Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Job Shortage Hoax

A couple of kind readers sent this on to me last week, but I didn't have a chance to read it because I was bleary-eyed with excitement about all the board- and mall-slamming librarians have been doing the past couple of days. There's a great column in the Chronicle of Higher Education called "The Annual Labor Shortage Hoax." The columnist advises young college graduates not to go into academic fields based on the opinions of alleged experts that some field is going to be HOT one day soon. He reminisces about the terrible academic job market and his own difficulty finding a tenure track job. And then:

"Now I am faced with advising undergraduates. Every year a new crop of undecided students -- echoing the concerns of their tuition-paying parents -- ask me what they should do with their lives. And every year a new study, widely reported -- and circulated by interested parties within academe -- announces the looming labor shortage in elementary education, nursing, computer programming, library science, occupational therapy, athletic training, international relations, hotel management, social work, environmental law, or whatever."

This all sounds eerily familiar. I'm pretty sure there's a professional association that has something to do with librarianship that's always telling us about the terrible "librarian shortage" that's always going to occur just over the horizon. The Chronicle columnist is as tired of these lies as I am.

"Meanwhile, no one is reporting that the labor shortage of a few years ago has since become a glut of applicants, nearly all of them the victims of what has become -- in retrospect -- the annual labor-shortage hoax."

Librarianship has been suffering from an annual labor shortage hoax for years. We've got the ALA blathering on about it all the time, and their baseless propaganda shows up everywhere from newspaper articles to Congressional bills. And then of course there's the library schools. Where would they be with a willing contingent of dupes entering library school? A lot poorer, that's for sure. And after all, what do library school recruitment people care, they won't be looking for library jobs.

And now those gullible graduates find that if they're lucky they can celebrate the excitement of being an information professional only if they want to move to the wilderness and work for $30K a year. That's probably not what they expected after the propaganda efforts of the ALA and the library schools. Librarian shortage! It's a hip profession! Plenty of jobs!

As I've argued before, there isn't a librarian shortage. If you're library is having a hard time finding librarians, then the problem might very well be your location or pay, or both. In many of the news articles I see about the "librarian shortage," it's usually the case that they can't get librarians who'll work for such low pay in such undesirable locations. Not the same thing. Despite their gullibility, I can't completely blame the graduates. After all, based on the propaganda, who would expect that you'd have to move across the country and sacrifice yourself to get a low-paying library job.

I wonder how many new library school students were fooled by the propaganda this year. I guess we'll find out in a couple of years when we see who can't find jobs.

73 comments:

Espineli said...

Hello, good blog, bye.

Anonymous said...

There's a lovely article here about how the library shortage hoax is a hoax. *rolls eyes*
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6471076.html

The best part, really is how they attack the research methods of the people who wrote the library shortage hoax article. Because their inverse approach is so, so much better. Obviously.

library school student said...

I would feel sympathy for my fellow grad students if the first words out of their mouths wasn't usually "I have never actually worked in a library but.." Can you really feel sorry for some one who is spending a small fortune for an advanced degree in a field that they nothing about? These are also the same people who rail against the stereotype of the librarian, the low pay, the "guybrarian" concept. If you want sympathy look under S.

Anonymous said...

Give em heaps

Sounds like the teachers shortage There is plently of relief and contract jobs but no permanent long term jobs

AL said...

That LJ article answered my question. How many students were duped? The 30% or so who graduate but don't get permanent professional jobs.

Another library student said...

Yes I heard and keep hearing the same talk of the eminent librarian shortage. I think that location is a big factor in these so-called "shortages". Our library recently hired a librarian from another state after opening and re-opening the position many times. When she arrived I asked her about her job opportunities in the Northeast and she said they were about nil. We still have some management positions that have been open for many months and this after recruiting at the ALA conference and publicizing on the web.

So any new graduates that would like to check out The Old Dominion, the land of no library schools, you might find an opportunity here. We've also got nice beaches!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the 30% who don't get jobs are those who are the socially inept freaks who thought they should pick library school so they could be around books all day and not talk to anyone a.k.a. those who have never actually worked in a library?

I have never had a problem finding a library job or one that pays well and I have plenty of colleagues who have also never had problems locating work.

I do agree though that there is no "shortage".

Anonymous said...

What I find most annoying is the contradictions in the hiring process. I applied two months ago for a job in an archival institution I worked in for more than a decade. I met every qualification for the job yet was not interviewed for it. Two people I know of who were interviewed had few of those requirements. In fact one of them had only a four month internship to his credit, but the job required at least two or three years of prior experience. Do the HR departments know what they want or not?

Lana said...

Actually some of the libraries in my area are closing due to staffing shortages.
I fell to a similar scam years ago, however. After spending $10K becoming a certified network administrator, I've found I can't get a networking job to save my life. So now my local library uses my computer knowledge at little more than minimum wage (certainly not enough to pay off that student loan any time soon.)

Anonymous said...

I was able to land a library job straight out of jail. I used to work in the jail library since I nothing much to do and thought that it would be a neat job. Upon my release from the pen, I answered one of those emails that advertised getting an MLS in "just 2 weeks without ever having to even show up for class." At the same time, I also answered an ad in the back of Rolling Stone magazine advertising getting my ordaination as a minister (which now counts as my "second degree," btw) After all said and done, it was all quite simple. It only took a few applications and I was in like Flynn. I now have a job making mucho K and, in the words of Mickey D's, "I'm loving it."

Soren Faust

Anonymous said...

I have never had a problem finding a library job or one that pays well and I have plenty of colleagues who have also never had problems locating work.

??????????
My jaw hits the floor in slack incredulity. We must all be in awe of your very presence, since your experience flies in the face of everyone else I've known in the library world.

Is there a shortage? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!

Are jobs going unfilled? Yes, for places that don't pay well, are in bad locations, or have requirements that are so picky that no one can fit them. I still remember the place that was trying to fill a job for four years--and they turned me down because my diploma said "Master of Science" and not "Master of Library Science." If they can't figure out what ALA accreditation means.....

Are some people able to find work? Yes, for the magic few with second master's degrees, fluency in a couple of languages, and the requisite five years of experience. They're bound to get interviews, but getting to that point is nigh impossible for new graduates. And still, if you have a second master's in something good that could make you $60,000 to start, why squander it is as a librarian for half that? That is unless you're not very good or didn't like what you did before.

Are a lot of people about to retire? Yes, and their positions are likely to be consolidated with others or simply done away with. As the older librarians exit stage left, the doors are closing behind them.

My degree is so old I can't even get calls for interviews, and I regard librarianship as a lost cause. And yes, other fields have the same problem. I still remember that guy I met who had been working for three years as a teacher's aide at minimum wage, hoping in another two he might make teacher at the sterling salary of $23,000 a year.

Egads someone put me on a rocket ship so I can get out of here........

AL said...

Soren, it's nice to hear a success story every once in a while.

Frankly, I also have never had a problem finding good jobs, but I had a lot more in my favor than just an MLS. My library has a mix of people, some just out of library school and some more experienced, but many of the ones just out of library school also have master's degrees or phds and sometimes several languages. In academia, at least, I think someone with just an MLS will have a harder time competing because the academic job market in general has been so bad for so many years, especially in the humanities. People who realize they'll never get a decent tenure-track job sometimes bite the bullet and go back for a library degree.

janitorx said...

In my case, I worked a series of suck jobs over a period of nine years to gain experience. I never had much difficulty hopping, but probably because I had experience and was willing to work for peanuts for the first few years. The position I currently hold only requires two years experience, so if you wonder who is getting these quasi entry-level jobs, it is people like me. Please don't take this the wrong way; I am not trying to be callous. You all deserve to know the truth.

