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Mr. Mustache, another librarian blog

I am a reference librarian with experience in both the public and state government fields. I am doing this on a whim, sort of like the mustache I grew when I was 19 and still have in my 50's.

Location: New Jersey, United States

I am a state worker and a librarian.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Civil Service Tests

Civil service tests have a close relationship to libraries, whether it is in public or governmental libraries. Libraries are expected to have the books that go along with the tests that the patron is interested in taking. Since civil service book publishers (we use NTC a lot) have national audiences and civil service tests are usually state specific, this can cause a number of wrinkles.

One wrinkle is that if the test numbers the difficulty of the test and the level of hierarchy of the position with one being low and four being supervisory. Some states, however start their titles at 4 and work up to one. Then there is the test title. Sometimes a test title sort of sounds like a match to a test, but it really isn't . Having the patron thumb through the books and see what sounds like a match to his/her job title can be a good idea.

Of course some test booklets have questions that are so general a social worker and an administrative assistant could be taking the same test. It is always good to remind the patron that civil service tests are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get when they finally hand you the test packet.

There is always the problem of supply and demand. A civil service test that has languished on a shelf collecting cobwebs suddenly becomes popular after a test notice is posted. Like school assignments, the third person to show up at the desk on the same day that the notice comes out will inevitably find that the book he/she really wanted was leant out an hour ago and is not due back until the day after the test.

I have a solution to the problem of civil service tests. The librarian would rank and evaluate the patron asking for the test booklet, thus eliminating the need for the test altogether. This would save a lot of money and time for both the librarian and the patron. For starters, the librarian would judge the patron by his use of the OPAC. The vocabulary and social skills of the patron would be scored. The ability of the patron to successfully retrieve a civil service book would then be rated. At the end of the encounter the librarian could tell the patron whether he/she passed or failed the civil service test and give the patron a score. The librarian would be escorted to his/her car by an armed guard.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh, thats a swell solution, but we'd have to give the librarian a raise to go with the responsibility.

11:08 AM  

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