Volume 4, No. 4 • April 2007



  • Opelousas, LA, Library System to Keep Board Pay Raises

    The Opelousas Board of Aldermen’s salary raise, approved last August, is going to the city’s public library system as directed.

    City comptroller Elaine Hudspeth reported Wednesday that the 2.5 percent plus 50 cents per hour raise approved by the prior board provides the library system with an additional $11,523 per year.

    The prior Board of Aldermen voted to give their raises to the library after being criticized for … Read the rest

  • Cutbacks Likely at Amherst, MA, Library

    The Jones Library planned to make up a $68,000 budget gap by cutting back staff hours and reducing hours at branch libraries, along with other budget saving measures.  Trustees instead decided to eliminate a part-time position, reduce the materials and ESL program budgets and raise funds to make up for the shortfall.  The library budget is funded by the town, state aid to libraries and the system’s endowment. Kathleen … Read the rest

Career Advancement

  • No Change Spared

    The Art of Transitioning Gracefully

    I learned a lesson about life transitions when I left a position in Salem, WV, to accept a job in Nashville, TN. The cities are 500 miles, and a whole world, apart. In Salem (population 2,500), you lose cell phone reception if you go a few miles from the four-lane highway, and about a mile out of town, cable TV disappears. In Nashville, however, cell … Read the rest

  • Association of Research Libraries Library Management Skills Institute I: The Manager is June 6-8, 2007

    During three intensive days, participants in this Association of Research Libraries’ core learning event explore essential aspects of effective leadership and management. Aimed at helping supervisors, team leaders and middle managers within libraries, media centers or information technology units, this institute helps individuals hone the skills needed in new environments where decision making is distributed throughout the organization and coaching and influencing are expected functions of the manager or team leader.

    Competencies gained or enhanced by this institute include:

    • Practicing
    Read the rest

HR Practice

  • Which Is More Motivating: Individual or Group Employee Incentives?

    Reprinted with permission.

    One of the chief “head‑scratchers” for me is developing a worthwhile employee incentive program. I believe in them and know they are important, but because each employee is motivated by different things, it is difficult to come up with one that satisfies all. Which is more motivating: group or individual incentives? And what is a good starting place for each? Thanks.

    —Still Scratching, principal, services, Renton, Washington

    What motivates employees today … Read the rest


  • The Time Has Come, the Walrus Said…

    Stepping through the Looking Glass of Career Librarianship

    The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things In my case the walrus came last spring to talk about career options, the value of my life as a professional and just what to do next.

    I was blindsided when my Colorado school district announced—in mid-April—that my job was to be cut at the end of the 2006 school year. For six years I had … Read the rest


  • The 2006 SLJ Spending Survey

    The average salary for Library Media Specialists (LMSs) is rising, according to the latest School Library Journal Spending Survey. The average salary reported in the data, which was collected in 2005, was $48,000 for elementary LMSs and $50,000 for middle, junior and high school LMSs. The 2002 averages were $43,000 for elementary and around $48,000 for those working with older children. State and subject certifications play a role in higher pay. … Read the rest

  • Dear Mr. Backwage

    Note: This article is the first in a series. In this series, the author will respond to readers’ questions about library labor and personnel issues. Mr. Backwage does not offer legal counsel. He bases his advice on his professional experiences and research.

    Today’s question comes from a young East Coast librarian:

    Mr. Backwage,

    I am responsible for organizing our library’s book talk programs. These talks are part of my job description and are part of my regular work. However, we Read the rest

  • Former Union Employees at Bay County Library System (MI) Say Board Is Breaching Contract by Allowing Volunteers and Non-Union Staff to Do Their Work

    In December 2006, 120 workers were laid-off from the Bay County Library System when significant shortfalls were suffered due to millages not passing. More than $3 million was cut from the budget, which necessitated the elimination of staff and closing of two libraries. Workers like Denise Dansereau accused the Board of violating their union contract with the plan to hire non-union pages and one library assistant, who … Read the rest

  • WAGE Survey Still Needs Data

    Last month Library Worklife covered the WAGE [Women Are Getting Even] Survey, which is soliciting data and stories from women across the country who may have experienced pay discrimination. The organization will release the collective national data on Equal Pay Day, April 24, 2007, and the findings from this survey will be posted on the web site (www.wageproject.org).

    To date, the survey respondents have primarily lived in the Northern and Eastern states and have been under the … Read the rest

Support Staff

  • I’m Loving It!

    Of course I had been to the library before. I remember trudging there after school to find books to assist me with reports. I remember meeting friends there to study. I remember using the computers to search for my first job after I had graduated from college. What I don’t remember is ever saying, “Gee! This would be a cool place to work!” But it is.

    When I applied for a Programming Coordinator position at a local … Read the rest


  • National Library Workers Day

    How Will Your Library Celebrate?

    The Cabell County Public Library is proud of its workers. The Huntington, WV, library and its seven branches will decorate with National Library Workers Day-themed balloons, banners, posters and bookmarks. The libraries will treat each staff member to a $10 restaurant gift certificate, and they will provide punch and cookies for both staff and the public. The local newspaper will publish an article about the Cabell County Public Library and its services. And each library … Read the rest

HR Law

  • Equal Pay Day on Capitol Hill

    The Paycheck Fairness Act—H.R. 1338, S.766—was reintroduced on March 6, 2007 by sponsors Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Congresswoman Rose DeLauro (D-CT). The Fair Pay Act will be reintroduced on Equal Pay Day, April 24, and supporters of the Fair Pay Act will be at the Equal Pay Day Rally that day on Capitol Hill from 1:30–2:30 p.m.

    Congressional hearings on the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Act have been scheduled for this month. The Senate hearing … Read the rest