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Unemployed Librarians How's Your Job A Search Going?

Librarians who LibraryThing

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Feb 3, 2010, 10:57am Top

This week I've received three turn downs. One the position was filled internally, one the position is being re-evaluated (it took them six months to let me know about that), and the third (at least I got an interview for this one) let me know they chose another. There was over 60 applicants for that position. My old position was eliminated due to a reduction in the library budget. I have over ten years library experience and got my MLS in 2004. So I am wondering if there are others out there who may be experiencing the lack or reduction of library jobs. I am also wondering about the future of our career. What do you think? How is your job search going?

Feb 3, 2010, 11:11am Top

This is a very useful thread.

Those posting here may wish to indicate what type of position they are seeking (cataloging, reference, etc.), and what type of institution (public library, academic, etc.). That way readers can get a better picture of the true job market.

Feb 3, 2010, 8:58pm Top

I wonder however, if this may be a taboo topic. I think perhaps librarians may not want to know the true picture of unemployment. I have applied at both academic and public libraries and I am hopeful that something will eventually turn up. I see posting from those considering or working on an MLS and wonder how they may see their employment future. Is this topic too scary to talk about?

Feb 4, 2010, 9:18am Top

Ha. No, it's not taboo. On actual library email listservs, it's hard to get the conversation *away* from rants about unemployment.

Getting ALA to be up front about how bad the market is can be very difficult, yes. It's not in their interest to be candid.

But because individuals are so inundated with job stress in other fora, it's not very appealing to drag it into LibraryThing as well. It's nice to get away from it.

I recommend signing up for some of those listservs if you haven't already.

Feb 4, 2010, 9:54am Top

>4 kristenn:

Or surf around certain blogs. The Annoyed Librarian, now on Library Journal's site, frequently posts about the job market - and even more frequently, the comments section on the posts will turn into a venting session regarding how hard it is to find a job. You may find some helpful tips, or you may not, but at least you'll be glad to know you're not alone.

Feb 5, 2010, 12:43am Top

One of the frustrating things about working in libraries is that our fortunes rise and fall at the mercy of the city, the state or the school. When times are good and funding is plentiful, librarians are in high demand. With pretty much all government and private institutions hurting right now, it is not surprising that the job market is just as bad for librarians, if not worse, as it is for everyone else.

I don't think that the more distant future for librarians is all that bleak. Our skill sets are very transferable in today's society. Data management and research skills are very useful. I also don't think that books and libraries are becoming obsolete as quickly as some experts imagine.

Of course, as I write this, my library system is looking at massive cutbacks and layoffs. There isn't a whole lot out there and competition is fierce at the moment.

Feb 5, 2010, 9:26am Top

> #6
> Of course, as I write this, my library system is looking
> at massive cutbacks and layoffs. There isn't a whole
> lot out there and competition is fierce at the moment.

Consider that the above statement is pretty much true for most of the economy, all jobs, and all institutions (public and private) right now, not just libraries.

Feb 5, 2010, 9:45am Top

I've often wondered if the job market is any better in areas that don't have a (relatively) local library school. I recently applied for a job in Richmond, Virginia and at least got an interview (though circumstances forced me to cancel, as I can't actually move there right now). There is no library school in Virginia.

Feb 5, 2010, 10:05am Top

#8 I know that it was easier for me that for some of my class mates to get my first job, because I could move where ever the job was. Three years later some of my class mates still hasn't got a job as a librarian because family and such are keeping them in the city where the library school is. So I think that you are right. Even though I am talking about Denmark, I think it is the same for other countries.

Feb 7, 2010, 6:05pm Top

I am in Seattle and it's a really tough market to penetrate. My problem is that I never worked in library since earning my MLS (unless you count working in library during grad school!)

So I am volunteering everywhere to gain some experience. I want to go to children's or youth services so I volunteer at an elementary school. I also do story time hour at a Head Start center. I am going to start to volunteer at a hospital too. I really hope this experience gives me an edge. I am also looking into getting a graduate advanced certificate in youth studies from University of North Texas.

Any thoughts would be appreciated too! I think we just got to keep looking and do whatever we can to make ourselve look attractive to employers.

Feb 9, 2010, 6:17pm Top

Might I recommend inquiring at community college libraries to see if they need part-time evening/weekend coverage? At my institution, these part-time "adjunct" positions do not get posted, but are rather filled by word of mouth. In the 2 1/2 years I've been here, we've hired two new adjunct librarians just at my little location, and will likely hire another.

At least it's a way of keeping library work on your resume while you seek a full-time position more in your specialty, if you have one.

Best of luck to anyone who is job seeking!

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