Throwing in the towel

I've come to realize that, as long as I'm living in Buffalo, I am never going to get a full-time librarian job. I've had my MLS for 4 years, and all I have to show for it is a series of part-time or temp positions. My husband has a well-paying job, but it's not one that he likes and he's looking to get a new job. That means he might be starting from the bottom and making less money, so I'm going to need to contribute more to the household. For various reasons (long story) we won't be able to leave the Buffalo area for about 2 years, and I don't want to have to wait that long to get a "real" job. Is there anyone here who doesn't work in libraries anymore, and was able to translate their skills into a job where the competition isn't so fierce? I'm tired of feeling like a leech who has to be supported by her husband's salary.

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I got my MLS from Simmons in 1993, worked in a library for 3 years, and subsequently have worked in the information industry/software industry for 12 years. I'd encourage you to read Rachel Singer Gordon's web site; she has a book coming out about alternative library careers. That said, I have to tell you I have been unemployed twice - in 2003-04 for a year, and was laid off again a month ago. However, the software industry pays well and has good benefits, and you are able to advance and be creative in many ways. Do a search for "alternative library careers" and try to think about your skill set and how it can be used. I'd be happy to do an informational interview with you if you e-mail me.

For library jobs, no doubt about it. Too many MLSs here and not enough jobs. I've been so very lucky in WNY to have gotten the jobs I have.

What else ya got on your resume? Computer stuff? Maybe programming?

Well, unless you are looking for a library position and have an MLS.

I do know of a librarian at Canisus that has a head cold, so perhaps if it gets a lot worse......

Um, try a special library, keep an eye on the Big4 accounting firms (Deloitte, PwC, E&Y, KPMG) they all generally start hiring after busy season ends, librarians and researchers.. Now the job ads should be starting to show up now.


Unfortunately, I don't have many unique skills on my resume. I have 10 years of web design experience, both as a hobby and as volunteer webmaster for some organizations. But people with web skills are a dime a dozen, and I think that most people looking to hire a web designer want more higher-level skills. I'm pretty good with CSS, and I know some PHP and ASP (enough to create e-mail forms or server-side includes) but not enough to do anything sophisticated, like create an online store or manage a large database. I made some extra money by creating a simple website for an acquaintance with his own business, but all he wanted was a static site with 2 pages. Most larger companies will want something a bit more. :)

I did once apply for a job as a proofreader/copy editor with a local company. A woman called me up, but was instantly suspicious of my MLS. She implied that she felt I was overqualified and that I would leave if I got a library job (which was right). I probably didn't do a good job of convincing her otherwise, and I never heard from her again.

Ain't many of us special librarians around here though, something tells me ain't no Big4 'round these parts either.

I am a member of SLA (not the Patty Hearst kind) and I work for a Big4 frim, and I just hired a former school librarian.

So there are indeed jobs in such firms that are a perfect fit for many of the librarians here.

But you're not anywhere near Buffalo!

I am not in the Buffalo area, but I live in an area with 3 library schools within 100 miles of each other, so the competition is fierce for the library openings in these parts. After job hunting for over a year and half I started applying for jobs in the nonprofit sector and now have a full-time job that I love. The pay scale is very similar (i.e. not so great!), but the stress level can be a little more manageable and the hours are nice (no weekends, holidays, or evenings).

My library skills are definitely the reason I got my current job. When my boss saw my face light up at the term "taxonomy", she knew I was the person for the job (community resource database management). Most of the research and policy analyst jobs I was applying for wanted an unspecified master's degree and good communication skills, good writing and research skills, excellent organization skills, etc.; the same kinds of attributes that a librarian possesses. Database management and program evaluation are also good job types to look for if you have any interest in positions at a nonprofit. Good luck to you.

Your posts do not mention if you have worked with some of the web-based open source database software increasingly popular in library land. If you have any interest in working as a systems librarian, or a job with some responsibilities for systems, it would be an advantage to have set up some systems even in a demonstration type environment. This path would build on your web experience and would demonstrate initiative when discussing your qualifications in interviews. I recommend looking at Koha, Evergreen, Greenstone and software for manipulating/transforming Marc records. The hardware requirements are modest. This work could help you escape from Buffalo. It couldn't hurt. Good luck.