Looking Anxiously Toward the Future

I just wanted to point out a great article by Kate Tkacik (aka the Lifeguard Librarian).

Now what? Sure, a few of you nabbed something before graduation and are heading off to dream librarian jobs in sunny climates with above average salaries. A few others are moving into management positions, having successfully earned the necessary degree, happily paid for by your employer. A few more are landing positions like “Librarian for Japanese Medieval Literature and Biometrics” because, for whatever reason, all those stars happened to align.

But what about the rest of us? Too many of us recent graduates are unemployed or—if we’re lucky—underemployed.

She follows this up with a pretty accurate description of twentysomethings in the field and some good tips on handling unemployment. The gist is that recent grads must keep looking and remain flexible.

We must seek opportunities to demonstrate and exercise our new librarian identity. We may not have an office wall to hang our shiny new diplomas on, but when we finally land that first (or fifth) phone interview, we must be confident in the fact that we are librarians already. We are just looking for the right library.

Can you tell I’d like to repost the article in its entirety?

As I read it, I thought of the students who recently graduated from my program. Some landed great jobs, but many are still looking. I’ve got one year of library school left, and I can’t help picturing myself in their place.

Several librarians at the public library where I intern have asked me what I’ve heard about the job market. “What are they telling you in library school?” I explain that the professors seem cautiously optimistic. “Don’t worry. There are jobs out there,” they tell us while adding that we need to work hard in order to competitive.

And that, I suppose, is the best thing about a crappy job market. It motivates you to work hard. Of course, most people pursuing an MLS are already good students, but we’re driven to do more.  To attend networking dinners. To teach computer classes on the weekends. To learn to code. I think I’ll get more out of library school because of this employment anxiety, and I’m grateful for that.


One comment

  1. Great post, Elizabeth! I agree completely–I think everyone who hires expects the pool of applicants to have the basic skills, it’s the other stuff that counts. Those of us who don’t already have the unique combination of skills to make us perfect for the Jewish Studies Liaison/Systems Librarian position should find something interesting to add. (And I don’t think anyone who wants to be a librarian should necessarily have to go back to school to get those skills. The extra time out of full-time work and the extra expense may not be worth it in the age of MOOCs and Code Year.)

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