Peter calls it quits on librarianship

madcow writes "Peter Karman was on the road to being a fine young librarian and had even enrolled in library school. Then he discovered the truth about library pay. :(

As an assignment in his (sole) LIS class he wrote a nice little web page describing his information retrieval assignment."

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Wouldn't it be nice...

...if we all knew ourselves so well?

nice little webpage?

Absurd. One library class does not a fine young librarian make. The fact that he still thinks its about the love of reading proves otherwise. The only reason this got posted was because 90% of the 'nice little webpage' was a bunch of liberal nonsense.

The idea that he dropped out because of the pay is equally silly. How much did he think he was going to make when he considered becoming a priest?

Re:nice little webpage?

I agree completely wrt to the one class. I'm a semester away from graduation and when I talk to people who are considering an MLS I always tell them three things:

1) If you love books, go work in a bookstore.

2) If you love money, don't become a librarian.

3) If you can, go to school in-state.

Hell, I'm taking a significant pay cut to become a librarian. Gladly, too -- but I knew before I even applied to my program what I was getting into. It's a pity this guy didn't.

Re:nice little webpage?

This blogger seems more than somewhat flighty, although I admit that he (or she?) seems to know himself better than a good 30% or more of the people who decide to go to library school. I have talked to more than one person who went because she (or he) loved books and didn't know what else to do with her (or his) life. Not a good reason to go to library school unless you love the idea of permanent indebtedness.

"I find little joy in imagining what others will find interesting, or helpful, or enriching."

Well, that takes a heck of a lot of jobs out of the running — not just librarianship.

"I haven't enjoyed the feeling of knowing I have homework to do and exams to write. So this will be my first and last graduate class."

He didn't know that he'd have homework and exams in grad school? Um ..... words fail me.

Clarification

Duh ... the original post said his name was Peter Karman. Scratch the "or she" part.

Wow...

Well, I guess I didn't see this coming. Bile and scorn for someone who stuck a toe into the waters of our profession?

Peter has worked in a library, and is quite comfortable in his job working for a major computer company. I didn't think his personal tale would bring such ridicule.

I guess Peter made a pretty wise choice after all. :( Peter, if you're reading these comments, I personally apologize for the tone here.

Re:Wow...

Yeah, Madcow, I'm with you--I don't understand the assault. The guy tried something, found it wasn't his thang, and had to courage to back away. Nothing wimpy or stupid about that.

Re:Wow...

The 'bile and scorn' (less bile more scorn) was mostly directed at the person who suggested the post and the one who listed it. I was accusing you both of false advertising.

But yes there does need to be a little bit of scorn for people (especially adults who already have careers) who think being a librarian must be easy money and free reading. Tell a cop he eats donuts all day and see what kind of response you get.

I'm amazed

"So this will be my first and last graduate class. I've realized, too, that I have a job that I like well enough, that certainly pays better than anything I could find in the library world (a sad commentary on the library world more than my current job). And I've realized something similar to what I learned when I was considering the priesthood several years ago. I don't need to be a [priest, librarian, professor, musician, whatever] to enjoy the fruit of the profession. I still go to church, libraries, concerts; I still read books, discuss them with others, play music, think and grapple with ideas and my spiritual life. I just don't draw a paycheck for any of it. And that actually makes me feel a little freer, to come and go as I will, to follow the paths that appear before me."

I'm amazed that his first class was at this level. I had a friend who had an excellent job in the computer field, but wanted a master's degree and so started the MLS through Kent State. She lasted one week, I think, because of the introductory level classes. Money wasn't the issue at all. Many people find the degree not particularly stimulating.

Re:Wow...

The 'bile and scorn' (less bile more scorn) was mostly directed at the person who suggested the post and the one who listed it.

Oh, right. Gotcha. The bile and scorn were for me. Sorry I missed that. That's different.

Re:Wow...

I didn't want you to feel left out.

Quite right.

It isn't about the reading. I love reading. Most library people do. I love computers. Most library people love that too. After all, most computer output is about reading.

But what really turns me on, and what seperates a "librarian" from a "book lover" is information; specifically how information is gathered, stored, accessed, organized, and passed on. The whole bit, from where and how info is generated to where and how the information is stored and to where and how the information is used. That's the real deal. That's the thing that makes a librarian's nipples rock hard.

And please, I'm not being funny. I'm as serious as cancer. I've got tons and hoards of people who come in day after day to get their book fix. Hell I'm one of them. I get bouncy and downright giggley when I find out one of my favourite authors has a new book out. I have been known to hug books. Books are great, books are fun. I love books, but I also love my baby boy and those bagle thingys with the pizza in them.

