mdoneil's blog


Today is the day on which Operation Overlord was launched in 1944.

You remember hearing about that, a lunatic was murdering people by the thousands and the US got involved to save them, liberate the people and assist in establishing democratic governments.

Oh, yeah that time people were behind the president and troops not whining leftists.

For more information look here

Supply and Demand

I just came back from a conference in NYC that was quite interesting. A number of librarians, or perhaps former librarians spoke about really interesting things regarding search. Since I now work in a large professional services firm dealing with B2E, B2C, and .com search I found it very illuminating.

What I also found illuminating is a talk I had with some people from Ernst & Young (not the firm I work for) who are looking for, and not finding, qualified taxonomists and search analysts. These jobs are perfect for librarians as we (at least I) understand the concepts, practices, and procedures behind search. If you are familiar with Automony, WebSideStory,Fast, and similar search vendors you could work in corporate America for a decent salary.

There is truly a shortage of librarians - librarians that have the skills to work in the corporate enviornment. The salaries demonstrate that. One can easily double an entry level librarian salary by moving to a corporate position.

On the contrary there is no shortage of librarians willing to sell themeselves short. Librarians willing to work for $32K abound. There obviously cannot be a shortage of these librarians as the salarys speak volumes.

I may have an MBA, but I didn't need it to understand supply and demand. If you want to double your salary look to E&Y or other firms, the demand is there but the supply is short.

I had no qualms about leaving public service for the private sector, after all altruism does not pay the light bill.

The ALA has been yanking librarians around for years about the forthcoming librarian shortage and they are still full of crap. I talked to people who are doing the hiring, people who are offering real salaries for qualified professionals with marketable skills. Check the websites of the big firms for positions that can utilize your skills. Don't buy the crap the ALA is feeding you, don't sell yourself short. Market yourself and more importantly your skills and improve the profession. If we filled all the corporate positions available perhaps there would really be a public librarian shortage.

Anybody going to the Enterprise Search Summit in NYC

My firm is sending me to the Enterprise Search Summit in NYC next week. If anyone else is going and wants to meet up for lunch or something let me know. It looks like a really interesting program.

I may also ask to go to ALA in June, but the web site is a real pain in the behind. The schedules are .pdf files with swirly designs and white text on black background in parts. Hard to read online and white on black does not really lend itself to printing. The ALA did its usual poor web design job again.

Last reference question.

My last reference question as a public librarian was":"Who wrote the Harry Potter series?" Truthfully it was not a reference question but a reference statement since the patron said. "I forgot who wrote the Harry Potter series." Being the brilliant reference librarian I am, I turned that statement into a correctly formed reference question.

I of course told the patron Agatha Christie. After all it was my last day.

Limerick of resignation

The Human Resources (a politically correct nonsense term for personnel - a delightful word in its own right) person wanted me to send a written resignation just so all the I's were dotted and the T's crossed.

Anyone can write a letter of resignation, and in fact I wrote some for other people that left recently. But that just wouldn't be me. I like the library and I like the people with whom I worked so I thought something original was needed.


It is my last day as a public librarian. If I don't stab anyone with a pencil it will be smooth sailing.

3 hours and 30 minutes (ish) left to go. I've got a starbucks 20 ounce house blend, two biscoti, I'm wearing sunglasses and the first hurricane of the season is forming over Detroit ( ).

Life is very good sometimes.

In case you get elected to to the House or Senate

Some news station is asking our representatives to sing the National Anthem. Here is the first verse:


Some woman just yelled at me because I would not help her get a copy of her telephone bill on the computer.

I did direct her to the site, I sat her at a computer, opened up the site and showed her how to fill in the boxes.

I am not going to make up her user name, make up her password, enter her account information, enter her secret question and answer and jump through hoops.

I got her to the stream she can drink for herself.

Want to work in Florida?

The library at which I currently work has a few openings. I have sent them to Dr. de la Pena McCook at the local Library School and they were on their mail list today, but feel free to apply. CVs have started to come in from some very qualified people.

The positions are:

Library Assistant II (31 hrs)$9-13/hr

1 position in Circulation, 1 position in Automation (IT) 1 position in Children's Services

There is also a Librarian I position, my job in Adult Services.



I am done being a public librarian - well I have 2 more weeks, but then that's it. I'm going back into the private sector. I've been very quiet about this until the official paperwork arrived - I've only told one other librarian. I didn't want throw a wrench into the works.

