A Brief Interlude of Ranting by Emily

This is my response to the person whose survey response is here. As I said in the intro to that post, I go back and forth sometimes about how vocal to be on this blog.  I’m really interested in getting a variety of viewpoints, and in providing a forum for people to be honest.  I don’t want to discourage people from sharing their perspectives by being disrespectful or discouraging to the respondents. That being said, I also have a viewpoint, and to be totally honest, this respondent made me mad.  So I’m going to go ahead and comment on this one. If you are considering taking one of the surveys, please don’t let my scathing wit scare you away.  I’m grateful really.



I don’t know if you actually are a pompous jerk, or if you’re just coming across as one due to being a poor communicator. Let me address three of your responses.

1. In regards to your PhD:

Here are a few articles about PhDs on food stamps
Chronicle of Higher Education

Please note that during the recession the number of PhDs on food stamps more than tripled, while the number of Master’s on food stamps only nearly tripled. Are you really being picky, or are you just not facing the fact that your PhD may not provide you any particular advantage in the job market?

I applaud your hard work, and honestly I believe that education is always enriching, even if it doesn’t land you a job. I think more people should go for PhDs and that people who have them should be congratulated. But be real.

2. In regards to your declining to name your job ad sources:
Personally, I’m not looking for the same kind of work that you are, so I don’t need your sources. INALJ probably already has your sources. I asked Naomi how many she had and she said:

wow- it is in the hundreds I think- I assign 64 to senior editors, then roughly 5-15 for states editors (each) plus listservs… I will be tabulating it all for the Feb 4th launch of my new INALJ states pages. I also instruct the editors to Use The Source url (do not go hunting for a better job link, if you found it on ALAJobList or MPLA then give them credit by using their link) Something I feel strongly about

Isn’t she collegial and generous? Anyway, if you read this blog, please stop. If you want to take advantage of free resources that are founded on the idea of people being willing to share information and experiences, you gotta share too.

3. In regards to your comments about the survey:
Fair play. I’m not a researcher, and I don’t have a PhD. I do pilot my surveys by sending them to test subjects, but this is pretty informal so I don’t worry too much about how scientifically valid my data is. I do like to improve. If you want to make specific suggestions, that would be helpful. Telling me to consult a survey design expert is not. It’s just kind of snarky.

Ok, I’m done.  Sorry. The survey is still open, by the way, so if you want to see if you can out snark this last person, and get me all fired up again, well, CHALL-ANGE!


Filed under Job hunter's survey, Op Ed

10 responses to “A Brief Interlude of Ranting by Emily

  1. SC

    This person does not get the library community. It’s all about sharing and being supportive of one another, and yes it’s very competitive, but I would rather see someone get a job than not, especially when there are people like Naomi who post job openings and keep it so organized FOR FREE. My eyes went wide with some of his remarks and I think you were right to reply in this manner!


  2. Sean R

    There any number of polite ways to phrase declining to share his sources, which might have raised an eyebrow, but no ire. But he chose to do it rudely. Perhaps he thought it was funny, but it only came off as unprofessional. <– one opinion from the peanut gallery


  3. Meredith

    Is it wrong that I heard a male voice in my head while I read that? I actually went back over the post again looking for a pronoun that hinted at the gender of the respondent. Hiring committees usually actively try to avoid arrogance in their librarians (since arrogant librarians my balk at fixing the copier).


  4. KB

    Going to be snarky here but… it’s no wonder this person doesn’t have a library job.

    Maybe it’s just the town I live in but 80% of the PhDs that I’ve met are like this… snarky, stuck up, thinking that because they have a PhD, they’re better than everybody else.


  5. Jessica

    This is a good response, and these are good comments. 100 thumbs up all around. Like the first commenter, I found it strange that he would choose to take a jab at INALJ, when it is the product of dozens of volunteers trying to help out their peers (some of whom are grateful, and some of whom, like this individual, only want to detract from the effort).

    One of the things that I have loved most about the library community since I joined it is the spirit of sharing and mentorship. It makes for very productive and inviting work environments. I’m not sure this respondent woul be a good contributor in such an environment.


  6. sbd1988

    Your response to the survey answerer is great, and I don’t think anyone will feel scared away from answering the survey in the future.

