The director of Human Resources for Anchorage has changed the requirements for the position of Director of Libraries. The requirements no longer say a person must have a masters degree in library science.
The move by HR Director Niki Tshibaka is in part a response to a pilot project started at the library over a year ago. The Library division noted that candidates who had strong skill sets and diverse experiences were being excluded from jobs with the library. Libraries are now run by what is essentially a cartel of white middle-aged women.
At issue during the pilot project was equity, and making sure people working in the library may bring diverse backgrounds, skills, and cultural viewpoints. One of the reasons for the pilot project was that “Strong candidates who had skillsets and experiences applicable to the Library, but not directly in a library environment often did not make it through the HR screening, which led to more uniformity in hiring and hampered the Library’s ability to have a staff with diverse backgrounds and skills,” the Library management noted at the time.
Opening the hiring process to “more candidates with backgrounds outside of libraries . . . makes the candidate pool more diverse in terms of skillsets and cultural identities, because people with library experience tend to come from similar educational and cultural backgrounds[.]”
The Library also concluded that “[b]y having access to a broader range of applicants, the Library is able to discover hidden gems who bring new perspectives and skills to the Library team whom we might not have found otherwise[.]”
According to the Zippia website, 81 percent of librarians are white and most of those whites are women around the age of 48:
“64.1% of all librarians are women, while 30.5% are men. The average age of an employed Librarian is 48 years old. The most common ethnicity of Librarians is White (81.4%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (6.8%) and Black or African American (6.0%),” the employment website notes.
The number of Native Americans with library science masters degrees is so small that it’s not even documented. But in the 1990s, it was fewer than 200 in the entire nation.
The American Library Association and the Alaska chapter of that organization is stridently opposed to the hiring of those without a MLS degree. The association compares it to hiring a police chief who has no police experience.
Earlier this year, the Anchorage Assembly refused to confirm the mayor’s choice of Sami Graham as director of Libraries, even though she had extensive experience running schools, including the schools’ libraries. After that, Mayor Dave Bronson named Judy Eledge, a teaching professional, to the post; she also does not have a library science degree and later, when it became apparent the Assembly would not confirm her, she dropped back to the deputy librarian position. The Bronson Administration is now on a nationwide hunt for someone to run the Anchorage libraries.
The matter has become especially political because the Loussac Library had, under Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and unelected Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, become a cesspool of drug users, drag queen story time for children, and people browsing porn on the internet.
Since her appointment, Eledge has worked to clean up the libraries and make them safe for children again, much to the dismay of the nine liberal members on the Assembly who oppose the Bronson Administration.