Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Time Monster

Ok, overdue for musings and self-pity-ing on this blog.

I have come to the conclusion that closing dates are insidious things. How long after a closing date should one conclude "They have chosen someone else, move on!"?

Several positions I really was interested in closed Monday, November 10. Friday was the 14th. If I was not contacted by then should I conclude "lost cause" or keep hope a few more days, since Tuesday was a holiday?

On the other hand, several positions I've applied for closed on Friday, How long into next week should I sit by the phone?

Oh, sometimes I wish I could pick up the phone and call (or email) the HR department and say "wasssup with the position?" But that's the 'kiss of death', I've heard.

Other positions are now closing in DECEMBER. Or listed as "open until filled".

Another aggrivation is the notices "that position was filled internally. Thank you for applying. Good luck in your job search". If the position was advertised with the intention of being filled internally all along, it would have been nice to know. I've come across a few postings like this that DID say "internal applicants only".

This week makes two months without work (since mid-September) and I'm starting to get worried. Thus, the Time Monster (Season 9, 3rd Doctor, story-arc 64). My wife is really getting serious about my applying at Toys "R" Us for seasonal help. I quake in my TARDIS at that thought!

Well, there is an Educational/Librarian job fair coming up in early December.* The problem there is it's mostly geared towards schools looking for TEACHERS, not Media Specialists or counties looking for Librarians.

I'm really hoping some one will call me in for an interview this week. Otherwise, it's going to be a skimpy Christmas for the Time Kids.

"The Director" (former)

*Felgercarb! I just found out that the career expo has been cancelled and may be rescheduled for the spring semester!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wish me luck

Several positions are 'closing' this week, a few on Monday the 10th and more on Friday the 14th!

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another disappointing email

This was from a University near me, wouldn't have meant I have to move:

Thank you for your interest in our position. I regret to inform you that due to the current budget situation, we are not going to proceed with filling the position at this time.

Oh well. I've so far received three rejection letters out of about 18+ applications. Most I haven't heard a peep from, and three I've gotten cards or emails or even actual letters letting me know they've received my ap packet and will let me know (see previous post). Some of the aps are online applications, and so you get immediate feedback such as 'you've successfully applied for X job'.

Monday, October 27, 2008

nice letter from HR dept

Here is the slightly edited text of a letter I received today:

"Dear Mr _______,

Thank you for your interest in employment with X. We recently received your application/resume for our Librarian position in X Library. As the search process continues, you will be notified if any further action on your part is necessary. All candidates will be notified at the conclusion of the search."

They then invited me to visit their website for more information about the library facilities and the town.

I opened it expecting a rejection notice, so was pleasantly surprised! I thought it a very nice letter.

'The Director'

Monday, October 20, 2008

Economy prompts increased Library Use!

The full story is here:
Library use rises as economy falls

in part,

Haverhill assistant library director Susan Katzenstein said the city's public library is usually "an incredibly busy place." But nowadays, "our usage is through the roof."

The Haverhill library is not alone. Across the region, local public libraries are reporting a surge in use, a trend officials tie directly to the economic hardship many are facing.

"People don't have as much disposable income, so the library provides an easier resource for books," [NOBLE executive director Ronald Gagnon] said, noting other materials, such as DVDs and CDs, that libraries offer. "It just flies in the face of people who say, 'Who needs libraries anymore?' "

... some librarians express concerns about their ability to accommodate growing numbers of patrons as their own budgets become tighter.

"We hope people realize that in tough times, it's important to keep the library service going so people have a place to come," [library director Deborah] Abraham said.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blackmore's Night 'Secret Voyage'

Ok, so I'm not searching for jobs all the time. I needed a break, and heard that Blackmore's Night had a new album out. So when I opened my email and found a 40% off all CDs coupon from Borders Rewards, I thought it would be a good diversion.

Frankly, it is their best album yet. The group is maturing, and has added some interesting orchestration to their music. It's not just the 'renaissance folk rock' sound. Oh, that's still there, the recorders, the flute, the acoustic and electric guitar of Ritchie Blackmore, the vocals of Candice Night, the period instruments. and the usual moderinizing of traditional renaissance dance tunes. But they've added an interesting and needed dimension to the music with this album (which is also available on vinyl, by the way!).

