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5.2 Human relations in personnel administration
Human relations in administration
by Amor C. GUERRERO
Librarian, College of Education, University of the Phillippines
Human relations in administration simply means accomplishing the goals of the organization without friction. It presupposes a knowledge of the goals and the needs of individuals belonging to the group. In a library set-up the official responsible for accomplishing the goals of the library revolves on the librarian and the personnel officer, if any. Usually in the Phillippine setting the librarian is the personnel officer at the same time.
It is easier to administer a small library than a big one because there are fewer people to know and deal with and there is more chance of knowing the people better in a small group. However, in bigger libraries there are division chiefs and section heads who will help the librarian in administration. On the choice, therefore, of these heads rests the success of the function of coordination and cooperation.
An administrator who can be democratic and fair, and who can meet the emotional needs of his staff will surely be a success. If he is democratic he will make rules in cooperation with the staff and will treat them as equals (1). He will not be judgemental (2) in his relations but rather helpful by seeing the other fellow's point of view. He will open all channels of communication freely. He will try to meet the emotional needs of his men by accepting each one as he really is; knowing his problems and ambitions he can coordinate them with the goals of the library; he provides affection by showing interest in everyone's welfare; and lastly he provides room for achievement. He sets a good example for them to follow.
I think that all of you must have read books and articles on administration and personnel work. You more or less know the principles and the do's and don'ts of administration. I presume that our difficulty lies in the interpretation of these principles in actual practice. We are all human and we all commit mistakes. Sometimes we are not aware of our mistakes because we have to attend to so many things and we are but human in thinking that we try to do the right things. Therefore, I will confine myself to cases so that when we get into a parallel situation we will know whether we fared badly or well. All these cases are made up only.
As the leader of the organization the librarian sets the tone of the administration, whether it is democratic or authoritarian. He may formulate democratic rules but in practice he might deviate from them without his being aware of it. The littlest act, a word uttered at the wrong moment may give him away. The staff can feel his sincerity and fairness in many little ways. No matter how the best policies are written if the administrator deviates in his actions, the staff will always take note. They are most sensitive to faults. For instance, see case 1.
In the Northern Hills Library it is customary to give monetary contributions to a colleague who has lost a parent. A memo is passed around announcing the death and voluntary contributions are collected. So when the father of one of the assistants, Miss Gan, died a certain amount of money was collected from the staff members, and was given to her. The librarian in his short note stated "Herewith are the contributions of the Library Staff on the death of your father".
In moments of great import to a person, the administrator should be careful in representing the sentiments of the staff so that the recipient would feel the concern of his colleagues. In this instance money appeared to be the most important thing when it is not, although it is a necessary thing. This is one of the little ways by which an administrator is evaluated by his staff without benefit of formal scale. It should have been a good occasion to show affection and concern; to make the bereaved feel that the whole library sympathizes with her, that she belonged to the group. The attitude of the recipient who may have felt that the leader does not care for the employee has been formed by the leadership climate or tone of the administration.
Librarian A: Do you know that Zeny has been made Librarian I?
Librarian B: I thought our boss said that one without an M.A. cannot be promoted to Librarian I?
Librarian A: Well, it happens. And do you know that the starting salary of Jose is P305.00 while that of Luz is P280.00?
Librarian B: No, but I know that both are B.S. degree holders. How come?
Librarian A: Well, by their looks the bosses know who have greater potential.
Conversations like these are typical in any organization and it is most likely that these are kept in the grape vine and never elevated to the authorities concerned. This would happen even if the administrator has announced that anybody may ask the administrators questions regarding administrative policies and practices. Incidents like these happening in a group show lack of cohesiveness and are evidence of low morale. Yerkovich (3) defines morale thus:
"Morale refers to the condition of a group where there are clear and fixed goals that are felt to be important and integrated with individual goals; where there is confidence in the attainment, in the leaders, associates and finally in oneself; where group actions are integrated and cooperative and where aggression and hostility are expressed against forces frustrating the group rather than towards the individuals within the group".
In Case 2 there is an implied lack of confidence in the leader because of favoritism.
