Mark Ranum, head of Pioneerland and Plum Creek Library systems (over 50 local libraries in southwest Minnesota) traveled to this meeting from his home in the St. Paul/Minneapolis metropolitan area.
At this meeting I learned the following:
1. Librarians and other library employees were told that any opposition to Pioneerland policies would be considered "insubordinate.
, as head of the system, will decide who and what is or is not "insubordinate.
As most any employee knows, "insubordination" is very often given as a reason for immediate firing, often with loss of all benefits accrued, and little or no chance to find other work.
2. According to Mr. Ranum
, local persons, including library workers, commissioners, library board members and the general public will be allowed no effective "say" or contribution regarding who is hired to work at, or be in charge of, any local library.
Hiring decisions will be made by Pioneerland
hierarchy alone, although local people (under certain circumstances and within certain limits defined by Pioneerland) "may" be "allowed some input.
It was made quite clear that no local "input" would influence a Pioneerland decision on who would work in any local library.
3. Mr. Ranum
stated quite forcefully that any book (or any library item) that has not been "checked out" in five years must be removed immediately from library shelves, no matter what.
made it very clear that the purpose of libraries under his
control is to provide readers/users with desirable current popular items, and that the library is no longer a "storehouse of knowledge" or place to do research.
I was informed by Mr. Ranum
that Pioneerland libraries are not "academic" libraries; they are there mainly to provide the people with "wanted items," and Pioneerland policies and procedures would determine what "wanted items" are.
4. Mr. Ranum
also stated that it was his
firm opinion (and Pioneerland policy) that a college or graduate library degree and accredited professional study/training were not as important in his
(Pioneerland's) hiring process or philosophy as "other meaningful experience.
What is or is not "other meaningful experience" in the hiring and promotion policy will, of course, be decided by the Pioneerland hierarchy.
I found these statements very interesting and enlightening.
I believe that Mr. Ranum's
very clear, strong statements indicate exactly and accurately Pioneerland's
attitudes and policies concerning local people and local libraries.
Head Librarian Mark Ranum did reply in writing, but not in a public forum; instead, he sent his comments to board members and all of the Pioneerland librarians.
also wrote that I "made several very inappropriate comments about several of our librarian staff.
That is not true.
then sent this untrue statement to board members and to all Pioneerland