By Meredith Farkas | November 27, 2004
This month’s LIScareer.com has an article about taking a paraprofessional job once you have your MLS. This is something I’ve certainly been thinking about now that I’m 2 weeks away from graduation and have seen what the job market looks like for an entry-level professional librarian. While Robert Newlen and Teri Switzer make good points for why taking a paraprofessional position might be a good career move in the absence of any professional offers, I personally wouldn’t do it. First of all, I have worked as a paraprofessional at a public library and I saw how differently paraprofessionals and professionals are treated. Maybe it was just at the library I was working at, but I felt that the support staff really didn’t get the respect they deserved and I didn’t think people took their valuable insights under consideration. And I didn’t get a SECOND masters degree to be treated like a second class citizen at work. Secondly, yes, there is the money issue. I know I may get some flack for this, but I didn’t take a vow of poverty before going into library school, and I do want to make enough to have a semi-comfortable existence. Also, the experience one gets as a paraprofessional can be quite different than the experience one gets with an MLS. Yes, working at the Reference desk (even as a paraprofessional) would be a great experience, but I don’t think there is much value to my working in circulation again in terms of career promotion. This is my career and it is extremely important for me to make choices that will move me towards my goals, not choices that will move me away from them. I worked hard to get this degree, and it would really hurt my pride if I had to compromise so much on what I want for myself. Yes, I probably would take a paraprofessional position if I didn’t find something within the next 5 months, but, for now, I am pretty confident that I will find something before then. In fact, I have a job interview (a SECOND interview!) this week that I am extremely excited about. It looks like the perfect job at a truly visionary library, and I can’t believe it’s close to where I live too! Keep your fingers crossed for me!
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