If it took loving books, 95% of our customers could be librarians. No, it takes a love of the information. I get bouncy over a new book, but I get downright irritatingly happy when someone shows me a new tool or a new trick to get more info out of something. Whether it's using a new Google feature, a new bookmarklet that allows me to get access to an OPAC listing from Amazon, to "Hey have you tried this database?". I not only want to know how to use it. I want to know how it works, does it integrate with other stuff, can I show it customers and make them understand it, how about that one gal who wanted something like this, what's it programmed in, how's it written, who put it together.

95% of our patrons couldn't care less about that stuff, which is why 95% of our patrons would make lousy frigging librarians.

Re:Wow...

I apologize if my comment caused offense. But I definitely didn't intend to direct "bile" or to "assault," and I don't think my remarks should be construed that way. I didn't call him "stupid" or "wimpy," although I did make some smart-alecky comments about a couple of items in his entry that maybe I should have scrutinized more closely before I submitted. I probably should have read more of the blog to get more of the context.

I also said that I thought the blogger knew himself better than a great many students who apply to library schools. Bravo for him for knowing that he needed to get out before he incurred mountains of debt. I wish many more LIS students and potential LIS students had that level of self-knowledge.

Re:Wow...

No bile detected in your comments--;-)

And, I probably shouldn't post anything more today. Everything is making me cranky beyond belief.

Re:nice little webpage?

If you can, go to school in-state. If you are an Ohioan, though, I would say avoid Kent State University. I went to school in Pennsylvania. Such was a quite good decision as frankly you actually learned a good bit about the field as compared to the seeming herd of sheep atmosphere on Kent Campus at 314 University Library that exists today. From what I have heard from a friend who is still at KSU rather than to the place in Pennsylvania I went, learning how to catalog at KSU is quite the adventure. I have had to re-teach some major concepts to her that I at least learned properly in Pennsylvania. It is anticipated I will have to do some drastic amounts of tutoring as to subject cataloging with her before the present semester ends just so she knows what on earth such actually is. Of course, with KSU having the second largest headcount of the master's programs, it can be said that quantity is perhaps the goal there?

Re:nice little webpage?

The idea that he dropped out because of the pay is equally silly. How much did he think he was going to make when he considered becoming a priest? Comparatively speaking, librarianship is quite stable in terms of pay as compared to the priesthood.

Re:I'm amazed

Actually my introduction to the profession class last fall at the school I attended in Pennsylvania was about the same level. We all had to soberly reflect upon why we were there. We lost a few folks from such and a few folks failed out. Why did I stay in? Admittedly, it was cataloging. I worked for two years as an undergrad when the library at my undergraduate institution not only physically moved to a new building but also automated and yet also did a retrospective conversion of its old DDC holdings to LC. I was just so intrigued by such I wanted to know more. Cataloging coursework kept my interest and kept me excited being on the cutting edge.

Re:Quite right.

But what really turns me on, and what seperates a "librarian" from a "book lover" is information; specifically how information is gathered, stored, accessed, organized, and passed on. The whole bit, from where and how info is generated to where and how the information is stored and to where and how the information is used. That's the real deal. That's the thing that makes a librarian's nipples rock hard. This is why I stuck with cataloging. Even when I thought it was "too hard", I stuck with it. Such was ever more rewarding than merely sitting in all the possible reference classes. I learned much more of what happened "underneath the hood" of the engine that lets a library function: the catalog. The excitement of being able to work with the world of information like that and to also be on the edge of trying to cope with new information carrier types keeps me interested. I keep tabs on the development of AACR3 to see how the world of cataloging prepares to cope with fundamental shifts in the world of information. With all of such changing and growing, cataloging is an exciting part of librarianship.

Re:nice little webpage?

Just a comment on number one - I have worked as an assistant manager at a bookstore. The pay is worse than library pay, and the hours are worse as well. So much for the liking books aspect!
Let's all count our blessings that we are employed during this time. Although a raise from above never hurts!;-)

Re:Wow...

No prob. I was just really surprised by it all. Not so much you as others.

Re:I'm amazed

"I haven't enjoyed the feeling of knowing I have homework to do and exams to write."

I've already quit one graduate program(MBA) in disgust, so I say good for you! I've enjoyed my MLIS homework, but in my MBA program I felt exactly like he did. His story makes me feel better about my decision - I'm sorry it didn't work out for him, but its probably for the best.

He is lost.

Pete is a lost soul looking for a place to set some roots. Where did he ever get the idea that librarians would make lots of money? I'm in it because I enjoy it.

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