My position also pays really, really well, has great opportunities for advancement, and requires a second masters for promotion (yeah, I got one of those,too). It took me several very frustrating years to get here.

Are jobs going unfilled? Yes, for places that don't pay well, are in bad locations, or have requirements that are so picky that no one can fit them.

I would also add that at least in the technical services world, positions are being downgraded to library assistant gigs. These library assistants often have the same level of responsibility as professional catalogers, but earn 1/2 as much. The increasing deprofessionalisation of positions really does impact new grads.

Anonymous said...

That LJ article answered my question. How many students were duped? The 30% or so who graduate but don't get permanent professional jobs.

Permanent professional doesn't mean as much as it sounds. More telling is the number is who actually stay in the library field. From my own library class of the mid nineties I'd estimate probably only 20% are still in the library field--that is actually working at jobs, active in any way. Of course I haven't hired a private detective to track them all down, but I'm broke and tired. I have no idea how many ended up like me, job hunting forever.

I also have a tidy answer for the LJ article, namely their data:

Luckily, such data is already available from LJ's annual Placements and Salaries Survey.

Aren't we glad all the librarians who count in a meaningful way read LJ, and that even the unemployed or marginally employed will respond to surveys?

Lastly:

What I find most annoying is the contradictions in the hiring process. I applied two months ago for a job in an archival institution I worked in for more than a decade. I met every qualification for the job yet was not interviewed for it.

This may hurt, but the reason why is someone there didn't like you. It's happened to me and other people; you worked there for years, you fit the qualifications to a T, yet you don't get the call. It happens, I'd apply somewhere else.

Privateer6 said...

THERE IS NO LIBRARIAN SHORTAGE! (There I used both cap and and exclamation point)

The library schools, both accredited and unaccredited, are producing librarians in droves. As I've mentioned previously, my school would take you as long as you had a pulse and pay the tuition, and they may even take you if don't have the pulse. Obviously this is part of the problem

Also library search committees know that with the glut of librarians, they can have the take it or leave it mentality with applicants, even if the vacancy is months old.

Thankfully I got a job within 6 months of graduation in a hyper glutted librarian school state, (3 accredited, 1 applying again for accred.)

recent grad said...

Things are just as bad north of the border, too (that would be Canada). One library school just admitted a triple cohort this September instead of the usual double. And in the meantime, its grads are going unemployed or underemployed. Many of the students who enter without having worked in a library before are basically out of luck. Apparently, working as a page, a clerk, or an LT for 2-3 years counts for a lot more than years of non-library (but still relevant and transferable) employment. Believe me, job postings are pretty consistently asking for several years of experience for entry level librarian jobs.

So, while the tone of the "library school student" comment is needlessly snarky, it IS valid. If library schools had any professional responsibility at all, and not just dollar signs in their eyes, they would make a year or two of library work part of the admission requirement. As long as they don't ... it's tough to argue that that kind of experience should be needed for an entry level position. Like a B.Ed. (a.k.a. "teacher's college") Library School is a professional degree and as such we make the assumption that going through such a program will prepare us for a career in the field.

How very, very laughable.

public librarian said...

Around here (my library is 15 minutes away from a library school), there are quite a few shelvers and other lower level employees who have the MLS.

I was just on a hiring committee for a half time, public library, mid-level library assistant position, and over half of the applicants had an MLS even though the position only requires a high school education. Some of the MLS holders had never worked in a library, and very few had ever worked in a public library. This position would be their "foot in the door," and that's basically how things work around here.

What was most astounding, however, was how many of the MLS holders wrote totally crappy cover letters and resumes. There's one I'm keeping forever, to pull out whenever I need a laugh. I mean, come on. If you can't write a decent cover letter and resume, perhaps a professional position isn't right for you. (I'm sure there are plenty of folks with the MLS who write fantastic cover letters and resumes and still don't get jobs, but what I saw over the last few weeks was quite depressing.)

I managed to get a fabulous job here before graduating, but I already had my foot in the door from working in area libraries in high school and college.

I know that the job market is tough here, but I also know that there are MLS holders who aren't getting hired because they present themselves poorly and/or have no experience.

Bunny Watson said...

anon @ 3:01 - I don't read LJ until it gets around to me, usually a couple months after it arrives at our library, but I got an email from my library school's job placement person asking me to fill out the survey. I suspect many other recent grads have a similar experience.
I wonder how much bitterness plays into who fills out the survey. I had a job before I got out of school, so I had no reason not to fill out the survey, but those who don't have a job might not want to fill it out.

To public librarian - you're absolutely right that there are many MLS grads out there who don't represent themselves well. I too have read cover letters and resumes that were laughably bad. They just can't write.

janitorx said...

Believe me, job postings are pretty consistently asking for several years of experience for entry level librarian jobs.

It is often difficult for new grads to discern implicit demands for experience in job ads. The guilty offenders are those institutions with an insane list of qualifications followed by some statement about new grads welcome to apply. It is very misleading.

My advice to new grads: If you really, really want to stay in this field, you may have to relocate far from your roots and accept a sub-par salary for a few years. This is absurd and patently unfair!

janitorx said...

What was most astounding, however, was how many of the MLS holders wrote totally crappy cover letters and resumes. There's one I'm keeping forever, to pull out whenever I need a laugh. I mean, come on. If you can't write a decent cover letter and resume, perhaps a professional position isn't right for you.

About a year ago, I was on a search committee. You would be surprised how many applicants didn't even bother to submit a cover letter! I also had an opening for a part-time LT and flat-out rejected a local MLS student in favor of a former paralegal. The local MLS student had several spelling errors in her application!

As LIS programs continue to admit anyone with a pulse, this becomes increasingly common.

Anonymous said...

I'm annoyed with library school graduates that think they are ENTITLED to high-paying, big-city jobs that will allow them to be the hippest of hip.

Anonymous said...

Dear Al:

I am a recent library school graduate with 3+years of experience as a support staff in an academic library.

I am perplexed by the hiring practice of academic libraries. I hope you help me to understand this.... I often see these lines...

1. "Position OPEN UNTIL FILLED"
2. "We decided not to make an offer at this time but you may apply again later."
3. "Do not call unless the search committee contacts you." …and then they keep on posting same/similar positions for more than a year!!!


I am particularly annoyed by the 2nd message since I took time to prepare my presentation and spent hours driving to get there!!!! This happened to me twice already!!!

Al, why do they do this to me? I have nothing against this bunch of older (NOT OLD!) white women…although I am frustrated to see the lack of diversity in this occupation no matter where I apply for…

From Annoyed & Underemployed

Anonymous said...

In a few postings on my own blog, I have mentioned my job searching experiences with as much neutrality as possible for reasons that should seem obvious. However, it would be too risky to really write how I feel, which is frustrated. I have a number of topics I would rather write about, and I don't want to be defined by my job (or lack thereof).

In the area I'm currently living, I have found many librarian openings. However, as others have mentioned, they have gone unfilled for months, and the library asks for unrealistic expectations. What I wouldn't give for just a run-of-the-mill library position with a straightforward description that would pay the bills and allow me to use my talents. Instead, I keep coming across all these "fast-paced" techie-type or administrative posts that ask for proactiveness and originality (despite asking for the requisite "strong oral and written communication skills," or "excellent interpersonal communication and training skills"). Yeah, librarians are supposed to quantify everything to death in order to justify their existence, while library positions ask for things that one can't quantify easily.

