Employment & Work Stories

Employment & Work Stories

Have a Cold? Go To Work or Stay Home?

From The Philadelphia Inquirer a question many library workers have to answer these days.

Disciplinary Hearing for Evanston Librarian

Dozens rally for Evanston's only African-American librarian in work dispute according to the The Chicago Tribune.

Lesley Williams, head of Adult Services at the library, said she is on paid administrative leave, ordered by library administrators as they consider disciplinary action in response to what has been called a "personnel matter."

While she said she could not go into specific details about the issue, Williams said she is accused of "gross incompetence, insubordination and not contributing to a healthy work environment." She is the only black librarian in a community made up of 20% of African-Americans.

Toronto library workers say they’re heading for strike

More than 2,000 library workers will strike Monday, shutting Toronto's 100 branches, unless the city gets serious about negotiating a new contract, their union says. With a strike or lockout possible at midnight Sunday, talks are at a “crisis point,” Maureen O'Reilly, president of CUPE Local 4948, told reporters Wednesday.
From Toronto library workers say they’re heading for strike | Toronto Star

Library workers oppose 'precarious work'

A group of unionized employees still in contract talks with the city is challenging Mayor John Tory to end what it calls “precarious work” being carried out by a large chunk of the city’s library staff who work part time, have limited access to benefits, and face unstable work hours.

The Toronto Public Library Workers Union, Local 4948, whose contract expired Dec. 31, launched a campaign Friday, including a four-minute horror movie spoof, to get its message out.

Local president Maureen O’Reilly called precarious work “the epidemic of our time” and said Toronto is “one of the biggest offenders, especially in the library.”

From Library workers oppose 'precarious work' | Toronto & GTA | News | Toronto Sun

Wanted: Library director able to fix problems in Virginia’s largest system

With stellar health benefits and an annual salary of as much as $183,665, the job overseeing Virginia’s largest library system would seem easy to fill.

But several candidates being considered by Fairfax County have decided they do not want the job— a reflection, officials and advocates say, of the challenge of finding a top-notch leader at a time when budgets are tight, experts are in high demand and the public is divided over the extent to which libraries should embrace a more digital approach.

From Wanted: Library director able to fix problems in Virginia’s largest system - The Washington Post

Setting the Right Environment: Remote Staff, Service Provider Participants, and Big-Tent Open Source Communities

I also believe that by using new technologies and strategies, distributed professionals can build a hosting service that is attractive to clients. We may not be able to stand around a water cooler or conference table, but we can replicate the essence of those environments with tools, policies, and a collaborative attitude. In doing so we have more freedom to hire the staff the make the right fit for our organization, no matter where they are located.

From Setting the Right Environment: Remote Staff, Service Provider Participants, and Big-Tent Open Source Communities | Disruptive Library Technology Jester

Poverty, Libraries, Jobs, Me

With that said: should a library director be paid $7.25/hr? No, of course not. But in this part of Kentucky, believe it or not, that is a decent salary. Not because it is objectively an amount of money that someone deserves for doing their job, but only because the area around it has been forgotten. This part of the world has been given up on by the former industries that sustained it, by the clay and the tobacco and the lumber that were the only reasons money ever flowed into the economy of the area in the first place.

From Poverty, Libraries, Jobs, Me | Pattern Recognition

The top three most desirable jobs to have in Britain today are: author, librarian and academic

New YouGov research reveals that the most desired jobs in Britain are not what you might expect; they are not even the most reliably well paid ones. Instead of actors and musicians, it seems that an aura of prestige still surrounds the quiet, intellectual life enjoyed by authors, librarians and academics.

From YouGov | Bookish Britain: literary jobs are the most desirable

The State of the Library Job Market

Hiring Librarians, the blog about hiring librarians, has posted initial results from a new survey that attempts to determine The State of the Library Job Market.

Rather than 200+ applicants for each position, the majority of respondents report a more sedate 25 or fewer hopeful candidates. This and other results at: : http://hiringlibrarians.com/2015/01/17/stats-and-graphs-state-of-the-library-job-market/

If you're someone who hires librarians and you'd like to take the survey yourself: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey

Raising Chickens & Speed Dating @ Your Library

As the new director at the Sitka AK library, Robb Farmer has lots of new ideas.

KCAW reports:

Farmer spent the last nine years at the Faulkner University Law Library in Alabama. He’s a lawyer himself, but says he enjoyed legal research more than the actual practice of law, and he found a way to stay in the library full-time.

But he was looking at the American Library Association job listings recently, and saw an unusual submission. Allowed only five keywords to help guide applicants, someone had posted…

“Best, Library, Director, Job, Ever”

Farmer had never seen or heard of Sitka. He checked out the listing. Of course, Sitka is spectacular. Those keywords, though, spoke volumes.

“It showed they had a sense of humor. When working in law schools and academia, sometimes they appreciate a sense of humor, but sometimes they don’t.”

Infighting in Libraryland

From The Annoyed Librarian in LJ:

A librarian named Joe Murphy is suing two female librarians for $1.25 million for claiming he sexually harasses women at library conferences. As sex scandals go, that’s pretty mild, but the standards for scandal are lower in libraryland.

You can go give them a donation or sign a petition asking Murphy to drop the lawsuit if those are your kinds of thing.

I haven’t seen a corresponding Support Joe Murphy’s Lawsuit website or petition, but if there is one someone can post it in the comments.

He’s also suing them in Canadian court, even though as far as I can tell both he and one of the defendants are Americans. Canadian libel laws are more friendly to plaintiffs, it seems, whereas American libel laws tend to favor something librarians are supposed to favor, free speech. So he’s a cunning little fella, you have to give him that.