(Interesting note: the opening tune, "God save the keg", was used as the Bridal March for Candice when she and Ritchie married earlier this month.)

If you've not heard them yet, or have heard them but just not in a while, I recommend this album.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

job closing dates and disappointments

Well, it seems that there are a LOT of jobs out there for Librarians.

1) The problem is that none of them are in my 'backyard'. Which means --- MOVING.

Yep. But I'm cool with that. As long as it's within say, a day's drive and in a nice area, with decent salary offering.

2) A second problem is salary. There are a lot of positions that simply state "Salary commensurate with experience" or similar wording. Does that mean that a) the salary is below average and they don't want everyone laughing at them or b) they don't want to say because then everyone will want the job or b1) it will make current employees jealous?

Then there are the jobs that are in city areas where the cost of living is high. Not just 'high' but "HIGH", that only pay $26,000 to $29,000. I've passed up a few choice positions because of that.

I actually visited one of these libraries (Public/County) and spoke with a staff memember about this. She said their director was over at the Commission offices every day trying to get the salary level increased, as they have very few applications for the position at what they are offering. And even fewer actually qualified!

I mean, if I were a young, single guy, that would be no problem. Throw my stuff in a car, hit the road, shack up in a mobile home -- no problem. But when you are -- ahem -- a bit older than that, with a family ... what are the employers thinking? Even splitting the family would require more than $30K to maintain two households, even if one is a mobile home in a decent trailer park.

3) All the closing dates and dates for application reviews are half-a-month or more in the future. Good thing we have savings to fall back on, but still, the stress level is rising. My wife is also getting frustrated with me messing up her routine by being home all the time. I told her "Hey, it's good practice for when I retire." She actually threw a pillow at me.

4) Thank heavens for the internet. In the old days, I'd have to telephone county offices, HR departments, etc. to see if there were any openings, then request their application, type it, attach my resume and cover letter, and mail it via USPS. Then wait.

Now? Now all I have to do with most positions is create a cover letter, and email my resume and references to the HR contact. And I usually get confirmation within a day that my packet has been received. Amazing! It would have taken me a month to apply for the positions I've recently applied for in one morning. I love it. (ok, not really "LOVE" it, but it's a better system.)

Ok, well that's my update. Waiting for interview requests to come pouring in.

I hope that by doing this, some of you will gain valuable insight into the process, and maybe let me know how YOUR job searches are going. Or if you hear of something I might be interested in at YOUR SouthEastern library system or educational facility. I'm a former academic and really want to get back with that. I've pretty much had it with Public politics. After I get my job, I'll post all the sources I've used. (yep, I'm open, but not crazy!)

See you there.

"The Director" (former)

Friday, October 3, 2008

insight in the job seeking process.

I haven't posted anything for a while, mainly because, well, I don't really have anything to post!

So far I've had ONE interview, and just got the call that I did not get the job (but I was in the running -- top three. And I got a CALL not a letter! Now that's class.) and I got a letter informing me that I did not make the cut on another position.

I think I have about a dozen applications out there right now.

It's interesting. Thanks to the internet and email, I can apply for jobs in remote areas (North/South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, other places in the state) without leaving my computer. In olden days I'd either have to send out a ton of resumes and letters of inquiry, or drive mega miles asking about jobs. I do so like the internet. :-)

I've found that:

Most academic libraries only request a cover letter and resumé, some want transcripts, too.

Public Libraries request an official application, most of the time they're available as a download or can be filled in online.

Sometimes, however, I've had to actually MAIL an application packet in to the HR of the county or university. average cost: $1.50 still a bargain.

So, I'm still here, still looking.

"The Director".

Thursday, September 18, 2008

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Arrrr! Matey, join the fun!

My plans are slightly changed from the original posting of this topic, but I will still be throwing in the occasional 'avast' and 'ahoy' and 'shiver me timbers' and (of course) an 'arrrrr' from time to time.

Gotta have some diversion from job hunting.

"The Director"

Monday, September 15, 2008

The great adventure

Yeah, I know, that title is from Peter Pan, but anyway ....

