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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sokol Fanfare*

Welcome to my readers in Thailand and in Saudi Arabia! Please stay a while, and read some of the other posts. Feel free to comment, good, bad or indifferent.

I've decided I'm going to post some musical things this year, most notably program notes for all the orchestra concerts in which I perform.

October 22, 2016
William Tennent HS, Warminster PA

Williams: Liberty Fanfare
Janacek: Sinfonietta
Shostakovich: Festive Overture, op. 96
Other selections TBA

The Warminster Symphony Orchestra
Joseph Lovecchio, Music Director and Conductor
The US Army Herald Trumpets, Washington DC

More to come...

Monday, August 15, 2016

Day by Day*

So I interviewed with the University of Virginia and with the Free Library of Philadelphia in the last week. I have to say I like my chances better with the latter than the former. Between the heat and the monumental frustration I've had, I just have to take it one day at a time. Only way to survive.

*--Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak, Godspell, 1971.

PS: How would you feel if I posted a link to the song title at the top of each post? Like this one:
Day By Day
PPS: Welcome to my reader in Croatia! 48 countries heard from.  Hope you enjoy the posts. Be sure to make some comments for yourself and your countrymen!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Welcome to my readers in South Korea! Forty-six countries in all have passed through this blog.  Once again, you're always welcome to converse, argue, agree, all in a spirit of scholarly pursuits.

*Traditional Korean folk song, used in John Barnes Chance's Variations on a Korean Folk Song for wind ensemble, 1967.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pleasant Valley Sunday*: What constitutes an entry-level position to the American Library Association?

Wow. Just Wow.

I'm spending my Monday morning catching up on email, and applying for jobs (yes, still in the library field). I checked my usual places--I Need a Library Job, state library associations near me (and not near me), and the old stalwart, the American Library Association.  I've had my beefs with them in the past, mostly about the exhorbitant cost of membership and attending conferences--not to mention the folly that is their "Emerging Leaders" program--but nothing prepared me for this morning.

I was on their JobList page, searching possibilities near me (I'm in SE Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia).  I've been applying for jobs that required experience for the most part because most ads want it in some form--"professional", "library", sometimes "customer service", or my personal favorite, "progressive responsibility", whatever the hell that means. For some reason I decided to take a different path.  Since I'm relatively new to the field, I searched using the terms "entry level" and "academic library", letting the chips fall where they may in terms of location.

I was amazed to discover that there was one opening in the entire ALA world, a social sciences/education librarian post at the University of Oregon. An outstanding institution of higher learning, in a wonderful area of the United States, but a little too far to move the family on short notice.

Undaunted, I changed the search to "Public Library" and "entry level".


"Government Library" and "entry level"


"School Library" and "entry level"


"Library Cooperative/System" and "Entry Level"


"Museums" and "Entry Level"


"Special Library/Corporate" and "Entry Level"


Are you getting the picture yet?

Are you getting the picture, ALA?

What does "Entry Level" mean in the ALA? Anything at all? When more and more job postings ask for professional experience, meaning they won't count paraprofessional or volunteer work towards that number of years, where does one ACQUIRE "professional" experience?  Does a candidate have to rely on an HR person or library director slipping up and giving the professional title to someone not yet qualified? Why doesn't the ALA make such specifications?

The term "25 years old with 30 years experience" never rang so true as it does in the rarefied world of Library and Information Science. What do you say in your defense, ALA?

*--Carole King, Gerry Goffin for The Monkees. First released as a single with Last Train to Clarksville, 1967.
Pleasant Valley Sunday
Current CV for Daniel John De Kok Sr.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

And So It Goes*


I'm interviewing at the local upscale chain grocer on Tuesday.  I hope it goes better than the one with McCaffrey's HR department.

I have no idea where they'll place me.  I have a background in cooking, cookbooks, housewares.  I'd love to be doing prepared foods, but without the culinary arts shingle, that's not likely.  Even if I'm a produce clerk, that would be preferable to sitting home doing nothing waiting for the phone to ring/email to arrive.