While my MLS did help me get my new job, it was not pivotal, my IT & business background were very important. So back to the private sector - one of the Big 4 accounting firms in fact.

I liked being a public librarian - for about four or five months. Then I got tired of being the copier repair man, the "How do I attach something to an email message" guy, the quit looking at porn dude, and the feces remover from the men's room floor because I am the only male working.

Librarians are underpaid and forced to do things that are not their responsibility. You want change for the copier? See a clerk not the librarian. You want help with email, take a class somewhere - the library, the computer store, a local college, but I can't hold your hand while you send pictures of the grandchildren around. You want to find journal articles about hypothyroidism treatment; I'm your man. You want to know what else to read if you like Lisa Scottoline - yep that's me too.

However librarians have long wanted to be helpful people and that I feel is their downfall. Librarians of the world, throw of your chains. Say no once in a while. Refuse to give computer repair help over the phone, refuse to read all the titles of all of the CDs the library holds to a patron that called. Refuse to change a tire. I've had all of these requests and I said no.

I like librarianship, but it is only one step up from indentured servitude. I don't need a whole lot of money, but I need enough to be able to support a family. When a gallon of gas is 1/1000 of your salary you have to make choices and I choose to make a decent living. I wish all librarians the same.

I see the change in librarianship like the change in nursing - more clerks and technicians doing work previously performed by professionals. At least nurses have the nurse practice act to delineate their professional practice; librarians are at the whims of their professional organization, which is nothing more than an impotent PAC.

I'll still be around at LISNews and I'll keep abreast of what is going on in the profession, but I doubt I'll ever be a public librarian again.

Not that it was all terrible. I did meet some interesting people, I learned a great deal about things you can only learn by doing - collection development, reference interviews, readers' advisory. I also met some truly brilliant people and I gained a wonderful insight into how slowly the wheels of bureacracy grind in the public sector. I also made many wonderful friends whom I'll never forget.

Oh, and double - the title of this rambling missive, that is how much the private sector pays good librarians.

Bon Chance Mon Ami

ALA and BSA and Me

The various groups and functionaries at the ALA (the ALA has more committees, roundtables, groups and subcommittees that the Soviet Union did -although I think most of the members are the same) are debating sending a nasty letter to the Boy Scouts of America because of what the BSA believes, well two core beliefs really - God and traditional families.

The ALA (it really is the American Library Association even though they don't restrict their silliness to America or Libraries) in 1999 passed a resolution that said:

The American Library Association urges the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider their policy of discrimination in the areas of sexual orientation and religious belief and demonstrate a commitment to human rights, inclusiveness, and mutual respect.

This nonsense from an organization that purports to foster and promote First Amendment rights. For those of you (especially in the ALA) who forget what those rights actually are lets review:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

So the ALA thinks it is within its prerogative to tell a private group how to worship, what religious tenets to believe (that no homosexuality bit) and with whom they can assemble. If you looked up irony in the dictionary this would be the definition.

Being a reasonable organization the Boy Scouts of America did the prudent thing and ignored the whacko leftist ALA and continued its fine work of over 96 years helping young men grow into responsible adults.

Take a look at the BSA website at, look at the various programs: Scouting for Buddhists, Lutherans, Muslims; Lone Scout programs for those unable to join a troop because of location or infirmity. See what the Scouts have done for national defense during the two World Wars; see the service the Scouts provide to the National Park Service. More importantly look at what others think of Scouting as evidenced by some quotes reprinted on the site:

Scouting is an enormously important and useful discipline for young people, particularly young boys. It can build character and can awaken an appetite for learning.

-Raul Yzaguirre, president, National Council of La Raza

The Scouting program fosters development in youth and helps them become good citizens of their communities and loyal adherents to their religious heritage.

-Rabbi Binyamin Walfish, Rabbinical Council of America

The generation now being shaped by Scouting will be strengthened by deserved self-confidence and molded with its own history of kindness, bravery, honesty, and its all-out pursuit of excellence.

-Earl G. Graves, vice president, Boy Scouts of America, and publisher, Black Enterprise magazine

What has Scouting done for me as a former Scout, plenty. To this day I follow the Scout Oath:

On my honor I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my country

and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong,

mentally awake, and morally straight.