The blog is taking a different heading, re-generating, if you will.

I've applied for several jobs for which I am qualified, but the drawback is that they are in different states. While that is not a problem for me (I can go pretty much anywhere right now), many times an institution will prefer to hire from close to home.

So I will be posting updates from time to time on how I am doing.

I'm mainly looking at academic libraries. I'm more used to the politics within there than I was to the politics in a rural county run by an 'old boy network'. But I have applied to a few higher paying county libraries, (NON-DIRECTOR POSITIONS, thank you very much) in slightly larger cities (don't want to go too urban!).

My wife says I should get a job at Books-A-Million (BAM) in the meantime, but I have three weeks of salary coming, and I said, "aw, come-on, let me enjoy freedom from the pressures that almost killed me these last five months!" She relented. I think what it is is the 'retirement syndrome' after YEARS of me being out of the house, all of a sudden, here I am! Underfoot.

still signing myself as

"The Director"

Friday, September 12, 2008

TARDIS on "randomize"

From Director to Former Director in 5 months.

I don't know what it was, I was told, "We are getting too many complaints about you, so we are giving you a choice: resign or be fired." I chose resignation, with pay through the end of the month and all earned leave paid out then.

When I asked the nature of the complaints, I was told "I have no idea. One of the commissioners just said he's getting a lot of complaints about you and so you have to go".

So I got let go for doing my job, as the Human Resources Head stated incredulously. Commissioner in question did not run for a new term, and is outta here himself in November.

I suspect a) a member of my staff (or two?) who is being made to actually work and b) she recruited a few friends to constantly make complaints.

Now I am a statistic, among the unemployed masses roaming the streets of the State looking for work. In my case, however, I'm roaming the internet.

In everything, my motto is "God will provide". He always has.

There you have it, the latest update. Financially, we are ok, have enough in savings and checking to get us through for a good while.

Prayers, as always, is appreciated.

TARDIS controls set on Randomize, let's see where it takes us this time around.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nightmare of Eden

I have just found the giant serpent in the garden of Directorship Eden:


More specifically, State Aid and E-Rate paperwork.

Dealilng with the budget was a breeze compared to this!

I was just minding my business last week when a rep from our multi-county consortium stopped by and said "Oh, by the way, here is the packet of material you have to have filled out by October 1 to make sure you get State Aid this year", and pulls out this packet of information that made her briefcase look like an inter-dimensional TARDIS-sized case inside a little-bitty outside! "You need to sign here, and here, and here, and, oh, you need to fill in the local expenditures from Oct 1, 2006 to Sept 30, 2007."

Um, where am I going to get that? I've only been here since May 1!!! The files here are a mess, totally indecipherable. The Clerk's office says, "Hum! That's interesting. I don't know if we can provide that in the form you need." 8-O

Then there is the E-Rate. I have to go back through the files for the last e-rate year (which is different from the Fiscal Year) and provide the monthly figures for all our telecommunications: internet/DSL, long distance, local, and whatever else we had.

Due by -- you guessed it -- October 1.

in short -- YIKES!

"The Director"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

AP story on Library use and the economy

Take heart, financially strapped Library budgeteers! The AP published a story called

In an economic bind, families turn to libraries

It was carried (in an heavily edited form) in the Wall Street Journal. A patron pointed it out to me this morning. I passed it on via email to my County Coordinator, perhaps y'all could do the same with your budget makers.

Here are some key points (IOW, my own edited version):

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Check it out.

That's what users of public libraries are doing in record numbers these days. In an effort to stay entertained and informed without breaking the family budget, Americans across the U.S. are increasingly taking advantage of the best deal in town: everything -- books, CDs, even video game sessions -- is free.

"When the economy goes down, public library use goes up," said John Moorman, director of the Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia.

While the trend bodes well in the long-term for libraries, whose funding depends on visits and circulation, it is placing strain on branches faced with tighter budgets as counties try to keep spending in check.

The American Library Association says usage nationwide was 10 percent higher in the past year than during the 2001 economic downturn, when it tracked a similar spike in visits and circulation. Libraries recorded 1.3 billion visits and patrons checked out more than 2 billion items from April 2007 to April 2008.

