Friday, August 21, 2009

Closing down

I'm going to close down this blog (sort of).

No, No, no arguing. The new job keeps me busy (Hooray!) and I really have less need to post as therapy, and not as much to share. Not as many Shelf-Daleks or Cyber-librarians here, either. My sonic screwdriver has been positively silent these last few days.

So, to all who have been following my posts --- Thank you!

WHO knows? Perhaps we shall meet again, some TIME some place, maybe at a convention. I'll keep and wear the "Director Who" logo on the back of my name tag.

Take care!

"The Director"

Of course, if the Cloister Bell should ring one day, I may re-activate the Blog. So, I'll be keeping it, just not posting.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gripe of the week: keeping order in the library

Ok, here's the thing. In several of the libraries at which I have worked, I have encountered staff (not necessarily LIBRARIANS) who have balked at putting or keeping books in order.

Now some are easier than others:
Hardbacks on a shelf are easy to see and maintain.
Paperbacks, on the other hand, and the subject of this rant, are more difficult, especially if they are on something other than a traditional shelf. Spin racks, for example.

I was putting the paperback rack in order this morning (yeah, I know it's not my job as Director, but no one else was doing it), and a staff person came over with a handful of books, and saw me working there, and just shoved them in at the end.

Me: "Wait, I'm trying to put these in order here"
Her: "Why? The patrons just mess them up, it's a waste of time to put them in order"
Me: "No, it's job security".
Her: Laughs and walks away.

Now I could mention this at the staff meeting, but I know from experience that this doesn't work. I had exactly the same conversation with staff at TWO previous libraries, at one I was Reference Librarian and the other my first run as Director. At that one, I asked for the hard back books to be put alphabetical by author, and then by title within author. "Oh, that's too hard!" "They will never stay that way!"

They will if you shelve them that way, and shelf read as you shelve.

but it never happened.

So, anyway, what's so wrong with library staff putting books in order as they shelve? Why is it such a mystery? Or am I just being "Monk"-ish, and OCD'ing over it?

Probably the latter. As long as the hard covers are alphabetical by author, is everyone but me happy?

Ok, end rant for the week. New rant next week, as well as goodies through the week.

"The Director"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

B.C. by Johnny Hart on kids and books

Click on the cartoon to view full size!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book recommendation

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
Anne Fadiman

I discovered this on the sale table of our local library book sale. It looked dubious at first, but then, I thought, "why not? It's small, it should be a quick read." Well I'm still reading it. There is a LOT in this little book: it's funny, thought-provoking, and very, very good. Enjoy!

"The Director"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Gripe of the week

Ok, what is it with staff wanting to collect money for every little thing? It's like this hidden cost of being employed at a library:

a) we're taking up a collection for X's birthday! How much are you going to give? Everyone else is giving $5.00, plus something for a cake.
b) We're making a snack run -- what do you want us to bring you?
c) Coffee fund!
d) We're out of bottled water, your share comes to _______.
e) fill in your own.

It's not that I don't want to be sociable, it's just that I don't have that much disposable income. Or rather I want to spend it on stuff I want or need.

Now I can see once in a while, for someone leaving or celebrating someone coming in. But why do we have to have a collection for 'National Duran Duran Appreciation Day' (August 10)?

Frankly, I wish I could just say "leave me out of it" but when I said the other day, "oh, all right! Bring me a Coke!" It was almost like I'd given them a raise! "Yay! Director is ordering something!"

Is there a nice way to say "Look, I'm not being anti-social, I'm just broke!" Without seeming to be asking for sympathy?

End rant. For now.

"The Director"

a) Cake? What's wrong with "Little Debbie" Cupcakes with a candles stuck in them?

b) Honest, I'm trying to watch my weight, plus I only drink water at work, thanks to being always thirsty because of blood-pressure meds.

c)I bring my own -- it's better than Starbucks, and cheaper! Publix buy one, get one free -- New England Coffee. Breakfast Blend or French Vanilla. Yum. NEVER Folgers, the coffee of choice of the Library. Ugh.

d) I don't drink bottled water. It just comes from a tap somewhere. I can show you the YouTube video of Penn and Teller proving it*. I buy one bottle, BPA free, and refill it each morning and at lunch (which I go home for, by the way).