Even better, applications, cover letters, and resumes are supposed to have not a single error, while people who actually have jobs can put off important tasks and decisions for weeks. This includes not hiring someone for an important position because they didn't quite meet all the qualifications required and desired by the employer. It amazes me how they'd rather hold out for a "god candidate" for months and months than hire someone who seems good enough for the position to get called in for an interview, and who might do a decent job after all.

And some people wonder why others post anonymously/pseudonymously in the biblioblogosphere.

Anonymous said...

recent grad at 6:05 pm:

You went to Western, didn't you? Graduated from there myself two years ago. For all the money I spent there, it was a total waste of time. Worst of all, the degree is being completely watered down with a triple cohort. It was bad when I got there, but apparently is far worse now. The program is hardly practical and the students they admitted had no business being there. I at least had a decade of experience in archives before I went there, but that hasn't helped me a bit.

Anonymous said...

Even better, applications, cover letters, and resumes are supposed to have not a single error, while people who actually have jobs can put off important tasks and decisions for weeks.

That describes exactly the way I feel! I'm frustrated at the obsession with cover letters....and yes-DAMN IT-I spell check the letters and go over them and rewrite and rewrite. I'm a little touchy about the issue because I kept getting turned down for an internal position supposedly due to my cover letters, until I realized it was the best non-specific excuse they could use.

And when your applications get into the triple digits, rewriting cover letters for each institution is incredibly stressful. Yet despite everything I put down on my resume the cover letter is deemed more important--if they even read it.

It amazes me how they'd rather hold out for a "god candidate" for months and months than hire someone who seems good enough for the position to get called in for an interview, and who might do a decent job after all.

Bingo; many bright and talented people would be able to get jobs, and maybe the libraries would find out people who are actually diverse in their work experience (as opposed to politically correct) would have a lot more to offer. But with it being an employer's market they can do whatever they want.

I've pretty much found the rules of employment, i.e., presenting yourself well, writing a good resume, etc., just don't apply to libraries. It's a lot more of a "I got mine" attitude from people who finally scored a job, and are dishing out some meaningless payback to the hopeless applicants.

Just a presentation? Oh no, we want an essay AND an impromptu reference demonstration, timed with a stopwatch.

And some people wonder why others post anonymously/pseudonymously in the biblioblogosphere.

Definitely. There are many other things I've kept bottled up about libraries but don't even risk talking about anonymously. It's just a pity.

Anonymous said...

....And since I'm on a bitter roll again, I've worked with some of these supposed highly qualified end-all be-all librarians. You know, the type who apply for jobs that advertise things like "the absolute highest level of performance possible in all areas"--which was a real ad by the way.

The end result isn't people who really are perfect, but players who've learned how to press the right buttons and say the right things. (One of them I swear would have made a wonderful used car salesman). A system that obsesses on people with paper credentials and only listening for what it wants to hear gets exactly what it deserves.

Anonymous said...

I also have never had a problem finding high-paying, interesting library positions. I believe this can be attributed to my searing-hot personality, stunning physique, and lack of fear of personal computers.

The.Effing.Librarian said...

out of school, my first two interviews sucked (meaning I sucked). but I'm getting better, and I think this next (63rd) interview will be the charm. wish me luck.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:39:

Did Adrienne L. Strock get married and change her last name to Strout?

If not, David Conners and Laena McCarthy got her name wrong. Seven times.

How come neither the authors of the article nor the editors of LJ caught this glaring error?

Anonymous said...

"Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it."
~ Sir Laurence Olivier

janitorx said...

After being on the market a few times, I have to say I am very appalled with how I was sometimes treated as a candidate. One institution housed me in the campus guest hotel, but no one on the search committee told me that the closest place to eat was about 2 miles away because the student union was closed on weekends during the summer. This all could have been avoided if someone bothered to pick me up at the airport. If you think I am being a whiner, this was actually the worst interview experience I've had. During the interview, my would-be-supervisor would openly express her disgust with my answers about cataloging. Keep in mind I was less than a year out of LIS, only had two cataloging internships, and no professional experience--it's not like I lied on my resume! I left that place in disgust and accepted another offer that paid 4k less. In any case, I received a rejection letter 4 months later! I had suspicions that place was a toxic cesspool and they were more or less confirmed because I have seen that entry-level cataloger position open every other year or so.

I had another institution who wanted me to pay up front for all travel costs (they would reimburse me later) and travel to there with only a week's notice. Oh, and they wanted a presentation that contributed something "new to the conversation" about my area of focus. This place had several librarian openings last year; I declined the interview. Now, if I was an entry-level librarian, I could not afford to be so picky. Despite the warning signs that this institution has problems, I still would have jumped at the chance to interview there.

I am sure many of you had worse experiences. I guess search committees tend to treat applicants poorly simply because they can.

Anonymous said...

she still post on NEWLIB, try to reach her through there

Anonymous said...

This comment was so good I thought it should be repeated:

I'm annoyed with library school graduates that think they are ENTITLED to high-paying, big-city jobs that will allow them to be the hippest of hip.


I have to wonder: how many of you who are complaining about lack of jobs worked prior to attending library school? I spent 10 years in a highly competitive field before returning for an LIS and the library job market is no different than any other job market.

I know engineers, teachers and advertisers who have spent 2+ years trying to find an entry-level position.

Earning a degree does not entitle you to a job. It is also not the library school's responsibility to find a job for you. Their responsibility is to provide an education. It's YOUR responsibility to find a job.

janitorx said...

It is also not the library school's responsibility to find a job for you. Their responsibility is to provide an education. It's YOUR responsibility to find a job.

I know first-hand the faculty at one particular library school repeatedly tell students they should expect employment within three months of graduation and counsel them to cite the ALA entry-level salary recommendation when negotiating salary offers. The hubris of new grads isn't always to blame.

Anonymous said...



I know engineers, teachers and advertisers who have spent 2+ years trying to find an entry-level position.

Earning a degree does not entitle you to a job. It is also not the library school's responsibility to find a job for you. Their responsibility is to provide an education. It's YOUR responsibility to find a job.



True enough, but (and now I'll chime in)...

In two years of operating an employment site for librarians, I have NEVER met anyone who thought they entitled to a HIGH PAYING, BIG CITY library job. I have met many people who are frustrated and disillusioned with the library job market, but I've never met anyone who though they were entitled to a job.

Anon @ 10:32AM, you used the example of engineers, teachers, and advertisers facing a similiar job market. This is an interesting example. Aren't schools obligated to hire people with teaching degrees? And don't engineer jobs usually go to people with engineering degrees?

Truth be told...at least when you are talking about the public sector...libraries are not necessarily obligated to hire people with library degrees. There are academic libraries going this route, too. They can promote paraprofessionals from within the ranks, or even hire people off the street. This is worth noting.

janitorx said...

Truth be told...at least when you are talking about the public sector...libraries are not necessarily obligated to hire people with library degrees. There are academic libraries going this route, too. They can promote paraprofessionals from within the ranks, or even hire people off the street. This is worth noting.

To what extent are academic libraries going this route? In technical services departments I've noticed paraprofessionals are hired to replace retired professional catalogers, but they do not have librarian rank.

Anonymous said...

My grad. school churned out MLS students like a puppy mill. Flooding the market with normal and exceptional show dogs (er, I mean people) along with those that "weren't quite right."

I had experience and luck getting my first job, but I had to move away from my family and accept a crummy salary. Eight years later I have changed jobs but am still only making about $6-7,000 more than when I started long ago.