Libraries aren't only being affected by the difficult economy, they're trying to help guide patrons through it.

The Queens Library in New York, which is the highest circulation public library system in the nation, is offering seminars for people facing foreclosure. And in the small California town of Lompoc, which was hit this year by layoffs at local employers, the public library has a computer reserved for people searching and applying for jobs online.

A bad economy is also a mixed blessing for libraries.

In Bartholomew County, Ind., the public library has frozen hiring and postponed buying some new items until 2009. The Jackson-Madison County Library in Tennessee was warned in August it may have to lay off some of its 20 full-time employees. And a proposal by the Long Beach, Calif. city government to save $1.8 million by closing the library's main branch has drawn protests from residents and famed author Ray Bradbury.

As local governments struggle with falling tax revenues, more libraries could be facing similar threats.

"When the economy gets tough for people, it usually takes a year before it gets tough on counties and municipalities," said Jim Rettig, president of the American Library Association and a librarian at the University of Richmond.

Without public support, library budgets can be tempting targets for governments looking to cut.

Consequently, some librarians see the surge as a chance to make people not only habitual patrons, but advocates for libraries.

"It's a good time to educate people about all the benefits the library brings to their community," Moorman said.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fay update

Well, we survived -- with a record amount of rainfall, but almost no wind. Almost 20" of rain, and many roads closed due to flooding, including major roadways that is really making travel from one part of town or even to other counties (even via interstate) difficult.

And now we are bracing for Gustav! Not to wish ill on other states, but I really hope it goes somewhere else.

"The Director"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay: Fear her? Not I!

Well, we are getting ready to batten down our hatches here at the Library. Which, to me, is strange because there is nary a cloud in the sky.

The forecast is for the storm (or, rather, what's left of it) to hit around here Saturday or Sunday (but at the rate it's going, more like Monday!).

Schools have announced closings for tomorrow in our and a neighboring county. A meeting will be held tonight in both counties (independently) to see if 'non-essential personnel' (our job description, to a "T") need to go home tomorrow after noon.

Personally, I think it much ado about nothing. If "the Powers That Be" get so upset over a minor tropical storm, how are they going to react to a real Hurricane?

"The Director"

Monday, August 18, 2008

Silence in the Library

I have a question. It's been nagging at me for some time now.

When did the Library STOP being a quiet place?

And when did patrons being asked to "please quiet down" get the right to complain about the staff enforcing the rules and having that compliant taken seriously by "the powers that be" so that the staff person is written up and not the noisy patron???

When did we (as a profession) decide "People can be noisy in the library now and screaming babies are to be tolerated"?

At an Unconference I recently unattended, one director said that when she gets complaints about the noise, instead of quieting the 'offending persons' (my words, not hers) she suggest that the person COMPLAINING move to a different area of the library. Pardon me, but I think that is rude.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still think that the Library:

[is] a place for reading, study, gathering information, cultural and educational enrichment, and/or programmed activities. People using the Library have the right to expect that the Staff will maintain decorum by requiring courteous and reasonable behavior from everyone.

(From our posted "Code of Conduct")

Am I wrong? Am I out of step? Or is everyone else?

"The Director"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bad Writing Awards 2008

This caught my eye:

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A grotesque comparison of a steamy love affair to a New York City street has won a Washington man this year's grand prize in an annual contest of bad writing.

Garrison Spik, a 41-year-old communications director and writer, took top honors in San Jose State University's 26th annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest with this opening sentence to a nonexistent novel:

"Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped 'Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J.'"

The contest is named after Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" famously begins "It was a dark and stormy night."

Entrants are asked to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Awards are given for many categories, including awards for "purple prose" and "vile puns." The top winner receives a $250 prize.

Other noteworthy submissions:

"'Toads of glory, slugs of joy,' sang Groin the dwarf as he trotted jovially down the path before a great dragon ate him because the author knew that this story was a train wreck after he typed the first few words."

— Alex Hall, Greeley, Colo.

"Like a mechanic who forgets to wipe his hands on a shop rag and then goes home, hugs his wife, and gets a grease stain on her favorite sweater — love touches you, and marks you forever."

