Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dear Annoyed Librarian #3: Not Enough Librarians?

Dear Annoyed Librarian,

I have recently completed my MLS and I'm a bit annoyed myself. After a less than successful career doing some really low-paid work, I went back to library school after I heard there weren't enough librarians. After after a long search, I still can't find a decent professional job! What's should I do?


Career Change Librarian


Dear Career Change,

The Annoyed Librarian certainly feels your pain, or would if she hadn't just finished that fourth martini. It must be tough not being able to find a good library job. The Annoyed Librarian didn't have a good library job until almost three months before graduation from library school. The only way she could deal with the stress was to adopt more cats.

However, I'm not sure where you got the idea there aren't enough librarians. Librarians are a dime a dozen (literally, in some places). (Great librarians may be another matter, though, but that's beyond the scope of this column.) Anyway, as I understand economics (and I'll admit my study of economics is limited to doing a Google search on "futures trading" once), there's this thing called supply and demand. Perhaps you've heard of it, even if our betters at the ALA Recruitment Office have not.

So according to this law of "supply and demand," goods and services in short supply but high demand get more expensive. Thus, if there were a shortage of librarians, then their salaries would rise. Since this isn't happening, then there isn't a shortage of librarians. Q.E.D. It's so simple, even someone with a poor math background should be able to understand it.

Now to be fair, that nice Leslie Burger (Hi, Leslie!) does say that "There is and will continue to be a shortage of entry level librarians. The first wave of baby boomers are turning 60 this year! So there is hope for all of you waiting to step into their place." However, according to my informed sources, there aren't a lot of 60-year-olds working in entry level jobs, at least not as professional librarians. And some young librarians, so I've been told, don't want to wait until they're 60 to get a job.

My advice is for you to go back to whatever you were doing before you were wooed by the tempation of an exciting career as an information professional. That way, a shortage might actually be created, and my salary would rise accordingly. However, if you still persist in trying to enter this crazy business we call librarianship, I hear they're looking for librarians in California.

And if you still can't find a job? Then it could just be that your bottom's not big enough to become a librarian.


The Annoyed Librarian

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