I make just enought money (after taxes) to be able to afford daycare. Why not quit and raise my kids at home? I do like my job, and it provides VERY GOOD health care benefits. My husband has good salary but crummy benefits. I often tell people that my salary is our healthcare benefits.

Incidently, I have a teacher friend who is in the same situation. Miserable salary, great health care.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:32AM here.

janitorx said...
I know first-hand the faculty at one particular library school repeatedly
tell students they should expect employment within three months of graduation and
counsel them to cite the ALA entry-level salary recommendation when negotiating
salary offers.


Wow! I have not heard that before. I do agree that a school should not be telling students such things.

anon @ 11:13 said...
Aren't schools obligated to hire people with teaching degrees? And
don't engineer jobs usually go to people with engineering degrees?


I know nothing about the teaching profession, but I do know quite a bit about the engineering profession, and the answer is no, companies do not necessarily require a BS in engineering to fill an engineering position. In fact, my husband was actually offered a job on the condition that he drop out of school, as they wanted him to start "right away." (He declined)

The same is true for advertising. I know of a GREAT creative director who never graduated university.

Anonymous said...

I've responded to an earlier post on this topic here before. I agree, there isn't necessarily a shortage, from what I've seen, but I attended a talk by Dr Jose-Marie Griffiths, Dean of the library school at Chapel Hill last week. She got an IMLS grant to study this very topic, and her research is interesting. She said her data shows the retirements are happening at a slower percentage than expected, but she is definitely convinced that there will be a shortage. I certainly think higher of her research than I do the 2 LJ articles (http://libraryworkforce.org/tiki-index.php?page=Presentations) but I am extremely concerned that library schools mentioned in other comments are trying to use the "shortage" as a recruiting tool.

What I can say is that I have worked as a librarian at 2 universities (both which have library schools attached)and I have never met what I consider a "good" candidate who couldn't find a librarian position. I know a few negative, maladjusted people with no experience and no idea how to interview who couldn't find jobs. I met a library student the other day who wanted to work in an academic library but had absolutely no idea what it entailed. Hello people-- you are a librarian-- research! She was shocked that librarians were expected to publish as part of their job. I don't expect new graduates to understand the nuances of life in academia, but seriously, be realistic and at least talk to someone about what being a university faculty member means before applying for a job there.

I really wish that library schools would focus more on fieldwork, internships and the like in order to ensure that all of their graduates had experience before graduating.

Anonymous said...

her research is interesting. She said her data shows the retirements are happening at a slower percentage than expected, but she is definitely convinced that there will be a shortage.

Two basic problems with the "shortage," it's always just around the corner, and it's always assumed the positions will be replaced, rather than consolidated or done away with. A dying field won't suddenly spring to life because the older workers retire.

What I can say is that I have worked as a librarian at 2 universities (both which have library schools attached)and I have never met what I consider a "good" candidate who couldn't find a librarian position.

That depends on what you call a "good" candidate. I also know a lot of good people who never found work, and really horrible ones who got jobs because they had connections.

Then there's the ons like me, who ended up in the Library from Hell. My career was ruined and I've been damaged goods ever since. Nevertheless the statistic is there, I graduated and got a job, never mind what happened after.

I know a few negative, maladjusted people with no experience and no idea how to interview who couldn't find jobs.

I've known more people who became negative and maladjusted from their library experience, or who just gave up and quit.

Guardienne of the Tomes said...

There is more than one factor at work, here.

1) - yes. Obviously, widespread agreement that posting jobs at $25,000 per year in craptastic - or expensive! - locations is not going to staff your library with professionals. We've all seen this, and laughed (or cried) while searching the job boards.

2) I have to wonder - I worked in my community library when I was a kid, and my college library while getting my undergrad work done, and no one ever mentioned librarianship as a career. My MLS is my second master's - because I had never considered it as my first. Forget 'librarianship' as a profession doing recruiting - why aren't libraries who employ students recruiting those who obviously love the environment? This is a problem.

3)There is a HUGE problem with the MLS programs churning out folks who have never worked in a library. I have never, never ever, not once seen a job posting that didn't require experience. Part of the problem may be the proliferation of distance programs, educating folks who already have full time jobs with no time for even an internship. However, I think wanting to be a librarian and never having worked in a library is a serious problem, unless you're in a related field and know what you're getting into. Apparently the schools don't care, since they're getting the tuition dollars anyway, but libraries do not want to hire folks that they just have to spend a few years teaching the basics to. (I'm talking basics as in dealing with administration and the politics, as well as getting accustomed to the day to day grind, not just cataloging or reference skills.)

4) Given all this, I still don't see a job shortage - I see an unwillingness to be realistic about an academic-esque job that does not come with the perk of choosing exactly where you get to go. I started looking for a tenure-track professional position in February...and I started my dream job in August. Yes, you have to hunt the job boards and narrow it down to what you'd be willing to take, and where you'd be willing to work. That's no different than any other academic job - professors generally don't get to choose which part of the country they go to, they go to where the jobs are. (And librarians - public or academic - are closer to the academic job spectrum than anywhere else.)

5) Folks going into librarianship need to focus on how to interview - having the MLS doesn't grant you a free pass, and having sat through some interviews - dear me. I'm talking both sides here - interviewers and interviewees. But the interviewees take the cake.

There's no job shortage. There's a shortage of 'perfect' jobs (like the library up the street from the apartment you lived in while getting your MLS). There's a shortage of well-paying jobs - I'm able to get on that bandwagon, if you're a public librarian. The real shortage, however, is in experienced grads in the hiring pool. None of us got into this job/profession/what-have-you to be rich (I should hope). I'm lucky enough to do it because I love it. Then again, I also worked as a senior tech in an academic library for 3 years while getting my MLS, so I'd have something in hand when job hunting. Even I - new as I am - would be very wary about taking someone on who had no idea what libraryworld is about.

Anonymous said...

I've known more people who became negative and maladjusted from their library experience, or who just gave up and quit.

I would feel sympathy for my fellow grad students if the first words out of their mouths wasn't usually "I have never actually worked in a library but.." Can you really feel sorry for some one who is spending a small fortune for an advanced degree in a field that they nothing about?


Yeah, I have to wonder - with all the focus on the lack of jobs, how many of these grad students actually look at the quality of the jobs they are scrambling for?

I took a job as a paraprofessional in a public library, because I wanted to see if this library thing was really all it was cracked up to be before investing in graduate school. I just started at the begining of the year. Best investment I ever made. Now, instead of wasting tens of thousands of dollars on a worthless graduate degree, I only wasted half a year of work experience for dismal pay.

Actually, it wasn't a total waste, as it provided good health care and I got to check out plenty of GRE study guides prior to taking that test. I still plan to attend graduate school, but just for something less worthless like a degree in fine arts or the ethnography of underwater basket weaving.

Seriously, though, while working in a library I just had to look around at the "higher ups" and ask myself "Would I want to have his/her job?" Usually the answer was a resounding NO. Being a head librarian at a public branch library is equivalent to managing a convenience store. (Actually, 7-11 managers probably get paid more.) Then, after a decade or so I could hope to move up to administration, where I could hold boring meetings or maybe give a powerpoint presentation. Maybe even attend a conference and sit amongst a sea of expanding waistlines and bad fashion choices. Joy. If this be my future, I would choose self-immolation.