More entries can be found at

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Friday, August 15, 2008

No Cuts to our budget!

We were told we would have to cut our budget by 18% next FY.

However, at the budget meeting last week, one commissioner stood up and defended the library.

"Studies show that for every $1 in budget spent on the Library, the community benefits by about $6 in services. So I motion that the Library be held 'harmless' and all proposed cuts be put BACK into the Library budget."

Motion was seconded and carried without dissent.

However, no increases, either. But we'll take what we can get!

"The Director"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Bulletin Boards!

woo-hoo! It doesn't take much to get me excited!

I've been thinking about asking about bulletin boards at the entrance to the Library for some time now, and happened to mention it to "The Coordinator". He pointed out that there was one in storage, and we could have it if we wanted it.

Well, it turned out to be 4' X 12', but the county handyman cut it down into two 4 X 6 boards, re-framed them and hung them for us yesterday. They look great. One we had put right by the front door, and we are transferring all our myriad signage to that one, and getting rid of the duplicates that seem to be taped to every available surface in the Library (we are keeping the "no food or drink" signs, however).

So, that's a minor major step forward.

The second one we are using for a community non-profit group event board.

"The Director"

Monday, August 11, 2008

PLAN/FLA Unconference report

Well, it was a looooong drive. And I got there late, missing a good bit of the first presentation on Motivating Staff. From what I heard, eh, not so much. But he had enthusiasm.

The second talk, Library Reorganization in the face of changing realities, said basically, we should take advantage of 'opportunities' such as a new director, new building program, budget crisis, etc. to change things in the library that we have wanted to change all along, but feared patron (oh, I'm sorry, we are to call Library users "members" from now on) reaction. Now we have an 'excuse' to make changes and blame it on something/one else. The most revealing point: Directors should spend 85% of their time out of the Library and into the community. The Director is not a Librarian any more. Once accepting the Director position you moved into management and into a whole new classification. I'm not sure I agree with the percentage, but it is good advice.

Lunch was accompanied by a presentation on Accessing Grants from outside the Library Community, I guess the info was good, but everyone was using that time to 'network' or go outside to escape the frigid A/C of the room, myself included.

Improving library process -- with or without technology I actually looked forward to this as the presenter is a 'facebook' friend. IT was a good peresentation, but focused on procedures on how their library checks out laptops; computer games; dvd; uses walkie-talkies for staff communication; PDA's for roving reference; etc. So it was site specific, but the overall gist was:

If we can do it, so can you.

The BEST presentation was the last:
Sources of sustainable Funding from the State Library.
Basically the messsage was: get out of the Library and into the community, don't rely totally on traditional sources of funding, such as State Aid. There are community grants available, and you won't know about them if you don't get out and network/form relationships with the community. She repeated the info that the Director is to spend more time out of the library than in it.

I grabbed some extra copies of the handouts for this presentation to 'recreate' the talk with my staff this week.

So, it was definately worth the time and effort to attend this meeting.

"The Director"

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Off to the UnConference

Florida Library Association (FLA) and Panhandle Library Access Network (PLAN) have teamed up for an 'unconference' tomorrow (Friday) in a town about 3 hours away (which means I have to take my car in TONIGHT to have the brakes fixed, but that's another story -- my car is resembling the TARDIS more and more*).

I'm looking forward to it, and it should prove valuable, as they are covering a variety of topics from management of staff to working with the dwindling State and county resources for Library funding. Plus they provide lunch -- but not a relaxing lunch, they will actually have a speaker DURING lunch. So much for 'networking' time. And it's hard for The Director to take notes while eating, so an added challenge. But, hey, the lunch is PROVIDED! That's what counts, right?

I've already heard from one reader of this blog who said she will be there, so that will be nice.

I'll update everyone on the day when I get back.

"The Director"

*Well, tomorrow I cross time zones, so that means the car will be actually taking me back and forth through TIME as well as space!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hidden sign

In looking over the signage at the library today, I found one taped to the entrance to the Library that I have overlooked. And I know most other people have, as well!

