new eyes on old organizations

I always try to read at least a few library student blogs, because I think having a new set of eyes on some of the things we’ve been doing for years is often useful. Graham Lavender just went to an IFLA conference and I found that his experiences mirror my own feelings about my first national ALA conference. Librarians: friendly, love to dance. Really.

I had the opportunity to sit in on a meeting of the Conference of Directors of National Libraries, where the head librarians from over 50 countries sat around a table and each had a tiny little flag at their seat, which is exactly what I imagine the UN must be like. Afterwards, some of them stayed behind to have a glass of wine with the students (there were seven of us, one from each library school in Canada), and it was all very casual and friendly.

do library schools need their own libraries?

When I went to library school, the school was actually IN the library, so there wasn’t much question about us having our own library. The Paul Wasserman Library — an independent library at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies — is having its collection and staff folded into the main library on campus. CIS students are predictably unhappy about what they see as a rather sudden and disdvantageous change. A few of them have started the Save Wasserman blog. If you’re curious who Paul Wasserman is, you can read his commencement speech (pdf) to the graduating class of 2005.

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.