Why is it that while the relevance and importance of libraries in our culture has precipitously decreased in recent decades, the salary and benefits for librarians has had the opposite reaction. In my small town, for instance, the average librarian "earns" 45k a year. And that does not count the stocking full of benefits they receive. In fact, on average, a librarian in my town earns 7k a year more than the average police officer. With all due respect to librarians, I think I would rather spend my money on police protection than the keepers of videos, CDs and books.
Do not get me wrong, I am pro-library and pro-reading, but I am also a realist. And libraries in recent years have become depots for taxpayer funded free videos and music for those unwilling or unable to pay for these entertainment items themselves. I fail to understand the difference between a 50k a year librarian job and the $8/hour clerk at my local video store. Both check out videos and restock them when they are returned. Actually the clerk's job is harder because he has to sell popcorn, candy and soda.
The reason that these taxpayer funded video clerks who work in the library have such disproportional salaries and benefits is because of the librarian union, one of the most aggressive and thuggish of all the unions. This is no joke, the librarian union has grown into an organization that makes the Teamsters look like...well, librarians. Maybe Teamsters legend and mysteriously vanished president, Jimmy Hoffa, was actually done in by the librarians and his body hidden among the 15th century French poetry section. But I digress.
I never understood why librarians have to have masters degrees. I know a gentleman whose daughter is mentally challenged and restocks books at a local library. Now if she can do the job, why do we need to spend 50k a year plus benefits of taxpayer money to pay over-educated union members to do the same job. I understand the Dewey Decimal Classification can get quite complicated and may require higher education to understand and implement. My question is, "Why can videos and audio CDs at the library be organized alphabetically, but books need this complicated system which requires a master degree and salary and benefits approaching 100k a year?"
As valuable as libraries once were in our culture, they have become day cares and cyber cafes. People avail themselves of the Internet when they want information, they don't get in their car and drive to their local library. My local library always has small children running around screeching, or teenagers hanging out laughing and having a grand old time because there is no spindly, stern-looking woman in glasses with a tight bun on the back of her head shushing them. Now her I would have paid 50k a year.