this is much different from preaching a lesson to the congregation).My assignment was supposed to have been a particular sixth grade class yesterday. With half of the building's teachers out as well as the principal, it was deemed inadvisable by the teacher-in-charge for some very green new substitute teacher like me to take on the most difficult class in the building. That was why I was switched down to fifth grade in lieu of taking the assignment as initially offered by central call-in for the Ashtabula Area City School District.I was offered an assignment to go back to that building again today to handle the sixth grade classroom that I was originally assigned yesterday. Although I would have appreciated the US$100 per diem (at least, before taxes that is) that I would have earned, I turned the assignment down. I needed the sleep after getting little sleep last night.Now, to just find a librarian job...

Article Thought for "Rural Libraries"

Rather than griping here in the economic nightmare that is Ashtabula County, I have been feeling lately that I need to write about such. I used to be an actual writer for a newspaper (have to look tomorrow into perhaps going back to my old paper as a writer again) so I know I often have the urge to write. Besides, getting something written now may be the only immediate way I can actually participate in the profession.As of present, libraries in Ohio typically are dependent upon operating funding from the Libraries & Local Government State Fund ("LLGSF") to the tune of about 80-100% of operating budgets. Libraries (although in this case I am thinking of library districts as such is the basis of service areas in Ohio) often do not supplement their income with revenue from ad valorem property tax levies and lack the power to levy income taxes and/or sales taxes. Property tax levies are often avoided as they are seen as the normal province of funding public schools as well as civil townships and other myriad political subdivisions and/or agencies. Municipalities stay out of property taxes often because they do have the power to levy income and sales taxes.With possible cuts to the LLGSF being proposed possibly in next week's budget submission by Governor Taft to the Ohio General Assembly, what is a library to do? In a time of having to close a $3.8-5 billion (figures vary depending upon sources, be it the County Commissioners Association of Ohio or the Ohio Library Council) budget gap by July 1, 2005, libraries are apparently being seen as expendable by lawmakers and other decision-makers in Columbus.Although based upon informal conversations I have had with Pennsylvania Library Association Executive Director Glenn Miller that Ohio is seen as having a really great funding system, an apparent structural defect may cause trouble soon. If funding is yanked out of the state-level budget as presently rumored (nothing will be known officially until the budget is released on February 8th), public libraries in Ohio will have roughly 0% to 20% (on average) of prior fiscal year funding to work with in trying to function.Due to the effects of the 1970s taxpayer revolt measure known as HB 920 (originally enacted as a statute but later incorporated directly into the Ohio Constitution), property tax revenues pretty much do not increase when property values increase. Levies only return revenue at the amounts voted in. If over a five year period a taxing authority's territory substantially increases in property values no funding boost is actually gained at all. This created a problem for school districts in Ohio as they have to effectively continually campaign in property tax levy elections to attempt to maintain funding levels. As property tax levies are the only other source of funding presently available for library districts in Ohio, should libraries be necessarily be forced to continually approach voters for funding to continue operating? Are library directors necessarily equipped to fight levy campaigns continually? Do library district boards, which are almost always appointed in Ohio and not really elected, have the guts to continue asking for revenue or are they so timid that they would cut back operations? Should we make libraries contenders with public schools for scarce tax revenues in election battles?It is later at night than I would rather to even fully discuss some of the problems I broadly outline above. In rural areas of Ohio such as Ashtabula County there is a growing tax revolt sentiment brewing in which tax requests are being shot down even for the most purportedly noble of causes. There is a situation on the ground that has the potential to grow quite problematic. The key problem at present is whether or not anybody notices that this cooking pot is about to boil over.After having followed a school district on the campaign trail from start its levy campaign to the district being resoundingly defeated at the polls, I have seen how bloody this can get. Perhaps something needs to be written up and circulated so some wake-up calls might start?

Bringing back "Anonymous Patron"?

Blake recently raised the notion of perhaps bringing back the infamous "Anonymous Patron". I remember all too well the heated discussion that started pushing towards removing "Anonymous Patron" from being able to do much of anything. I look back at that discussion from time to time and am reminded that what was done was the right thing in restricting "Anonymous Patron". I am not sure I want to see that scenario happen yet again.