*Language warning, may not be family friendly, these guys are crude and crass, but boy, do they make their point!:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to the US Coast Guard

August 4 is celebrated as Coast Guard Day to honor the establishment on that day in 1790 of the Revenue Cutter Service, forebear of today's Coast Guard, by the Treasury Department. On that date, Congress, guided by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, authorized the building of a fleet of ten cutters, whose responsibility would be enforcement of the first tariff laws enacted by Congress under the Constitution.

The Coast Guard has been continuously at sea since its inception, although the name Coast Guard didn't come about until 1915 when the Revenue Cutter Service was merged with the Lifesaving Service. The Lighthouse Service joined the Coast Guard in 1939, followed in 1946 by the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection. Finally, in 1967, after 177 years in the Treasury Department, the Coast Guard was transferred to the newly formed Department of Transportation.

Coast Guard Day is primarily an internal activity for active duty Coast Guard personnel, civilian members, reservists, retirees, auxiliarists, and dependents, but it does have a significant share of interest outside the Service. Grand Haven, Michigan, also known as Coast Guard City, USA, annually sponsors the Coast Guard Festival around August 4. Typically it is the largest community celebration of a branch of the Armed Forces in the nation.

In addition to celebrating their own day every year, Coast Guard members also participate as equal partners in Armed Forces Day activities.

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 years ago today. AMERICA did it first, and, as of today, we are the ONLY nation to send men to the moon and bring them home safely.

However, we are a humble nation, too. So the plaque left by Armstrong and Aldrin reads:

“Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon, July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

God bless America!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

trying to find a site

where you could subscribe to their email list and each Monday they would send you a silly reference question submitted from real librarians.

I used to share these with my co-workers when I was a reference librarian, but now can't remember the site. Well, when you are 950 years old, sometimes the old memory banks go blank.

Assistance, please?

"The Director"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Harry Potter" Day July 15

Many of my staff are behind me on this, and will be adding "Harry Potter" related items to their attire tomorrow.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Now, where did I put my Hogwarts belt buckle???

"The Director"

You know what bugs me??

My new boss came in yesterday, and said, "oh, by the way, several of your 'women' came over last week to complain about you. [The HR director] said she told them to 'grow up'."
Me: What did they say?
Him: "Not important. Just remember it's NOT about YOU, it's about THEM."

uh, no. If they are complaining, I WANT TO KNOW what they are saying. It IS important to me that I know. that was part of the problem before.

But anyway, the bugging part. I'd only been working at that point less than four days (short week due to 4th of July holiday) -- Why can't they bring a complaint to ME instead of running to the city/county manager? A guy has a problem, comes in 'Hey, Bill, got a minute? Something bothering me about something" and we hash it out then go out for a beer. Not women, they have to be more underhanded about it. They don't want to hurt your feelings by telling you, or risk reprising the 'war between the sexes'.

Now I don't want to generalize, but this is the SECOND place in which this has happened. And both times, the staff said "Yay! We need a man in this place, too many women", then they complain to the Manager that the 'Man' they hired does not act more like a woman, and they can't work like this. (paraphrasing, since I don't know what this group -- or how many there were -- actually said.)

Oh, come on. Why can't we all just get along? It seems my worst feelings of foreboding were not unfounded after all.

"the Director"

Monday, July 13, 2009

National "Embrace your Geekness" day

Celebrate heartily. I was going to send this in binary, but I'm NOT that big of a geek. Well, big enough to THINK of it, but not to do it.

"The Director"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New post from new job

Well, second day on the job. That's all I'm going to say about that.


Director II: The Return!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Why a reference interview is IMPORTANT


Click on the photo to enlarge

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Employed again.

Ok, so in spite of my misgivings, and the fact that NOTHING else is being offered or looks remotely like being offered, I went ahead and accepted the position described in my previous post.

My start date, depending on securing rental housing and their move-in date allowance, will be June 29. Somehow, I didn't expect that to be so soon. But it makes sense that they would want me to start quickly.

Wish me luck.

"The Director" (once again).

When is a branch manager NOT a branch manager?

When they are in fact, if not in name, the Director of the Library.

Here's the situation, companions!

I applied for a job in a small, semi-rural community, pop. appx 11,000, library 20 years old, 5,000 sqft, 6 employees (I learned all this at the interview). The ad was for a 'Branch Manager', so I was interested in learning how many branches the library system had. The answer: only one. ???