The sign said:

Attention Parents (Safety concerns)

and then in about 14 point font:

We are not responsible for unattended children!
You must watch your children at all times while they are in the children's area..

Children under 12 years of age without a parent to watch them will be sent home.

Followed by a picture of a doll and the logo of the library.

(at least it didn't say we would call the police or DCF!)

Now, as everyone knows, what is the single most oft heard complaint at the library?

Besides fines.

Right, running children.

So, I 'dusted' off the sign, pulled it off the window, and re-did it in about 26-point font, and changed some of the words:

Parents must STAY WITH their children while they are in the LIBRARY.

And posted about three more copies throughout the library.

Will it work? Who knows. But at least now I can say "It's clearly posted at the entrance and in the children's area and in the Computer Lab!".

"The Director"

Time Out! ?

The question of the week:

How much time out of the Library is TOO MUCH for a Library Director?

This week has been a serious test of that question, as "the Director" has been scheduled this week for:

a seminar on "Managing Emotions under Pressure" (one of the best I've ever attended, by the way) on Monday,

a luncheon with the Kiwanis Club on Wednesday (not all day, just probably 2 hours at MOST),

A Library conference (or rather, UNconference) on Friday,


A consortium board meeting NEXT Monday afternoon in a neighboring county.

I came across a letter from a former director in "the files" defending (to the County Commission) her absences for conferences and workshops, and that has me a bit nervous. However, the situation is now a bit different as we have a County Coordinator standing between all Department Heads and the CC, and he has given the green light, so I think I'm ok. Key word: THINK

Any thoughts?

"The Director"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Last Weekend in July

Cheer up, companions! It's almost the weekend!

And a new (to the US, anyway) episode of "Doctor Who" is on tonight on Sci-Fi!

"The Director"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weed 'em and reap!

Good bumper sticker for a library shelving cart, eh?

Anyway we have undertaken an ambitious undertaking -- weeding and shifting the collection! What fun! What excitement! (or should that be a "?" instead of a "!"?)

An excellent site for the interested weeder:

Sunlink Weed of the Month Archive

It's geared for School Media Specialists, but I find it quite helpful for Public Librarians as well.

Anyway, I've taken on the REFERENCE collection, and am pulling such treasures as 'used book prices index 1994', World Almanac 2000, Water Use survey 1992, etc. Our encyclopedia sets: 1997 and 2003 (or at least that's the date of the last "yearbook" for Britianica).

I'm finding college guides for the 1990's; Social Security handbooks from the same decade (never mind that the rules all changed two years ago). So far, I've pulled a full cart from three shelf units (five shelves to each unit).

This is not good. We don't have the money to replace these things right now, but I'd rather have an empty shelf rather than faulty information (or at least that's what they taught us to think in "Library School", right?).

Anyway, more on this later! Back to the fun!

"The Director" Sunlink Weed of the Month

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Week

Tuesday is our Monday!

Of course it is acting like a Monday. The main circ station is acting like the TARDIS, that is, acting up, so we are having to write down every patron and all the barcodes they check out. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Unfortunately I have to restrain myself from taking a hammer to it! (These computers are not as sturdy as the TARDIS console.)

Of course that means we had TONS of people coming in -- all to check out. Plus we had the children's storytime (with parents who want to check out easy books by the ton) and the computer class (which closes the lab to the public, which means everyone who wants to use a computer has to wait in line for the FIVE Public Access computers in the main library).

The one good thing -- we got a new cleaning service to take over from a less-than-professional service before. The bad news: they won't start until August 1. So we get to continue cleaning the bathrooms until then.

And that's all before lunch.

Can't wait to see what the rest of the day brings!

"The Director"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Some days you want to run screaming

Friday's are usually sedate, serene, quiet days, as people get ready for the weekend.

So when two of my regular Friday staff asked for the day off today, I said, "sure, why not?" That leaves three of us here.

Why not? Because today half of the county decided to slam the library right at lunch time. And of course, most of them brought their and every neighbor's children as well!

As I was in a meeting, my two staff had to handle it until I got in, then there will only be two of us until around 2:30.

Some days you want to close the place and have a good scream until they all go away!