Mrs. Cruz is a senior assistant librarian who has just come from a maternity leave for her sixth child who followed a five-year old boy. She and her husband live and work in Quezon City, so that she goes to the Library with her husband who drives the car. Then the husband goes to his office after conducting her to hers. There is a temporary vacancy in Manila where a more mature librarian is needed. The library administrator, Miss Bee, called Mrs. Cruz to talk to her about assigning her in Manila for the meantime. Miss Bee told Mrs. Cruz about the need and her qualifications which suit the position. When Mrs. Cruz said something about the distance of the library, Miss Bee replied "The trouble with us is that we want promotions but when we are called upon to help in a place where we are needed, we decline". In order to please Miss Bee, Mrs. Cruz accepted the new assignment. That same afternoon Mrs. Cruz had to go to a hospital because her blood pressure went up.
This is a case wherein the needs of the library alone were considered without considering those of the individual so that the welfare of the staff member has been adversely affected. This shows lack of understanding of the employee's personal problems. We judge people when we are not aware of their specific needs. "An understanding supervisor must discover the way employees think and the values they live by" (4) by listening sympathetically to them. In this case the administrator has failed to listen and to coordinate the needs of the individual with those of the library.
Mr. Dee is a librarian of a large university. He takes care of administering the main library and thirty other units. He assigned one librarian to take care of technical processes and another for readers' services. Of course the units have head librarians who help him administer the libraries. These heads of sections and units are called to a meeting monthly to discuss problems. Sometimes committees are formed to study certain problems and presented to the general meeting for discussion.
The library is well organized. It maintains a union catalog of all library holdings that included all the units. It has a salary scale where stages in the professional ladder are quite clear. It has a staff manual which apprises the members of their rights and privileges and has a written set of rules for the whole system. The librarians are hard working and congenial but they are not happy. There is a frequent turnover of personnel. those who oppose the ideas of Mr. Dee do not get frequent increases. Only the yes men do. Mr. Jay, one of the head librarians tried to do something by making a questionnaire to gauge the morale of the group but when Mr. Dee learned that they were distributed, he gathered all he could and confronted Mr. Jay as to why he did not secure his permission first. Mr. Jay thought that as an academic man he had the freedom to study any subject that interested him. Mr. Dee made it plain that he should have secured permission, but when Mr. Jay wrote to ask permission he was told that a survey was not deemed necessary and that if and when he deems it necessary the library will appoint a committee for the purpose. The librarian further stated that it is the duty of unit heads merely to attend to their units. In reply, Mr. Jay expressed that it is his duty as a university man to suggest whatever he thinks is good for the system.
Personally, Mr. Dee believes in "bawling out" his staff members once in a while, to teach them a lesson. When mistakes are repeated once too often he will castigate the staff members in front of other staff members and readers.
Mr. Dee also believes in motivating the members by means of fines and threats of non-reappointment. He thinks that since they need their jobs they will do their best to keep them.
Mr. Dee supervises through the spy system. The grape vine knows that there are men in the system that snoop on the others and that reports are made to the librarian.
Whenever there is a brave soul who will spearhead a petition, Mr. Dee and his favorites will interview the petitioners to discourage them from pursuing their project and pretty soon their appointments are terminated or not renewed the following year if they are temporary. If they are permanent, they do not get recommended for a salary increase.
Mr. Dee sometimes suggests to non-favorites, about transferring to another library whenever he knows of a vacancy outside.
This a case that shows some ideal situations but also some faulty administration. The library is well organized with good personnel. It has some democratic practices like monthly meetings and committee work. But communication is being stifled; the manner of supervision does not consider the worth of the human person. Thomas (5) defined supervision as "the art of treating others as you yourself would be treated" and includes among the administrator's duties the training of subordinates for promotion and giving of opportunities to grow in the job. The motivation in Case IV does not cater for personal achievement. The leadership is in a way democratic but also autocratic and suppresses initiative. It is insensitive to employees' needs. It caters for favoritism. This case illustrates that although a library is well organized, or well provided with manuals, rules and plans, its staff will not necessarily be happy. It takes more than manuals, plans, rules and organizations, to have good human relations. It takes a sincere person who loves people, to achieve good human relations.
When employees do not trust the supervisor and vice-versa, misunderstandings will occur. "When mutual trust is present grievances are rare and when they appear, remedies can easily be found"(6). Trust is an attitude that must be developed if it is to become mutual.