It turns out that the library is part of a 16 county Regional System. For reference purposes each library is referred to as 'a branch' of the Regional System, even though they are autonomous, independent entities. Thus, each 'Branch Manager' is actually "THE DIRECTOR" of the library, the one in charge, responsible for the whole enchilada, answerable only to the City Manager (in this case). No department head is called a 'director' but a 'manager' the problem lies in semantics. To me a branch manager is under a director, and thus is in a 'mentoring' situation where they can hone their management skills without bearing the brunt of full responsibility. Here, the Branch Manager IS the director, responsible for staff, budget, grants, everything.

To top it off, when I hesitated, and let them know of my hesitation, I was immediately offered a salary boost of almost 9,000 per year (from 34,000 to 40 - 45,000, depending on if they could find the money in the budget).

Add one more item: it turns out that there is a 'problem employee' on staff. One of the interview questions was "how would you handle it if you heard a staff member being rude to a patron?" I was later informed that this was not a hypothetical question, but a repeated problem, and that this staff had been written up with Personnel Action Forms (aka, PAF) several times by the City Manager since the departure of the previous 'Branch Manager'. As the incoming boss, I would be first, before anything else, be expected to 'handle' this problem.

(notice the proliferation of quotation marks above? I have a lot of red flags waving in hurricane force winds about this position).

Those who have been following the travels of "The Director" knows the situation that started me on my unemployment quest. This situation sounds eerily similar to that situation, circumstances I do not want to face again. I'd rather face an invasion of Daleks than go back into a heavily political, rebelliously staffed library once again. The Master could not contrive such a diabolical scenario!

I want to tell them 'no' right off, but they keep coming back with other offers. The latest: they will help find me affordable housing, as they do not want me moving to a smaller area nearby, even though the rent is cheaper. I wouldn't assimilate as easily into the town life.

My chief companion (wife) cannot help me out here either, as (as she points out) she has no point of reference for a library in peril situation. She is anxious for me to get a job (and out of the house, methinks) as soon as possible.

good location, only six hours from where I am now (275 miles).
good pay (if they make good on second offer)
they want me
it's a JOB.

six hours from home (family would not be moving as we are in a fantastically good school!)
problem employee (where there's one, are there more?)
in charge!
higher rent than I'd like
did they lie to me,
how much more are they NOT telling me because they want me.
public vs college/university setting.

I need to let them know by this Friday if I am interested. So far, I have been honest with them, telling them I have conflicting emotions and thoughts on the position.

"The Director"

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Pardon my exuberance.

I have two interviews this week. One at a bookstore. Actually, it sounds like a good job. I've worked in a bookstore before, and enjoyed it. This interview is first.

The other is for a director position at a nearby library. I know what you are thinking:
Do you REALLY want to go through that again?
My answer:
I DON'T KNOW!!! I just want a job!

Plus, I know the library, it's better run and has a firmer base and much more solid staff than that "OTHER" library at which I am no longer employed, and led to my current situation.

Plus, I can maintain my alias as "The Director".

Any advice?

"The once and possibly future Director"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wow, two in one week

Got this in email today:

Dear applicants for First Year Instruction Coordinator and Reference Librarian,

Thank you all for your interest in The University of ******. Due to the state of the budget in (our state), the search for this position has been suspended indefinitely. During the last several months the Search Committee conducted phone interviews with the top tier candidates and held two on campus interviews. The pool for this position is exceptionally strong. We regret that until we hear further budget news regarding the next fiscal year, we are unable to proceed with the search process.

Thank you for your interest in U*** and best wishes on your job search.


(By the way, I was NOT one of the 'phone interviews' or the 'on campus interviews'.)

However, I also received a letter from another position asking for a resend of some documents I didn't sign properly. So that's hopeful!

"The Director"

Friday, May 22, 2009

Another one down.

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but the truth is, NOTHING is happening on the job front, and it seems silly to treat this as a 'Twitter' to just post: "Day 233, still nothing".

I'm hoping on two jobs that closed last Friday, one less than 200 miles away, and another in TN. Both college librarian positions.

In the meantime, I've actually gone and registered with Kelly Services, and they have already sent my resume for one temp job that may turn into a permanent position, as a Deputy Clerk for the 2nd Court of Appeals. (and remembering an old episode of "Green Acres" did ask to make sure it was Appeals and not Apples!).

I've also filled out many applications for USA jobs for on-base Supervisory Librarian/librarian Tech positions (Lib Tech on the bases pay just as much as a Supervisory Librarian position!).

