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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Trails*


I had such high hopes for 2014.

One was that the Boy Scouts of America would do a better job adjusting to modern day conveniences like computers, networks, listservs, etc., and that they would once and for all, clarify their membership policy.  Looks like it's not going to happen on either count.  My son aged out six months ago, and I haven't been a leader there either, but I still get correspondence addressed to "chartered organization representative" inviting me to one function or another, in spite of repeated requests to remove me from their rolls. The local council as a whole isn't really good about using computers, although there are exceptions.

Second, I had hoped that the "alternative", now called Trail Life USA, would not get off the ground. Well, I'm going to allow the reader to judge for themselves if they choose to go to the website, but apparently the group is not for Catholics, Jews, Mormons, or members of other churches that have chosen to affiliate with the BSA through either chartering an organization or its individual members joining.  As odious as some people find the BSA, you'll find a lot to dislike with "trail life", whose motto appears to be "Walk Worthy".  Caveat Emptor!

*--Dale Evans Rogers, for Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, 1952.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Academic applications so far: 12 in 4 states

Public applications so far: 5 in Michigan, many more in PA in the five county area.

1) $8-9.00 an hour for a job that requires a Master's degree and gives no benefits is nothing short of insulting (not my current job, mind you).
2) If what I was told about college music teaching jobs is true--that if it's posted, it's already taken--what's the point? 
3) Ditto for the candidate whose background is unorthodox--like mine.  Consider that I've been:
A) a music teacher, kindergarten to post-college;
B) a hardware store manager (which is a LOT like working a library, believe me--give me five minutes and you'll get an INTERESTING "elevator speech"';
C) a hard-working free-lance musician for most of the last 40 years.  I'm truly a man who's "25 with 30 years experience"
D) a paraprofessional in a small rural public library for the last 2 1/2 years, dreaming of and working toward bigger and better things.

Top that, fellow candidates, and I'll see you in Philadelphia next week.

*--Paul Simon, Bookends, 1968.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Same Old Auld Lang Syne*

It seems only fitting that I end 2013 with this title, one of my favorites by Dan Fogelberg.  As I stated in my last post, I was on my back with excruciating back pain, muscle spasms, and honestly wondered if I was ever going to be pain free again.

Well, three weeks and two trips to the ER later (along with massive amounts of painkillers and physical therapy), I'm at least able to work for short periods of time. By turns it's been gratifying (the family gets along without me) and maddening (the family gets along without me) and I'm trying to get ready for the ALA mid-winter meeting in Philadelphia in 10 days to begin my job hunting in earnest.

Some thoughts on job-hunting:

1) I'm 53 (54 next month) and I realize that whoever hires me will do so at considerable cost.  I taught school for the better part of 16 years, have run a successful business, played and sung a dizzying array of music at an even more dizzying level, and received my MSLS degree last month with a 3.916 GPA.  Quality doesn't come cheap.

2) My dear wife and three teenage children  don't see moving with dad's every job change as the adventure that they used to. Son has a girlfriend, and daughters are involved in many facets of their school's lives.

3) To quote Jon Lovitz's character in A League of Their Own, "How it works is, the train moves from town to town, not the station".  Truer words were never spoken. While it would be really great if a job opened up in greater Philadelphia for which I was the perfect candidate and it was the perfect job with the perfect compensation package, chances are good that my next library job will be out of the area, and, to quote Patricia Wettig in City Slickers, "We'll jump off that bridge when we get to it".

4) It would be tempting to take a part-time reference or circulation position at a local library, or even a library managership at a public library.   But that wasn't why I went to library school.

More later.  Cheers

*--Dan Fogelberg, The Innocent Age, 1981.