One door opens, another shuts behind

About a year ago I created a Facebook application just for the sake of trying to create one. Thanks to the Dapper service, the process was fairly easy to create a one-stop shop for library technician job postings in Canada.

Lately I’ve noticed that the listings were no longer being updated in Facebook even though the RSS feed still worked.

It turns out Dapper is shutting down their support of their Facebook App Maker so I’ve decided to close down my Facebook App. I was able to get 22 Fans of my application so hopefully some people found it of use.

I’ve decided to migrate the service to a new page using free web page provider

Canadian Library Technician Jobs is a basic site that uses a Spring Widget to showcase the latest job postings.

Quick, apply for this job!

I know Alberta companies need to increase their incentives to compete with other employers in the tight labour market out there but I think this salary may be a little over the top:


Bang for your buck

There is an interesting In Press article from the Journal of Academic Librarianship:

Reference Transactions Analysis: The Cost-Effectiveness of Staffing a Traditional Academic Reference Desk

From the abstract:
“This study categorizes 6959 reference desk transactions to determine how many of the queries require the attention of a librarian. Results indicate that 89% could likely be answered by non-librarians. From the results of this and other studies, the author explores the cost-effectiveness of staffing a traditional reference desk with librarians.”

The article presents a study and discusses previous research which details how search and information discovery technology has radically changed the traditional role of the reference librarian. The authours then provide data which call into question the cost-effectiveness of staffing academic reference desks with librarians given the types of questions that now predominate:

“Results of the current question analysis study also confirm that many questions can be considered simple directional or machine-related. As seen in Table 3, the 2528 non-informational direction and machine transactions accounted for 36.3% of all of the transactions during the eight-month study period. Few would argue that these “restroom” and “paper jam” transactions require the attention of a librarian.”

One of the highlights of the research presented:

“Dividing the amount by the 6959 transactions shows that the library spent an average of $7.09 per transaction. While that does not seem particularly expensive to answer the 784 “research” questions ($5559), consider that during the same time frame the library spent $7.09 on each of the 2528 times that a printer cartridge was changed, or a paper jam fixed, or directions were given to a building across campus.”

These cost estimates are below what they would likely be in a Canadian academic library. This study used an average librarian salary of $23.77, which is quite a bit lower than the librarians where I work (heck, even I make more than that).

The financial difficulties spiraling through the US economy are expected to hit Canada hard fairly soon. When increased pressure on library budgets start to set in,  I think it is inevitable that the trend of library technicians working extended shifts at the public reference desk will become more and more common.

While groups like this one, express concern over the de-professionalization of library work, the authours of the article don’t dwell on what some may see as the negative aspects of the changing trends at the reference desk, they point out where the role of the librarian should be moving:

“This may bolster the argument that librarians can leave answering most questions to others and can now concentrate on working on tasks that better utilize their training and experience, as well as learning new skills that benefit the library, the users, and the institution.”

Another library technician blog

While going through my WordPress stats I saw that someone had used the search term, “library technician lack of job toronto” to arrive at my blog.

I’m glad to see people are finding links to my library technician job postings mash-up, but I noticed that this search term also brought up a link to this blog posting.

Library Tech Confidential is a very attractive looking blog (he’s not a cheapskate using a free hosted WordPress blog like I do) written by a Canadian library technician. It’s always interesting to see what other Seneca library technician grads are up to, let alone another male technician.

The comments made by “Esther” and the response from the site’s authour in the comments section of this posting bring back some memories of my job search after graduation.

So check it out for another view of libraries from the “para-professional” point of view.

My dream library technician job

My little Library Technician job mash-up pulled out what sounds like my dream library technician job:

Library Technicians – $46,640+
Canadian Security Intelligence Service / CSIS (Ottawa ON)

Not only could I live in Ottawa, city of wonderful bike trails, but I could get as close to being (the male version of) Chloe O’Brian as I likely ever will.

But my “barely passing grade 8” French dooms me from ever getting a sniff at a job in Ottawa.

You say library technician, I say librarian…

It is an ongoing issue in the world of librarians about how touchy MLIS holders should get when non-MLIS holders get called “Librarian”.

When it comes to the public, the people that come in and use libraries, I believe the vast majority don’t care about the particular educational achievements of the person they are getting help from, they just want them to provide the service they need.

In this article from the North Country Times in California:

ESCONDIDO: Bernardo parents, students fight to keep librarian

the writer and the people quoted in the article use the terms library technician and librarian interchangebly. All the parents care about is that they may have to share with other schools the library technician they admire and beleive helps their children. To them, a person who provides all these services at such a high level is a “librarian” in their eyes.

While I certainly beleive in the general concepts behind the occupational divisons between library technicians and librarians, I think anyone who gets hung-up on how the public uses the title “librarian” needs to find other things to worry about.

DIY Facebook Applications

Ever since Facebook opened up their platform to outside applications I have noticed that a number of services have developed tools for us non-programmers to create Facebook applications.

The one I read the most about was Dapper. ReadWriteWeb has a good post and short video about the service.

So I thought I’d give Dapper a try (also, I didn’t have time to commute to Stanford). I decided to create an application using a basic RSS feed from Google News. I tried to think about what ongoing news story I would want updated stories about in my Facebook profile. Of course I thought about the upcoming Rambo movie. So using the Google News feed I followed the simple steps laid out in Dapper’s AppMaker. A few minutes later I had created and published my first Facebook Application. At this point two strangers have added this application so I consider that a success. However you can’t officially add your creations to Facebook’s application directory until you have at least 5 users.


After I got this basic one out of the way I thought about how to create a library-themed one. Since I can’t create a technical wonder like the University of Alberta’s search application, I thought about a tool I would have appreciated during my periods of unemployment, a one-stop RSS feed that brought together the library technician job postings from various job boards.

The problem in creating such a tool is that few job boards provide an RSS feed. Again Dapper came to the rescue. All you have to do is enter in a URL and it can distill which content you want to track and create an RSS feed for.

Then I took the 6 different RSS feeds I had for library technician job postings and entered them into a new Yahoo Pipe. While creating a basic Pipe from multiple feeds is simple, the problem was that without filtering the results in some way, I was getting a final feed that included jobs for librarians, unrelated technical jobs and other off-topic postings.

The solution to this was to use the Filter tools provided. After much trial and error I ended up with the following Pipe:


Considering the fact that I was pulling out content from very different types of web pages I am quite happy with the final result. In order to track and continually refine this tool I have created a new page on my blog which will detail my progress and provide links to the Canadian Library Technician Jobs Facebook application and a separate RSS feed.