This is a guest post from a friend of mine who has chosen the alias of Raven Bloodskull. If any of you are considering a library degree, read carefully–my sentiments match these pretty closely.
Well, for starters, I wish I’d known that the economy was going to go caput before I enlisted in the most stressful three years of my life. Before you say anything, yes it was three years. It was meant to be two years but, well, life hit the fan. So, the next thing I wish I’d known before I took out a ridiculous Wells Fargo student loan was that I’d be getting divorced ten months later. Suck. No wait, double suck.
When I was first approached about getting my degree from a senior staff member,it had been two years since I graduated with my super-useful Bachelor of Film Studies. As one of those lifelong learner, goal-oriented types I was getting a little bored with watching television and besides, the final Harry Potter book had already been released!
Once I found out that a group in Nevada was giving away a huge grant, I had two essays and three applications completed in two weeks. But what sounded like the greatest educational opportunity of my life was about to become the biggest obligation of my life. Hmmm. Maybe that’s what happened to my marriage.
What I hear from almost all of my librarian friends that actually know what it’s like to work in a library – certified or not – is that library school is a waste of time. A giant, flaming circus hoop, if you will. After spending all kinds of time slaving over classes that do little more than introduce you to complicated facets of the library world, you know little more than you did when you started.
The preference for degrees seems like a rouse that the profession cares about truly educated and specialized librarians. But all I’ve gained, so far, is a handful of enthusiastic pats on the back, which means little in the face of huge budgetary shortfalls and dissolved positions left and right.
The single biggest thing I wish I’d known before committing myself to three years of exhaustion and non-existent social life was that, in accepting a three thousand dollar scholarship from my employer library, I was contracting myself for an additional year of service after graduation. Oops. I guess I missed the fine print. Now, when people find out I’ve graduated, they ask me where I have been applying or if I’m thinking of moving to some exciting new city. Nope and nope. For now, I’m stuck.
If you’re thinking I wish I hadn’t gotten my library degree at all, you’re wrong. I’ve completely misled you because I love to complain. But truly, after how everything went down, I’m still glad I did it. Even if e-books take over the publishing world completely and libraries as we know them disappear, I will still have a Master’s Degree in Library Science. That is pretty cool. I get a lot more respect and I know somewhere down the line I really will get a better, higher-paying job because of it – even if it’s not a library job.