FINALLY there is a thoughtful article on the entry-level library job shortage! Finally, there is an article that actually uses current research to describe the job market rather than statistics that are based on projections that are based on fallacies. I urge everyone to read this Library Journal article by Rachel Holt and Adrienne Strock, which paints a realistic picture of the job market for new librarians. This more closely resembles the reality I’m living in than anything else I’ve read.
One thing Holt and Strock mention is the lack of mentors for new graduates. I completely agree that this is a problem. I went to a recruitment conference a few months ago where one speaker said “the reason most experienced librarians don’t become mentors is because they don’t think they have anything to offer.” Trust me, you do. What I wouldn’t give to have a mentor myself, an experienced librarian who could offer advice, encouragement, critique my cover letters, give me the dirt on places I’m applying, etc. And that is stuff that any experienced librarian could offer. I, and other new graduates, are basically going into this job hunt blind, and at least having a mentor would make us feel more a part of the profession and would give us some direction in becomming professionally involved.
I urge all experienced librarians to become mentors. Whether it’s through a formal program or just informally mentoring a new librarian you know, you have the ability to do someone a tremendous amount of good. You do have something to offer!