I came across this article a few days ago, commented on it, and kept it in mind for a blog post.
She’s right on so many counts. When I came out a library school, I’ll admit I has similar thoughts. I was sure I’d find part-time library work within a few months of getting my Master’s. That would give me income while I volunteered in archiving to further my career path. I thought memberships in professional organizations were too expensive and something that I would get once I found real employment. (More on that in a future post.)
I’ve talked to a few recent grads or library students recently and they all had the same thoughts I had upon graduating. It’s the same story as mine: I’m going for this and focusing on that. That way, when I hit the job market, I’ll be viable and therefore hirable. When I was in grad school, a friend tried to tell me how bad the job market was and I still thought I would be fine. I quickly learned how wrong I was. But I learned my lesson as I know future graduates will learn too.
I think part of the problem is that library schools paint an overly optimistic picture of the job market. I’m pretty sure the “graying” myth has a lot to do with it. Librarians aren’t retiring as quickly because their 401k’s have taken a hit due to the recession and when they do retire, libraries don’t necessarily replace them. Why is it that all these students/schools cling steadfastly to this myth when all the blogs, tweets, and every other community hub says differently.
Now this is my personally theory; but could it be that library schools don’t teach about blogs or twitter and that the information isn’t getting to the students? I wonder this because those that I’ve talked to look at me like I’m sprouted an extra head when I ask them about “blogs” or if they’re on “twitter”.
Now don’t get me wrong. I think libraries are starting to teach Web 2.0 classes and its importance. I just don’t think they teach library students that there are Twitter and blog feeds out there that are well worth their daily attention and essential to their career advancement.