It is not so much a conscious decision now, but simply how I learned to be a good citizen and recognize the needs of others.

I didn't grow up to espouse Communism, embrace Marxism, or celebrate diversity - it is amazing they let me join ALA. I grew up when we were all in this boat together and we all worked toward a common goal - to make our nation and its people strong and self-sufficient. We didn't want to dwell on our diversity but on our similarity in this great melting pot. Do they still teach that in elementary school? Or are the kids being taught that they are unique - just like everyone else.

The Boy Scouts of America don't care what the ALA thinks, the American public cares little what the ALA thinks, and frankly every day I care less and less what the ALA thinks as they become more of a fringe group with each passing minute.

I'll happily remember everything I learned as a Boy Scout, and I'd be just as happy to never hear of the ALA again.

Revolving door?

I wonder if all the positions in public libraries that are filled by newly minted MLS degree holders are revolving doors. I talked with the assistant director at my library today and she remarked that she was surprised - as surprised as I - that I lasted this long. I've only been there since August 2004.

The person who had the position before me was a newly minted MLS and she only lasted a few months, and the support staff mentioned that they hated her. She was 26 and bossed around the 50 and 60 year old ladies who had been library assistants for decades. The head of the department left a few days before I was hired, she took a job a county north of us, and then moved back to Chicago after less than a year there.

I'm not used to this revolving door stuff. I spent 10+ years as an RN while getting two Masters Degrees and then I went to Big Blue where I worked for six years while getting my MLS. I'm 40 years old, I can't be that old school but where I come from longevity is measured in years and not months.

I don't know if there is some test of new librarians but I sure think I passed it. My department recently took an informal vote of no confidence in our department head and each person in the department told my boss - without my prompting nor knowledge- that I should be made department head. Unfortunately that is a position I do not want as I had it on an interim basis for six months and the headaches are not worth the extra $2K.

So do other new librarians go through the revolving door? Do they stay in librarianship and if so why? Is it the six years of college and virtually no other jobs available? Is it the love of the profession?

I need to make this choice soon, and there are other variables in it for me now that I've hit 40. Come the end of this month or the beginning of the next I have to decide about public librarianship, another position I've interviewed for that pays 1.93 times what I make, a third position for which I've interviewed that pays 1.77 times what I make or Medical School at Universidad del Mayab (which pays zilch but is #1 in the running). Unfortunately public librarianship is coming in last right now, despite the fact that I really like being a librarian and serving the public.

How very interesting

The discussions on LISNews always intrest me. I have really enjoyed the discussions in the last few weeks. I like to see it when the stories have a lot of responses. Sometimes I do use hyperbole to strech my points, but I do so enjoy reading the opinons that everyone else has.

So thanks everyone for making LISNews a more fun place -even if, and perhaps especially if - you disagree with me.

Thanks for participating my online amigos.

What the hell?

I have to assume that is some sort of bot. All of the comments are the exact same thing and they are nothing but nonsensical lists of URLs.

I certainly hope the moderations are bots too because if real human people here are moderating it as funny there is really something wrong with the people who visit LISNews.

What does this stuff mean?

"Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Murray State University is an equal education and employment opportunity, M/F/D, AA employer."

OK I get most of it but what the heck is M/F/D? Male, Female, Dead? I assume AA means affirmative action, but could it be Alcoholics Anonymous. It seems that affirmative action is out of the question if it is an equal employment opportunity employer.

Either it is affirmative action or it is not. If it give preference to minorities and other under-represented librarians then it is not equal opportunity as you can't give perference to one group and equally consider the others.

I think the position would be an enjoyable and interesting job, but I doubt I'll get it.

Primarily because I don't often apply to places which use such - if you'll pardon the term- bullshit in their job adverts, but because they are apparently not looking for a white male librarian. Even though I am a very good white male librarian -at least I have been told this by others I consider very good librarians.

It is sad that we all have to play these games looking for librarians to represent some demographic. It is too bad we just can't find good librarians who can do the job. In Mexico when they want a woman under thirty the advertise for a woman under thirty. Why bother wasting people's time. If you want a blind Japanses bilingual woman just say so in the advert and save the rest of us a lot of time and trouble.