Punishment is an ineffective tool for disciplining employees because it is not constructive, it is an attack on the one who is punished and may cause resentment and frustration. "Bawling out" an employee causes resentment and does not consider the worth of the individual. It works toward the opposite of the desired goal of the administrator. "The practice of good human relations is an integration of a number of skills and attitudes" (7). Besides having the following qualities of leadership: democratic, knows needs of group and individuals, loves and trusts people and therefore is fair and will provide their emotional needs; knows psychology and group dynamics, cam communicate, can act as consultant, sensitive to problems and hardworking, he must possess certain skills such as the following:
It behooves the administrator, therefore, to make sure that his administration is all right by devising an evaluation form to gauge it because even if we try to do our best in our work we are only human and can make mistakes. The academic librarian should approach library administration scientifically if he would deserve the term academic. He should be constantly making cost studies and be constantly trying to improve ways of doing things all throughout the system. He should devise and refine evaluation instruments for measuring individual performance until they become objective and workable. He should devise other indexes to compare different services of different units. In other words he should continue studying how to improve the system.
In closing may I quote the ten commandments for good human relations since human relations highly depends on the administrator who sets the tone of the administration: (8)
SAMPLE EVALUATION FOR ADMINISTRATORS
Note to personnel:
Please check your honest answers. Don't sign your name and rest assured this will be treated confidentially and used only to help improve the system without mentioning names. Thank you.
|1. Do you feel that you have been doing an important job?|
|2. Do you enjoy your work?|
|3. Do you know how your job relates to the rest of the work in the Library?|
|4. Does your job assignment encourage initiative and originality?|
|5. Can you discuss grievances freely with the administration?|
|6. Does the administration protect your interests and improve your status?|
|7. Does the administration attend to ypour health and welfare?|
|8. Are mistakes pointed out in a tactful manner?|
|9. Are changes in policies and plans carefully explained to all employees?|
|10. Do you feel that the administration has faith and confidence in your ability to do the job assigned to you?|
|11. Is there good team work and cooperation in your unit?|
|12. Do you think that the administration enforces the same rules for all staff members?|
|13. Do you have a chance to formulate plans and policies which affect you?|
|14. Have you been given the chance to appraise your success or failure in the work you do?|
|15. Do you like your co-workers in the Library?|
|16. Is the work assigned to you well defined such that you know what's expected of you?|
|17. Is vital information shared with the staff in reaching group decisions?|
|18. Are you free to make suggestions to your superior?|
|19. Do you have enough opportunities to experience success with the resulting stimulating effects?|
|20. Is there evidence of mutual respect between staff members in their relationship with one another?|
|21. Do you feel free to exercise initiative in your job?|
|22. Do you feel reasonably secure in your job?|
|23. Do you feel that you belong to the library staff?|
|24. Do you feel that the administration is fair?|
|25. Do you have confidence and faith in the leadership and integrity of the administration?|
NOTE: Kindly type below your remarks and suggestion for improvement:
A CASE STUDY FOR LIBRARY ADMINISTRATORS
Let's call this case of B, a Librarian I, working as assistant to Librarian III who in turn is under Librarian V, a stickler for proper procedures. Librarian III is a non-conformist who frankly disagrees with any one including Librarian V, a superior officer, when necessary. B is a very reserved girl, hardly able to make a dissenting opinion, usually quiet, hard-working and has gotten along well with fellow workers for three years. On the third year she became the girl friend of a student assistant under her supervision.
Friction with a co-worker D ensued when the boyfriend would not allow B to go with D to places as they used to. One such friction occurred when a reader requested B and D to wait for her because her class will be dismissed at 5:00, the same time that the library closes and it will take some time to come down to the library. Both agreed to wait. At 5:00 the boyfriend came, hurrying B to go home because he said "She also needed rest". Due to repeated statements on the part of the boyfriend, D let B go ahead grudgingly. This was later patched up. As a matter of fact they ate a potluck lunch together. The very next day, however, B sent a letter addressed to Librarian V asking for transfer specifying that she cannot get along with her colleagues, her work is boring because she does nothing but charging and recording serials. She wrote: "Maximum amount of work and services can be accomplished in any unit of the library if there is harmony of the staff, if the treatment of subordinates by supervisor is equal and if work is properly distributed to everyone. Given these conditions, I believe that any library unit will be a place worth working in".