Snow, Allergies, Trucking...

1. I think I figured out why residents in this town are so neurotic in their negativity. It is the seemingly constant snow. It warps people psychologically.2. I found a few jobs posted in South Florida in libraries. I am not going to pursue them even though I need a job. Why? With as bad as my allergies are I would be spending a fortune on diphenhydramine. Climate would not be a cool thing either to deal with. So alas, for the sake of my health, I am bypassing such.3. With the family low on vehicles lately, I have been driving quite a bit all over northeast Ohio taking family members to various and sundry places. Why? The way my car's insurance is set up, all family members are excluded from driving my car. I have to drive. Since I do not like to gamble (I lose way more often than I win), I am playing it safe. Maybe if I do not find a librarian job I could go into trucking or chauffering?4. NEXGENLIB-L sure has been busy talking about one of Matt's favorite issues, the non-existent librarian shortage.

Not going to Canada and other stuff...

1. I wound up e-mailing my formal decline as to the job I was offered in Canada. Why? I would come out way behind financially. I had trouble trying to make it all work out right and that is after racking my brain to figure out how to pull such off. I am not happy I had to do that. I wanted the job...I just couldn't afford it...2. Ashtabula County government is looking to up our sales tax by .5%. I was at the hearing Tuesday night on the matter. Most of my former media colleagues from the papers here in-county all had looks of shock that I was at the hearing and going to speak. Most of them thought I was still engaged in ministry sorts of work far far away. Sadly none of them understood the radical reform idea I floated at the hearing although one of my county's three commissioners came up to me afterwards and said she would support me making a "county home rule" reform attempt.3. I still have to finish touching up my sermon and my whole service outline for January 30th. The text I am preaching from is Acts 17:16-34. I merely note that the Areopagus discussed in the passage was considered a "marketplace of ideas" when Paul walked the earth. Now, bringing such to today, can all of us LIS folks name at least a couple "marketplaces of ideas"? :-) I intend to have fun with my sermon.4. Next job that opens up in Hawaii that I am qualified to go after I am going to have to pursue ruthlessly. I am getting tired of being in the same snow zone as Blake that stretches from Buffalo along the Lake Erie shoreline down past me here in Ashtabula!

Wonder Why I Am Giving Up on Ohio Libraries?

I received a letter dated this Wednesday from Liberty Center Public Library. It was an odd sort of rejection letter. I applied for the position of Children’s Librarian there (my department chair tried to get me out of the “dark side” that cataloging was conisdered to be and shift over to children’s librarianship since I was able to work well with children). This is the principal part of the reasoning from the letter why all applicants were rejected:Public libraries in Ohio are funded by 5.7% of the state income tax which goes nto the State Local Government Fund. This fund provides our library with 83% of its yearly income. We receive no other tax money. Two years ago, the state legislature put a freeze on the amount of money we receive. This means that we have received the same amount of money in 2003 and 2004 that we received in 2002.The state legislature needs to have a balanced budget in place by July 1, 2005. Right now they are facing a $5 billion dollar deficit. It is anticipated that the state legislature will take money from the library fund. Because we are expecting a reduction in state funding for the next two years our county auditor has suggested to the libraries that we reduce our budgets by at least 20%...I highly doubt confidence in financial outlook is coming any time within the next decade that would allow them to finally hire a librarian. Lost budgets in this state never really quite come back.This idea that there are going to be tons of openings is just unmitigated garbage notwithstanding anything said by program directors. Ohio is a dying state anyhow. Pennsylvania is going down much the same road too. This also explains why I went to Canada this week to interview for a job serving the brotherhood in helping train new ministers academically.

Day 3 in Canada

In itemized fashion:1. I have a ton of NEXGENLIB-L messages to read when I get home.2. I have to continue preparing my January 30th sermon and speak to the minister for my last chance before he heads to Tanzania.3. The Canada trip has proved rather quite interesting. The school here is also rather quite interesting.4. I have way too many things on my mind as of late.5. I get home tonight presumably.

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