Catherine was a really cool boss. Here’s a picture of Catherine:
I thought that she was just the best ever. But then she left me. All by myself. All alone. Abandoned. The only living librarian in New York.
It’s pretty depressing, but at least she taught me that good supervisors do exist.
I think I’m qualified to say who’s been a good boss and who’s been a bad boss, since I’ve been working since I was 14 years old and I’ve held about a million jobs, library-related and otherwise. I’ve had some pretty awful bosses. I will document them here, so that you may judge and mock them:
☹ Putting my thumb through the deli slicer at a supermarket I worked at, the deli supervisor said (as I was spewing blood everywhere), “I’ve seen worse! That’s not bad at all! You’re FINE! This is worse!” At that point, he showed me his stubby thumb, which, to be fair, did indeed look worse. He didn’t help me stop the bleeding, though. Luckily the cashier supervisor had me sit down and gave me some orange juice. At that point we figured out it was just a scratch. A really bloody scratch.
☹ I was a nanny for many years. One mother said that I didn’t need to talk to her 19 month old children. Ever. They were twins. She said they could talk to each other only, because that’s how children learn to talk. She fired me 2 days later, citing that I did “too many activities” with her kids.
☹ Another nanny disaster: I arrived at the family’s house to find their three year old with a plastic bag over his head. I freaked out and removed the bag, telling him that this was never OK. His mother came out of her office, informing me that she said it was OK, as long as she was in the house.
☹ I watched a children’s library supervisor congratulate a child on getting her braces off. The child kept insisting that she never had braces. Ever. The librarian said, over and over, “Yes you did! I remember! You look great now!” I wanted to say, Hey. You’re thinking of the other Asian kid. Doh.
☹ I once processed some books for interchange in order help a very overwhelmed circulation department. My supervisor said, “I can’t believe you’re touching the books. Librarians don’t need to touch books. That’s for circ. staff. Or patrons.” He looked at me like I was sifting through used cat litter.
☹ We caught our library’s kids playing with a dead bird outside the library. My supervisor, using gloves, took the bird away from the children, but then promptly brought the dead pigeon inside the library to throw out in our library’s workroom garbage can. I freaked out, saying that dead birds didn’t belong in the library. He reprimanded me for insubordination. (My friends are so sick of hearing this story, but really, it’s the best bad boss story I have).
But enough about Bad Bozzapalooza. Let’s talk about Catherine and why she was/is a great boss:
♥ Catherine is a fantastic children’s librarian who delivers amazing programming. She realized that while all librarians are different, we’re all capable of running a great program. We were free to be who we are. She didn’t try to turn us into little mini-Catherines. We all had our own styles and strengths and she was OK with that.
♥ She advocated for her staff. If something was wrong, she stood up for us, making sure that our department was treated fairly.
♥ She didn’t expect anything of us that she didn’t expect from herself.
♥ Catherine drinks a mess of coffee. Honestly, I don’t trust a single person who isn’t coffee-loading all day long. If you care about libraries, then you better be knocking back some caffeine.
♥ Catherine is personable and honest. I really appreciate honestly from a boss. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear or what the administration wants you to say. Tell me the truth.
♥ I always saw her working. Sure, she watched tennis matches on her lunch break (to each their own, I suppose), but she was never once of those bosses that played Candy Crush all day. If you needed a little motivation, all you had to do was look in her direction. Chances are, she was working on something awesome.
♥ Catherine always bringing new ideas into the library: Book Bundles, The Dewey Decimal Number of the Day, and 1000 Origami Yodas (just to name a few). Whether she was adopting the ideas of other librarians and modifying them for our library (she reads a lot of library blogs) or coming up with stuff on her own, Catherine was always trying to make the library more fun. She was never satisfied with the status quo. She realized that a good library should always be evolving and improving.
Catherine is the third librarian to leave the Youth Wing in a matter of months. We lost Megan (a total badass of a librarian. Losing her was like losing two people) to a private school, Edwin to a supervisory position in a branch library (I have no one to bicker with all day. I’m a shell of my former self), and now Catherine. Not only were they hard-working librarians, I genuinely liked all of them (Yes. Even Mr. Edwin). This was a very rare work environment. Everyone got along (Yes. Even me and Mr. Edwin) and everyone worked hard. We worked well together. We had fun. At work.
That kind of collaboration is somewhat gone, mostly because we are so very short-staffed. All it takes it for one person to call out sick or be on vacation for us to scramble to cover desks (we have two: One for children and one for YA. In a pinch, YA has to close, which means we’re not properly serving our teen patrons), programs, and class visits. I know it’s like this everywhere, but it’s been sad for me to see my favorite library struggle like this.
Please do me a favor and wish Catherine luck at her new job. If you’re a public librarian, you should be following her blog. She’s one smart cookie. I miss her like crazy, as an all-around rad person and as a supervisor, but I know she’s going to do amazing things. Branch libraries need love, too.
This one goes out to Catherine “Z before Y” Skrzypek, who is one badass librarian and boss:
Now’s the time where you tell me about your favorite bosses and why they were so wonderful, and you’re least favorite supervisors and why they were so cray-cray.
~Love and Libraries, Ingrid