Friday, February 25, 2011

HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT FIRES ALL LIBRARIANS: Libraries get totally RIF'd

          "RIF" stands for "Reduction In Force."  If you get "RIF'd" it means your school principal hands you a letter from the district saying that your position is likely to be cut the following school year.  There are plenty of times when RIF'd employees end up keeping their jobs because of improvements in a district's budget, but it's a serious warning.  The worse the economic situation is, the more likely it is that you really will be laid off.
          Today ALL 8 credentialed Librarians in our school district got RIF letters.  Our principal told the Librarian that if a certain tax initiative passes in June, then nobody gets laid off and it's back to status quo.  But if the initiative does NOT pass, then our district will ditch every single credentialed Librarian, leaving us Library technicians to run the libraries on our own.  Which will mean cutting a lot of the programs we do through the library because we just won't have the staffing for it.  No more book fairs, no more book clubs, no more library orientations, and less open hours overall.
          The Librarians get paid a lot (a LOT) more than Library techs, so why should I suddenly bust my ass even more than I already do for the same clerical pay, trying to do the work of two people?  If this cut really does come to pass, the district needs to feel the hurt of undervaluing its library staff.  If we Library techs are left without any support, why should we try to make it a seamless and painless transition?  If we do that, then the next thing you know they'll be cutting OUR hours, maybe cutting Library tech positions and making each remaining tech travel between multiple schools.
          I do not find it flattering when coworkers assure me that I'm capable of doing anything the Librarian is.  They say that because they WANT something from me.  If I'm that capable and appreciated, then whenever I do the job of the Librarian, I ought to get PAID the same as the Librarian.  But we're all (Librarians and Library techs) so busy desperately trying to prove our worth and justify our positions that we keep bending over backwards to show how awesome we are and how much we can do for everyone.  At some point our backs are going to break, man.  And nobody's going to thank us.  They're just going to be pissed off when they can't send their kids to the library.
          I think instead of waiting and hoping that tax initiative passes, we need to spread the word in our district that if they cut all our Librarians it will mean a very noticeable reduction in library services.  They cannot expect the CLERICAL library staff to continue doing our jobs AND pick up the slack of the credentialed Librarians for FREE.
        

3 comments:

  1. Man, what a f*cked-up mess!
    Everything you said is true, and you have every right to feel that way. I hope for your sake, and the students', it will all work out for the best in the end. Should I start holding my breath, now?

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  2. I feel your pain, Tommy. You are criminally underpaid.

    --G

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  3. How frustrating for you. Scary for those who got their RIF letters. And sad for the students who will lose all of those cool library programs. For everyone's sake, I sure hope that tax initiative passes in June. You are right... you can bust your butt, break your back and no one will thank you. O.K. My tamale is getting steamed, so I better stop now before I really say what's on my mind....

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