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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.

Swan song

Hi well I've finally gone and done it... I've left the library. Well my new job is still in the information management sector but I am out of the traditional library world.
I know most of you will understand my reasons and I'll be effectively preaching to the choir here.

I graduated 8 years ago and since then I have struggled to gain a solid footing in libraries, I went from contract position to contract position to part time, term time only work plus zero hour contract, to part time role joined with another temporary role. I've worked in every conceivable type of library, public, national, academic, research, archive, IT services you name it.... I've also worked in libraries in four different cities and in many roles within the library.
Some of the contract work was well paid and for a year but others were short, and most of the other library work did not pay well at all or was precarious.
I'm getting to an age where I'm starting to panic about finances and whether I will ever be able to have a place of my own or be able to have a nice holiday abroad, pay for essentials and non negotiable health related things and have some stability.
My most recent job was the final nail in the coffin. I got a part time role working late evening shifts (until midnight) and early morning (over an hour before most normal offices, stores open their doors to the public). In order to make ends meet I took on another part time temporary role, it took ages for me to persuade my employer to let me do this as they would have to cut 5 hours from my first role to fit in the hours of the other job (It was within the same organisation!).
I did this for almost a year but ended up exhausted. I had two week days off but in order to have those two days off I had to work for 10 and half hours on one day. After the midnight shift half my day off was over as I had to spend the whole morning in bed sleeping off the 10 and a half hour shift. The pay was lower than most jobs I've had, I was on the library desk but I was expected to do some janitorial and cleaning duties in addition to this. I spoke to colleagues and they were constantly applying over and over again for internal roles. One person had been applying for 8 years before they got a promotion and at one point they had three different jobs in three different library departments.
I was miserable and I didn't want the same thing to happen to me i.e. waiting around while someone held a better internal job like a doggy treat above my head that I had to jump for. The sad thing is that my ex-colleagues are great people. This kind of precarious mad hour shift work seems to be the norm in most libraries now, as libraries become more automated the job title of 'librarian' or 'library assistant' seems to be dying out we are replaceable and mere stewards, place holders, security guards.
I'm relieved my friends but I'm also deeply sad because I have loved the profession for so long and have loved working with the people within it.

Timeless coworker

Anyone know of a good time-clock app? Preferably free, because we have no money?

Let me tell you the tale of Co-Irker...Collapse )

Now, we're having to get a timestamp at our branch library because she can't manage to even keep track of her time and constantly lies about whether she's here on time. We don't have money for a timestamp app, but we're going to have to find one (or find a reliable free one) because of this fuckwit.

At this point, about the only hope we have for her is that when she has her baby, she'll decide that it's just too much to actually show up to work again, and we'll be able to hire someone who actually understands the concept of work... because it's obviously flown right over her head.

Oh, and before anyone comments that maybe this flakiness, lack of energy, etc. is due to her pregnancy... nope. She's been like this for over a year now. She's just taking off more time for doctor's appointments now. And I can't keep track of her time for her because I'm only at branch once a week, and the branch manager is out sick for the next few weeks, which is what makes her issues my problem. And I am not going to get in trouble like her last branch manager did protecting her ass!

Carte blanche or no?

I recently came back from maternity leave (twin girls!) and learned from HR that I'm allowed to pump breastmilk during work hours (yay). The issue is that the lactation room is in the main campus library and I'm in one of the branches. Admin had been considering putting one on my floor since there are other pregnant and new moms in the building. My AD told me to "do whatever you need to do" in order to get it going. So I did. But then as soon as I sent an email requesting a key to the locked room, I had several people telling me no, we can't do that, we have to wait. Sooooo I *don't* get to put a lactation room together?

It was hard enough coming back to work after having kids. Now I'm having to trek to another building just to make their food and not end up in pain. The walk is nice, but I'm also getting taken away from my responsibilities.

Has anyone encountered anything like this? What did you do?