So, anyway, today I received this letter for a job to which I applied a few MONTHS ago (the name has been asterisked out to protect the innocent):

Thank you for applying for the Assistant Director position at N*****.

Unfortunately, N***** experienced a substantial cut in funding during the state legislative session. This reduction in state funding will not allow us to fill this open position.

Our hope is that we will be able to find additional support in the future that will allow us to again advertise, and fill, this position.

Executive Director

End quote

Keep smilin'

"the Director"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Extreme Makeover Home Edition

Seriously, they are doing a build here in town. I just came back from the build site, and while I didn't see any of the 'cast' from the show, there is a LOT of activity and the house has gone from a cleared lot to being roofed in two days!

I tried to get on the volunteer list, but by the time I found out about the project, the list had filled. It was that quick.

The "Move that Bus" moment will be Friday afternoon. It is a very deserving family. The dad has brain cancer, and went into the hospital the DAY BEFORE Ty woke the family up. They have four adopted special needs children from China, and two of their own. The house will be over 3,000 square feet, and so far looks amazing.

I hear that the best time to actually see Ty and crew in action will be Thursday, so we will go over again that afternoon.

All for now

"The Director"

Monday, February 2, 2009

Interview update

The first interview was interesting, and it sounds like an interesting, rewarding position, working with 16 year olds who have about a 12 year old developmental level, in a classroom setting. It's a temporary job, but only about 20 minutes from the house.

The principal will let the 'winning candidate' know tomorrow, as she needs someone in place immediately.

The prison position was less so.
1) it was 40 miles from the house
2) the interviewer looked at me and said "You do know this is a minimum wage position, don't you?"

hum. 40 miles one way for a minimum wage job? All I earn will be gas money.

They did tell me that another prison in another city was looking for a librarian. The question: do I want to work in a prison library?

Still thinking that one over.

"the Director"

edit: no responses from either position. :-(

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fingers crossed!

I have two -- TWO!!! -- interviews on Monday! They are not BIG jobs, one is not even a library position, but as an "Instructional paraprofessional" in a middle school.

However, if I get either one, they will serve to bring in an income until "the big one" comes along.

Plus I got a letter from a University in NC saying my name has been forwarded along to the search committee. Progress!

More later as things develop.

My wife is much relieved.

"The Director"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Volunteer work

So, anyway, I've been volunteering at a local museum two days a week, four hours per day for the last three weeks.

Most of my work has been to greet visitors, but then they started to ask me to look up some information for them on the internet. And (this astonishes me) they have been flabbergasted at how much I can find in a short period of time (Google is NOT that hard).

So yesterday, the director calls me into her office and says that they want me to put in MORE hours (unpaid, of course) to help catalog the collection at another local museum site (it's more of an historical home rather than a museum), since I bring in more gifts and skills than the usual volunteer, and they are just pleased to have a 'research librarian' working for them.

I'm honored. But it doesn't seem like they are offering anything beyond volunteer, and I'd really like a job. Then again, their hands are tied with State hiring freezes, too.

Oh, yes, I said I'd be happy to help out. Who knows, the experience here could help me get a museum job some where, some time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis
Or in this case -- Nancy Pearl's before Swine!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

a note about -- whining

Just a note here to clarify something that's been bugging me.

On so many blogs, it seems like the purpose is to complain, complain and complain some more. I've been looking over this blog and thought to myself: "Self, it seems like it's more of the same".

Fortunately, self responded "Not so, Director. You are merely keeping a log of your activities in seeking out a replacement job. I mean, look at the nice Thanksgiving and Christmas messages you've posted!"

By golly, he's right! I mean, I'm right. I mean .... never mind!

I hope that if y'all see me getting to 'whiney' and down in the mouth* that you will post a comment and remind me that I'm actually doing ok, and you are, too.

The positive messages can keep us all going strong when the situation looks bleak. And when I find something positive to post, I will be sure to do so. :-)

Keep smiling!
"The Director"

*Which brings to mind the old joke about the person who dreamt he was eating marshmallows and when he woke up found he'd chewed a hole in his feather pillow. When asked how he felt, he replied, "Oh, a little down in the mouth!"

Job fair followup

I'm a bit disappointed, as were most of the people I took the time to speak with at the exit.

In the first place, the fair was advertised as "Over 100 employers will be there to take applications and resumes and interview you on the spot".

What we got was either:

"We have some openings, and you can find them listed on our website, and when you go to www. whatever . com you can fill out our application then."