Librarian III found the letter on her desk and called B. She asked her why she had to write directly to Librarian V, a higher official, when communication channels were wide open with her immediate -supervisor. This is done only by people who are suppressed but she is not. Just three months ago she evaluated the Library and Librarian I with a grade of 1.17 and just a month ago she did not give any suggestion or hint in the staff meeting that she was unhappy in her job. Librarian III further explained to her that her public relations will suffer by doing this and so she was asked to sleep over it and give her decision the next day. She kept mum on the questions laid before her and just said she had decided the matter. She was even arrogant in the manner she answered her immediate superior, a trait quite foreign to her. Librarian III asked her to take all her time to write down why she thinks there is unequal distribution of work load, what unequal treatment she received under her, and why the library is not a place worth working in. All she could write about was merely her desire to be transferred. Nevertheless, Librarian III insisted that she sleep over it.
The next day B had the same decision and so Librarian III endorsed the letter with pertinent remarks.
Librarian V called Librarian III and B separately and after eight days rotated B to the Main Library to do mere charging work.
Five or six months later, B got a P15-00 monthly increase. Librarian III suggested in a memo to Librarian V that the increase be retrieved and given to somebody more deserving, otherwise B might think she did right. The increase was not retrieved.
What administrative implications can be gathered from this case?
1. Relation of staff to immediate chief
2. Relation of Chief to Supervisor
3. Relation of staff to fellow staff
4. If a worker is bored is it right to transfer her to another library doing charging work? Will the change of place be enough to remove boredom? Would not doing just one kind of work be more boring?
5. Political and psychological implications
6. In the paper presented by Mrs. Guerrero, the following factors of good human relations are noted:
emotional needs to be met:
Discuss the presence or absence of these factors and their bearing on good human relations in the case of B.
II. Another suggested activity for the workshop: writing case studies by delegates and compiling all these cases in book form for use by librarians.
5.3 Career opportunities
Career development of women librarians in New
Women librarians and documentalists in Hungary
Career development of women librarians in New Zealand
Librarianship is a female stereotyped occupation and 82 per cent of New Zealand librarians are women (Who's Who in New Zealand Libraries, 1980). However, women are disproportionately represented in senior managerial positions. Women librarians hold only 17 per cent of the 'top' jobs which include City Librarians of major cities with a population of 100,000 plus, University Librarians, National Librarian and deputy, and Director/ Professor of the 'Library Schools. By far the largest proportion of women managers come at the intermediate level of management which includes deputies of the above, City Librarians of cities with a population of 50,000 plus, Technical Institute and Teachers College Librarians, heads of Government Department libraries, and National Library Directors.
Women, on the whole, make up the proletariat of the library profession. In order to determine what factors might account for the under-representation of women in senior managerial ranks, Auckland librarians were surveyed by means of a questionnaire and the literature was reviewed for variables that might be related to the career development of women.
During May 1984, questionnaires were circulated to librarians in three Auckland libraries - Auckland University, Manukau Public Libraries and School Library Service. These were distributed and collected by colleagues in these institutions. There was a return rate of 66 per cent. The method of distribution resulted in a lower return rate than expected because of the possibility of violation of confidentiality by the distributors. Of the surveys returned 82.8 per cent were from women librarians and 17.2 per cent from men. This roughly equates with the national ratios in librarianship.
The chief source of information, Who's Who in New Zealand Libraries, 1980, was found to be both out-of-date and unreliable. Data compiled in this publication were supplied by individual librarians and it was an impossible task to compile accurate statistics on current positions and status as many respondents failed to use job titles or terminology that could be equated with a specific level or position. Therefore the basis of the report had to be compiled from the statistics and information gathered from the questionnaires and related to relevant research.
Work experience in libraries
The research indicates that women tend to enter the library profession straight from school or university, while men tend to have had other work (non-library related) experience. Half of the women in the survey (two-thirds of the men) had previous work (non-library related) experience.
Men typically enter the profession later than women (average age 26 years for men, 19 years for women). Women tend to hold the same position for longer periods than men.1 The survey shows that a third of the women (but only a sixth of the men) have held the same position for eight years or more. Women tend to have a longer period 'in rank', while men generally tend to move quickly through the ranks, either through promotion within the same library or by moving to another library.
