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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Carnegie Library LYNCS project - Pittsburgh Public Market CLOSED.

So I forgot to blog about this. About two weeks ago, the Carnegie Library's LYNCS (Library in Your Neighborhood, Community, and School) service point at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the strip district closed down. Julie and I went to the PPM so I could take a last look around. I have to admit, I was a little heartbroken at this. Most of you who know me know also that I've become increasingly and passionately embittered towards libraries in general as a result of what I perceive as hypocrisy or at very least a severe disconnect between the current philosophy of library science, and the lazy reality of it.

That is to say, I spent two years in library school having it drilled into my head that what libraries need to move forward, evolve, and survive is a crop of new librarians just out of school that have new ideas, who embrace the digital world, and who have a fresh outlook and take on the field.

I graduated, and not a single damn library wanted to even interview me. Why? Because I don't have fifteen to twenty years of experience. Never mind the flat-out laundry list of transferable skills I've got, from information-related to administrative and management. Never mind that I carried a 3.87 GPA while working full time at an administration job. Because the word "librarian" followed by "20 years" wasn't written on my resume, I was screwed. And I'm not talking about 15 or 20 resumes, either. I sent out over 200 resumes in the intervening year between graduation and when I gave up. In all that time, I had three interviews. Two were for part time library assistant jobs who told me I was overqualified so they couldn't justify hiring me, and a third that turned out the woman just wanted to meet me because my resume was so impressive, but who was threatened by my skills set so she didn't want to offer me a job (she pretty much told me as much--"if I hire you, you'll be replacing me within a year.").

Eventually I decided, "Fine, if libraries don't want me, I don't want them either. They can all go to Hell." I wrote my Master's degree off as a waste of time and money (save for a couple good friends I made) and turned back to my current career trajectory, moving up to a full-on business administrator position, which is not a dream job but which doesn't suck, either, and which pays a lot more than a starting librarian position does.

But I digress.

I was, actually, pretty heartbroken at the closing of the LYNCS branch. I helped to open and establish that service point. I co-wrote a published article for the ALA's Public Libraries journal about the process, about what LYNCS represents for the future of libraries, and I've gotten amazing direct feedback about it from librarians all over the country.

And yet, none of the libraries here will hire me.

Sorry, there I go again.

So Julie and I went down that last weekend.  The PPM is starting to close down for the winter--not close down, per se, but the number of vendors in the fall and winter months decrease drastically. Still, I love the PPM. It's a great place. It just feels good in there--there's a good vibe about it. So we went down, and walked around the small LYNCS area (which was only maybe 10 x 10 or 11 x 11, maybe). We browsed the shelves, looked at some neat books they had there, I looked at their DVD collection, and just remembered the Marketing class in which our entire semester was devoted to putting this library together. Honestly, I welled up a bit. It made me sad to see it go. I'm not sure if that was the plan all along, for it to be temporary, if they refocused their plans for LYNCS, or if the service point was seen as a failure, but for whatever reason, I really wish the experiment had lasted longer than a year and a half.

Another part of my past gone away, but still, it was an achievement that nobody can ever take away. Even if the libraries around here don't see me as a worthwhile contributor to their staff, at least I got to do that. At least I got to make a contribution, once.

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