Should you become a librarian?

Use this flowchart to decide whether you should become a librarian. I hope you find it helpful.

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Thanks. You made me spit coffee all over my keyboard. It ALMOST got on my BOOKS, and my CATS ran away just in time. All 25 of them.

My colleagues don't dispise me they just find me a bit eccentric.
O. Wilde

I don't see a flowchart. What happened?

I can't see a flowchart either.
I would like to, so I can spit coffee on my cats.

The chart didn't include the huge Annual bonuses that You ....won't receive either.... or the bonus.. if you like to recycle things.. you get a lot of practice.. can't spend tight budget on cool stationery!

I have a great coworkers and an even better boss!

Sadly this nails much of the profession, sigh, singing in the rain nonetheless! Some dope is going to be getting that measly pay check, might as well be me :D

What about those of us who already are?

Crap, I need this flowchart like 5 years ago. I could have become a hitman instead.

the *last* thing we need are more people who like books, don't feel worthy, and have cats.

There is a "Stinky" a "Barfy" a "Loco Loco" etc. How's that for a twist?

You're not supposed to give your cats people's names? My bad.

Instead of whining about being a librarian, go be something else.

Taking such a negative stance - and promoting it via national listservs - does not do anything to help the profession, those of us who are new to it, or folks who are new to library school.

Yes, I am also a library student and this is completely disconcerting and unhelpful. I used to work in PR with no respect but at least I made money. Would love to hear something positive about being a librarian so I don't feel like a just wasted a small fortune on my MLS.

Sorry to say I feel the same way... I went to CW Post and spent way too much money ... and now there are no jobs available.
The Public Libraries only have part-time positions, hence no benefits. I really feel it was a waste of valuable time and MONEY! Yes, I graduated and I am NOT happy with the results of the school.
I put my heart and soul into a better position with better pay and it is not happening.

I hate to say this but there is a good chance you have wasted a small fortune on your MLS...sorry.

I am not sure how different things are in the United States compared to in Canada but I know tons of my former McGill MLIS classmates who found great library jobs either before their graduation or shortly after. They did this by knowing what they wanted and passionately pursuing their dream job. In fact, some of these recent graduates found jobs in the United States, their employers even paid to fly them out for the interview. I have one semester left before graduating from my MLIS and I'm already fine-tuning my resume so that I can start applying for all the interesting jobs that are posted on my School of Information Studies' ListServ on a weekly basis. It seems to me like you have a bit of a negative perspective, maybe this is holding you back since most employers are looking for a candidate with a positive outlook who comes up with creative solutions for problems instead of dwelling on the negative. For the record, I love books, I have great self-worth and I did once have a cat named Max but for the moment I am pet-free.

Cats with people's names?

I don't think Aristophanes (aka. Bud, NOT Buddy) or Zeinab would like any other names but the ones they have....those are the ones they answer to.


Yes I give my customers secret names too....but not as nice as the ones you use.....

New to library school? There are no jobs.....just hiring freezes, what will you do should you not find a library with an abundance of $$$$ to hire you?

As for "negativity"....humor tends to be that way in many cases. In fact I believe it's called "satire".

I think it's funny....and I've 35 years in this "profession".

Now that most all of our libraries are going to "Self-Service" (shades of Library 2.0) we might not be working with customers to give them such sweet names any longer.

Why would you want to become a librarian when libraries are being phased out all over? You might want to consider a career with a bright future.

Bad libraries are being phased out. Libraries in dying communities may be lost as well.

But overall, libraries are experiencing no more cuts than any other education or service industry during this economic struggle.

oh noes! what will all the cranky and snarky assholes do for employment then!?

Hey, I'm not even out of school yet! Maybe you should give me a year in the job before crushing my spirit? :)

good luck.

One of the best ways to market yourself as a great candidate for library jobs is to already have experience when you graduate with your MLIS. Working as a part-time student in a library also exposes you to the variety of tasks performed by today's librarians and facilitates conversations with librarians to hear about their appreciation for their jobs. Contrary to the posts I see here, most librarians I know love their job and consider their hard work to be both rewarding and extremely relevant in today's society. Read more about working part-time in a library while completing your MLIS : Biblioblond's Blog: How Valuable is Library Experience to MLIS Students?

Rant Time!

I graduated in Sept '08 with my degree and haven't been able to find a job. Why? Baby boomers. They just won't retired. And, when they do, they return as part-timer/sub librarians. Why hire someone young looking for a full-time job with benefits, when one can hire a bunch of retired baby boomers who will work part-time? FULLY RETIRE ALREADY AND GIVE NEW GRADUATES THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT YOU HAD WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER.


I'm 27, by the way.

Wasn't smart enough to do anything else were you? There's always Law school, Medical school, Business school...Sounds like you're nothing but a lazy 27 year old, who by the way will quickly become a baby boomer who won't retire.

Age does not matter. The best and most qualified position gets the job. Instead of whining, make yourself a better candidate.

The non-retiring boomers are not the problem, the lousy economy is. At least you should understand the real cause of the problem. Also, many boomers have had to put off retiring because of the economy.

