Employment & Work Stories

Allegations of racism surface at Louisiana libraries

Bossier Parish Police Juror is calling for changes to the Bossier Parish Library System after past and present employees have brought forward allegations of racism and race-based hiring.

Library employees allege a laundry list of racist practices in the hiring and treatment of black employees by the library administration, which employees say came to a head last fall when an assistant cataloguer who is white, mentioned a need to use a whip for motivation in front of two black employees.

Seattle Director IS Named Today

Possibly later today, one of three finalists, profiled and pictured in this Seattle PI article will be named Director of the Seattle Public Library.

A selection committee will recommend one of three finalists to the post as early as today. They are Susan Hildreth, the California state librarian; Jane Light, who heads the San Jose Public Library; and Rivkah Sass, director of the Omaha Public Library. The previous Seattle city librarian, Deborah Jacobs, left in July to take a job at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

If you hear/see the announcement, please let us know the results...THANKS Heidi, it's Susan Hildreth.

Finalists Picked for the Seattle Library

Time to do the 'Director Job Shuffle' dance.

Seattle PI: A search committee on Tuesday, announced three finalists for the top position of the Seattle Public Library.

The committee, appointed by the library's board of trustees, narrowed the field for the position of city librarian/CEO to the following: Susan Hildreth, the state librarian of California; Jane E. Light, director of the San Jose (Calif.) Public Library; and Rivkah K. Sass, executive director of the Omaha (Neb.) Public Library.

Running this state of the art library system will not only take an extraordinary director and librarian, it will require someone who can handle all the many needs of the $290.7 million "Libraries for All" project. In the past ten years, there have been four new libraries in communities without library service, the replacement, expansion or renovation of 22 existing branches, and of course the new Central Library.

Who would be your pick?

Librarian's Widow Wins Damages

Lakewood NJ: The Board of Education has agreed to pay $32,500 to settle a lawsuit brought by the widow of a former librarian whom she said died partly because of harassment from his co-workers and superiors.

Cheryl A. Watson, in her complaint filed with the state Superior Court in April 2007, claimed Assistant Superintendent Joseph C. Attardi, Assistant Principal Anne D. Luick, teacher and librarian Roz Renner, and other school officials discriminated against her late husband, George Watson Jr., because of his race and disabilities.

Here is his 2005 obituary.

UC Librarians Deserve a Raise

The American Federation of Teachers, on behalf of University of California librarians, began talks Nov. 5 over librarian salaries and the availability of professional development funds. Negotiators aim to raise librarian salaries to a level comparable to those at the California State University and California community college systems.

The negotiations will also address economic concerns that have risen over the past several years, including childcare support and tuition waivers for librarians. The talks follow negotiations held last spring between UC-AFT negotiators and university administrators regarding all noneconomic concerns raised by UC librarians and UC-AFT.

UCSD Guardian reports: UC-AFT has expressed alarm over the UC campuses losing several places in the annual Association of Research rankings. Negotiators attribute this drop to unsatisfactory recruitment and retention rates for UC librarians.

According to UC-AFT, these retention problems are a result of uncompetitive salary rates when compared to those offered by private sector libraries, California public libraries, CSU campuses and community college libraries.

Editorial: Brooklyn Tech Librarian is Owed an Apology by City agencies

In today's New York Daily News (NYC's 'picture newspaper'), the editorial board criticizes the city for penalizing Brooklyn Tech librarian Robert Grandt for promoting his daughter's book and contributing free copies to the high school library.

Here is the LISNews original article about the incident.

On the Lookout for a New Director

Hear ye, hear ye! The Los Altos Town Crier tells us that their town is looking for a new Library Director.

A change of leadership is in progress at the Los Altos libraries following Community Librarian Cheryl Houts’ departure for the Campbell library system Oct. 3. Children’s Program Librarian Jill Lakstigala is filling in until Houts’ successor is selected. Deputy County Librarian Melinda Cervantes said that recruitment is under way and she expects an appointment by the end of the month.

A Day in the Life of a Homebound Outreach Librarian

Two librarians like any other (apart from the feather boas maybe?)...

Julie Thomas and Joyce Harrow are in charge of the Brumback Library's Homebound Outreach Service Program which takes library materials to nursing homes and individuals who can not travel to the library themselves. Here is their typical day.

LIS Prof. William Brace from Dominican University Has Died

Dr. William Brace 79, professor of library and information science at Rosary College--now Dominican University in River Forest--died on Wednesday, Oct. 1, an apparent heart attack. He had taught Library and Information sciences for nearly four decades.

The first time Dr. William Brace met his future wife, she darn near killed him. As the story goes, the two were graduate students at the University of Chicago in the early 1950s, when one day they found themselves sitting next to each other in class.

"That was back in the day when you'd light up a cigarette right at your desk," recalled his wife of 51 years, Pam. "I was smoking Pall Malls, which he was deathly allergic to, and he began sneezing and coughing uncontrollably. Later he told people, 'She nearly asphyxiated me, but it at least got me to notice her.' "

That same sense of humor, former colleagues say, helped Dr. Brace connect with students over his long career. Obituary from the Chicago Tribune.

Turning The Page: Riverside libraries are schizo

Sounds like a great gig! " Riverside libraries are schizo."
Job opening: Interim director, Riverside library.
Job description: Oversees largely decrepit Main Library and new and/or remodeled branches (staffing optional).
Qualifications: Must be proficient at recruiting volunteers -- including for your own position! Must enforce gag order forbidding library employees from speaking to media and customers about library policies. Must be able to reply, "Don't hold your breath" when asked about downtown library expansion. Reports to city manager's office. Must consent to frontal lobotomy.


Subscribe to Employment & Work Stories