I’m seeing the story pop up in more and more places, so it looks like Murphy has a growing reputation among librarians.

From the DC Public Library to the Obama Administration

Ricardo Thornton to Join President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Yesterday, President Obama announced his intent to appoint DC Public Library employee Ricardo Thornton Sr. to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, PCPID.

Thornton has worked at the DC Public Library since 1978. He is a Member of Project ACTION!, a coalition of adults with disabilities. He is also a Member of the D.C. Developmental Disabilities Council, an actor with the theatre group Players Unlimited, and an international ambassador with the Special Olympics. Thornton and his wife Donna were the subjects of Profoundly Normal, a made-for-TV movie. In 1997, The Washingtonian magazine named Thornton a “Washingtonian of the Year.”

The PCPID is comprised of 34 members, including 19 citizen members and thirteen ex officio (Federal Government) members. Citizen members of the PCPID are appointed to serve for a maximum of two years.

To learn more about Ricardo, click here.

Goshen College staffer comes out as lesbian, resigns library job

http://www.elkharttruth.com/news/schools/goshen-college/2014/05/19/Goshe.html

A member of the Goshen College staff has resigned in part because of the college’s policy against hiring people in GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning) relationships.

Tabi Berkey, who worked in the college’s library, resigned Monday, May 19, and posted an open letter on Facebook explaining her decision.

Within two hours, the post had garnered more than 100 likes and had been shared 40 times.

Fired for Taking Candy from a Baby

Dateline: GOBLES, MI (AP)

A dispute over how a librarian treated visitors has turned into a federal lawsuit in western Michigan.

Shirley Whitt claims she was a victim of discrimination, based on age and other issues, when the Van Buren District Library said it would transfer her from the Gobles branch. She had worked there for more than 20 years.

But the library, west of Kalamazoo, denies any discrimination. It says patrons regularly complained about Whitt’s “poor demeanor” and “unwelcoming attitude.”

Over the years, Whitt was accused of pulling a sucker from a child’s mouth, treating kids harshly and taking a stuffed animal from children.

Queens president: Trustees must nix money-flush library head’s $2M exit deal

Queens president: Trustees must nix money-flush library head’s $2M exit deal

Melinda Katz has asked Queens Library trustees to get rid of Thomas Galante’s golden parachute, the news of which comes after revelations about his secret job, $392,000 salary and private smoking deck that cost the taxpayer-funded library system $26,000.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/queens-president-trustees-nix-money-flush-library...

Letter: Forum’s story on NDSU librarian deeply flawed

http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/426662/

"There were factual inaccuracies contained in Cali Owings’ Feb. 3 article and her use of factually flawed documents to negatively and unfairly portray my client Michele Reid.

Reid left her position of dean of libraries voluntarily and without knowledge of Provost J. Bruce Rafert’s apparent intention to terminate her employment as North Dakota State University negotiated the settlement. She received a reasonable settlement in exchange for withdrawing her claims against NDSU, having concluded that under the current administration, she had accomplished as much as she could as dean of libraries. "

Queens Library president gets $390G salary, luxe office makeover while shedding 130 jobs

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/queens-library-president-390g-shedding-130-jobs-a...

Last year, Queens Library President Thomas Galante was paid more than the mayor or the MTA chairman, and spent $140,000 to renovate his offices at the Central Library. Meanwhile, Galante eliminated nearly 130 library jobs through layoffs and attrition over the past five years.

How susceptible are library jobs to computerisation?

http://www.futuretech.ox.ac.uk/sites/futuretech.ox.ac.uk/files/The_Future_of_Employment_OMS_...

Rank Probability Occupation:
360. 0.65 Librarians
616. 0.95 Library Assistants, Clerical
692. 0.99 Library Technicians

We examine how susceptible jobs are to computerisation. To as-
sess this, we begin by implementing a novel methodology to estimate
the probability of computerisation for 702 detailed occupations, using a
Gaussian process classifier. Based on these estimates, we examine ex-
pected impacts of future computerisation on US
labour market outcomes, with the primary objective of analysing the number of jobs at risk and
the relationship between an occupation’s probability of computerisation,
wages and educational attainment. According to our estimates, about 47
percent of total US employment is at risk. We further provide evidence
that wages and educational attainment exhibit a strong negative relation-
ship with an occupation’s probability of computerisation

Librarian: 8th Least Stressful Job of 2014!

http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2014/01/07/10-most-and-least-stressful-jobs-2014/
Least stressful jobs:

1. Audiologist
Stress Score: 3.35

2. Hair Stylist
Stress Score: 5.41

3. Jeweler
Stress Score: 7.26
...

Fired for...Talking Too Loudly?

From the Flint Journal:

MONTROSE, MI -- A former Montrose librarian is suing the Genesee District Library over claims she was fired for talking too loudly.

Susan Harshfield, 30, of Swartz Creek, said she was fired for talking loudly to police after she called for help with a patron who refused to leave the library.

Library spokesman Trenton Smiley declined to comment on the lawsuit. Library attorney Patrick Parker also declined comment. No response to the allegations has been filed with the court.

Harshfield's attorney, Tom Pabst, said his client was serving as a whistleblower when she was fired by the library.

"The taxpayers and library lost a good worker in Susan," Pabst said.

The lawsuit claims that a loud dispute arose Sept. 5 between Harshfield and the library patron over DVDs. Harshfield claims that she asked the patron to leave but the patron refused, so Harshfield called the police.

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