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library mgmt

director disorientation

I’ve been debating whether or not to share this for a few days, but ultimately I’m going to in the spirit of library disorientation. This is a story about your credentials and experience being devalued, and outright ignored, to make someone else feel better about their actions.

After a recruiter contacted me to invite me to apply to an open director job, I went through a few rounds of an interview process with a library that will go unnamed here. I mostly applied not because I’m looking to change jobs, but because I had never been headhunted like this before. It’s a very flattering experience. Long story short, though, I did not make it to the final round. The municipality in question, of course, did not inform me of this outcome, but I heard what happened through the grapevine.

I was very surprised, then, to receive a call from a trustee one morning this past week. This trustee informed me that they had moved ahead with other candidates and assumed I had heard this news from HR – nope. They proceeded to see if I would be interested in the job soon to be vacated by the finalist, so they could “soften the blow” for that person’s current boss (at another nearby public library) by offering me up as a potential replacement. The job in question did not make any sense for me at this point in my career. And yet, the trustee said I needed more experience managing “a bigger town library” and that I would “make a great director one day.”

I *am* a director right now. Today. And for almost three years, I was the assistant director for the largest town library in Massachusetts, with three times the buildings and three times the staff as the library this trustee represents. I attempted to explain this, but it was clear that the trustee was not expecting my response and did not want to hear it.

Now, I could go on about my interpretations and feelings here, but this is a public blog, so I’m going to leave you with what I’ve already said. I am relieved this trustee will not be my boss and I’m fine with the outcome, but the only way we will move on from trash behavior in the field is if we call this stuff out when it happens.

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