"We don't have any openings at this time, but we are taking resumes in case something opens up."

So, why were they there at all?

A few places were actively accepting resumes, but there were no application forms anywhere that I saw (except for Whataburger), and the most popular spots were employment/placement agencies. I tried to sell my librarianship skills as perfect for Office Assistant and clerical work, since all librarians are OCD when it comes to organizational skills. What was scary was that I met at least two other unemployed Librarians going to the same agencies as I was.

Ah, well. The search goes on!

"The Director"

PS, I met one or two other unemployed librarians and heard of others, who were also looking for jobs at the job fair! There are a lot of us out there! If you have a job or know of one, let us know!!! Our families will thank you!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Job Fair! yahoo!

I just found out that there will be a job fair at the civic center on Wednesday morning! (I had stopped by Starbucks for a fifty cent refill in the travel mug my daughter had given me for Christmas, and they had a flier over the 'works' station advertising the job fair!)

It won't be a librarian job, but it will be a job with an income for the time being until the budget is worked out so the local counties can start hiring again.


The Director

Sunday, January 4, 2009

View from the unemployment queue

I'm thinking about sending this to the newspaper, they sometimes ask locals to post 'viewpoints'. Any comments (offered gently) would be appreciated.

View from the Unemployment queue.

Ok, not really, I’m not literally standing in line for any benefits. But that’s not because I don’t want benefits, it’s just the way I became unemployed that matters.

First a timeline:

Last April I accepted a management position within driving distance of home. I really thought I was ready, and quit a very good secure job also within driving distance of home, in the opposite direction. However, when I got into the new position, I found that the position had really been misrepresented to me, and the position was in a place with very shaky foundations, in terms of budget and organizationally. It became quickly apparent that I would not last long, and before I had finished half my probationary period, we parted ways. However, since I took the offered option of resigning with dignity and a full months pay plus two months of health benefits, I forfeited my option of unemployment benefits.

That was the middle of September. I have been looking for a job ever since. My chosen profession is as a Librarian, and I have the MLIS degree to go with that (as well as a Masters in Education) plus twelve years experience. However, with the budget crisis, no library positions, including part-time desk coverage, are being filled at this time. That includes most out-of-state positions as well. So far, the only responses I have received being postcards either stating the positions have been filled internally or are going unfilled due to budget cuts. Some Florida Human Resources missives have declared that they are waiting until after the Special Session to make staffing decisions.

So, I began looking further a field, including a full day spent going from store to store in both malls, from Abercrombie to Zales, only to be told, “Sorry, we are not even hiring for the holidays this year, but you can fill out an application online. We don’t do paper applications any more.”

I joined on-line job hunt agencies, such as Monster and CareerBuilder. The main reaction from this course: my email basket is now filling up with ‘work at home’ scam offers. “You can make $5,000 a month filling out envelopes!” Yeah, Right.

I must have filled out three dozen on-line and paper applications altogether. The results so far: No calls, no emails, no postcards -- “The sound of silence.”

Finally, I was offered an interview in Panama City. I gleefully went over for the interview, and began searching for a place to live, in case I was offered the position. What a shock! The advertised one-bedroom apartments for $550 were booked with waiting lists, the $700 - $950 were way out of reach, and anything in between, well, they’d have to pay the roaches to live there. How about a mobile home? Try $36,000 for the smallest two bedroom, with no vacancies in the parks to put it in! Buying a home? Let's just say that I don’t think news of the bursting housing bubble has reached Panama City. So, cross-off “moving to a new town for a job” from the list.

Seriously, right now I would take a job as a secretary just to pay the bills. But those applications have yielded no results either. My list of positions applied for includes, but is not limited to:

Teacher’s aid
Office assistant/receptionist
Flex Press operator (what’s that? I have no idea, but they train!)
‘Merchandise replenishment personnel’ (new-speak for ‘stock boy’)
Park ranger education specialist (give programs to visitors) but it's in the Smokey Mountains. If they provide cheap housing, I'll take it!

and many others along this line. If it’s advertised, I’ve applied for it.

Frankly, it does not bode well. I have a family to support, you know. I feel like a wide receiver (hey, wide is NOT a physical description here!) yelling to the employer quarterback: “I’m open! Hit me!”

What’s an able-bodied guy have to do to get a job here?


Friday, January 2, 2009

Belated Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Sorry I didn't post this earlier, but to all who have been following this soap opera of my life, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

And I couldn't resist adding this one, as well: