Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Okay, y'all know I've been bitching about work lately. Well, I've got a question for the blogosphere:

1) Are children's librarians usually considered to be part of management?

2) Do children's librarians usually manage their own staff?

If anyone has any experience to offer me, especially if you work in a smaller city (Ash? This might be one you could answer) that would be great. I'm trying to figure out if my job really sucks or not.


librarychik said...

Argh is right, I feel for you. As an MLIS, in my opinion, you should be treated the same as any other librarian in your library system. Be a militant librarian!!!!

Ash said...

Hey Vi,

The bigger city library in my system has a children's librarian. She is part of the management team and attends all manager meetings. She is also responsible for managing the staff in the children's section. The few childrens' librarian positions that I applied for seemed to have a similar bent based on the applications.

Were you wanting to be management of hoping to avoid it?

Violette said...

Well, the thing is, I am management. Sort of. I am in charge of the children's department. I do all the ordering of materials, all the program planning. All final decisions regarding weeding, shelving, etc. rest with me. But, I am also my only staff member. I plan the programs, and I have to do all the programs. By myself. There are two full-time staff members who work on the children's desk (who by the way are very nice and good at what they do), but I do not manage them, they are not my staff members, therefore I cannot assign tasks to them. I have to ask their supervisor (the head librarian) if I can ask them to do certain things for me. I am the only staff member in the region with an MLIS that is in scope (i.e. in the union) and I do not attend management meetings. Despite the fact that I manage a department. The whole thing is very confusing and it is really hard for me to get anything done because of all the weird dynamics surrounding my position. Personally, I do not think it strange that they have had 4 children's librarians in the past 4 years, and although I am not thinking of leaving immediately, I will be going the same way if things do not change. Am I right when I say that the position described above is a bit impossible??

Ash said...

That is weird. I would discuss the situation with the Head Librarian and ask if you could have authority to assign tasks (be specific and give examples) to the Children's Desk staff. I would also ask if you could attend management meetings and explain that as a departmental manager, you would love to be included in the management process.

Are there other librarians at your library? Ex: adult services, reference? If so, are they included in meetings and/or do they have staff? If they are, explain to the Head Librarian that you would like to be treated equally. If not, talk to the other librarians and ask how they handle the management situation. If there are no other librarians and your Head Librarian views you as a potential job threat, I'd look around for other job possibilities. :(