I would advise any potential library school student to actually work in the hellhole that is the public library before they invest in a graduate degree. Maybe the cushy academic library is better, but I don't think it could be different enough to make getting an MLS a wise choice.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the cushy academic library is better, but I don't think it could be different enough to make getting an MLS a wise choice

The academic world has a better reputation and the pay is somewhat higher, but is more than offset by the idiotic teaching/publishing requirements. How many user surveys can we do? And to consider the How-to-use-a-library class *teaching*...good grief.

There's also all the prima donnas who believe they're the same as "real" professors.

I think you've made a wise choice, good luck. Wish I had done that in the beginning.....

Anonymous said...

There is definitely a job shortage in all types of libraries and all the states. The only openings that are available are probably the least desireable, lowest paid, and the library curriculum does not prepare one for those type of jobs. I am referring to the Systems Coordinator, Digital Initatives, Web Programming, Digital REsources etc. the other point is there are no librarians in the technical department and the circulation departments. They are all paraprofessionals. If there is a librarian hired they are part-time or subs.

The only department left is Reference. This is slowing demising in all types of libraries esp. in the academic libraries. Technology has taken over in that area. I don't know too many librarians who go to library school to publish. The academic librarians especially in a Public University environment expect you to publish but you don't get the academic "schedule" or the pay. In the academic world they are still doing the traditional B.I. which the librarians are at the mercy of faculty. More faculty are doing their own BI or assuming their students should know how to use a library. I see more and more positions 12 month contracts no security.

I would stay out of the 2 year Wisconsin system. The 2 year colleges are not busy and there is no support for the library. Finally, I would difinitely recommend when interviewing which the interview process takes forever plus you are interviewed by a Committee to think they were going to pay you a 6 figure find out who worked there before so that you know what you are "really" getting into.


Frankly, no matter how long the interview prcess is and if you can't get an insight you still are not going to know what you are getting into.

Anonymous said...

Library Job Descriptions at the University of Miami:
This position has been posted since June 2007. I don't know any librarians young or old who are trained in Library School to do this type of work:

Job Title: Information Systems Librarian (Librarian Assistant Professor)
Position Number: 034926
Department: RICHTER LIBRARY


The University of Miami is committed to educating and nurturing students, creating knowledge, and providing service to our community and beyond. We are leaders in the area of education, scholarship, intercollegiate athletics and service. Come join our team!

The University of Miami Libraries seeks a creative, innovative, technology oriented professional to manage and support all aspects of the Libraries core information systems and applications to include planning, implementation, maintenance, and enhancement. Position #034926. Salary: Competitive. More information on benefits can be found at: http://www.miami.edu/benefits/pdf/bensum-faculty06.pdf.

APPLICATIONS AND NOMINATIONS: Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Applications and nominations will be accepted until a suitable candidate is selected. DO NOT APPLY ONLINE. Applications should be submitted electronically and must include a letter of interest, curriculum vitae and the names of three references. The references will not be contacted before the appropriate time. Send nominations and applications to:

Here is another posting and it was posted JANUARY 2007. (I am not sure what is Digital Initiatives) Job Title: Director of Digital Initiatives and Services
Position Number: 011104
Department: Richter Library


The University of Miami is committed to educating and nurturing students, creating knowledge, and providing service to our community and beyond. We are leaders in the area of education, scholarship, intercollegiate athletics and service. Come join our team!



Director of Digital Initiatives and Services (Librarian Associate/Full Professor or Associate/Full Professor)

Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science, Computer Science, Instructional Technology or related fields, required. At least five years experience in a library or academic computing environment; Demonstrated experience in project development, management, implementation, and assessment, required. Extensive experience and knowledge of operations and best practices in the development and application of digital technology, required. Experience with the development of a digital library program; sophisticated understanding of digital library technology, resources, services, and preservation; and strong service orientation, required. Strong leadership, fiscal, supervisory, organizational, and management skills, required. Successful experience with writing and directing grant-funded projects; knowledge of the current role and future trends of research libraries in higher education; and the ability to cultivate and support the use of digital initiatives to advance library services, and interactive learning, required. Engagement in national and international digital library preferred. Position #011104. Duties include: providing vision and direction for the development of the Libraries’ digital initiatives, resources, and services. Providing leadership in the development and expansion of digital technologies, services, and resources that facilitate and enhance learning, teaching, and research; creating an infrastructure for digital development and preservation. For more information and to view the full posting visit: http://www.library.miami.edu/employment/employment.html. Excellent interpersonal, communication and English skills, verbal and written, required. Salary: Competitive.

Send letter of interest, curriculum vitae and the names of three references. Review of applicants will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

DO NOT APPLY ONLINE. Contact: Rudy Montejo, Otto G. Richter Library, PO Box 248214, Coral Gables, Florida 33124-0320. Email: richter.recruiting@miami.edu

Anonymous said...

the other point is there are no librarians in the technical department and the circulation departments. They are all paraprofessionals. If there is a librarian hired they are part-time or subs.

Not true. I am one of four librarians in the circulation department. It depends on the library.

janitorx said...

I took a job as a paraprofessional in a public library, because I wanted to see if this library thing was really all it was cracked up to be before investing in graduate school. I just started at the beginning of the year. Best investment I ever made. Now, instead of wasting tens of thousands of dollars on a worthless graduate degree, I only wasted half a year of work experience for dismal pay.

You bet, it was a great investment! Actually, this idea is fleshed out in works about happiness studies. The researchers recommend if you want to choose a career path, find out if the people in these careers are happy. Do they enjoy their work, etc.? You essentially shadowed these people for a year and not only learned about library work, but also about yourself.

The academic librarians especially in a Public University environment expect you to publish but you don't get the academic "schedule" or the pay.

Our university is represented by the AAUP. Librarians get 5 weeks vacation and have salaries that closely match what professors earn. Librarians are also expected to at least take graduate courses to be promoted to the associate level and need a second masters in hand for promotion to professor. The lack of a second masters can kill your career here. Draw your own conclusions.

I hate to say this, but I would also really caution librarians against working at the majority of state institutions in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. If you have to, do so for experience and get out. I've lived in the South for several years. There are very scary reasons why some of these state schools have very high turnover of librarians. I am sure many of you can think of other places around the US that are awful. I don't mean to label the South as a hellhole, it's just the lion's share of my professional experience has been in the South. I don't live in that region anymore because I was so frustrated with how librarians were treated. On the plus side, North Carolina is great!

Anonymous said...

Finding a job after graduation is hard. I graduated in August and haven't had an interview since. I don't feel that worried since I know other people from my program who are in the same situation.

Probably the most frustrating aspect is dealing with the bureaucracy. I applied for an archives job at a public institution and got a call back in early August that I would be contacted for an interview. Almost a month and a half later, no decision about interview scheduling have been made.

You have to make a choice on where you want to work. I chose not to concentrate in academic libraries because I simply got burned from too much research and writing my senior year. There's more jobs available in public libraries - more contact with the public, more useful programming and training sessions, etc.

There is a glut of library school graduates in certain areas, especially in the Midwest, but not enough jobs to go around due to decreasing state and local support for libraries and a lot of applications for the same positions.

Anonymous said...

I'm always surprised at how no one mentions the need for networking and connections in this field. Maybe its just my state that operates like this, but around here, its really who you know. I was told this before I went to library school, and being the social butterfly that I am, took on the challenge.

If you have no library experience, and no one knows you, no MLS or perfect cover letter is going to get you one of those "high-paying, big city" jobs. Just like a degree in fashion and a nice cover letter will never get you in at Vogue!

janitorx said...

This came across one of the listservs I am on:

The University of Miami Libraries seeks a creative, innovative, technology oriented professional to manage and support all aspects of the Libraries’ core information systems and applications to include planning, implementation, maintenance, and enhancement.

