Employment & Work Stories

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."

Norfolk (Canada) Deputy Librarian Walks Out On Her Job

The deputy CEO of Norfolk’s (Ontario) library system has resigned. Terri Pope, a branch librarian in Simcoe before she was promoted in 2006, left her post last week. Officials close to the situation suggest her departure was abrupt. "All I know is she cleaned out her desk, dropped off her keys and left a voicemail saying she would no longer be part of this organization," Bill Hett, acting CEO of the county library system and Norfolk’s general manager of community services, said yesterday. "I don’t know her future plans."

Library board chair Tom Morrison, of Port Dover, also suggested yesterday that Pope’s departure was abrupt. Morrison said Pope provided no notice. "I would have expected more professional courtesy," he said. "But we’re fortunate that, with the administrative team we have in place, we’ll be able to get through this with a minimum of turbulence." Canoe News.

CA Political Candidate: recognize this [fired] librarian for her noble resolve

Conway should back library assistant:

"It is reckless and irresponsible in a predominantly Christian community such as our own, to allow a good person to to be targeted and punished for a selfless act of protecting our children and our families from sexual predators. Thank God for people such as this librarian, I only wish those who act supposedly on our behalf were as selfless and beneficial to our community.
I firmly believe that the death penalty would make a fine deterrent to those that act in such egregious capacity against our children."

Here's the backstory in a March LISNews report on the firing of Brenda Biesterfield.

An Indomitable Spirit: The Eight Hundred of CUPE 391

Anita Galanopoulos sent over a Link To An Indomitable Spirit: The Eight Hundred of CUPE 391. The article documents the three-month strike for pay equity by the Unionized workers of the Vancouver Public Library.

Successful Novelist Began As A Librarian...at Harrod's

If you've ever been to Harrod's in London, you're not likely to forget it (love those Food Halls). Penny Vincenzi remembers it fondly.

From The Independent UK, here's Vincenzi's story. She is the acclaimed author of 14 novels and chair of the new £10,000 Desmond Elliott (first novel) Prize, but her very first job was to hand out other people's books in the Harrod's store in Knightsbridge.

"There were far more private lending libraries then," she explains. "Boots had one. At Harrods, you got a book straight away; you just rang up and ordered it and it was delivered that afternoon, sometimes by horse-drawn van." As a humble member of staff, young Penny did not enter the main Harrods building like the smart customers but used another, over the road, connected to it by a tunnel.

She would slip into a green wrap-around garment, "a horrible green, so unflattering, like joke cleaning-ladies' overalls". Emerging from the subterranean route, she would go to her appointed desk in the library on the fourth floor. There were 12 desks, each with one senior and two junior librarians who dealt with customers in person or over the phone."

One More on Biesterfield

This story from KMPH and another from the Fresno Bee concludes that Tulare County CA library aide Brenda Biesterfield was fired for cause, that being her inadequate job performance.

Specifically: "Ms. Biesterfeld received an evaluation following three months of her employment and received an overall rating of 5 on a scale of 10. Goals for improvement included the proper completion of the cash report, proper documentation of the collection of fines, the importance of seeking clarification of policies and procedures, developing clerical skills, working on assigned tasks and keeping her supervisors informed of all problems and community complaints. Ms. Biesterfeld failed to improve..."

"Regarding the specific incident... Ms. Biesterfeld did not tell her supervisors that the patron was accessing child pornography, and thereafter she neglected to notify anyone in management of the events which transpired, including the suspect's arrest until after they had occurred and failed to advise that the library's computer had been seized... There were additional performance deficiencies and policy violations that were discovered which led to her release."

Today's LA Times features an op-ed by Christopher D. Greene in support of Biesterfield's actions here.

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