Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Best May Day wishes

I would like to wish everyone a happy and satisfying celebration of the worker. Remind yourself today that as a librarian you are a member of the working class. Teacher pay has made some gains recently (though more remains to be done) but librarian wages are stagnant. Teachers have a strong union. Librarians generally do not. Could there be a correlation?

This country is currently in quite a rough state. Because of the poor economy there is a great deal of job insecurity. Any time there is job insecurity the opportunity for employers to abuse the rights of their employees is increased. Consequently, those who remain employed find themselves overworked and exploited. In times like these it is easy to forget that we the workers often have more power than we understand. Saul Alinsky, the father of grassroots community organizing, once said, "power goes to two poles -- to those who've got the money and those who've got the people." Tired of getting pushed? You're probably not alone.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Oh the eloquence of avoidance

Friday, April 4, 2008

Here's some intelligent dialog on AIDS prevention

From the New York Times, during an interview about his position on the U.S. distributing condoms in Africa to stop the spread of AIDS, McCain Stumbles on H.I.V. Prevention I realize that this article is a year old at this point, but it really speaks to the Straight Talker in us all I think.

Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”

Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”

Mr. McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”

Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”

Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”


Hat tip to Stories In America for this little gem.

I know this is probably old, but still...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cutbacks

My public library, like many public libraries across the nation, is facing a major funding shortfall over the next two years. If projections are correct, we will lose 12% of our funding next year and another 12% the following year.

For patrons, this means fewer materials, no Saturday hours, fewer programs and probably no Thursday morning hours. For staff this means that as people leave, they will not be replaced but rather their duties will have to be absorbed by those who remain. Part time staff will likely not have their lost hours (on Saturdays or Thursday mornings) replaced.

I'm aware that things are tight all over. Our economic system has allowed too few of the players to collect all of the chips. When that happens, the rest of the players have to borrow if they want to continue to play. Eventually, if this continues, the game is over.

Our director has said that he does not intend to lay staff off. But that's a lot of money and in this economy I don't think that we will have much staff attrition. Who knows what the future holds. Good thing I just finished this incredibly valuable MLS huh?