POSITION: Reporting to the Director for Information Management and Systems, the Information Systems Librarian manages and supports the implementation, operation, integration, and enhancement of the core library information systems and applications. The position plans and implements new software releases and enhancements, informs and educates Libraries administration and staff; works collaboratively with the Libraries Web Administrator; identifies, recommends, tests and implements software; assists with the exploration of emerging information and web technologies; provides technical expertise, advanced knowledge and independent judgment; may supervise staff who maintain software applications or provide user and operational support for library systems; provides management and statistical reports on systems operations; keeps abreast of relevant literature and technology; represents the Libraries nationally, acts as a primary liaison with systems vendors; and serves on/participates in Libraries and University organizations, committees, task forces, and teams as appropriate.

QUALIFICATIONS: Required: ALA accredited master’s degree in Library and Information Science; understanding of the application of technology to scholarship and teaching, and experience developing and/or supporting library solutions for digital publishing, archiving, document delivery, cataloging, interlibrary loan, or other library workflow processes; strong aptitude for acquiring new skills relevant to library systems and web technologies; strong organizational and analytical skills, communication (oral and written) skills, and ability to take initiative; experience supervising and mentoring staff; ability to work collaboratively with both technical and library staff with widely varied skill sets and technical knowledge; two years experience with an integrated library system, preferably Innovative, in a medium to large research library or similar organization; experience with assessment of technology services; knowledge of server operating systems, preferably Linux, UNIX and Windows; knowledge of scripting and/or programming languages such as Perl, Java, Oracle, SQL, and HTML editing; Experience developing and administering web-based solutions using Perl, Java, Javascript, CSS,HTML, XML and related technologies; familiarity with metadata standards and formats for library systems such as MARC, Dublin Core, METS, and MODS.; knowledge of protocols for search and retrieval, messaging and networking such as Z39.50, SRW/SRU, and FTP; experience working in a library functional area, preferably in an academic research library environment.

THE UNIVERSITY: The University of Miami is one of the nation’s leading research universities in a community of extraordinary diversity and international vitality. The University is privately supported, non-sectarian institution, located in Coral Gables, Florida, on a 260-acre subtropical campus. The University comprises 11 degree granting schools and colleges, including Architecture, Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Communication, Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Music, Nursing, and Marine and Atmospheric Science (www.miami.edu).

THE LIBRARY: The University of Miami Libraries (www.library.miami.edu) ranks among the top 50 research libraries in North America with a combined collection of approximately 3 million volumes, 48,000 current serials, and over 33,000 E-journal titles. The Otto G. Richter Library lies in the heart of the campus and serves as the central library for the University. Other University of Miami libraries include the Paul Buisson Architecture Library, the Judi Prokop Newman Business Information Resource Center, and the Marta & Austin Weeks Music Library, the Marine and Atmospheric Science Library, and the Louis Calder Memorial Library. The campus also has an independent Law library. The Libraries provide support and services for approx. 10,100 undergraduates, 5,100 graduate students, and 10,000 full and part time faculty and staff. The Libraries has a staff of 37 Librarians and 86 support staff and is a member of ARL, ASERL, CLIR, NERL, OCLC, RLG, and SOLINET.

SALARY AND BENEFITS: Compensation will be competitive and commensurate with experience and qualifications of the person selected. This is a non-tenure track twelve-month faculty appointment at the Associate, or Professor rank. The position offers a comprehensive benefits package including: paid pension plan; partially paid medical and dental insurance plans; life, disability, and long-term care insurance available; tuition remission; 13 paid holidays; and 22 days annual vacation. Additional employment benefits available include credit union; Employee Assistance Program; bookstore, and sporting event discounts; optional fee-based membership in a state-of-the-art wellness center, moving allowance, and no state or local income taxes. More information on benefits can be found at: http://www.miami.edu/benefits/pdf/bensum-faculty06.pdf.

APPLICATIONS AND NOMINATIONS: Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Applications and nominations will be accepted until a suitable candidate is selected. Applications should be submitted electronically and must include a letter of interest, curriculum vitae and the names of three references. The references will not be contacted before the appropriate time.

Send nominations and applications to: Rudy Montejo, Human Resources Coordinator, Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami, P.O. Box 248214, Coral Gables, FL 33124-0320 ;e-mail: richter.recruiting@miami.edu


The University of Miami is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer. The University has a strong commitment to diversity and encourages applications from candidates of diverse cultural backgrounds.


This is a job of four people (myself included) at MPOW!

This job has been open since June; you can guess why? They want a techie god who happens to be a librarian. Good luck with that.
Does anyone else think this job description is inane?

Anonymous said...

2nd Masters in degree in an Academic Library seems to "undermine" the M.L.S. The University I worked at did require a 2nd Masters and it did not matter in what. The reason behind the 2nd degree is to purchase the books. Guess what, the librarian was purchasing science books and his 2nd Master's degree was in Fine Arts. What a joke!

Anonymous said...

The saddest thing is, when you DO (sooner or later) find a job that seems decent in a place you are willing to live, you just get to transition from bitching about how it's so hard to get a job to bitching about why is it that all libraries are such poorly run messes that are toxic environments to work in?

Anonymous said...

Janitorx-
I already posted the position from University of Miami. It has been posted since June of 2007. It makes me wonder who put that job description together and there is no mention of a pay scale. They do have a budget.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it really matters if you are just out of Library School with no experience or you have experience there is still a shortage. In the Academic Arena, if you don't want to do BI than you will have to become a techie. If you want to work in a public library you will have to want to work with kids, do holds, and programming which is similar to the BI in the academic arena.
By the way Librarians who have 5 weeks off in an academic library is till less than a "real" faculty member who has the summers off and (about 3 months) plus more time off in between!!

Anonymous said...

Here is a job posting in Wyoming for a Geek.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Provide vision and leadership for The Geology Library. Oversee library

operations and work flow. Establish priorities for the Library. Train,
supervise and evaluate two staff positions. Represent the Geology
Library to
other library units and to external constituencies.

Serve as bibliographer for the Geology Department and the newly
established
School of Energy Resources. Manage and develop the map collection.
Evaluate
gift materials and make preservation recommendations. Prioritize
digitization of assets unique to University of Wyoming.

Deliver reference services for the geology, energy resources and map
collections. Deliver instructional services to students and faculty
including course-related instruction and one-on-one consultations.
Provide
training for colleagues in the use of specialized resources.

As a member of the library faculty, pursue an active and ongoing
program of
professional development, scholarship and service. Report to the
Associate
Dean of Libraries.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:

MLS from an ALA accredited institution. Minimum of five years of
successful,
progressively responsible professional experience. Knowledge and
understanding of the research needs and the organization of scholarly
materials in Geology and Energy Resources. Demonstrated ability to
work
effectively as a manager, including budget and personnel management.
Experience working with maps. Excellent communication, interpersonal,
problem solving and organizational skills.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS:

A graduate or undergraduate degree in geology, geography, cartography,
earth
sciences or energy sciences. Experience in a medium to large academic
library. Working knowledge of GIS. Experience with government
publications.
Knowledge of map cataloging practices. Experience working with library
donors and friends. Strong record of professional accomplishment.

APPLICATION AND SALARY: Review of applications will begin on October
17,
2007, and will continue until the position is filled or the search is
terminated. Minimum salary is $50,000 dependent on qualifications and
experience; 12-month appointment, 22 days vacation; sick leave, group
health
insurance, state and TIAA-CREF retirement plans, no state income tax.
Please direct questions to Ms. Birgit Burke at 307-766-3279 or e-mail
burek@uwyo.edu.

