“The library needed a strong person to come, run the library like a business..."

AshtabulaGuy writes "Lifestyles Editor Carl E. Feather wrote in Monday's edition of The Star Beacon profiling Kingsville Public Library interim director Kathy Pape. What is unique about director Pape? Pape lacks even a bachelor's degree and has no background in library science. From direct personal observation Kingsville Public Library presently employs no holders of ALA-accredited master's degrees in library science. Feather additionally wrote which is of note to all MLS holders: 'Kathy has plunged into the library science side of the work since taking the job. She’s gone back to college to earn her bachelor’s and hopes to eventually earn a master of library science. Just as Kathy’s vibrant, youthful personality defies the stereotype of the crabby librarian, she’s found library science to be an exciting field.' Is this perhaps a challenge to us?"


Is it true this library has no degreed librarian?

I had some previous experience with this library in a past life, when employed by a janitorial cleaning service. Some of the previous decisions made by this board or previous directors were very unusual and lacked a sense of logic. I wonder what the Board's real driving force is (lack of money, a director they can push around, etc.)?

IMHO Here's the most important line of the article: "When the board searched for a new director last year, they looked within their own organization and picked Kathy as interim director..."Lately, one way to get a directorship in Ohio is to be on the Board of Trustees of a small library. It worked at Kingsville Public Library in 2004 and at Fairport Harbor Library in 2005 where ex-Board member non-librarian Carol Liscomb is the newly appointed Director-Why is it that the comparatively well funded public libraries of Ohio cannot afford MLS directors - while less-funded libraries in other states are mindful to hire MLS directors?Because that is their state laws!Bottom line is that Ohio needs a state law to mandate degreed librarians for their public libraries.There are too many competencies needed!It is disgraceful that the state of Ohio is allowing these boards to award directorships to their ex-Board members buddies just because they need the job and will do it for mid $20,000 salaries.If a library board finds that they cannot budget well enough to afford a MLS librarian - they need to disband and let a larger library make them a branch.

Are you suggesting a library without a degreed librarian is acceptable as long as the patrons have online access to librarians?

This is dangerous for the patrons and the community in so many different ways... ...what about a knowledge of local needs, history, customs, etc. ...what about instruction (not all people can learn by online methods). ...not all people are trained or want computer assistance. ...is the community settling for sub-standard. ...does this setup possible funding and support from the community in the future, since only online librarians are supportng them.

After looking at the site, it seems better laid out and planned than the library at which I work (with 7 MLS librarians). From http://www.acdl.info/about/default.shtm: ACDL is an independent county district library, governed by a board of seven Trustees and funded by the State income tax. According to the Ohio Revised Code (3375.19), the definition of a county district library is a library composed of all local, exempted village, and city school districts in the county which are not within the territorial boundaries of an existing township, school district, municipal, county district, or county free public library. Kingsville is independent of Ashtabula County District Library ("ACDL"). ACDL has the 7 MLS holders I do not doubt (I probably should go in and count noses to be sure). Kingsville has none and cannot access the ones at ACDL. It does seem that the County library is providing links (and some supervision or direction). As I am on the ground locally I can say that that impression is wrong as they provide no supervision or direction. The page is an old one that was in use while all the local districts were supposed to create their own sites. It is unclear why Kingsville did not make their own links page. I hope the library pays for the director's BS completion and MLS it seems like she would make a wonderful librarian. The scuttlebutt according to the circ clerks at Ashtabula County District Library (which does not serve or have anything to do with the area Kingsville serves) indicated that Pape was hired because the library supposedly could not afford an MLS. As far as I am aware she is not getting financial help for education.

First and foremost, you identified the wrong consortium (I should know because I live a 20-25 minute drive away from the library discussed). Kingsville Public Library is in Ashtabula County, not Cuyahoga (where Christine Borne is from). All the Council of Ashtabula County Libraries is happens to be a shared ILS consortium and little more. Unlike consortiums elsewhere, there is no central authority here. This is no UN but a very loosely defined League of Nations that is not even cohesive. Some local libraries do not have their own websites and their in-house computers can default to the CACL homepage instead. All CACL's page is linking to is resources available through the Ohio Public Library Information Network. Why is that problematic? OPLIN is going to be cut harder than individual libraries in the currently proposed budget cuts. Kingsville Public Library just had passed a major tax levy which for an Ohio public library is a quite rare thing to accomplish, though. Where oh where is the money going? Why can they not afford to pay an MSLS/MLS/MLIS?

In a Star Beacon article today (which was not available online before I had to run into the Harbor to sub) it was noted that library services were apparently being de-emphasized and instead the agency was turning more into a community/recreation center that had a book collection rather than a library. Visual inspection says as much when I occasionally visit that CACL library. Under Ohio's laws that is doing something through the back door (a separate statute governs recreation centers and provides authorities for townships to have such things in existence). There is no MLS there at all (I am Warriors graduate just like you and yet am still here). Something is a wee bit odd...

Kingsville's library is separate and independent from the county library district. The two are different taxing districts and actually have not one thing to do with each other (one is not subordinate to the other). A county-wide ILS is provided by the Council of Ashtabula County Libraries but that is all that consortium does. Kingsville has no MLS on staff and no access except through KnowItNow24X7 (an LSSI service contracted for through the State Library of Ohio). The county district covers all the townships and other communities in the county that are not already part of a different district. I live in the county-wide district. There are seven other independent districts, of which Kingsville is one, though...

After looking at the site, it seems better laid out and planned than the library at which I work (with 7 MLS librarians).

It does seem that the County library is providing links (and some supervision or direction). It seems to have a number of varied programs to serve the community.

If, and this would be a paradigm shift, librarians were not required to have an MLS than this would be as far as I can tell a well run library. I think librarians should have the MLS primarily because I had to get one (even though I also have an undergraduated degree in LIS). Sort of an I did it so you have to as well. Not to say that I don't know some real bonehead MLS holders, or some brilliant undergraduate degree holders who could sleep through library school with an A+ average and make wonderful librarians.

I hope the library pays for the director's BS completion and MLS it seems like she would make a wonderful librarian.

Do you really want patrons to have to leave the 'reference desk' (You can't have a real reference desk without MLS librarians if you ask me) to go to an Internet computer to ask a reference question?

Why not then fire everyone and replace them with minimum wage workers, who needs a director if you can find a librarian online. The idea of these ask a librarian services is that they are cooperative services with librarians throughout the state answering questions. It does not seem like the Kingsville library is doing its share if it has no librarians on staff to answer questions.

What is even more surprising is that Ohio requires (see Ohio Code § 3357) county librarians to be certified by the state board of library examiners. It would seem that the County librarian would be the librarian responsible for this smaller branch. The Ohio library laws are really a mismash of antiquated rules (it describes railroad fare reimbursement). It seems to me that the librarians in the state of Ohio have done little to advance the profession, or for that matter to make it clear that it is a profession.

N.B. For a link to Ohio's unusual certification rules see here

Makes me want to write a letter to Dear Abby, these whippersnappers today....

Note, however, that the "Research Databases" link on that library's homepage leads to a page from the Cuyahoga County consortium which includes links to KnowItNow24x7 and ReadThisNow. So Kingsville patrons (like all Ohio residents) can get research help and readers' advisory services from degreed librarians anytime they want -- they just have to look for them online instead of in person.

Besides, KnowItNow succeeds because librarians across the state participate to staff it.

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