Humeston Public Library

This blog is written by a librarian in a small town in south central Iowa. Originally, this blog began as a reader's advisory to highlight some of the great reads available to loan to our library patrons. However, the focus of the blog was too narrow so I have changed the address and now include anything involving our local library on this blog site. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Minimum Wage Increase

The new state of Iowa minimum wage law has been passed and signed. There was very little opposition to the bill. This law will affect many small towns with libraries - Humeston being one of them.

Generally speaking, librarians are intelligent, highly qualified and highly trained individuals. For some reason though, across the state (especially in small towns,) the job is considered to be of less importance or one that could be done by a monkey. The perception is that the librarian is there just to guard the books and when there are no visitors the librarian just sits and reads. Yeah, right! I'll expound in the future on all of the things that librarians do to serve their communities.

Anyway, I have been working as the librarian here in Humeston for just over three years now. I have been getting paid slightly above the required minimum wage and received a small increase each of the last 2 years. While those increases were small, I did appreciate them because it was merit-based. Essentially I was rewarded for doing a good job. Now when next January rolls around I'll be getting a big wage hike but it is not in recognition for how my work has benefited the community, it will be for the reason that the minimum wage has increased and cities need to pay librarians at least minimum wage. So I should be happy that I'll be bringing home a bigger paycheck next year but I find the thought not fully satisfying. For the record, I am the only city employee that is affected by this new minimum wage law. Everyone else working for the city is already making more or much more than $7.25 per hour.

So I guess what I am saying is that I have mixed emotions about this whole thing. I know my time and skills are worth a great deal more than $7.25 but I also know how libraries struggle to maintain technology and a good selection of materials for education and entertainment. Using more budget on wages means that less money will be used somewhere else. That is just how it works. I hope the library services available to the fine people of Humeston don't suffer in the wake of this new minimum wage law.