Thursday, April 26, 2007

Doing My Part for Recruitment

I was having an entertaining conversation with a student the other daywhen he had to bring up librarianship.

"I didn't even know 'librarian' was a job," he said.

"Yes," I almost replied, "I have trouble believing it myself sometimes."

"But now I've been recommending it to a lot of my friends."

"Really?" Why on earth would he do that?

"Especially my humanities friends who don't know what they'll do after graduation. I tell them there's this great job for people who like to read and you can sit around and read books and stuff all day."

Should I disillusion him? Should I let down the ALA by not doing my part to recruit more dupes into the field? Absolutely not!

"Well, I don't just read books all day," I said. Slight shadow passes over his face. "I also read news and blogs and surf the Web a lot, and have interesting intellectual conversations with colleagues. (I had trouble stifling a laugh with that one.) "So go on and encourage your friends!"

I know the ALA would be proud. Perhaps they should award me a medal.


tailgunner said...

Don't report this to the ALA, but after two years of thick dust on my MLIS Diploma from non-use, tailgunner has just landed library a job! Now I will be able to go back to grad school and get a degree in something that really matters.
P.S. I never joined the ALA anyway.

tailgunner said...

Blasted Typo's: I landed a library job not the otherway around!

Anonymous said...

Congrats tailgunner, I've been in limbo for two years as well. I was hoping to get accepted for a PhD program in History this fall, but that didn't workout so I'm looking at teaching instead. I'll try again for grad studies next year.

Anonymous said...

You disappoint; there was a nice "Tom Sawyer" moment available where you "bet" that he couldn't (insert tedious task here) and that the big boss would be upset if he knowed a neophyte was foolin' around in the liberry.

Nothing like having even minimal work performed by a minion.

I learned from the Well-Dressed Librarian that if you love people and you love books, you should join the ALA!


Dances With Books said...

Congrats Tailgunner. Anon., love the "Tom Sawyer" idea.

Annoyed, so glad you are doing your part to bring more into the limbo. You are so kind not to disillusion that kid. We all know how important having illusions can be at a tender age (it is important, right? I have to ask since mine were shattered pretty early on). Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

OK, so this kid just now learns that there is such a job as 'librarian' and is sending his otherwise unemployable (in his view) humanities major friends in that direction ... but he isn't joining up himself? Sounds like the kind of smart fellow we need on the reference desk.

AL said...

I think he's planning to become a mathematics professor. Don't know what the employment prospects are like for those folks. He may be back in the library soup line with the rest of us in a few years.

Brent said...

AL, that is a dream response. Hard to believe you actually said that

AL said...

My response wasn't quite so inviting. Nonetheless, I think it's important to keep up the prestige of librarians on campus. Librarians calling themselves faculty is one thing. Students thinking the librarians have cool jobs is much better.

Oh, and congratulations, tailgunner.

cranky said...

So I should have you to thank when I get a fresh batch of library schoolinterns "who really like books, alot"?

AL said...

I'll just say "You're welcome" now and get it out of the way.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should look at this blog:

Anonymous said...

I have to admit: I have been suggesting library school to a friend. Crazy, I know! But he has some library experience, and his PhD in English isn't getting him very far. Compared to the job prospects for would-be English professors, maybe librarianship isn't so bad?

WDL said...

its good that your so bitterly honest.

i actually love being a librarian because of the information exchange that happens everyday. i know i have helped lots of people find what they needed. i've taught almost 100 senior citizens in 7 months to use a computer & the MS Office Suite. i like to read, but am the first to tell people this is not all i enjoy doing - and certainly it is not what i do at work. i'm lucky to get a trade pub. under my belt in a week with desk time.

i know AL that you love to disparage the profession, and are content collecting your paycheque every few weeks. maybe love is the wrong word, but take pleasure in would probably be appropriate. n'est pas?

the toil and drama in the library is something awful on days. stuff that i wasn't prepared for, but i roll with it. i've never actively discouraged someone from going to library school, i want to recruit potential co-workers who really would add something to our field.

would you like being a librarian more if you had co-workers you liked? or would you like being a librarian more if you weren't a librarian at all? i like reading your blog because i imagine, like me, it is fun to take a light hearted approach to the profession - so i read this more as biting satire.

there are so many other things to do - and you had the drive to get one masters - i think you are well written - funny at times. introspective as well. the energy seems lost somehow.

thought it wouldn't be nearly as amusing if you sang praises about what you did. bitter people do amuse me.


Anonymous said...

The real advantage of librarianship: while poverty and obedience are required, chastity is still optional.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I have been wrong the entire time but I have never thought of AL as bitter nor a hater of the profession.

I defintely agree with WDL that I really do love being a librarian - and it is not because it a cake job. I think most of us love the profession a great deal - that is why we feel so passionately about the crap the ALA spouts.

AL said...

This may prompt a blog post of its own when I get more free time, but I thought I'd comment today. Do I hate the profession of librarianship? Definitely not. Do I think a lot of it is really boring? Yes. Am I bitter about my own job? No. I have no reason to be bitter, though I might be bored.

I care enough about the profession to want to save it from various groups who I think make it seem ridiculous--the regressive librarians, the "inspirational" business types, the videogaming propagandists. Libraries serve a useful and at times noble purpose. I think a lot of librarians forget that, or never cared.

I just find being a librarian boring, and I say that being a very successful librarian. It's just easy. Some have commented that I should seek out more challenges or something. I've done that. Heck, I started this blog partly to keep myself from getting bored. It's still easy. I doubt I'll ever be particularly happy being a librarian. On the other hand, it's a strong possibility the problem is me. I probably wouldn't be happy doing anything else, either.

WDL said...

well put AL.

there are certainly boring gaps.

it is good to have varied perspectives on the profession. admittedly, i have been confronted about my seemingly lighthearted approach to what i blog about.

there are already blogs that cover technology, services for children, readers advisory, etc. why be a hollow echo?

you certainly fill a void in the profession.


Greg said...

I can certainly relate to your comment AL, but beware of the interesting life.

Brent said...

From what I gather, every job can be boring.

It's the people who basically over-dramatize the difference librarians make, that is worth lampooning. Do I feel good I help someone? Yeah. But let's not get full of ourselves. There are more important jobs in the world.

I thought librarians are for smart lazy people or the stupid trying to look smart. But apparently there is a 3rd group of people that want to make a difference.

tailgunner said...

WDL says: "it is fun to take a light hearted approach to the profession - so i read this more as biting satire."

Absolutely! There is a time to be serious and a time to laugh. The "light hearted" approach you speak of in the postings by the AL and the corresponding friendly banter that occurs among the participants of this blog is what keeps me coming back.

The first time I saw the "Annoyed Librarian" in my search results, I assumed this was probably some type of humorous attempt to discuss librarianship. Sometimes you get lucky and guess right...

Anonymous said...

I was never bored in this profession when I was an academic librarian...just annoyed. Now that I'm a public librarian...I'm both.
Honestly, I probably wouldn't be so annoyed with the profession if it didn't require a master's degree. But then, I guess I wouldn't be making the big bucks if that weren't the case. Gotta love catch-22's!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, tailgunner. 2 years of searching sounds just about right.

I've been treading the waters of librarianship for several years now, bobbing around, really. Don't know how much longer I'll keep it up, to be honest.