I'm not a hater I'm a f*****

One of the two circuits that serves the Internet terminals was down for several hours today. Rather than 40 ish public Internet terminals we had 8. A patron signed up for a computer and had his wife sign up for a computer (not disclosing that they were together). When they were passing the infant back and forth and letting their other child play games on the Internet I asked them to use only one terminal during the outage. Well I am a f***** according to him.


Now you don't get to use either terminal, have a nice day.


Come on people it is the Internet not a liver transplant; whatever you have to do can wait until someone else gets off a machine. If it is that critical shell out the twenty bucks and sign up at home Mr. "I need it for business."

My paraprofessional associates are very set in their ways and they don't do things when I ask them to. This will continue until the end of the week when I will make things quite clear to them. The Adult / Reference department goes through librarians quite quickly in fact the 2 librarians that were last here lasted just over a year each. I'm not going away and the paraprofessional staff may not like the way I do things, but since I am responsible for the department (the dept head quit after interviewing me but before I started) we will do things my way.


The cataloging department thinks its hilarious when I tell them the stories about the nasty looks I get when I weed the 1995-2002 Time World Almanacs and the old Old Farmers Almanacs. WTF do we need them for?


Change is not liked by the paraprofessional staff, too bad for them.

Comments

Re:age?

Only by at least 2 probably like 3 decades. Some of the volunteers I think are dead, but no one bothered to tell them. (I'm not telling the vol's, they work harder than the paras :>)

suggestions

I'm not a manager nor am I in a PL situation, but I find your tone when discussing the paras a little...derisive as if they have nothing to offer. (Maybe that's true, I don't know.) So I hope you don't mind me commenting and making suggestions.

As a so-called "paraprofessional" (sorry, but I really, really hate that word) might I suggest that instead of just doing wholesale change that you include the paras in your plans. Did you ever ask why they kept the old editions of the almanacs? I keep a few years of guinness and almanacs but then my kids don't really care if it's current. Granted that probably isn't the reason they've kept theirs...but you won't know unless you ask. Maybe they don't know either!

Sit down with your staff and explain to them WHY you want to make the changes you do, maybe ask them for some suggestions for change. You don't have to use any of their suggestions but people, in general, are more willing to cooperate if they have some input. If the why of the changes are explained they may be more accepting more quickly; they can't read your mind ;). Keep in mind that people are often _scared_ of change, especially when it is thrust upon them suddenly.

It can be difficult for staff when you get a new supervisor at whatever level--I know because we had a new principal last year and it was stressful and not a little scary--we didn't know her, she didn't know us, and she was new at being an admin. However, she didn't come in and steamroll us with her ideas--she looked at what we were doing--made suggestions for improvements and sought our input when doing something new or different.

It probably sounds a little like feel good management and maybe it is...I think you need to stand your ground, but at the same time, maintain an open, flexible attitude.

If you want your staff to act professionally (or, ahem, "paraprofessionally") then treat them that way. Maybe you're already doing all I suggested and I'm just wasting bandwith...

Anyhow, I wish you the best of luck with it all...

s/

Great to have you back!

Welcome Back! It's good to see your postings again. Too bad about your internet riots.

Guns blazing

Hmmm...you might consider packing less heat as a new manager. Your ambition and ideas are laudable, and probably on-target, but it can be hell on a department or unit or any organziation to have a new person introduced into the mix who doesn't have any sort of institutional history to draw on and commences to change things the minute he or she sets foot in the door. No, the paras or even the Librarian staff don't have to like you, but a bit more grace and finesse might go a long way with a new staff.

I'm curious to know if you are in a union environment. If so you might study the contract closely. What seem like useful, necessary changes to you, might be grievable to a union employee who has been doing his/her job a certain way for a long time. Just some friendly thoughts for your consideration.


Good luck!

age?

Why do I get the feeling that your para's are older than you?

Re:Guns blazing

No, no union. I'm sure these ladies won't let me get away with too much. I may want to kill them, but since I am opposed to killing people I am not allowed to (it's probably illegal too).


The fact that we have no department head (and I don't want the job although I am doing all the work now) makes it kind of rough because there is no neutral party to which everyone can bitch. (So I bitch to my loving friends on LISNews.)


The librarians who worked in the Adult Services department who have gone on to cataloging or to be the Asst. Director think it is hilarious that I am weeding and rolling the carts right by the reference desk. They say they wanted to do the same thing, but we all wonder how long I can get away with it. We figure about 3 weeks.


Too bad I can't be nasty to women; it would be even harder to be nasty to women around my mom's age.


So we will see come the end of the week who caves in first. (Come on we all know it is going to be me, I can't push motherly types.) [They conned me into putting away 4 cases of copier paper and I was not allowed to leave them in the box, each ream had to go on the shelf.] It beats being urinated upon.


