Monday, October 23, 2006

Advice to LIS Students

It has come to my attention that a number of library school students are reading the Annoyed Librarian. I'm not sure if they stumble upon it, or if it's required reading. If it's required reading, I hope it's at least as interesting as anything else assigned in library school, though I realize that's not setting a very high standard. One student even commented about how discouraging the AL was for LIS students. I would imagine it would be especially discouraging for the idealistic young. How, they might ask, can someone become as cynical and jaded as the Annoyed Librarian apparently is? Years of practice, baby, years of practice. However, to seem less cynical and more encouraging to the enthusiastic library students, I have the following heartfelt and altruistic advice: Get out while you can! It's too late for me, but you can all save yourselves! There. That's my public service announcement for the week.


Anonymous said...

I've been out of library school less than a year and am already looking for the escape hatch. I'm glad my degree is in "Information Studies" rather than Library Science or something, so I might have more marketability. It's not even an MLS - they gave me a Master of Science, baby.

I love your blog, and you write so much that I wish I had known before I went through with my library school decision. But you're a double-edged sword, AL. Sometimes you uplift me and help me get through my day of watching staff-wide incompetence and evil, and I'm grateful someone else gets it. Then there are the times when I wish the Internet was never invented so you couldn't tell it like it is and allow me to bask in the delusion that the public library is a perfectly viable place to work for a creative, energetic, good-looking straight male.

And it's certainly not too late for you. Why go on with it? Do you just keep the job so the Future Disgruntled Librarians of America have a leader to look to?

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous 6:28pm. You are a double-edge sword, AL. Sometimes you make me laugh so hard I feel like I could bust a gut, other times you really make me question what I'm doing in library school. You tell it like it is & you have a great sense of humor, unlike the folks in the Social Responsibility Round Table who take themselves too seriously & think they can change the world through librarianship.

Privateer6 said...

Well, being married to a librarian for the past 7 years, listening to the stories my sis-in-law tells us about events at her library,and now seeing things for myself at the end of my MLS studies, I am so glad that I specialized in archives and records management. While I may get the occasional "deer in the headlights" student trying to do research, I will be dealing with a better class of patrons.

That's right, I hope to deal with academics, government employees, and politicians, not the general public. Hopefully I will not have to deal with male transvestites coming out of the women's restroom, no police with warrents for the arrest of said transvestite for murder, masterbaturs in the bathrooms, teenagers smearing excrement on the outer walls and setting off firecracker in said exrement, ad nauseum.

Maybe that's why my wife went from a public library job, to a hospital library one?

Seriously though, keep up the great work, and thanks for the warning.Those of us with common sense will hopefully get decent jobs outside the public sector.

Anonymous said...

A librarian in the midwest recently distributed a pamphlet to some LIS students encouraging them to drop out and find a real profession.

There's some info on it here:

Miss Brodie said...

Hey, this is already my second career - if I bail on this one, what the hell would I do then? And while library school is a joke (and not even a funny one), I do actually like the job. For now, anyway...

Hmm. Reckon I could get paid for drinking whisky and reading Ian Rankin novels all day? OK, maybe not.

AL said...

I can see where the AL would be a double-edged sword. When I started this, I never really considered that library school students, or many other people for that matter, would be reading. The AL was created for me to vent off steam and to entertain myself. I just call 'em like I see 'em. On the other hand, as my numerous critics have pointed out over the last few months, I'm not always right. How's that for a ray of sunshine to brighten up my dreary prospects!

Anonymous said...

May I suggest an alternate viewpoint?

I'm not a librarian, but a very long-time library trustee who has been married to a special librarian for over 35 years.

From the outside, I'd suggest a hypothesis that graduate-level library schools exist near the bottom of the academic (and intellectual) pecking order because the average LS graduate will never be able to endow the Universaty with significant contributions of cash or stock.

Medical schools, law schools, and graduate science / engineering schools take in the big bucks from alumnae - - closely followed by the liberal arts contingent. Library and Education schools come in at the bottom of the list.

Cash and other endowment sources are key to hiring top-flight professors and giving a University the gumption to install and to enforce rigorous standards for graduate courses.

My hypothesis is that the rigor and discipline associated with other graduate degree programs will not occur in the library world until the pay scales for school and public librarians improve drastically, and that the academic, research and special librarians move up their respective food chains and earn better salaries.

With University board members and trustees, "Follow The Money" is more than just a catch phrase; however, in the case of library schools, this may be a Catch 22 situation.

To which my wife just said: "Amen!"

Norma said...

At least they are still in school. I've known people who started the MLS program, and only lasted a week. That wasn't enough time to find AL.

My degree says M.S. too--but I've always called it an MLS. And to Anon. 6:28, I'm still in the market for a DIL, who's good looking enough for my son, and can help support him. He doesn't read much, but can fix your car. I doubt that a PL is the best place to be looking. Join a church.

I've blogged about working in a book store. That's not so great either and the pay is the pits.

Bob h. said...

@ Privateer6...

You've just described my average week :-)

I think my degree actually says MIS - I don't know where that lives in the spectrum.

Anonymous said...

I can't say that I'm 100% satisfied with my choice of becoming a librarian, but I can't say that I wasn't aware of the miserable state of affairs within this profession, particularly concerning the pay as well as having to work with an, let's say, interesting cross-section of truly strange people. As soon as I set foot in this profession my other foot seemed already out the door. That is to say, I'm always looking for greater opportunities within or outside of librarianship.

Occupational crisis aside, I still think there is a real value in librarianship and I feel as long as I'm here, I want to keep my head up and try to maintain the spirit of helping others that is the very thing that originally attracted me to this profession.


LibraryGuy said...

I try to encourage every library school student that I come across to drop out ASAP. Of course, most of them have great hopes for the "profession" and think that this is really the career for them. Some of them just don't know what else to do with their lives. I can honestly say that doubling my student loan debt to become a librarian was THE worst decision of my life. Of course, I didn't think any of this until I went from working in academic libraries to public libraries. (I know...what was I thinking??)

Anonymous said...

I am a fairly recent MLIS graduate. I think the "Annoyed Librarian" is right on. I like the profession but it seems from my experience in observing the dynamics of librarianship that it is the older librarians that make you want to give up!

It is true that you will leave library school with a lot of great ideas and energy, but the challenge will be keeping your energy going. You will have to learn to "market" your ideas to library faculty that will then prepare you with dealing with others.

I joke with my friends when I say "we will curse the day when we become one of them" (The old librarians with outdated ideas!)