I came across this article in the Ocala Star-Banner, courtesy of a link from LISNews.com. It states that in Ocala, a city north of Orlando and about 3 hours north of my own home, there are lots of professional library jobs open, but no one to fill them. The article says “the county’s public libraries are having a hard time filling positions, a national trend that experts say is being caused by an aging workforce. ” To be perfectly honest, I don’t really know how true this “national trend” is. If that were the case, wouldn’t I have been inundated with calls for interviews right now (instead of the two I’ve gotten, all from local libraries)? I think with budget cuts, many of these positions that are left vacant by retiring librarians are being cut entirely unless they are essential. In most cases, if they are essential, they are designed for people with lots of experience. I’ve seen many job advertisements for positions for people with three or more years experience or for paraprofessional positions. What I haven’t seen are more than a small handful of jobs for entry-level Master’s degree librarians. The profession is always talking about how they want to recruit young librarians who have computer skills and fresh ideas. But I see little evidence of that when they make experience, not skills, the requirement for even getting an interview. In my opinion, it is this kind of narrow-minded thinking that marks libraries as being non-visionary. Those that are looking for personalities, for skills, and for varied experiences that may enhance one’s practice are visionary libraries. They realize that experience doesn’t necessarily equal “good with people”, “good with computers”, or “innovative thinker”.
I remember when I first thought about becoming a librarian, I read all sorts of articles about how so many librarians were retiring and how there would be jobs galore for young and tech-savvy librarians. But I have seen no evidence of this thus far. Library Journal has found the same thing. “Students report that LIS programs are happy to tout the coming retirement of thousands of working librarians, but few programs mention the current lack of jobs for new graduates. Mentoring and guidance in job seeking and career development is dismal or simply not available in most LIS programs.” I think the library profession either seriously misrepresented the state of the field, or they didn’t consider current economic factors when making these claims. I think I will get a job eventually, but I know I may have to compromise on things I wanted (location, type of library, etc.). I only hope that the next batch of future librarians entering library school have a clear understanding of what the job market is like.
I, too, am a new librarian and have been feeling extremely
discouraged by both the lack of response to my applications as
well as the lack of positions available that I would be
qualified for. It really seems bleak!
I am a librarian since 1986, and I am paying the price for not being proactive with my career since the ’90’s, here in Prince George’s County Maryland we are hiring, but the cost of living and the mid-30’s salery of a library 1 make it difficult. Further, we are an extremely Afro-American community (I am white), and all the little librarians would probably be scared of being “raped by one of the ‘brothers.'” Actually, Washington DC is not a great place to live in my opinion, since there is simply an worn-out gay community here, if you are gay like me. I feel stuck here due to the lack of available jobs elsewhere. Face it we are becoming an ignorent, non-reading population that does not support libraries, even children’s programming will go down, as the little brats we are raising simply want to be entertained in a quick moving, sensation serving way. All of the little narrow-minded, “soccur-mommy” librarians make it hard for me who am committed to the education of people. They do their little regular job, and go home to hubby, and are threatened by any change, others afraid of losing the job amid this shortage of jobs become so afraid of the board they stagnate. Most women can go home to hubby and his medical benefits, I have to provide for my self all that a duel income family gets, (and I live in a dingy one-room apartment), and libraries discrimnate against me because they assume the I am a married man during interviews that is going to bring a wife and pack of kids on to their medical plan. Better to hire the local, genteel wife of a doctor and he can take care of her. I suspect that someone out there will be “offended.” Well you are the type of librarian who is probably agonizing over “Harry Potter,” because you small minded evangelical minister encourage you to get it off the shelf, and the “Advocate” too I suspect.
[…] November 2004 Number of Posts: 27 Words written: 8,786 Favorite Post: The great librarian shortage debate Important Event: Starting my blog, of course! […]