    Making a mean comment towards INALJ doesn’t show how high and mighty a person is, it just shows that person doesn’t understand that the library is all about community. In fact, libraries and hiring committees won’t hire someone that seems to not like other people or show arrogance. Libraries are interested in providing not only quality, but friendly customer service.

    In a webinar that I recently viewed, I learned the level of importance in each service priority according to great customer service strategy. The first priority should be safety of the patron and the workers; the second should be courtesy; the third should be show or presentation; and lastly should be efficiency. *Webinar: “What Would Walt Do? Quality Customer Service for Libraries” by Webjunction.org: http://webjunction.org/events/webjunction/What_Would_Walt_Do.html

    It’s definitely not about the educational degree, it’s about the degree that the librarian will go to help their patron find information.


  7. i completely understand where this person was coming from.

    i think the fact that you felt the need to post something so nasty in response says more about you than anything else.

    i am not a fan of the sycophantic junk that goes on with folks associated with INALJ. like Dolly says, get off the cross, we need the wood. don’t do the volunteer / donation of your time if you can’t stand the burden, but please please PLEASE put us all out of our misery and stop whining about how much time and effort you give towards INALJ and this blog.

    i don’t like how much bullying i see by posts like this. it’s not in the spirit of librarianship, service, of good mojo. i also think that attacking someone you are publishing is just dumb.

    really if people weren’t so scared because the library science community is so small none of this junk would be tolerated.

    can’t we all get along? and be professionals, even as bloggers? we are all better than this.


    • I don’t like sycophants or bullies either. Everybody gets an honest voice, even if they’re wrong. And even me, I get to say something too.

      I agree that attacking someone you’re publishing is dumb. But I wanted to share both sides of this.

      I’m not trying to bully this person. I’m trying to say that I think this person has misunderstood the spirit of sharing, and is also a bit pompous.

      Just to be clear: I don’t work on INALJ. This blog and that website are two separate things. We’ve collaborated on the job hunter survey.


      • Emily, thanks for (a) publishing my comment and (b) responding in such a thoughtful way. i was annoyed and my tone could have been better, so apologies for that.

        your point is valid, i think: that you have the right to say something too. and i probably mischaracterized your response as nasty, because it wasn’t nasty, really.

        however, your post here includes name calling (even if it is formed in a question wondering if the person is a jerk) and you are using language like “ranting” as the title of this post, and then telling the person to stop reading the blog.

        not sure if these things described above qualify as the counter-argument of “both sides.”

        i think if you were interested in improving your tone and/or claiming an active voice on this blog more regularly these might be areas to think about. especially in regards to librarianship and the spirit of community.

        glad to know you are not part of INALJ. i have found this blog’s survey structure and content very helpful in my job search.

        good to know you are a separate entity. i did not know that. it helps to have that clarified, as Naomi’s collaboration was confusing to me.

        my issue with INALJ — and more specifically with Naomi, who to me has proven to be neither collegial nor generous — is what i related to in the original survey response.

        yes, the work of INALJ is comprehensive and is a good resource for those searching for jobs. could it improve and be more organized? absolutely. i think if you don’t learn and grow you die.

        but INALJ’s muddled mess of a disorganized, hard to use PDF is representative of its leadership. and quite frankly, as librarians — starting ones or veterans — we sort of expect perfection when it comes to presenting information. or at minimum better approaches to working together and maybe a little less self-promotion and self-aggrandizing.

        i think Naomi House’s resume link on the menu options on INALJ’s website and the “Created by” box on the homepage illustrate the problem of thrusting yourself front and center. whereas maybe here on HiringLibrarians, more of that explication wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

        i know i always appreciate knowing who is writing the blog and hearing their voice — a la Ask A Manager’s elegant conversational tone, which has spawned an almost shockingly fabulous community of commenters.


    • Meredith

      I thought the survey respondent’s “Take that INALJ” comment was rude and that has generated the defense of INALJ. If the respondent wanted to keep his job sources to himself (herself?) he could have left it blank, or limited it to his description of the large number of sources and expressed a desire to keep them private, given the competitive nature of the job search.

      That being said, I also don’t think that every survey has to be published and maybe this one should have been passed over since its only real positive is as an illustration of how not to sound too full of oneself.


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