Friday, December 28, 2007

Something to consider in the future when all the librarians retire on a Tuesday as (wrongly, in my and others' opinions) predicted, and library boards as well as leaders in academia want to fill the director positions with people from other professions. Story in today's Washington Post about the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian's director and his excessive spending habits (remember, he is working for the American citizens, after all, so he should have KNOWN that his spending habits would be public someday). Here is a link to the story:
(You may have to register to read the story.) The Director, Mr. West, received compensation in 2004 of $292,000 for the year. A quote from him tells much: ""I am grateful," West said, "for at least the past year to have been the highest-paid director of a museum in the Smithsonian. Even at that status I have yet to earn even two-thirds of what I earned as a private attorney in my last year" in private practice."
(I personally heard a similar quote from a new public library director that was trained in the realty field, when she was commenting on what her city paid her to direct a library and what she had 'given up' in commissions that year.) Different professions, different pay, folks. But I can imagine the discussion at some future committee meeting when they are considering replacing the retiring academic librarian with someone from another profession, say a physician or lawyer. That discussion will no doubt include some comments on what the new person will be giving up in income to take the directorship position, and I bet the salary will be increased to 'compensate'. Heh - too bad they can't start increasing salaries right now to better match other professions. After all, look at what the library directors 'gave up' by choosing library science instead of law or medicine or realty or used car sales...
The Washington Post article was found thanks to an entry in BoingBoing.

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