Studies of the educational background of librarians reveal that men tend to have more education, especially more advanced qualifications, than women.2 83 per cent of the men surveyed had as their highest educational qualification a Bachelors degree or above (50 per cent had a Masters degree). Only 44 per cent of the women had as their highest educational qualification a Bachelors degree or above (14 per cent had a Masters degree). 50 per cent of the women held University Entrance as their highest educational qualification.
In the area of library qualifications the anomalies were further illustrated. 83 per cent of the men had the postgraduate Diplomas or equivalent overseas qualifications. 34 per cent of the women held the postgraduate qualification while 66 per cent held library certificates.
Recent statistics for library graduates in New Zealand libraries indicate the following division by sex:
Diploma level Males: 33% Females: 67% Certificate level Males: 5% Females: 95%3
Male librarians tend to reach higher positions at a younger age than do women. Male librarians in managerial positions, in the survey, assumed their first managerial positions at an average age of 31 years. Women assumed their first managerial positions at an average age of 35 years.
72.4 per cent of the women were under 25 years when they received their library qualifications whereas all the men in the survey were over 25 years.
Marital status and/or children
41 per cent of the women surveyed were married; 59 per cent classed themselves as single or other. It is interesting to note that the percentage of married women represented in the survey is significantly below the national average for women. 50 per cent of the married women were main income earners (secondary 25 per cent, equal 25 per cent). 50 per cent of the males surveyed were married, and 67 per cent were main income earners (equal 33 per cent). 31 per cent of the women and 66 per cent of the men had children.
Many authors have noted the difficulties experienced in trying to combine marriage and family with a career. Women who attempt to combine home and career evidently do experience very real problems in creating a balance between them. In addition, no matter how much in control a woman may be concerning the responsibilities of running a home, her colleagues and supervisors are likely to assume she will not be as effective in her career as those who do not have such obligations. Whereas for men, being married seems to have a positive effect on their careers. Marital status and children also affect women's mobility and work continuity. The traditional barriers of society and workplace continue to affect women and expectation of role.4
Much of the research carried out on marital status in librarianship does not correlate with the data compiled from the survey. Studies of career patterns in various occupations have found a correlation between occupational achievement and marital status. Studies find a greater proportion of male librarians married than female, and marriage, if viewed in light of the higher status of male librarians as a group, seems to enhance career advancement.5
Geographic mobility in library work, as in other professions, is very important for professional advancement. 31 per cent of the women (66 per cent of the men) claimed that they would apply for a library position in another geographic locality. Career advancement was stated as the major objective in all cases. 69 per cent of the women claimed they would not seek a position in another geographical locality. Reasons given for this choice were family, preference for living where they did, own home, social reasons, age and climate. Family reasons were stated as the chief reason by 65 per cent of the women respondents. Reasons men stated for not moving were nearness to retirement and satisfaction with present position.
The traditional attitude towards women employees is that they are not as stable in terms of employment patterns as men, and thus do not provide as much return on investment in terms of education and training.6 75 per cent of the women (83 per cent of the men) respondents had been in the library profession for ten years or more.
65 per cent of the women (50 per cent of the men) stated there had been breaks in their library careers. The length of the breaks averaged 4.8 years (men averaged 7 months). 47 per cent stated travel as the chief reason for this break; 36 per cent stated marriage and child rearing.
Attitudes towards sex roles
Several authors have suggested that traditional attitudes of both men and women towards masculine and feminine roles are a big obstacle preventing women from attaining managerial positions. Women are expected, and are often content, to play a supportive role. Women have internalised norms that are formidable obstacles to their entering managerial ranks; these norms often disqualify them from competitive, challenging jobs and they generally grow up thinking of a career as a contingency plan.7 Thus women promoted to senior positions often experience inner conflict and ambivalence.
Sex-role stereotypes tend to influence choice of career for many women. One may speculate whether perhaps female librarians who are attracted to the library profession have in fact traditional sex-role attitudes, and if so, whether this factor contributes to the problems of inequity in managerial positions filled by women.