Librarian-Teacher Rant

Librarian-Teacher Rant: What I'm Seeing in Student Readers in the School Library
(Parents, please read.....)

Tonight I went out with a new group of people. And they were lovely.
However, when asked what I did, and I told them, I got the arched eyebrows, and small bit of a lip curl.
I didn't need a translator.
No matter how lovely a person's social exterior is, they don't know--TRULY know--what I do as a school media specialist.
I, however, KNOW what they think I do. They think I sit at a desk, scan a child's barcode, scan the book barcode, tell the kid it's due in one week, and be sure to return it then.

And after that kid/class leaves the library, I will shelve the 10-15 books on the cart, and then settle in my creaky desk chair, open up the book I'm currently reading to the moth-eaten bookmark I've been using the last 30 years, and then the library teacher's life will be happy.

Could. Not. Be. More. WRONG.

Rant continuesCollapse )


I posted earlier about the issues I was having with my evaluation this year and the insistence that I promote ELA (English Language) standards in my lessons. It was frustrating because as a school librarian I have my own standards and although there is a crosswalk document that shows the correlation between the two subjects I always got the feeling it wasn't quite good enough.

So today, sheesh. My post-evaluation discussion was what I expected---need to work on the diminishing responsibility piece of the lesson, yaddah, yaddah, and at the end the VP tells me that the principal wants me to start attending the department meetings for ELA. I HAD been going to the Electives meetings up to this point. Again, he comments about how library is there to support ELA, and I counter that library supports ALL subjects.

Later, when I wasn't expecting it, the VP and the Principal show up in my library for 'a little discussion' that opens with pointed questions about why I left early the previous day (busted, I have a long commute) and once I was theoretically off-balance, my Principal launches into this huge lecture about how the ELA classes are wasting valuable learning time by coming to the library (it's two days a month) so she wants to cut all the ELA classes from coming to the library and have the elective classes come instead.

Uh, what?

Yes, the Male and Female Academy (behavior/study skills classes) the LB Scholar classes (low achievers) the chorus and band classes (the hell?) and the Special Ed classes would be coming instead. And while they're with me, I can do all those supplemental/supportive ELA lessons for them.

So to recap, I need to go to the ELA department meetings but NOT have ELA classes in the library, and instead have classes of students in other random subjects coming to me in the hopes that I will reinforce their ELA lessons.

This is so bizarrely fucked-up that I was too stunned to do more than weakly object. The principal then decided it would start in January and that the VP would draw up the calendar. She and he walked out, leaving me to eventually cry at work for the first time in years.

I've never wanted to quit so much in my life. I feel so disrespected and used, so underappreciated and powerless.

So I contacted my supervisor at Library Services and I'll be speaking with her tomorrow in desperate hopes that she can drop the hammer on this arrangement somehow and re-direct my principal's mad obsession with ELA. It helps too, that several of the ELA teachers have told me how fucked-up this is, and how my principal will get a lot of push-back on it.

In the meantime the urge to drink and/or run away is very strong.

Overheard in the Library

This morning, a woman asked her daughter, "Do you want this book, or that book?"

The little girl replied, "I want this book and that book."

She got both books. That little girl is going places.

Digital literacy is what?

Serious questions for the collective:

Is it just me, or is there a noticeable lack of digital literacy in teens/late 20's, right now?
I'm in a public library and over the last couple of years I've seen a significant rise in the number of people who supposedly grew up with the technology, but have no clue how to do many simple tasks.

Ex: sending an attachment through email, changing the font on a word document, understanding the difference between a table and a spreadsheet.

This came up yesterday, while I working with a colleague who is 26 (she's not very comfortable with tech, but is willing to try and learn) and our 18 year old page (who has NEVER taken a single computer class in her life and admits she's starting to regret it).

Is this just a regional lapse in education? Or is there an expectation that people are now growing up with the technology and no longer need formal instruction? What do you all think?

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

January 2018


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