I earned my MLS and all they gave me was this stinkin' shirt

Walter Minkel, over at The Monkey Speaks, has an alarming post up right now. Wausau, WI has demoted all of its librarians (all of the Librarian I positions, anyway). Instead of Librarian I, they will now be “customer service librarians,” which also comes with – BAM! – a $10k annual pay cut.

This, of course, is part of a reorganization to save the flailing budget of the city. The library director, Phyllis Christenson is quoted in the Wausau Daily Herald as saying, “I would rather keep people on staff at a lower pay than fire somebody.” Well, dur! Once again, this is an example of library upper management coming to a half-assed decision because they’re afraid to make the difficult choice and have the difficult conversation. Never mind that you’ll have people on your staff who are undervalued and demoted so you have to guess that the morale at the Marathon County Library System is swell, right? Right? Sheesh. Not to mention that Christenson also states this reason for the reorg: “Librarians today do less complex work, she said -- calling for pay adjustments and more technological assistance.” Whoa. That smells like a cop-out to me. A big, ol’ stinky one. I have seen nothing but evidence to the contrary in my own day-to-day job. Nevertheless, library science/information science programs nationwide should pay attention – if library directors are seeing our work as relevant, then Master’s programs will need to double-time to make sure that they’re producing librarians well-versed in all things relevant to libraries today…like how to be a manager or a director.

I can only hope that this is not going to be a trend elsewhere in the country. I can only hope that this is just the misguided attempts of some Midwest councilpeople and library directors to save their own jobs. Otherwise, that Master’s degree in Food Studies at NYU is starting to look more and more promising…

For an alternate perspective, check out the Annoyed Librarian's post about this.

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