Employment & Work Stories

Hartford Librarians Accept Cutbacks to Reduce Lay-Offs

Hartford Courant reports: Full- and part-time unionized employees of the Hartford Public Library voted overwhelmingly to roll back pay increases and hours that they had agreed to work during fiscal 2008-09 in an attempt to eliminate further layoffs.

The 42-4 vote in favor of a new contract took place Monday night at the Hartford Public Library on Main Street. The vote means that workers who previously agreed to increase their hours from 37.5 to 40 hours a week would continue working 37.5 hours a week, officials said after the union meeting. The fiscal year started July 1.

Geraldine Sullivan, library board president, said it "might help somewhat. It was a very generous gesture."

Milford MA New Director is Open for Suggestions

Wickedlocal reports...A new chapter started yesterday at the Milford Town Library, with Susan Edmonds, formerly of Boston's George Fingold Library, taking over as director and establishing stability for a staff that has worked under three bosses in three months in a newly renovated library.

Edmonds said she's ready to lead, but first has to get her bearings.

On day 1, Edmonds had to check with staff to see how to get into the locked Milford Room, which showcases the town's history.
When a staff member in circulation told Edmonds her staff key would open the door, the new director halted and smiled, saying, "Oh, I don't have one yet." And when the phone rang in her office, "I gotta learn how to use this," she said, picking it up to say, "Hello, this is Susan."

At the state library in Boston, Edmonds worked in technical services, as the library systems manager, assistant director and head of services. Before that, at the Somerville Public Library, she was reference librarian, circulation supervisor and technical services librarian.

"I've been everything else, but," she said of the director's job. "And I enjoy what I did but this was an opportunity I couldn't miss, pass up."

Subject Experts Need Not Apply

Todd Gilman Says Recent job postings and hires suggest that many academic libraries are losing interest in hiring humanities Ph.D.'s. As a librarian at Yale University who has watched the job market in recent years, I've noticed a rather disturbing turn of events — one that is gaining steam and undermining the likelihood that M.A.'s and Ph.D.'s in the humanities will be able to choose librarianship as a career.

Many recent job postings for humanities librarians, reference librarians, or those specializing in research education do not list subject expertise as a requirement.

A Medical Leave Turns Into Early Retirement

In an effort to find "transparency and integrity in government", Carroll Ann Kelly, former director of the Huntington (NY) Library has brought to light her suit against her employers for discharging her after seventeen years of employment.

The dispute began last fall when Kelly's doctor provided her with a note instructing her to take medical leave because of a chronic and recurrent condition, which Kelly and her attorney declined to disclose. She also provided a note that said her return date would be January 2008. The board required that she submit an "Authorization for Release of Health Information" form, which she declined to do, pointing to a library policy of only requiring a written note from a medical provider for sick leave. More from Long Island's Newsday.

Does the Medici Effect Work for Libraries?

Eric Schnell asks Does the Medici Effect Work for Libraries? "Libraries looking to become more innovative can do so by intentionally creating an environment/organization in the Medici Effect can occur. This can be accomplished very simply by strategic reassignment of staff in key areas as the candidate did."

Fired library director sues: Staff Members Allege "irrational" Behavoir

The Safe Libraries Guy sent over A Strange Tale from Michigan (Not Georgia) on a Library Director who is alleging she was fired for questioning the city's authority over the library. Staff members said she spoke through a puppet at meetings, talked about her sex life, berated and harassed workers, asked employees to spy on each other, and moved furniture in an upstairs room in 2006 without her top, wearing only a bra.

"While she might be perfectly fine with her body, the rest of us don't particularly want to see it," one worker wrote to the city.

She was basically accused of acting irrational at work, something her attorney vehemently denies.

Living with myself as a law firm librarian

explodedlibrary.info has an interesting post Living with myself as a law firm librarian Morgan writes:

This leads back to my initial dilemma – what happens if I am indirectly helping a client do things which conflict with my personal values? Well I'll still do my best for that client. This is when I need to trust in the system and hope that the lawyers (and law librarians, if any are involved) on the other side do their best job, and that the judge or jury get it right, and that eventually a fairer outcome is reached. As a law firm librarian, I don't just work for lawyers (directly) and clients (indirectly), both of these things are a part of working for the legal system.

Finally Off the Library Market

Sixteen job applications, five first-round interviews, three second-round interviews, and seven (or so) months after finishing my master's in library science, Maura A. Smale landed a great position at an academic library in New York City. She says it's a pleasure (and a relief) to be writing from the tenure track.

Firing the Librarians in Humble ISD

I am a middle school librarian in Humble ISD (Humble, Texas) who taught English for many years. This district is seriously considering firing all of its librarians. (See news article: http://www.click2houston.com/education/16488867/detail.html ). Is there any advocacy ALA can provide? Jordan Sonnenblick, young adult novelist and national spokesman for Authors Support Intellectual Freedom, has helped tremendously by emailing listservs, as well as our board and our local media. I have included all the email addresses for our board members as well as the local media below. Is there anything ALA can do to help us save our jobs? -- Read More

Librarian career choice made fun of in the Onion

Report: Women Increasingly Choosing Dead-End Careers Over Dead-End Relationships: "In addition to an overall increase in those settling for absolutely futureless secretarial or librarian positions, the study showed that more women are now choosing dead-end occupations conventionally dominated by men, such as accounting and data entry."

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