Thursday, March 27, 2008

why won't those damn librarians just retire already?

Of late there has been a bit of a firestorm brewing on publib about how old librarians won’t retire to make room for the new.

here’s the email that started it off:

Just to chime in here...

There have been quite a few postings for jobs here in Michigan, some requiring to no experience, but I have yet to get my degree so they won't interview me at all.

From what I read, I got the impression that this "librarian shortage" or "job increase" was not due to demand, but to the retirement of a lot of librarians. At least here where I am, a lot of librarians are very old and ready to retire, even the University ones. The new
reference librarian at MSU just graduated last year, so they want to hire new people. Especially with the old librarians and technology? Oh God, do they want new people!

The universities are having the students teach old librarians up here.

I agree with the economy issue. The failing economy, the recession, social security and all that, are making retirees nervous. I'm thinking that the reason we aren't seeing jobs as much, is due to a lot of people working longer than they should because they're worried they won't have enough money. At least, that's what's I'm hearing from the older

This problem could go away soon, could not. I'm considering a possible overseas move, librarians are in demand elsewhere in the world... drastic though it be.

yes, it is a bit incendiary, and it really makes you wonder what is considered old. I thought a couple of things:

  • First of all the poster hasn’t even started looking for a job yet, are things really as dire as she believes (i got my first job, my first interview, directly out of grad school, in the city i was living~and I know it all depends on the time you are looking but my system still has openings…)?

  • Perhaps she has unrealistic expectations of income in this profession (i remember when i was applying to grad school and discovered the little bit of info that librarianship is the lowest paying profession for the level of education it requires~a choice you make when you are deciding what to do with your life~money ratio to job satisfaction desire)

  • Perhaps a different career, one that pays more and has more perceived opportunity is in order here (but perhaps attitude is a factor?)

  • Why should someone be forced into retirement simply because they are of a certain age, especially if they still enjoy what they do?

  • Librarianship is a second career for many people (maybe because they need the income?) so the average age at entry is older to begin with...

  • Sure some older librarians are not up on the new technology (just as many younger ones aren’t) but many are (and many of them are more adaptable than the rest of us having gone through many drastic changes in the profession in the working life~not to mention that this is one profession to quickly take on the new technology) .

  • It is true that people are not making enough money to save enough, should we force them to live on less than they can simply to make room for the younger whipper-snappers?

  • Some of us (even not so old) librarians have extreme medical costs (or other life-circumstances) which require us to retain that job for the health insurance.

  • Will she feel the same when she comes of age and somewhat younger, stronger, leaner, more learned, more sure of her own abilities wants her job (and your perception of age does change relative to your own age)?

  • There is something to be said for experience!

These are all my own assumptions and presumptions of course...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lady Day

This “low holiday” or “lesser sabbat” falls on the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox (tho it may not feel much like spring with this weather...), when day and night are equal. The Great Mother Goddess, who returned to her Virgin aspect at Candlemas, welcomes the young Sun God’s embraces and conceives a child to be born in 9 months at the next Winter Solstice. This date varies each year.
Note: Some pagans refer to this sabbat as “Ostara” or “Eostara,” which is historically incorrect. The festival of the Goddess “Eostar,” whose symbols are the egg (sound familiar?) and the hare, is separate and is best celebrated on the vernal full moon or esbat.
Ostara is the Sabbat associated with Spring and is the time of the year when there is an equal balance of light and dark, 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light. This is an important time to embrace a point of balance in your own life, where everything is in harmony for a brief time before summer is upon us...
so if you are not celebrating Easter this year (or you want a reason for sharing that Easter dinner with your traditional family) sweet Ostara...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

"Marie-Antoinette was the victim of idealogical inflation systemitically fueled by the pamphlets and the press."

and "Even when thrown by the handful at their targets, the pamphlets failed to rattle the good humor of the queen--thanks, perhaps, to her complete lack of curiosity about the written word. Reading, an immobile an immobile activity demanding sustained concentration, bored her."
Yeah, reading kinda does suck (or so i've been told)
So a short while ago i watched Marie Antoinette (rather enjoyable flick) and became interested in the life of the queen. After devouring what i could find on the internet and biographical databases i went in search of actual books. The only thing that wasn't a children's book my library system seemed to possess was The Wicked Queen: the origins of the myth of Marie-Antoinette by Chantal Thomas, a title i think i picked up once before, started perusing, then returned. This time i struggled my way through (don't get me wrong, it was interesting, if somewhat dense~don't know if any of this was due to the translator, Julie Rose, but i do think this is a tome written for academia more than anyone else).
I perhaps should have noticed that the call number was not one for biographies, though a quick perusal of even the book flap would reveal that it is a study of how the contemporary propaganda pamphlets and tracts not only turned the French people against the foreign queen, but were mostly untrue. I would have benefit ted from a more thorough grounding in the details of Marie-Antoinette's life (there is a brief chronology). And a glance at the back of the book to reveal that the names of everyone i was having such a hard time keeping straight were glossed there might have helped (i am forever making too-late discoveries such as these...) Apparently people were as obsessed with the sex-lives of royalty (the celebrities of the day) then as they are now (not too surprising) and there is quite a bit of vulgarity to be found here.
Perhaps of interest to students of eighteenth-century aristocracy, historical scandal sheets, or the French Revolution. I will continue my quest for biographical details and i might enjoy this one more after a few more facts under my belt (though i did read the entire thing in just a few days...)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

