VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
07/18/02 09:30 AM
Being a Librarian

I've been a lurker for a while now, and I'm not sure if this is the right place for my first post. It is related to being a bookworm, though somewhat tangentially.

Recently I have conceived the idea of becoming a librarian, since I love books and I believe in libraries and I'm pretty organized. My hope is that there are librarians out there who might be able to share some insight. What are the challenges of being a librarian? What are the rewards? Would you do it again? I've heard that the money isn't good...not that I would choose a career based on how much money I'd make, but would I be able to support myself?

I haven't been able to think of anything that appeals to me more than being a librarian, but I don't want to make such a decision and go back to school without having gathered all the information possible. Thanks.


hopper
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
07/18/02 09:47 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Do you like working with people? You'll work far more with people than you do with books, particularly if you go into an academic library.

The pay isn't great, but you can certainly live on it. Benefits are usually good though.


dazey
(Ching Shih)
07/18/02 10:17 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Yeah, it's a bit of a myth that library work involves lots of working with books. I'm not a librarian, but one of my part-time jobs is as an assistant in an academic library. Day-to-day, it's all about people and hooking people up with the information they need.

You also need to be able to deal with the horrible abuses that even nice, educated law students (in the case of my library) inflict on books. Yes, somebody did just decide that they wanted a paper from one journal so badly that they would just tear it out. The excesses of selfishness of a minority of users is just flabbergasting. On the other hand, teaching somebody to use an online database that opens up a whole vista of information to them is really satisfying.

The qualified librarians I work with are in senior positions, dealing with a lot of personnel, budgeting and library management things. There are very book-y jobs to be had, but they're not the majority where I work.

[This message has been edited by dazey (edited July 18, 2002).]


TraceyB
(Ching Shih)
07/18/02 11:41 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

My mother and aunt are both librarians in a public library system. I've been listening to them rant for years.

Public librarians must deal with, well, the public. Anyone who's ever been a waitron or a sales clerk can tell you what fun that is. There are members of the public who believe that your being a "public servant" means that they can treat you like dirt. There are members of the public who believe that they are perfectly justified in ripping pages out of books and magazines, or just stealing them. There are members of the public who are, not to put too fine a point on it, stupid. (True quotation from a patron in my aunt's past: "What do you mean my books are overdue? No one told me I had to bring them back!")

That being said, I think my mom and aunt do enjoy the work. They get to do great programs for the public. They sometimes get wondeful patrons, like the young boy who came up to my mom and said, "I just read Into Thin Air and I loved it! Can you show me some more books like that?"

The pay's not great, but as county employees, they have wonderful benefits. They can afford to own their own condos, and take great vacations (like to China, Italy, and Egypt). So you can do well enough.

Edited because that's what I do.

[This message has been edited by TraceyB (edited July 18, 2002).]


voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
07/18/02 01:49 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I've actually been thinking about becoming a librarian myself, mostly because I really like helping people find things. Seriously, when I think about the jobs I've had in the past (mostly in science labs and retail stores) the parts that I like the best are when someone wants something, and I know where to find it, or how to figure out exactly what they want. I've known how much I like helping people find things for a while, but I somehow didn't connect it with an actual job (librarian) until quite recently.

SallyBee
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
07/18/02 02:22 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I am a fellow lurker, but I was also a librarian in the UK for a while. I think the job itself is good, I relate to the comments about the ideology of the library and the rewards of helping people find things.

You get people who are difficult to deal with, won't pay fines etc etc. Then every now and then someone comes in with a query and after much effort on your part the problem is solved for them. Those are the moments when the job seems really worth it.

Unfortunately they were few and far between in my experience!! The main drawback, and this may only be a UK thing, or it may only be an academic library thing, is the 'red tape' that surrounds everything in a library. If you want to change a dot on a book you have to form a working party. In my job there was very little room for creativity or proactivity. I found it too stifling and thats why I gave it up.

Don't go into it because you like books, thats not what it's about!! On the other hand, you do get to pick up the new titles as soon as they come in!!