TO APPLY: Send cover letter, resume, and the names, address, telephone

number and e-mail address of three professional references to:

Birgit Burke, Assistant to the Dean
University of Wyoming Libraries
1000 E. University, Department 3334
Laramie, WY 82071
Fax: 307-766-2510
E-mail: burek@uwyo.edu
Please follow-up faxed or e-mailed applications with copy via mail.
EEO/AA

Anonymous said...

To what extent are academic libraries going this route? In technical services departments I've noticed paraprofessionals are hired to replace retired professional catalogers, but they do not have librarian rank.

So What does that tell you?

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I think the shortage exists in the Children's and in the Academic the techie in which you really do not need the M.L.S. You need a certificate or the Information Systems of Computer Programming. Still, the are quite a few libraries that still don't pay well for these techie jobs. I have seen a Public Library paying only 33,000. What an insult.

Anonymous said...

This job has been open since June; you can guess why? They want a techie god who happens to be a librarian. Good luck with that.
Does anyone else think this job description is inane?

Yes, and I am wondering who put that description together?

Anonymous said...

Another Techie Librarian job with a long description and with skills in Social digital Initiatives, Scripting and Programming languages

For Some Reason not too many Librarians stay Working there



Library Technology Coordinator
The Norris L. Brookens Library at the University of Illinois at Springfield seeks a
creative, energetic, service-oriented individual to fill the new position of Library
Technology Coordinator. Reporting to the University Librarian and working
collaboratively with colleagues in the Library, Information Technology Services, and the
University of Illinois Global Campus Partnership, the individual in this position will play
a leading role in the planning and delivery of excellent online library services to the UIS
and U of I Global Campus communities. This is a full-time position which will be filled
at the academic professional or clinical faculty level, depending on qualifications and
experience. UIS is an EO/AA employer. Persons with disabilities, women, veterans,
and minorities are encouraged to apply.
Duties and responsibilities: Collaborates with appropriate members of the Brookens
Library faculty and staff and the Global Campus Partnership staff to plan and deliver
web-based library services, including creation and administration of dynamically driven
web content, online forms and search and retrieval interfaces for the library’s web site.
Serves as technical manager for the library web site, collaborating with members of the
Web Team and with Global Campus Partnership staff to assure the quality and
accessibility of the site, as well as consistency with the UIS and Global Campus web
sites. Participates in web redesign and social computing initiatives.
Serves as the technical administrator for the Library integrated library system (currently
Ex Libris Voyager) and any third-party extensions to its functionality (SFX, WebFeat,
etc.), troubleshoots problems, implements system enhancements and modifications, and
produces reports for library managers.
Specifies and maintains library hardware and software, following protocols and in
communication with UIS and Global Campus Partnership information technology staff;
troubleshoots minor problems and refers others to appropriate campus unit.
Working with appropriate individuals and groups, researches, evaluates, and implements
new technologies to enhance and extend library services in innovative, user-centered, and
cost-effective ways.
Advises and assists Library colleagues on projects involving specialized software
(institutional repository, interlibrary loan, project management, etc.)
Develops training and documentation for library systems as needed.
Serves on appropriate committees and working groups.
Maintains knowledge of current developments and trends in information technology and
web applications, including potential applicability to library services.
Leads in the creation and maintenance of a staff intranet.
Performs other duties as assigned by the dean.
Qualifications: MLS or MLIS from an accredited library school, or equivalent degree,
and two years experience in an academic or research library. Demonstrated knowledge
of best practices and current trends and issues in the application of information
technology to libraries and higher education; ability to work independently and to achieve
outcomes in a collaborative environment, and to learn and apply new technologies
quickly; excellent interpersonal skills, including ability to communicate effectively both
verbally and in writing; project management skills; experience with a variety of scripting
and programming languages, such as HTML, PHP, Perl, JavaScript, XHTML, CSS, and
Web 2.0; experience with Unix server software, including vi and with SQL for reporting;
experience with Voyager or other integrated library system; knowledge of Blackboard,
Desire2Learn, or other learning management system; knowledge of SCT Banner or other
collegiate administrative software; knowledge of hardware and software security issues;
knowledge of relational database theory, standards and software; knowledge of metadata
standards and best practices in digital library projects.
The University of Illinois at Springfield: Located in the state capital, the University of
Illinois at Springfield is one of three campuses of the University of Illinois. The UIS
campus serves over 4,500 students in 19 graduate and 20 undergraduate programs. The
academic curriculum of the campus emphasizes a strong liberal arts core, an array of
professional programs, extensive opportunities in experiential education, and a broad
engagement in public affairs issues of the day. The campus offers many small classes,
substantial student-faculty interaction, and an increasingly technology enhanced learning
environment. Its diverse student body includes traditional, non-traditional, and
international students. Its faculty are committed teachers, active scholars, and
professionals in service to society.
The UIS Brookens Library will be the library services provider for the University of
Illinois Global Campus Partnership, a totally online educational initiative of the
University of Illinois, to be launched in January, 2008.
Appointment: Twelve-month appointment as Clinical Assistant Professor or Academic
Professional depending on qualifications.
Compensation and Benefits: Benefits include 24 days annual leave, 25 days sick leave,
nine state holidays, two floating holidays, and a choice of health and retirement plans.
An H-1B visa is required for any non-U.S. citizen prior to employment. Salary range of
$45,000-$60,000, depending on qualifications and experience.
Contact: Submit letter of application, resume and the names, addresses, and telephone
numbers of three references electronically to Marcia Rossi at mross1@uis.edu. Review
of applications will begin October 15, 2007, and continue until the position is filled

Anonymous said...

"And now those gullible graduates find that if they're lucky they can celebrate the excitement of being an information professional only if they want to move to the wilderness and work for $30K a year."
Not even that. It's been nearly 2 years since I graduated with an MLIS (nearly 4 since I was fooled by the propaganda) and I have yet to find a full-time position or make over 15K a year.

Anonymous said...

For those who insist on supporting the hoax of a librarian shortage, thus supporting the propaganda of the ALA and most educators in the profession who sit on the fence silently turning out grads who deserve to hear the truth while in school, I hope you rot and suffer for you indifference and lies.

It's not only an issue of the jobs which are out there. It is an issue of budgets, library closings, and the fact that many entry level jobs are phased out when librarians move up. Young librarians who enter the market should not be demonized as picky or lazy, or fussy about jobs. All of my friends who graduated in the program are in the same boat as me. They would leap at the chance to get anything. I live in a large city where the market is better than rural markets, and most positions open at the entry level get snapped up by vets in the field who have suffered the down sizing crunch or who want a new start.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." The cronies of the ALA and its drones will continue with their illusions. That cannot be stopped. However, the facts are out there. Anyone who wishes to be treated as sober and realistic can not get away with saying there is a shortage. Period!

sporter said...

I have hit the job market lately and wow! It is a tough room. One community college said I did not have enough experience. Sure, I am a new graduate but how can you get experience if no one will give it to you? Besides, I was a school librarian for 33 years, I am presently working in an academic setting in electronic services...I can teach the dead. Must have been something else...age, perhaps?

We are geographically disadvantaged in that there are so few jobs here. The public library directorships in the two largest towns are held my people with no MLS. We are looking to move back east. Meanwhile, I sit in a classified position at very low wages with two Masters degrees. The work is fun, though. No responsibility after 5PM and our students are awesome.