"The Director"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Library Decorating

I don't suppose the Powers That Be would agree to my re-decorating the Library in a classic Tardis motif, would they? Nice clean lines, high-tech but low key computer tables, etc.

Just a thought.

I mean, a few computers built into the console would make a nice six-sided e-mail checking station or computer catalog center,

the Tardis Doors would be my office entrance, a mini-tardis or Dalek as a drop box, etc.

"The Director"

UPDATE "Murder in the Stacks" Located!

Just an update:

By using LibraryDirector tricks and methods (IOW, phone calls and e-mails! My Sonic Screwdriver was of no use in this case), I was able to find a copy of "Murder in the Stacks" at the University. They still had the copy in the Media Center where I worked for about a year, and through a friend I was able to get it for a staff training session this morning. Sheesh, this thing was harder to find than the "key to time".

I thought it went well, and most of my staff even laughed a couple of times -- in the right places!

(And, predictably, in one area "Holmes" states that oversized books need to be shelved SPINE DOWN to prevent the pages from pulling away from the binding. In every session I've attended where the video is presented, the same question gets asked that they asked:


Anyone have an answer for THAT one? I don't!)

Which led me to presenting my new Shelf-reading with 'Weed as you go' policy -- with everyone signing up for an area of responsiblity. THAT wasn't as well received, but it needs to be done.

How do you convince a reluctant staff to do what they should be doing anyway? Ah, that is the question, and I'm going to have to find the answer to that myself soon.

"The Director"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Local business supports the Library

One of the local businesses here, Tupelo's, a combination bakery/resturant/antique shop, sends out an e-newsletter every day to promote their daily lunch specials.

Well, yesterday we got a surprise:

(from the newsletter)
Summer reading ... isn't it the best?! Read, read, read... I strongly believe in the power of reading. It's such an inspiring, entertaining activity or escape. I've been engrossed in fiction this summer - the new Russo novel and some light "beach" fiction too.

I encourage you all to take part in the programs offered by our LOCAL LIBRARY. There are a few new staff members and a lot of new energy over there. I'm a big fan of inter-library loan so that I can get all the latest books that might not be in out here in the beautiful country side. Ask Ms. Books
[our Children's Librarian's nickname] about the wonderful summer programs for children too!

I love it when local businesses take the time to recognize other local endeavors publically. We sent them our thanks! (They have excellent wraps, too.)

Monday, July 7, 2008

4 day work-week? No thanks!

I saw an ad this past week for a "Evening Librarian" position. The salary was good ($48,528), plus it was at a community college! (ah, to return to the thrilling days of academic librarianship!)

HOWEVER -- the hours were "Full-Time Monday-Thursday 10:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m".

I don't know about the rest of you, but "The Director" is exhausted after a standard 8:30-5:30 shift. Sure the three-day weekend sounds attractive, but look at all you miss:

dinner with the family (AND you have to eat just before you go to bed! Not good!)
School open house
Parent Teacher meetings
Scout meetings
recitals and band concerts
regular exercise time
NCIS (ok, that's not a biggie -- they show up on DVD eventually!)

Nope, in my balance book, the cons outweigh the pros. (Although some of the young, single, just starting out in the profession folk might like it.)

As for me, I'll stick to the five day workweek, thank you very much!

"The Director"

Back at work

Busy week ahead:

More work on the budget (where to make cuts)

Meetings with Literacy over THEIR budget and grants

Shelf-reading and weeding battles

Tech is coming to install new hard drives in public access computers

and, as the King would say, et-cetera, et-cetera, et-cetera!

"The Director"

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fourth of July weekend

For those of us on 'this side' of the pond, I hope all of you have a happy and safe fourth of July weekend. Taking a 'directors perogative', our library will be closed Saturday as well as Friday (we are closed Sunday anyway).

Remember this old joke?

Question:Does England have a fourth of July?
Unsuspecting response: no, of course not!
Right Answer: Sure they do, how else do they get from the third to the fifth???

A local couple who immigrated here from England host a "loser's party" every 4th of July, and invite anyone in the area of English descent! Their home is decked out in British flags, photos of the Queen, etc. It's quite a sight. Some friends of mine (from Scotland) usually provide the musical entertainment, playing British and Celtic music.

