A LA Peanut Butter Sandwiches

One measure of my extreme goofy tiredness is my tendency to read ALA as “a la…” but we’ll leave that alone.

I just received an e-mail asking me what I thought about ALA’s recent RFP for someone to do “a feasibility study on a proposal to establish a “Library Corps”” to “recruit retired librarians to provide assistance to libraries that need help.” (If you somehow managed to avoid the fray, catch up on librarian.net, on the ALA Council list (the “Interesting Ideas” thread), or at Library Dust.)

The short answer is: I don’t think much. I’m more cynical when I’m tired, but I don’t feel particularly threatened by “an RFP for a study on a proposal,” which I don’t see going anywhere anytime soon. (Maybe we’ll get an actual project going around the time that we’re supposed to see this projected wave of retirements.)

Appearances being what they are, though, it seems a rather clueless move on ALA’s part to release this without giving the backstory that’s later shown up on the Council list — that they actually apparently discussed and rejected the idea that retirees should replace new librarians. But that’s nothing new, nor is the fact that retired librarians come back to volunteer in libraries. (Read LISNews.org for regular heartwarming stories in that vein.)

At least now, though, I know where my proposed dues increase is going… for studies on proposals on… Perhaps ALA would like to pay me $15k to write them a report about how they could avoid similar brouhahas in the future. I’m not too proud to take it, if anyone there is listening!


  1. Dorothea:

    It’s the wilful cluelessness about the current job situation evidenced in this RFP release that chaps my hide. I agree that I don’t think this project is going anywhere — but nobody shoulda even THOUGHT of it, is where I’m at.

  2. Anonymous:

    Dorothea, I’ve got a case of hide chap myself. I perceive the study as generational hubris, quite frankly. I’m sick of hearing how bereft we’ll be when the Boomers start retiring, and I’m sick of hearing how their NexGen offspring are simply the most brilliant generation ever. Get over yourselves. Retirees might be surprised to find out that when they leave & take all that organizational knowledge with them, that other people will step up and do an adequate or even exceptional job – and not necessarily the same way it’s been done before. And yes, I am a GenXer who hates that moniker and thinks that we all have things to offer the profession at different stages of our lives.

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