The visitors who came to the library where I was working as a substitute seemed pretty sure of themselves. Of course, they would: they were library school recruiters. To hear them tell it, not only are there still librarian jobs out there, but they can’t find anyone to fill them. It’s a nice thought, but is not accurate. There are jobs, and if you’re reading this, you probably have looked at some of them.
The trouble can be that they are in different cities or states, or that they don’t pay well. I used to work as a job coach and monitoring electronic job boards was my duty. At any given time in my area there were at least 10,000 job openings. So when people said “There aren’t any jobs!” I knew that wasn’t true. But if they had said “There aren’t any jobs that will support me that I will actually enjoy working at!” I would have been more sympathetic.
I was one of the lucky ones out of library school. I had already worked as a librarian assistant for a year when I graduated. Then I had that fancy shmancy degree and was suddenly promoted to Associate Librarian, then to librarian, then to Assistant manager, then to manager of a branch. I did not have to wait. In fact I was promoted so quickly that I was a terrible manager: I wasn’t ready.
There were many people in my graduating class who either never found jobs or are still looking for the right one. They all went to school for many of the same reasons I did:
1. The prospect of a satisfying career
2. Love of books and libraries
3. The library school recruiters told them there were tons of jobs
All of those old librarians suddenly can’t afford to retire in this economy. Or they love their jobs and don’t want to retire, for which I say more power to them.
But there are still jobs! There are. If you are considering enrolling in library school (getting a librarian degree), there are only a couple of questions I would ask yourself:
- Am I willing to move?
- What is my minimum salary requirement?
You might find that job descriptions vary with pay levels as well. I know people in other systems who aren’t officially classified as librarians that make more than many librarians I know in less economically rich counties and cities. If money is an issue–and why wouldn’t it be?–and you are willing to relocate, you will probably be able to find various library jobs to apply for.
Whether you can get them is another post. Please contact me if you have any questions. I’d be happy to talk!
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