Me? I'm heading to the local park for a picnic and fireworks! I'll be decked out in American Red, White, and Blue.

Again, a Happy and safe 4th to y'all!

"The Director"

(Pic taken from the series 3 episode "Daleks in Manhattan")

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

e-mail idea for customer service rep.

(Thanks, Christopher!)

'might spark a few complaints, though (from the survivors). Still......

"The Director"

Murder in the Stacks - where to find online

A number of years ago, I saw a short movie as a part of a new staff orientation. It was called "Murder in the Stacks" and featured "Sherlock Holmes" as he and "Watson" went through the library pointing out shelving mistakes and how they led to shortening the life of a book for circulation.

Yes, it was very corny, but strangely, unlike most orientation videos, it had some good ideas, and the acting wasn't bad, either.

Does anyone know if this video is available online somewhere? I'd like to have my staff watch it over. I'm getting ready to go over shelf-reading; weeding; shifting; etc procedures, which quite obviously have not been done for some time here.

Thanks, in advance!

It's produced by Columbia University Libraries Preservation Committee!
No word yet on an online version.

"The Director"

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Letter to the Editor in paper

I saw this in today's paper. I have edited out the locations and author's name.

Kudos to her, though!

Library is not parents' depository for kids

I have spent some time in the Main and the xxxxx branches (South xxxxx Street) of the public library lately, because of the free Wi-Fi service that is available. I am concerned and appalled at the behavior of people in (our) public libraries today.

I have counted, in one sitting, up to 20 unsupervised young children ''dropped off'' at the xxxxx branch. I observed a 6-year-old girl sleeping in a library chair, completely unaware and unattended for more than two hours. Even with a sheriff's deputy present, that child could have been abducted in an instant.

What are people thinking? I don't care how few resources you have, the library is not your baby sitter.

It's not just the kids being loud at the computer, either — cell phones ring and people actually answer them and talk on and on as if they're in their own home!

Is anyone else distressed at this kind of disrespect for fellow citizens?


Friday, June 27, 2008

Re-reading books? Of course!

An interesting quote on re-reading books:

"The sure mark of an unliterary man is that he considers ‘I’ve read it already’ to be a conclusive argument against reading a work.

We have all known [people] who remembered a novel so dimly that they had to stand for half an hour in the library skimming through it before they were certain they had once read it.

But the moment they became certain, they rejected it immediately. It was for them dead, like a burnt-out match, an old railway ticket, or yesterday’s newspaper; they had already used it.

Those who read great works, on the other hand, will read the same work ten, twenty or thirty times during the course of their life."
--C.S.Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Copier problems! Arrrgh!

Alright, who's idea was it to put a public copier in every library? and why is it when you call for service it takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R for the service rep to actually come out TO the library.

Yesterday we finally got the blue (Cyan -- corrected!) toner we'd requested last week, and then today the BLACK toner gives out!

Our patrons are ready to riot!

It's almost as frustrating as the budget cuts.


"The Director"

It makes you want to do the "Office Space" copier dance!

edit: we got the black toner in today -- they sent TWO! Horray!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Workshop information requested

We received a booklet in the mail for a workshop titled:

Managing emotions under pressure

and run by a company called CareerTrack. The workshop sounds like something we can get a lot out of, but I've never heard of the company.

does anyone know anything about it, or how good the workshops are?

Thanks in advance!

"The Director"

Welcome to my blog

Hi, all!

I've been a director for just over two months now, and have been waiting all my Librarian life to fulfill this dream.

Here I will discuss whether or not the reality lives up to the dream, as well as general information on workshops, news articles, librarianship in general, and information-related issues, as well as just my opinions on various stuff -- you know, a BLOG!

Well, hold on, here we go!

"The Director"


1st thing: ordered to cut the budget 18%!
Next thing: deal with staff rebellion!
3rd: someone spreading rumors about my 'bad temper' (I suspect it's because I've asked some parents to take their crying -- no, screaming -- children out of the library. No matter how politely you ask, it's going to be taken personally against you!)

So far:

Best job I ever had.