65 per cent of the women in the survey (50 per cent of the men) stated that librarianship was their first career choice. The choices are listed in order of deciding factors: interest in reading and literature, no career alternatives, chance, enjoyment derived from working with people (service), good career prospects, direction by school or family, library environment. Significantly, no career alternatives and chance were listed by a great number of respondents, often qualified by 'not wishing to teach', which illustrates the limited career opportunities within traditional sex-stereotyped professions for women of certain socio-economic and educational backgrounds.
The choice of Librarianship because of its service component, work which is seen as an extension of the family role (sharing and caring), is a decisive factor for many women in career choice. Women who enter librarianship because they see it as a service occupation frequently become involved in the service aspect rather than the development of a high level of knowledge and expertise, which is the intrinsic requirement of the profession and for building management skills.8
Men are often selected as candidates for promotion for their 'leadership' qualities. Generally, men, some women and the public find men more readily acceptable as leaders (in-charge) than females.9
Whilst no information has been gathered on publications and research carried out by librarians in New Zealand, an attempt has been made to identify attitudes towards continuing education and membership of professional associations. 34 per cent of the women and 16 per cent of the men in the survey were undertaking further education courses. These courses were, on the whole, personal interest courses, including data processing, horticulture and Maori language. 30 per cent were management courses and 40 per cent university education.
As far as membership of professional associations is concerned, 72 per cent of the women surveyed and 100 per cent of the men were members of the New Zealand Library Association.
Some observers have commented that women are less committed to a career in librarianship than men. However, the women respondents in the survey generally considered themselves committed to librarianship (80 per cent of the women, 100 per cent of the men). Those who did not consider themselves committed to librarianship listed such reasons as other future career interests, lack of job satisfaction and lack of ambition.
Being a qualified librarian has meant 'getting a good job' for many women; it has been the job and not the career that they have sought. Research shows that whereas men relate their jobs to their career, women separate the two. Men find it difficult to separate career goals from personal goals-, again, women tend to separate the two.10
Personal achievement motivation
Male librarians traditionally have higher personal achievement motivation than female librarians. Achievement needs of women may be satisfied, while at the same time reducing sex-role conflicts, by entering a female occupation or by remaining in a low status position in another occupation of their choosing.11
To ascertain the amount of career planning or goal setting that had been undertaken by the women respondents, they were asked about their career aspirations. Most respondents expressed very limited career goals. Some aspired to middle management positions; 41 per cent left this question unanswered.
In summary, these are the significant factors pertaining to the Auckland survey:
Acknowledgement: This article is based on a research report compiled in 1984 as a component of a Massey University Diploma in Business and Administration course.
1. Anita R. Schiller, Characteristics of Professional Personnel in College and University Libraries (Springfield: Illinois State Library, 1969).
2. Perry D. Morrison, The Career of the Academic Librarian: A Study of the Social Origins, Educational Attainments, Vocational Experience, and Personality Characteristics of a Group of American Academic Librarians (Chicago: American Library Association, 1969).
3. W. J. McEldowney, 'Qualified staff in New Zealand libraries 1951-1980', New Zealand Libraries, v. 43, no. 10 (June 1982), pp. 153-157.
4. The Status of Women in Librarianship: Historical, Sociological, and Economic Issues, ed. Kathleen M. Heim (New York: Neal-Schuman, 1983).
5. Kathleen M. Heim and Leigh S. Estabrook, Career Profiles and Sex Discrimination in the Library Profession (Chicago: American Library Association, 1983).
6. Eleanor Schwartz, The Sex Barrier in Business (Atlanta: Georgia State University, 1971). Douglas Basil, Women, in Management (New York: Dunellen, 1972).
7. N. R. Hooyman and J. S. Kaplan, New Roles for Professional Women in Libraries in Post-industrial Society, ed. Leigh Estabrook (Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx Press, 1977), pp. 107-113.
8. S. Encel, C. G. Bullard and F. M. B. Cass, Librarians: A Survey (Sydney: New South Wales University Press, 1972).
9. Carol L. Kronus and James W. Grimm, 'Women in librarianship', Protean, 9 (Dec. 1971), pp. 4-9.
10. Margaret Hennig and Anne Jardim, The Managerial Woman (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1977).
11. J. Stephen Heinen et al., 'Developing the woman manager', Personnel Journal, v. 54, no. 5 (May 1975), pp. 282-286. Judith M. Bardwick, Psychology of Women: A Study of Bio-cultural Conflicts (New York: Harper & Row, 1971).
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