So I Became a Librarian

On Jobs

I start a new job tomorrow as a part time reference librarian at a large university. It’s every other weekend only, but at least I get to sit at the ref desk for 4-5 hours every other Saturday and Sunday! Together, both of my part time jobs will average out to 20 hours a week. But eventually, I need to get myself a full time position. 

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I pretty much stalk, the library jobs list on my state’s Board of Library Commissioners website, and ALA’s JobList. And after nearly a year of doing so, these are the things I have noticed. This is all anecdotal of course, because I haven’t actually counted things up, and it probably only applies to my state.

  • The majority of open reference/instruction positions in academic libraries are not entry level. People are asking for 2 to 3 years of previous experience minimum. Understandable, of course, but not helpful to those of us who only had a one year or less internship while in library school. I mean, I have years and years of work experience, some of which was in education and instruction, but they specifically want library experience.
  • Getting a reference librarian position in a public library is next to impossible when all of your previous experience is in academic libraries. (I got an interview, but the job eventually went to someone who had public library experience, even though they didn’t have their MLIS yet.)
  • I’m seeing lots of ads for tech services librarians and for administrative positions. I would be mediocre at the former, and am unqualified for the latter. If people move into admin roles, will this free up the information services roles for the rest of us? Or am I being optimistic?
  • There have been a few really great full time positions that I wanted to apply for, but were too far away. I am tied geographically and financially. I have to stay in the metro area, and I cannot afford a car. I realize this limits my options.

How are everyone else’s job searches going? What’s your assessment of the market this fall?

  • 27 September 2012
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