There is something that is troubling me. It’s not the first time I’ve come up against something like this, but this takes the proverbial cake. I ask your indulgence if you have heard me rant on this topic before.
It all began some weeks ago. The principal of a start-up school, where I set up a library literally from the ground up last fall, met me outside her office one morning. She was upset, and refused to allow me to enter the library–which was being used by a teacher working with a small group of students. It appears that the school administrator did not understand why I worked so many days that were not part of the verbal agreement (which I was not even a party to) while the library and its collection were being made ready for business. He expressed his displeasure at the amount I was paid during those weeks! Not always the quickest thinker, especially under duress, I could not sufficiently overcome the shock to properly respond. I would need to meet with the administrator and discuss the “situation.”
When I was finally allowed to take off my coat, I began to think. Had I done something wrong or deceitful? It seemed to me that the administrator had that impression. At no time during the whirlwind of activity that transformed a room full of boxes of books into a small but viable library did this question arise. I was only encouraged to complete the task as soon as possible, so class sessions could begin. After about six weeks, the collection and I were ready for the youngsters. The beginning was literally stormy, thanks to Hurricane Sandy and an early snowstorm a couple of weeks later. As the students learned about the library and its treasures, and I became acquainted with the eager young visitors, there began to be sense of mutual anticipation as library time approached.
Until now. My careful preparation for the meeting with the administrator seems to be for naught. I wrote a detailed letter describing the myriad duties of the position, from building a library from scratch, through implementing a circulation system, through planning class sessions, through maintaining the collection, through evaluating all reading materials. This does not appear to impress the administrator. He was not aware of this. Why does a librarian need so much time to fulfill her duties? So now my pay is reduced to “make up” for the advance preparation time. On top of that, I am expected to continue to do the preparation, book selection, and everything else I do at home.
Perhaps I will meet with the administrator again. I have a clearer plan of what to say now. If he is willing to listen, fine. If not. . .