Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Nice Work if You Can Get It

I'm stealing an idea from the Annoyed Librarian (can you tell I'm an AL fangirl?) with this one. Occasionally she does a "library jobs that suck" feature, so when the following came through my inbox a few weeks ago, I first thought of sending it on to her. However, since I'm trying to post more frequently, I decided that I should just keep it myself. This was sent out on a state-wide mailing list - I've removed identifying information, but otherwise kept it exactly the same as when I first received it.

Subject: Part time Circulation Technician Position

The ****** Library is seeking an individual to fill a challenging and unique part-time position. A qualified candidate must possess computer knowledge and excellent communication skills. Experience with volunteer management, library circulation and fund-raising highly desired.

Responsibilities of the Position:

  • Create monthly and yearly reports as required
  • Train, recruit and schedule library volunteers
  • Train, schedule and supervise library pages
  • Oversee operation of the circulation desk
  • Create and Manage Patron’s library cards/accounts
  • Handle additional library projects as needed
  • Assist with library programming, scheduling, recruiting, designing, and promoting programs
  • Assist the library with fundraising; book sales etc.
  • Ability to handle difficult situations or patrons with diplomacy.
  • Manage requests for interlibrary loan materials
  • Maintain order on library bookshelves
  • Create monthly book displays


  • 25 hours per week
  • 20 hours vacation per year
  • Reports to the Director
  • Starting wages $10.00 per hour
  • Some evening and weekend hours required

Jobs like this piss me off. Clearly they need a full-time manager for the circulation desk, but they're too cheap to fork out for benefits. The cost of living in Pennsylvania is low enough that the $10.00/hour actually isn't horrible for a non-professional position (I started at slightly less - of course, that was nearly 10 years ago). But taking on scheduling, managing staff and volunteers, programming, shelving, and everything else for 25 hours per week? Unless the library is incredibly rural (which it isn't), I just can't see why anyone would take it.

But do you know what really pisses me off? Somebody will take that job. And all of the other crappy, low-paying jobs that are offered up. And when those of us who refuse to work crappy jobs for $10.00/hour and no benefits try to push for better salaries, we're laughed out of the room. I'm lucky - I'm fairly specialized, and not afraid to move, so I feel fairly confident that I'll never again have to work a crap job (I also have the advantages of a partner, no kids, and good health). But I also know a lot of young, passionate, enthusiastic people who would love to work in a library, but whose desire to pay their bills wins out. And that's pitiful.

Hmm...this is actually more ranty than snarky. I'm gathering some more "overheard conversations," so we'll be back to snark later this week (or next week....or next month....or July know, whenever I get around to the next post).

Monday, February 4, 2008

Weed Got Me Crazy

Sometimes I read stories about people who call the police after their drugs were stolen, or who get pulled over for speeding while they're transporting mass quantities of cocaine, and I wonder "how can people be that dumb?" So it was with surprise that I had the following encounter last week.

One of our regular customers came up, looking really stressed out. After a few moments of casual conversation, he asked if he could speak to me privately. We went into my office.

Me: "What's up?"
Him (mumbling): "Um, I think I lost something."
Me: "Okay, can you describe it for me?"
Him: "'s, like, a baggie. With, um, some green stuff."
Me: "What?"
Him: "Um, it kinda looks like oregano."
Me: "Are you actually asking me if someone turned in your marijuana?"
Him: "No!" He looked at the ceiling. "Um, did they?"
Me: "I really couldn't return illegal drugs if someone turned them in."
Him: "What? Why?"
At a complete loss for words, I stared at him for a few seconds.
Him: "Um, just kidding! Ha ha ha!"(runs out of the office)

I have to wonder - did he honestly think that I would hand him a bag of marijuana? I suppose it's nice that he trusts me, but in what universe is it okay to ask the librarian if someone turned in your weed?

Incidentally, someone did turn in the weed later that day, and we tossed it in the trash can.