librarian shortage, some hard facts from Library Journal

Meredith points to a Library Journal article with actual facts about the job market for new librarians. Upshot? While there is still a need for librarians in some geographical and skill areas, these authors do not believe in the “librarian shortage” that has been getting so much press over the last five years.

While there is an intense, ongoing campaign to recruit new MLS students, there is no concerted effort to hire them once they’ve graduated. It is unreasonable to invite an influx of new colleagues into the profession without making room for them. It is unfortunate that those entering the profession are being told that there is a current shortage of library workers, since this is not entirely true.

They also discuss some of the expectations of the profession that can make it difficult for less-experienced job seekers to prove their worthiness.

To paraphrase one new professional, librarianship is a profession that focuses obsessively on past accomplishments and not on future potential…. New professionals have a lot to offer: we are eager, full of new ideas, have yet to be poisoned by burnout, and—through our newly earned education—are up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends. Our potential is exactly what should be sought out by employers. The profession needs us as much as we need it.

what’s the deal with library school enrollment vs. actual JOBS?

Michael McGrorty turns his attention to one of my favorite library topics: the myth of the impending librarian shortage. Worth reading all the way through the comments.

A common complaint among current and former students is that they entered library school with the expectation that jobs would be not merely available, but plentiful.  This information did not rise into the consciousness of thousands of people independently, but came for the most part from the schools themselves, and if not, was certainly not contradicted by them.  Now, when the market is shrunken, the members of that loose cartel continue to accept students and produce graduates at a pace which ignores the reality of the market—because there has never been a penalty for encouraging the dreams of library students, and because, after all, that is their business.