I can't believe the way things have gone for me in the library world  Aaron Copland was right--"People want what they know or something just like it".  For a field that's 80% female, they sure are reluctant to hire strong men (sound familiar?).  The ALA's program for encouraging "diversity", Emerging Leaders, is, in my opinion, a big flop.  80% or more of the candidates are female, most of those women are white, and most of them come from pre-selected groups who "sponsor" places in the program. It's pathetically amusing to see the ALA try to trumpet itself as a progressive, modern, even edgy (think librarians with tattoos) organization.  Marian Paroo fit the visual mold, but she was a far more complex character then people gave her credit for.

Billy Joel, Storm Front, 1989.

UPDATE: No Soap. No Groceries, Deli, or Gourmet Cheese, either.
And So It Goes

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I Ain't Down Yet*

First things first: Welcome to my reader in the Sultanate of Oman! I don't get too many readers from Muslim/Arab countries, but you're free to leave your opinions, good, bad or indifferent, in the comments section.  Welcome, too, to Israel and to Mauritius! We're up to readers in 44 countries now.  Keep on plugging in, keep on commenting!

This will be brief.
I'm 2.5 years out of Library School. I've submitted nearly 300 applications all over the country.
I can't even get a job in my adopted home town of Norristown, Pennsylvania. What added insult to injury is that the woman in charge of hiring for that hometown position, where I started my career with five years ago as a volunteer, sent me an impersonal form letter stating that others with "lot of experience" (sic) were considered ahead of me.

A few years ago I purchased a 250-count package of coffee filters.  I remember joking at the time that if I didn't have a job by the end of the filters, I'd quit looking.

I'm not giving up yet. I'm not out of coffee filters...but the package is starting to look empty.

This will probably be the penultimate post, The last post on this blog will be entitled"Land of Hope and Glory", which as many in the English-speaking world will know as the opening line of the lyrics for Pomp and Circumstance March #1 by Edward Elgar, the ubiquitous graduation march. What I'm graduating to, who knows?  Stay tuned...

*--Meredith Willson, from The Unsinkable Molly Brown, 1960.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

You Can't Always Get What You Want (part 2)

As promised, here's that list of "Four-hymn Sandwiches" for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time through Christ the King Sunday.  If you order now, there's a bonus--a set for Thanksgiving Day (USA) which falls between CTK and the 1st Sunday in Advent.  Enjoy, comment, argue, but most of all--SING!!!

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From all that dwell below the skies (DUKE STREET) (#502)
Be Thou My Vision (#468)
Taste and See (#396)
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (#504)

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All Creatures of Our God and King (#499)
Beautiful Savior (#461)
What Wondrous Love is This (#437)
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (#539)

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The King of Love My Shepherd Is (#440)
Prayer of St. Francis (#426)
Gift of Finest Wheat (#388)
The Church’s One Foundation (#436)

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All People that On Earth Do Dwell (#372)
Amazing Grace (#519)
Cry of the Poor (#551)
Now Thank We All Our God (#456)

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

O God, Our Help in Ages Past (#528)
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (#312)
Taste and See (#396)
For All The Saints (#306)

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All Creatures of our God and King (#499)
We Walk By Faith (#507)
Taste and See (#396)
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (#539)

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Come, Christians, Join to Sing (#498)
Holy, Holy, Holy (#295)
Pan de Vida (bilingual) (#398)
O God, Our Help in Ages Past (#538)

Feast of All Saints

For all the Saints (#306)
Blessed are They (#478)
What Wondrous Love is This (#537)
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (#539)

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The King of Love My Shepherd Is (#440)
Abide with Me (#565)
We Walk By Faith (#507)
Sent Forth By God’s Blessing (#548)

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I know that my Redeemer Lives (#263)
We Will Rise Again (#523)
Eat This Bread (#400)
All People That On Earth Do Dwell (#372)

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name (#315)
Crown Him With Many Crowns (#311)
At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing (#273)
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (#487)

Thanksgiving Day

For the Beauty of the Earth (#457)
Beautiful Savior (#461)
Our Blessing Cup (#391)
 From All That Dwell Below the Skies (#502)

Again, I am not doing this for the purpose of tweaking my DOM's nose or embarrassing him--but because I'm tired of the disconnect.  I hope that he takes my suggestions and starts improving his choices for our parish. Rest assured that I will keep you abreast of any developments.