Time for Library Management 2.0?

What do Gwinnett County (GA),
King County (WA),
and Berkeley (CA) have in common? They're rough on
their public library directors. Do these recent stories have a common thread, or lessons that future library leaders could take to heart? What do you wish your director did differently?


Irony abounds:

Robert Pinsky, who was poet laureate from 1997 to 2000, said he welcomed Mr. Hall's appointment, especially in light of his previous outspokenness about politics and the arts. "There is something nicely symbolic, and maybe surprising," Mr. Pinsky said, "that they have selected someone who has taken a stand for freedom."

Hall did this by making a silly statement:

Mr. Hall, a poet in the distinctive American tradition of Robert Frost, has also been a harsh critic of the religious right's influence on government arts policy. And as a member of the advisory council of the National Endowment for the Arts during the administration of George H. W. Bush, he referred to those he thought were interfering with arts grants as "bullies and art bashers."

They seem to believe that people speaking out about how tax dollars are spent are bullies. In fact they seem to believe that there is freedom in people being forced to fund whatever they write:

... Mr. Hall said that he would like to follow in the tradition of Mr. Kooser and other laureates who have tried to expand poetry's reach. "I'd like to encourage NPR to pay more attention to poetry," he said, referring to public radio, "and the cable networks, with the possibility of HBO doing something."

As poet laureate, Mr. Kooser has had a syndicated weekly newspaper column sponsored jointly by the Poetry Foundation and the Library of Congress that is offered free to newspapers around the country. The column includes a poem chosen by him, along with a commentary.

"If Ted Kooser doesn't continue with his column, I might pick it up," Mr. Hall said. But, "I would like to include more poetry of the 17th century."

A poet's free speech is only free if we pay for it. Simply amazing.

This is an interesting argument. However, the funding of the religious right's ideals seems to be against the very idea of freedom. A poet can write what he/she wants, governed only be his/her own sense of aesthetics and creativity. The religious right, on the other hand, is quite restrictive.Personally, I'm more concerned with my tax dollars going to the military and "faith-based initiatives" and away from education.I don't really see how you derived the statement that "A poet's free speech is only free if we pay for it." Are there not poets who post online or publish books?

"Are there not poets who post online or publish books?"

I know that, you know that, but does the new Poet Laureate know that?

Apparently you don't know that the military is one of the primary functions of government and that those faith-based initiatives are simply faith-based versions of initiatives that already exited (which are not primary functions of the government). If you want to get rid of all such initiatives then okay.

Of course I know that the military is one of the primary functions of government, but thanks for stating it as if I were a child. What I object to is the exceptionally large amount of funding it gets. But that's out of the scope of this argument.I most certainly want to get rid of all such initiatives, but that is also out of the scope of this argument.

You know damned well that right-wing nuts only bitch about tax dollars when they want to cut funding as a bludgeon to punish unpopular speech.

employees vs patrons plus more vs less information...

Its too bad the trustees weren't more forthcoming in the Gwinnet situation but the gcplwatch.org site that was against the director listed very specific complaints and I think those complaints were the primary reason for her removal. Whether she should have been removed I don't know but the complaints were significant in nature.

The King situation has lots of details a lot of which financial in nature. The fact that unionized employees voted 'no confidence' had more to do with their jobs being at risk then anything else and I'm inclined to just ignore it. Unions have mostly outlived their purpose. An interesting twist here in the fact that libraries just aren't meant to handle all the demands of an entire community.

I haven't heard as much about Berkeley, its not clear in any way what the complaints are.

I'm tempted to agree with GregS* here (And I hate to do that) but at least in these cases, seems like different situations. It would be great if we could say there's a vast right/left wing conspiracy here, but that only seems to be the case in one of the three. They're not all women/men so we can't blame that... maybe just that they're all boomers :-)I would love to hear about what others wished their directors did differently.

"It would be great if we could say there's a vast right/left wing conspiracy here, but that only seems to be the case in one of the three."

Actually that would be 2

Patron Power=VRWC

The one that most sticks in my mind, and I think I've mentioned this before here... Don't post the contents of staff disciplinary hearings to the bulletin board in the staff lounge!!!That will NEVER win you points with the staff...