It’s almost spring and a not-so-young librarian’s fancy turns to reading ads for library directors’ positions on a variety of listservs. After some-ten odd years in this profession, I’m beginning to sense a pattern in the position descriptions:
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: Responsible for the operation of a library district that includes a spiffy regional library that went waaay over budget and ten branch libraries, including a one-room closet that’s run by a burned-out children’s librarian who snapped and decided to create her private space by using duct tape to mark off invisible walls around her desk….
Coordinates and develops a print and non-print collection with the assistance of staff and whipped-up county commissioners who get their chains regularly yanked by one frazzled soccer-mom in an Escalade incensed over the discovery that the library has copies on Captain Underpants on the shelves.
Manages a $10 million annual budget and personally certifies all expenditures, down to the last rubber band and tube of red ink. Compiles statistics of the library system’s activities including teen/full-text access whine ratios. Organizes in-house training programs on diplomatically prodding snoring homeless guys.
QUALIFICATIONS: The successful candidate must have an ALA-accredited MLS degree from any library school that still survives. Superior oral/written communication abilities including ten years of demonstrated extra-sensory perception skills. Must be able to pump out toilets and stomachs. Must demonstrate the ability to spin plates to Khachaturian‘s Sabre Dance while explaining to angry town-hall attendees why the library is not keen on the idea of filtering out every site that contains the word “breast“. Must have valid driver’s licenses from at least 38 states and the ability to lift a baby-grand piano left over from the Friends-of-Library reception the night before. The ability to turn water into wine (or better yet, cash) is desired but not essential.
Drug testing and fingerprinting are required (we’re no dummies–we read those news blurbs from ALA Online). Random anal-probing is currently being considered.
Salary dependent upon qualifications: the more qualified you are, the smaller the salary’s gonna look to ‘ya, but hey–we gotta dream sometime….