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How To Lose Your Tech People

Third update: Jessamyn weighs in.
Second update: Caveat Lector weighs in and brings up both the Gender Thang and those absurd job ads that cram twenty people into one description. Right on, girlfriend! I too add that MPOW has none of these problems–oh, it’s lovely to be in charge. (Or maybe it does have problems, and I’m too much of a DilbertHead to see them! Ignorance truly is bliss.)

Update: see Librarian in Black’s list, as well.

Michael Stephens has a great “top ten” list about things libraries do to alienate/lose their good technical staff. Let me “meme” this a little to add several more:

1. Underfund technology as much as possible. Pay particular attention to keeping a lid on technology salaries, but don’t be afraid to shave the hardware budget first and foremost when cuts must be made.

2. When faced between eliminating an old service no one uses and improving technology funding, go for the old service every time.

3. Be sure to throw around the phrase “professional staff” in the presence of library tech workers who do not have library degrees. So what if they have degrees in computer science or decades of skill, if they aren’t librarians?

4. Require library technical staff to work in areas they are unfamiliar with, such as reference (and be sure to single-staff them on the ref desk at peak times). Just because you would never ask a children’s librarian to reboot a server doesn’t mean you can’t ask that a techy be ‘well-rounded.”

5. Expect technology staff to routinely work weird hours without special compensation. They’re the ones who chose to go into technology; they should be willing to come in to the library Saturday at midnight to do server work.

6. Make frequent comments–or simply tolerate them from staff–about how “having” to provide technology takes away from “real” library work.

7. Do not expect non-technical staff to learn any technology skills whatsoever. It is perfectly reasonable for someone upgrading a server to run across the library to help someone put a bullet in Powerpoint.

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