Oh and in case anyone didn't work a reference desk today it is IRS extension deadline day and everyone needed IRS form 2688. I printed a copy out from the IRS website after the 2nd person asked me and left a copy on the desk (for others to copy and give back) one of the people in department kept giving it away. I thought the patients were out to get me as a nurse, I know the patrons and paras are out to get me as a librarian.


I still love my job though.

Re:suggestions

Thanks, slashgirl. I don't mean to sound derisive and I know that these ladies know more about the library and how things work than I do -and will for some time since they have been there years (one for 10+ years) and I have been there little more than a week.


I did ask if anyone saw a need to keep some of the older almanacs and Guinness books and they all said no, but I got mean looks when I weeded them.


Sit down with the staff, is a fantastic idea but there are already a half dozen nonsense meetings a week, and I have to teach a computer class every other day.


I hate the term paraprofessionals too, I refer to us all collectively as staff.


I am of the impression that change is best accomplished from the beginning and quickly. You know a new broom sweeps clean. They know I'm not going to fire anyone (I assume the Director would have to approve that and that's not going to happen; and I have not known these people long enough to really make a decision). I figure I have about 2 more weeks before they complain about me. Perhaps it is a testosterone based management philosophy, but it worked for me before. Although I didn't have 4 motherly types as my co-workers before.


What is a better term for paraprofessional? I am partial to reference department staff. I do also call them by name, or Mrs. whatever until they ask me to call them by their first name.


All 5 of us work tomorrow. I think I will have a what do you expect from me, and what do we want to do for the department meeting - probably individually but together if possible. I have to weed the ready reference collection and put stuff back on the shelves, according to a report I printed I have 736 ready reference titles I don't need that many (a new thread here!) so I'll solicit input from everyone and actually do it even though it may not have been exactly what I picked.


Oh well, live and learn only the patrons are cursing me not my co-workers...so far.

Thanks everyone

Thanks for reading my vent. Now that I have read it several hours after writing it I realize, geez I'm a dick.


Well at least I sound like a dick. I guess I'm not as inflexible as I sound. I think Rochelle and Slashgirl are probably right that I will get more flies with sugar than by being a putz. I suppose after doing something one way for 10 years they are not going to quickly change no matter what I do.


I am used to people doing what I ask of them and not making decisions about when they will get to it but IBM and nursing are a bit different from a library, I guess they will get to it when they are done with what they feel is more important. I guess it will require some adjustment on my part to realize that nothing happens quickly in a library. After all it was >2 months from application to hire so the wheels turn slowly at libraries.


Or it could just be the 9 cups of coffee I have to stay up after noon time. Either way, I'm not going to change things overnight or overfortnight (new word call Webster).


Stand by for more venting in the coming days. Right now Power's Gold Label is calling my name.

Re:suggestions

I realise you were venting...but I guess since I'm an LT, I just notice stuff like that more.

Maybe when you're weeding the books, don't let the paras know exactly what you're doing. It may not be the specific books you're getting rid of that bothers them, it may be the fact you are getting rid of any books. Especially if they're to be going in the trash. Some of the teachers here NEVER throw anything out. When we combined the two smaller schools to make the one we're in now--some of the stuff that came over from the school I didn't work at. 1974 adult level Encyclopaedia Brittanica; first of all, the thing was almost 30 years old, never mind that the kids couldn't use it even it were new!!! That left the building quickly. Teachers at the school I wasn't at basically told the LT there what to pack--it might've got by her, but it DIDN'T get by me. It was scary! Of course, I had to pretend a few things "must've gotten lost in the move". Not many tho'.

I often sneak things out to the day janitor during class time so that teachers don't see me getting rid of stuff. Most stuff if it's in half decent shape goes in my used book sale for the kids at the end of the year. But some of the donations I get? Not even worth ten cents at the sale.

That reminds me, I have to do a major weed of the chapter books this year--I know have quite a few that haven't gone out since before we were in the new school...

As to what to use other than paraprofessional? I haven't the foggiest. In our school board, educational assistants, secretaries, and LTs (basically non teaching staff) are referred to as support staff, which I don't mind. Of course, the kids (and most teachers) refer to me as a librarian. The kids neither know nor care that there's a difference...and frankly, that's true with the teachers, too. Since most people get a glazed look in their eyes when I do try to explain, I don't bother anymore. Although, in the school handbook and the school website (which I maintain)I am correctly IDed as an LT. I think within a library, referring to employees in, say, reference as "reference staff" is fine. Other people may not agree with it, though.

s/

2000 Farmer's Almanac

Hang on to that one. I think I have an article in it.

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