in the waiting room, or (to quote Elizabeth Grymeston) "I resolve to break the barren soil of my fruitless brain."

so here i am, waiting them to set up the ultrasound machine after my follow-up mammogram came back with wonky, mysterious results (the whole medical mystery thing is something that has been going on all my life and i often wonder if there is more to this whole adoption thing than my parents were ever let in on... or were they?)
The whole results waiting thing is getting a little tedious...
a few thoughts on my waiting room reading...
  • an article about a woman who has chosen to live with the man she loves for the rest of their lives but does not wish to marry (for what is a legal/religious commitment anyway~they don't feel it's necessary). Although i've had a few live-in situations in my life i've come to the conclusion in my old age that, unless there is some legal (such as same-sex commitment~which should be legalized) or financial reason (sometimes senior citizens are better off without marriage) preventing a legal union you really should get married (especially if you have children). This isn't necessarily a moral opinion, but i believe that it makes everything much more tidy in terms of finances, insurance, life decisions, and even, gods forbid, the dissolution of the relationship. Even if a commitment between the two of you is enough, why is marriage so distasteful (and how cranky am i getting???)?
  • obama vs. hilary (convinced of his own fitness for office~he is quite audacious, is he not?) and i suppose he must be so convinced to go up against hil's "experience". I am waffling about which of these two i want to elect (i just want a democrat in there for a change!)
    "Tragedy, in the Shakespearean form that Weisberg seems to cite (although there is nothing tragic about Henry V either), requires self-awareness and at least some level of greatness squandered. The Bush whom Weisberg skillfully and largely convincingly portrays is a man who has rarely reflected, who has almost never looked back, and who has constructed a self-image of strength, courage and boldness that has little basis in the reality of his life. He is driven less by bold vision than by a desire to get elected (and settle scores), less by real strength than by unfocused ambition, and less by courage than by an almost passive acquiescence in disastrous plans that the people he empowered pursued in his name."
    Alan Brinkley's review of The Bush Tragedy by Jacob Weisberg in The New York Times Book Review, March 2, 2008
  • and then there is my ever frequent meditation on and frustration with idiots on the road (i have mentioned my hatred of driving here before {and what is it about traveling to medical appointments that makes it all so much worse?}). But i must say my very biggest pet peeve of all (beyond the sheer stupidity of nearly everyone on the road but me) is honking horns (i once had a friend ticketed by a police officer for excessive use of his horn~he honked at someone at a stoplight and the officer told him the horn is only to be used in cases of severe emergency {tho i must admit, when someone doesn't notice the light has changed after longer, than say, 45 seconds, that does seem like rather an emergent situation...) But i feel almost the same way about horns, nothing will more quickly make me want to doggedly prevent you from reaching your destination than if you honk your horn at me (talk about road rage). I don't often follow through on that impulse (at least not for long). At least i'm not hypocritical about this, it seldom even occurs to me to honk my horn at someone, unless i see my eminent death looming closeby...

"Maybe when your real life becomes the terror, there's just nothing left to dream about."

In Taken Edward Bloor imagines the year 2036 as one with severe class divisions (an outgrowth of divisions which are already dangerously increasing.) Thirteen-year-old Charity Meyers is a Floridian daughter of privilege who lives in the Highlands, one of many gated communities, escorted to and from satschool (a school where lessons are beamed by satellite from an elite Manhattan academy) a heavily-armed butler, Albert (who along with her family's live-in "french maid" Victoria are part of the RDS~Royal Domestic Service~the "largest and most prestigious company in the service industry.) Their very names are regulated by the RDS.
Kidnapping has become a "major growth industry" in this society of the future and, as such, the rich kids are trained to deal with the stress of the situation as well as follow the "protocol", the ransom is to be arranged within twenty-four hours and the child returned safe and sound. On New Year's Day 2036 Charity is kidnapped and thus begins her twenty-four hour countdown. The pace of the book keeps the reader enthralled as the hours are counted down and Charity's story is told in both present-tense and flashback. The details of the society she lives in are often relayed from details she has written about in various term papers.
Charity's father is a dermatologist who amassed his fortune by developing a skin bronzing treatment (ironically, her mother died of skin cancer) and his wealth has survived the "world credit crash". Her stepmother, Micki, is a self-centered "vidqueen" who makes documentaries and with Micki and her father in the midst of a divorce Charity spends much of her time with Victoria and Albert. With many twists and turns and Charity's growing sense of social awareness, Taken is a fast-past, thrilling read.