Aaaand, who told you that finding a job would be effortless? That other people should make life decisions like when they retire based on what YOU want, and what would make things easiest for YOU? Who are you to be outraged when something requires more than the minimum effort you have decided should be sufficient? Getting the degree *qualifies* you for SOME (entry level) jobs, it does not ENTITLE you to ANYTHING. People who understand this and who work to get the skills that employers want will get the few jobs that are available (whatever their ages), and will have positioned themselves for even better jobs once the economy improves.

Those who spend their time whining about how difficult it is to get a job and putting blame on others and complaining... well 'good luck to you' is all I can say. I am GenX and make hiring decisions where I work and if I got a whiff of your attitude I would not hire you. Your sense of entitlement is entirely unwarranted, and is repulsive. You would likely be a problem employee for that reason.

I love your comments, so right, and so helpful to anyone who is smart enough to listen!

I have 35 years and I'm 55, but I can not retire unless I want 52% of my salary...which I can not live on. So you are just going to have to put up with me for another 6-7 years until I can retire on 85+% of my current salary!


I'm the same commenter from above...just one more thing to say...

Auntie Nanuuq-- you say you've been in this profession for 35 years? Retire already. Seriously. Give someone younger an opportunity to kick start their career. Stop milking the system. Thanks!

To the person who wrote ' On the rampage'
Who do you think you are? You sound like a twit who no one should hire , why should Auntie whatever her name is retire to let a fool like you have a job, lets face it , you probably wouldnt get the job anyway with your attitude. Why should some one retire early, someone who clearly has a lot of experience and knowledge to impart, to give a bigot like you a job
Children of Australia should fear you!

Hah! I'm not quite sure why you're offended (unless YOU are just like Auntie and have been in the field for 30+ years)-- I'm addressing a VERY serious issue and one that has been reported on the news many times. At least in the USA-- I don't know what the situation is like in Australia.

Bluntly, for those looking to start out in a given profession, the added competition of a large group of more experienced professionals presents a challenge. This is a no brainer.

And, for your information, I am employed, albeit only part-time, as a librarian at the moment. I need full-time gainful employment to fully begin the next stage of my life.

I think this *must* be a joke. Could you reread what you've written and think about it for two seconds. *Of course* "a large group of more experienced professionals presents a challenge" to your job search. and *of course" that doesn't mean that they should give you their jobs. Nobody owes you a job. Do you think these experienced professionals got jobs without trying?

I've been working in libraries about 12 years now (I'm 44) and I had trouble finding a position. But I didn't whine that experienced professionals should quit their jobs and give them to me!! I just kept trying - I had to volunteer at my local library for a while before I was hired as a full-time librarian.

OK I guess that's it for my rant today. Except to say - get over yourself!

I have earned my tenure.....I work my bun off and I am able to easily work with the newest technologies!

I work hard and do an excellent job. The community, FOL, & my staff, love me... I provide great customer service.

You just will have to wait your turn or go someplace else.

Love the way your parents taught you respect!


this is the most amazing thing ever - nailed it!

Information is now self-serve. Librarians are only needed to fix printer jams and shelve books. If you want a profession with a future, try something else.

Yes this is Library 2.0.... self-service technology...... It is the trend of the "modern" library.


Wake up people. When librarians retire, their jobs are reassigned or given to paraprofessionals. You're missing the point here. We are no longer needed by the public to find information. Your graduate degree is worthless. Maybe it will get you a job at Border's but that's about it.

...some of the anonymous comments are little sad. I'd hate to work in a library where new librarians are consumed with hatred for those who've been around for a while. 35 years in the field isn't all that long, and certainly not long enough for retirement in many/most cases. (Get the MLS at 23, you'd be 58 years old--and I don't know of many librarian salaries that would yield a comfy retirement at age 58.)

As for the various "who needs librarians anyway?" posts, it's always interesting to see the extent of self-loathing within the field, but that's the subject of a post I've deliberately avoided writing...

Why do you think there is so much self-loathing? It's because librarians are realizing that they are dinosaurs. I'll bet you find a lot more information on your own than you did 10 years ago. Guess what, so can our patrons. And don't give me this information overload hype. Being a librarian can be a great career but we have to realize that the environment is changing, and not for the good for future librarians.

Walt-- your comment only demonstrates that you know absolutely nothing about the library field.

Most newly graduated librarians aren't 23. On the contrary, most MLS graduates are 30+ and are onto their second careers upon entering the field.

Thanks for playing. Try again.

Actually the trend you describe was true a few years ago, but that does not mean that some librarians did not enter the field in their 20s.

The last 5 years or so, library schools have had to adjust greatly because the students in their 20s has grown drastically.

Brian C. Gray

When the day comes that I take "you know absolutely nothing about the library field" seriously from Anonymous, I'll complete my passage to retirement. Most isn't all; as Brian Gray's signed comment here notes, some librarians are indeed in their 20s. (Oh, my username is Walt but I'm perfectly willing to provide my full name; just add the Crawford. I may not know anything about the field, but I've been involved in it for several decades...and still am.)

I would also like to point out that most librarians that I know spend the bulk of their time creating programs for patrons and students, and such.

Those programs are more for the librarian to stay busy than to actually provide anything of substance for customers.

If that was even remotely true, programs would not be so heavily attended.

Brian C. Gray

I got my first full time library gig part way through my second semester of library school because I have new media admin experience. Libraries aren't dying - the job's just changing.

I'm 22, btw

It's satire. You know that, right?