Anonymous said...

Just chiming in about a Library job I had. I worked there for 3 weeks and was hauled into my Supervisor's office and told point blank that I was 'disrupting' the other library staff with my questions. I had basic questions about the job I was assigned to do and had not worked in an academic library before. I know that the people are busy but let my get some knowledge to do my job correctly before complaining.
Also, one of the more senior librarians decided to make it my job to know who to talk to and who not to. I don't really care about the tension and it was inappropriate for this person to start dumping on me on the very first day.
Anyway, I decided to leave there as the people I worked closely to didn't make me feel to welcome. I personally don't think I'll be shelling out 20K for an MLS any time soon.

dhvibe said...

Hi, thought I would toss in my say. It seems like the best solution is to stop crying about it and to take over the responsibility. Please don't get me wrong. I am in the same boat as many other professionals. I have my degree in hand and the bills are stacking up.

I currently am seeking other recent grads and professionals and their opinions I have started a blog page and would welcome posts and anyone who would like to contribute, or make suggestions on what I have posted.

nudelibrarianworld.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those library school grads who can't find a permanent position. Here I am, almost TWO YEARS out of school, and NOTHING.

Never mind the fact that I HAVE the stupid degree (which has so far proven to have been a MAJOR waste of time, effort, and money), and that I have worked in academic libraries over the past NINE YEARS.
Granted, these were support/assistant positions, but WHAT ELSE could they have been!!?!?
I was a STUDENT worker, for God's sake.

When I see a position I think might be interesting or a good fit for me, one of two things happens.

1. The job posting I see lists skills I am quite comfortable using. Basically, I could be hired Monday, and, with VERY minimal training, be ready to roll by Wednesday, tops. These, however, are ALWAYS assistant jobs, over 90% of which don't ask for (or even want) someone with an MLS. They are low-paying, and often non-benefited.

or

2. The job posting I see lists some skills I know, but there are many other advanced requirements of this position that there is NO WAY I would ever have received any experience in by this point. These sorts of jobs want someone who's already been a librarian for MANY years, experience in advanced programming languages, (XML, etc.),
and a host of other insane requirements that NO entry-level library school grad (even one like me, who again has worked in libraries since 1998!!) is going to possibly have.

As you can tell, I am told I am 'too qualified' for the first type of job, and that I need 'more experience' before I can get the second kind of job.

I find this whole mess INFURIATING.

How the hell does an entry-level librarian join their field?

I am not naive. I don't honestly believe my first professional position will be some sort of 'dream job,' but I certainly thought my background would be a bit more impressive to HR people. I'm simply asking for a well-paying library job, one that will allow me to join my field as professional.

I'm sick and tired of being treated
like I have nothing to contribute, and that all my prior experience means NOTHING since, as I've been told, 'it isn't PROFESSIONAL experience.'

Of course, it wasn't, you idiot...hire me for a professional job and I'll get professional experience!!

WHY IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK??

sporter said...

I am in the same leaky boat! I just got my degree and I am stuck in a town where the libraries don't ask for professional degrees, except the university where I work and there are no positions. I tried at a community college in another town (if I got the position would have to live there away from my husband during the weekdays) and they said I did not have enough experience. I have been a school librarian for 33 years, a nationally recognized teacher-mentor in two programs so can teach to the dead, and I work in an academic setting as the up-front research and electronic resource person. I sit here with as many degrees as the director of the library in a dead-end classified position. I am with you! My student loans are needing to be paid on what? I am frustrated as well!

Anonymous said...

Lemont Public Library
Another example of a low salary librarian position. I am wondering who wrote this job description.

Network Administrator
(Full time) Lemont Public Library has an immediate opening for an entry level network administrator, approximately 50 pcs. Selects, installs, and maintains all LAN hardware/software, including surveillance and HVAC. Prepares documentation. Develops and maintains library website. Works with the public answering computer and other library questions.

Qualifications: A+, Windows Server, Microsoft Office, Dreamweaver.

Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 to 5, alternating Saturdays and Sundays. Benefits include health insurance, IMRF, and sick/vacation days.

Salary: $30-35,000.

Contact: Debbie Somchay, Adult Services Librarian, dsomchay@lemontlibrary.org.

Anonymous said...

the other point is there are no librarians in the technical department and the circulation departments. They are all paraprofessionals. If there is a librarian hired they are part-time or subs.

Not true. I am one of four librarians in the circulation department. It depends on the library

I think you are the minority. One university in Illinois (a public university) merged their reference desk with the circulation desk.

Anonymous said...

The academic librarians especially in a Public University environment expect you to publish but you don't get the academic "schedule" or the pay.

Our university is represented by the AAUP. Librarians get 5 weeks vacation and have salaries that closely match what professors earn. Librarians are also expected to at least take graduate courses to be promoted to the associate level and need a second masters in hand for promotion to professor. The lack of a second masters can kill your career here. Draw your own conclusions.

I don't think 5 weeks compares to Faculty having summers off (3 months), spring break and 2-3 weeks off in the interim. Furthermore it is hard to believe that a librarian with a second master's would make a salary comparable to a faculty member that is not in the classroom teaching credit classes. Bib classes are not credit classes more like programming similar to a public library.

Sarah said...

It's just as bad in Australia. The Librarian schools say that there is a shortage of Librarians/ Library Assistants. There is simply a shortage of jobs for new graduates, or students trying to get experience in the field.

I've been doing a lot of volunteering working for free to learn to work in a library.

People need a library Diploma or Degree and years of experience just to get an entry level job. It's a wee bit hard if like me you are in your twenties and haven't had years out of High School to be working in administration.

So after a twelve month Business Admin Traineeship I'm going back to library study with a more realistic outlook of job prospects.

Fist the Library Technician Diploma, then the Librarian Degree and a grad Dip. of Education to work in a school.

I've heard there are less Teacher Librarians out there now because they've made that harder to get qualified in Australia, needing two degrees. However, I won't fall for it completely, I'll stick with administration until I get a lirary job, you never know what to beleive now.

I'll be nearly 30 with a huge HECS (student loan) fee by the time I'm working full-time again. It's what I have to do to be a Teacher Librarian, I'll do that :).

Thanks for the blog, it's good to keep with the information on job prospects for library work, even in another country.

Sarah said...

Please excuse the few spelling mistakes, there is no editing option on this after posting.

Cynthia said...

Blogger Cynthia said...

I graduated in with my MLIS in 2007 and have yet to find a job. I applied in state and out of state. Had I known the state of employment for entry level librarians I would not have pursued a degree in this field. I am now considering going back to school to get my credential. It is a dismal state of affairs. My story is not new I have no doubt.
I believe that library school should be more hands on in their teaching. Less theory more practice. More mentors for graduates. I worked full time while going to school and did not have time to volunteer. Now because of my lack of experience I have difficulty finding a job. It seems to me that the students that got jobs either already worked at a library or volunteered and there for had the job lined up. Good luck to the ones still looking for jobs and congrats to the ones who already have them as for the myth that's all it is...a myth

Steven said...

It seems to me that MLS education is just another of those famous 'bubbles' that have done such handy work with the global economy. Schools and students sprout up like so many Southern California housing developments, quick money pumps through the system via federal student loans, but the rubber never hits the road since the actual market for libraries and library work is far, far smaller than the educational system designed to serve it. I'm about 250 job applications into a fruitless search, and now I contrast the comically menial nature of the part-time work I do in a library video department with the puffed-up academic material I studied during those laughable four semesters. I think we all need to reacquaint ourselves with the things that make real money ...