Monday, March 03, 2008

"Innocence is a curable disease, you know."

another rewriting of Shakespeare; another feminist interpretation; another Lisa Fiedler young adult novel (even though i wasn’t excessively thrilled with the last); i guess i just can’t resist…

Romeo’s Ex: Rosaline’s story takes a rather minor character from Romeo and Juliet (though she is the catalyst for the meeting of the couple that many consider the most romantic of all time~just in case you need a refresher, Rosaline was the character Romeo was mooning over at the beginning of the play and drove him to sneak into the Capulet’s party where he instantly fell in love with Juliet). In Fiedler’s take, Rosaline is Juliet’s cousin (a not entirely unbelievable premise given that the drama’s character has some relation to the Capulets [else why would she be at the party?]). Rosaline is also an apprentice healer (seemingly to be a common theme with Fiedler~tho Rosaline has ambitions to study medicine at an academy), which provides her an opportunity to meet Romeo in the first place (and he to become enamored of her).

Rosaline’s story really is the main focus of this novel while Romeo and Juliet’s is told as more of a subplot (and as a contrast to the true love that develops between Rosaline and Benvolio {both originally skeptical of love and all things related), who saves her life during the play’s initial Montague/Capulet brawl~tho she originally mistakes her savior for Mercutio). Rosaline’s yearning for the bad-boyedness of Mercutio is in direct conflict with her growing affinity with Benvolio. Mercutio wishes to make a conquest of Rosaline (as is his wont) and it makes for a somewhat involving (if entirely predictable) story.

I found this book to be rather more enjoyable (still somewhat fluffy tho) than Dating Hamlet (perhaps the experience of a freshman novel matured Fiedler…) (but i did find the trivialization of Romeo and Juliet’s love somewhat annoying~even though i once wrote a term paper for my Theatre History class about how their relationship was one more of adolescent attraction than true love~much the same concept, but it was my concept; therefore all that much better!). This novel was much truer to the original play (perhaps easier to do when using more minor characters). But one does wonder at the eventual “collapse” of the all independent, feminist women in these type of books, when love conquers all…oh well (some of us are so happily single we just can’t understand…

Sunday, March 02, 2008

"Sometimes, we lose sight of ourselves when we're not paying enough attention."

When Sandy Shortt is ten years old her classmate Jenny-May Butler disappears, and the very public search garners a great deal of attention for her small Irish town. Though Jenny-May lived across the street from Sandy she was more antagonist than friend but her mysterious disappearance obsesses Sandy. From that day on she finds herself preoccupied with finding all things that go missing (those single socks in the dryer, that , sweater you wore one time, the stray notebook, even something as trivial as a paper clip). Sandy looks for all lost things and grows more isolated from the rest of life.

I found myself relating to the description of Sandy’s obsession for “missing” those things lost (though i think i believe i might lose the meaning and the memory they held for me while Sandy just wants to understand where they go, how they go~but reading this reminded me of so many things i could never find~the anklet i lost and never found in my first boyfriend’s bed, the ring i lost the night i spent guarding the Greek theatre with my current crush~all the watches that disappeared in my apartment on Catherine Street {and it never occurred to the me who likes to think myself cynical that some things disappeared into roommates hands~until now~almost fifteen years later} perhaps loosing things attatches even more meaning and memory to them than keeping them ever would…)

Though i have a bit of the OCD myself, Sandy takes it to rather dysfunctional levels. Her obsession with searching continues into adulthood when she becomes an agent for the Gardá Síochána (the Irish National Police Service~i get the Scotland Yard impression here), and later a Missing Persons investigator on her own. Cecelia Ahern delivers her story in There’s No Place Like Here in delectable pieces, she made me want to read more of her work (and i was rather surprised to discover she wrote P.S., I Love You.)

Sandy stumbles into a land of the lost and is at first somewhat elated to find all things that have ever gone missing. But as details of her life and those of Jack Ruttle (the man who had hired Sandy to find his brother just before she disappeared) are slowly unveiled she begins to “miss” the not only the life that she left behind (and had isolated herself from) but the chances she had never given herself. She finds herself longing to return to her life (and the life she might have if she tries…)

This book is going onto my favorites list (at least for the moment…)