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Leaky library

My library building is almost 10 years old. I have worked in the old building for several years, then this new one.

After about two years in the new one, during a heavy rain, the ceiling started to leak along the light fixtures over our Large Print section. The books were fine.

We had it fixed.

Next year. Same thing. Same place.

Rinse repeat almost every year. With a few bonus leaks upstairs in our storage area.

We did go 2 or 3 years with no leaks. In a row! Then, last spring (which is different, normally only happens in the fall), it leaked again, AND over the windows right next to the books.

And, yet again, a few weeks ago. And way worse than normal. Carpets soaked, one of the buckets we put out had almost 6 inches of water in it. And it soaked the ceiling tiles in our meeting room on the other side of the library and a few tiles fell down. AND the men's room ceiling is bubbling.

After nearly 10 years of leaks, who the fuck knows what our walls look like and what is growing in there.

And we finally found out a little of what the problem is, even though the last few times they blamed moss <---wtf?

--We are in Washington. The roof they 'gave us' is designed for dryer areas, like California.
--The person who installed the roof didn't know that. And the roof needed to have a gap on the edges to allow water to pass. Which didn't happen.

--Now no one wants to repair the roof - probably because we have gone through every repair person in the state.

BUT!!! It looks like we will finally be getting a new roof! I am thrilled! So tired of having to check everywhere when we get a heavy rain to see if we have any more leaks *dances*


For the last two years I haven't passed my evaluations. There are five sections to the process and I've gotten flying colors in four: the one area I have 'trouble' in is student assessment. This is an issue for me because I see classes twice in a month, so I don't have the opportunity to follow up on most of the lessons I teach. It doesn't help either that both my evaluators were particularly micro-managing types.

So this year I've received an 'invitation' to participate in a peer assistance and review program, which is sort of humiliating considering I've been a librarian for over thirty years. I'm hesitant to do it because I'm pretty sure the peer they'll assign me won't be a librarian. I'm also not sure if this 60 hour process will replace the evaluation or be concurrent, which will be a lot more work than I really want to deal with this year.

It's frustrating to the extreme. My current principal is a former math teacher and doesn't support the library at all. She doesn't see any value in students 'wasting valuable learning time' being here and constantly books the library for meetings instead. I feel undercut every step of the way and if it wasn't for several teachers who value my work, I'd probably ask for a transfer.

Has anyone out there done the peer assistance and review program? I'd dearly love to know what it's like.
I have our department's student assistants housed with me, therefore I spend most of the time with them.  While I'm their "supervisor," I'm not the only one who can give them tasks or criticisms.  Lately, one of our student workers seems to have gotten a bad case of senioritis or just sheer laziness.  We're just gritting our teeth until he's gone at the end of this month.  The kicker is he's asked me to write a letter of recommendation for him for "whenever he needs it."  Since he's an international student he means a letter that can double as a referral or a recommendation.  I agreed before he started really messing up.

How do I politely put in a Letter of Recommendation that I'd suggest they keep him away from anything electronic so he can get his work done?  How can I say that he'd be best working for a micromanager?  He's really nice and very friendly, but dear god!  Once he's touched his cellphone, or listened to music through his earbuds, or looked at his work computer his brain immediately dumps all work info in favor of whatever he was doing.  He's always very willing to do whatever task you assign him and doesn't act like he's being inconvenienced and he's never come to work in a bad mood, but lordy, do NOT give him critically important tasks!

Does anyone have any sites they can recommend that I can use as a basis for writing his recommendation without saying something completely mean?  I've written letters of recommendations for previous student employees for specific educational opportunities, but never for something generalized and these other students were just outstanding.  He's just so-so.  Any ideas or suggestions?

Anyone familiar with BibFrame?

Is there anyone out there familiar with BibFrame?  Have any of your libraries considered working with this in the future once it's developed?

No late fees in UK?

Do libraries not charge late fees in Britain? I had a British patron recently bring back some books that were due in January (!) and got very shirty with me because she had $60 worth of fines. She said no one had told her about fines when she got her card (it's part of our standard spiel) and said libraries in Britain don't charge for late books. Fact or fiction?

The Internetwork

"We don't need libraries because we can get everything for free on the internet."

Says the lightweight who just doesn't need much.

I know you know that. But I've just gotten an article from an old German newspaper. I tried everything internetworky I could think of, and eventually checked WorldCat and turned to the Library of Congress. The librarian was very helpful--requested it from off-site storage, scanned it, and e-mailed it. So the internet still helped me find it and communicate with people, but it took a physical archive and the people who operate it.

It's also not the first time I've run into that kind of thing, whether it be databases that the library subscribes to (not everything on the internet is available to YOU) or physical items like a dissertation on microfiche.

Kettering National Seminars materials

Dear Kettering National Seminars materials,

You are a PITA to catalog.  You don't have title pages.  Your covers don't even make it clear what the title is.  You have no ISBNs.  You. Suck.