AA, M/F/D, KFC, stop the acronyms that serve only to obfuscate and hire the person most qualified, if we hire the best applicant, admit the best applicant, engage the best applicant, we will soon find that everyone else steps up to the bar to be the best applicant. If we give preference to one group based on anyhting - hat size, angle of nasolabial fold, how many pennies they have in their shoes, then we are not getting the best, just the one who fit the mold. We are told to think outside the box, yet we create little boxes for personnel to fill.

Sorry Murray State, you may be Kentucky's Ivy but I don't think you will hire me. I may just apply to see what the letter looks like.

I laughed so hard I hurt my elbow

I just read some nonsense that I found so funny I laughed so hard my elbow hurts and I don't recall hitting it on anything.

Library Juice has a piece about Rory staging an electronic sit in or at least participating in a virtual sit in.

Apparently he is mad at France for trying to lower their unemployment rate. Anyway, he has a browser open to a page that calls several French government web pages and refreshes it over and over. Oh my, that will upset them.

Tomato or tonic?

We implemented a new computer policy this morning... a policy that is not written down anywhere. We discussed it, and it was implemented (more or less as we discussed) but no one ever wrote it down and had the director sign off on it.

The patrons are pissed, the staff is upset, and somehow it has become my problem.

The big problem is the only thing alcoholic in my house is listerene or after shave.

What is the better mixer with that tomato juice or tonic?

Eats, shoots, and leaves befuddled.

I went to dinner tonight at a nearby Japanese steakhouse. I had to drive past a pharmacy I pass every day on the way to work. Last week their sign said:

We except all Medicare Part D plans.

I stopped in to get a frosty cold beverage and told the kid at the register that the sign was spelled wrong and she said she would tell the manager.

Later on in the week it was changed to:

We Acept all Medicare Part D plans.

Letters from the dead: Stop selling me out.

I feel so cheap and used. Today I got another solicitation from MBNA to get the ALA Platinum Plus Credit Card. Gerald Hodges (RIP) the Associate Executive Director, Communications and Marketing for the ALA wrote to tell me what a wonderful offer it was.

I have only one comment, STOP SELLING MY INFORMATION. I opted out when I was a member, I recall that I had to opt out each year I renewed (well both years I renewed) because they didn't carry that information over from one year to the next. Now I no longer belong so I can't check the opt out box.

Life grunt 2/24

815 Got up

816 threw clean shirt in dryer to unwrinkle so I don't have to iron

817 fed cats

818 took shower

825 got shirt from dryer, got pants from hanger and got dressed.

828 had a big glass of diet Coke

832 left for work

840 got stuck behind school bus. I hate days I have to go in before noon.

853 arrived at work

855 had coffee, stole some of someone else's milk for coffee.

900 Shelved ~35 reference books after doing in house count in Horizon

930 Bitched about how I hate kids because they just jam the books anywhere on a shelf rather than leaving then on the carts with the sign that say return stuff here.

933 Showed co-workers mold covering books that never get used in reference (940.1)

934 Attributed mold to roof leak from a few months ago.

935 Turned on computers

945 Put out some more 1040 Instruction books that arrived yesterday.

948 Answered email for a while and returned a few phone calls.

1000 Library opens - hid in cataloging, I mean talked to cataloging librarian for 5 minutes about adding 530 note to MARC record for FAFSA schools code list catalog record.

1005 avoided Opening rush (actually fortuitous not planned) for computers by Friday regulars.

1006-1145 Reference desk, and evaluating/ weeding/ reordering damaged audiobooks

1145 helped man who went to ground outside hitting his head.

1146 called 911 to evaluate guy who fell down (he is fine but now he can't sue me if he drops dead)

1150 Ambulance arrives, my work outside is done. Patient alive until ambulance shows up.

1155 at admin's request created list of first aid items as we have six bottles of Tylenol, expired Neosporin and those knuckle band aids in our first aid kit.

Noon more reference desk time.

100 went to Mickey D's and had a Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad.

145ish came back and returned a few phone calls. Ordered some books from B&T

200 more reference desk

445 start turning stuff off, curse at jammed copier (Made by Edsel)

500 Stand around waiting to go home

508 Start home

528 End up at home

535 Feed cats

540 Catch up on email

610 Take nap

800 Call mom see if she wants to go to lunch tomorrow. More napping & reading something about Thomas Aquinas that makes me sleepy.

1200 read LISNews and write rambling posts while watching some movie about Chopin.


Subscribe to RSS - mdoneil's blog