No love,
Dear fellow library patron: What you evidently desperately want, and what the library staff aren't really qualified to give you (and apparently each cleric you've consulted had a different answer) is an Official Acceptable Righteous Film Viewing List directly from the hand of God: ("Can I tell from the title? The cover art? The rating? The actors? Is there shooting and killing? Is there drug use? Nudity? Blasphemy?")

(Unfortunately, the Bible, for some mysterious reason, is silent on the specific subject of movies.)

Resolution, maybe?

So I promised to update regarding my situation with teaching the 8 8th graders with multiple Fs instead of you know, running a school library.

I sent a letter to the principal and the vice principals explaining why I felt I was unqualified to teach subjects I was not credentialed in, and that I wasn't being permitted to do the job I'd actually been hired for (middle school librarian) I mentioned specific clauses in the contract and CC'd the union rep librarian for good measure. I sent it on a Saturday afternoon so they'd get it on Monday or before.

I also talked to two fellow librarians who are active with the union and both of them advised me to get my documentation in order. (that was easy; I was able to make copies of the various emails I'd sent to my boss at Library services about my growing fears and concerns.)

Went in on Monday and managed to teach because I wasn't going to leave the roving sub in the lurch. Taught on Tuesday as well and the behavior was extremely bad with the class. Wednesday I had a medical test scheduled so I took the day off. Because I had a rough time with it (long story short, I have a hysterectomy in my near future) I ended up taking Thursday off too. All the while I kept checking my email to see if there was any official response from any one in Admin. So far, nada.

Went in on Friday and the roving sub intimated that *she* was now in charge with help from Admin and other subs. I noticed that they'd given her a radio, which is a huge deal. It's that immediate communication line generally used by staff for emergencies so . . . yeah. I happily did my own work on Friday and when I saw the two VPs they greeted me cheerily with no mention of the class at all.

So I guess I'm off the hook? I genuinely can't tell. When I asked the Union rep librarian she said this was a good sign and that I should get my schedule up and running again ASAP. That will feel good, but I'm still a little timid. I like to know things are over and done, and not in this sort of limbo area.

On the other hand, I've gotten a lot of surreptitious support and congrats from other teachers, and that's both gratifying and a little sad to think that they've been aware of this the whole time.

We'll see how things stand on Tuesday but for now I'm cautiously optimistic.


Earlier this year I posted about how my principal wanted the 7th and 8th grade classes to stop coming to the library because we had a new textbook adoption and 'Those kidds need every minute in their classrooms.' She suggested I schedule their electives to come in: Band, Chorus, maybe even PE--as if those were in any way reasonable alternatives. I pushed back by suggesting I work with 6th grade and introduce Google Classrooms as a way to blend tech and research work.

I thought that was a workable solution, but little did I know . . .

My principal came to me at the start of the year because our school has 8 8th graders with multiple Fs and she wanted to start a two month intensive four-period class where they could catch up and at least promote by the end of the year. As she talked to me, I suggested the attached classroom in the library and offered to teach Google Classrooms to them for a period a day--high school readiness, digital literacy and all that. She jumped at it.

Then later in the weekly bulletin I read that I'd been promoted to 'curriculum leader' and that teachers were to give me the work the students needed to make up.

You see where this is going?

First week, counselors were there, I did my piece, they prodded and cajoled and yelled at the kids.

Second week, all of a sudden it's just me and a roving sub. "Call if you need help." Oh I did. The whole class got suspended. Twice in a row.

Now it's just me, not even a sub. One of the VPs wanted me to re-arrange my schedule with the 6th graders so I could be in the classroom for the four periods.

So to be clear: I've had my library program shut down and am now teaching content in three areas I have no credential for to the 8 biggest behavior problems at our school. These kids . . . they've got issues. Depression, drug use, at least one is ADD with no meds. They set each other off; they have their damn phones out all the time, they need HELP beyond what I can do.

So I laid all this out to a fellow librarian who's strong with the union. She's freaked out and is going to go through the contract with a fine tooth comb. She's also going to talk to all the union reps for middle school.

And I'm a nervous wreck. Monday I'm supposed to go into that classroom and I have nothing left but some notes from the history teacher. I've written a resignation letter to the principal, explaining why I am stepping away from this ill-conceived class project but I haven't sent it yet because I'm waiting to hear back from the union for their advice.

So yeah, this entire weekend is ruined for me, and this is about the only on-line audience who will truly understand this situation, so thanks for letting me vent.

Authority Record

the fuck
The Society for Librarians* Who Say "Motherfucker"
For all of those times when the gatekeepers of the world's knowledge are called upon, in their professional capacity, to use the word "motherfucker." Or at least to seriously consider it.

*Open to librarians; library associates, specialists, technicians, and paraprofessionals of all kinds; library school students; library aides and volunteers; and all of those who love libraries, or even just love a particular librarian. Welcome.

Date Due

October 2017


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