Best of luck


hopper
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
07/18/02 02:58 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

If you like books and organizing but not working with people, you can always become a catalog librarian. I think many folks tend to think of "librarian" as synonymous with "reference librarian". Catalogers are quite sought after and usually well-compensated (for librarians).

There is also a great demand for children's librarians and media specialists. It's a very flexible degree. I worked student library jobs at state and federal institutions while finishing my MLS. Many large private companies employ librarians as well, though you'll likely find them called "information specialists" or some such.


Library Girl
(Ching Shih)
07/18/02 03:12 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I am a reference and instruction librarian at a university. I love, love, love my job. I worked for about a year and a half in a large public library, and would never do it again. I felt much more like a social worker than a librarian. If you are outgoing, don't mind speaking in front of a class, and like to sink your teeth into research questions, I highly recommend looking into library schools in your area. In library school, you will be exposed to all areas of librarianship through your classes--cataloging, reference, public, acaemic, media center, etc. and you can make your decision about which area you want to be in.

If you want to know more about the day-to-day parts of my job read on...

At most universities, reference librarians are heavily involved in instruction. I teach course-specific or discipline-specific instruction sessions a few times a week. In the fall, I do a few orientations (50 minutes each) per day for the first few weeks. Additionally, I serve on various library, university, state and national committees. The workload for those committees varies by time of year. I also have to research and publish for tenure/promotion. Then, I have different academic departments on campus that I work with in purchasing books and serials to support their curriculum. And, finally, I work at the main reference and government documents reference desks. We do one night a week and trade off weekend days. So, even though we are faculty, librarians are usually treated like a lower class.

My big piece of advice, if you do go to library school, is to get a graduate assistantship to gain experience while you are in school. I supervise the GA's in my reference department and they all get great jobs because they work alongside experienced librarians and their experience is invaluable.

Wow. Long-winded, aren't I?



[This message has been edited by Library Girl (edited July 18, 2002).]


Luthien
(Ching Shih)
07/18/02 07:35 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I am currently a student at a library school at a Canadian university. Having just finished my first year, I can tell you that being comfortable with technology is absolutely vital for being a librarian. I am working for the summer at an academic library in both reference and document delivery, and I use computers, databases, online catalogues, etc., constantly. Technologically-impaired individuals would have difficulty enjoying the work, I think. Books and printed material are still a big part of the job, but I hardly ever get to read anything I find interesting because it's rare to have a spare moment. I absolutely love my work and can't wait to enter the field full-time after I graduate, but it's very different from what I thought it would be when I enrolled in the program.

grandefille
(Ching Shih)
07/19/02 09:29 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Y'all's wonderfully helpful explanations have convinced me to take the plunge. One of our state's MLS programs has just expanded into distance learning, and I've made some tentative inquiries there because I'll need to continue to work full-time while I'm studying.

Thank you.


mini-mart
(Ching Shih)
07/19/02 11:52 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Just had to post my 2 cents worth.

I'm a librarian's assistant (as far as I can see, the only difference between me and the "real librarians" I know, is the pay...) and I love my job.

Despite what I said, the pay is actually very good, considering I'm a student used to getting minimum wage.

You sometimes get a few weird patrons, but for the most part, it's really wonderful work.

I love having kids ask me to help them find books. Well, i love knowing that kids are reading... and I absolutely love parents who come in and sit down in the children's section to read to their kids. It always gets to me.

My favorite moment so far was helping this man, who was at least 65-70 years old, find books he wanted. He had a vague idea of what he was looking for (books about birds) and after awhile it became clear that he had no idea how libraries worked. After talking with him a little, I found out that he had never been in a library and that he had just learned to read. I helped him pick out a few easy-to-read books on birds and when he brought them back, a few weeks later, he was so proud to have read a book by himself for the first time. At that time, there was a group of summer camp kids coming in and one of them (a girl about 4-5) approached him and said that she had just started to read too, and that maybe, if they picked out new books to read right then, they could help each other with the hard words.

Just thnking about that story, makes me love my job so much.

It's a great job and you meet a lot of great people.

Good luck.


voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
07/19/02 12:13 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

So, to those of you in the US and Canadian library worlds (librarians or otherwise) are there some MLS (or MSLIS or whatever) programs that offer more or are more respected than others, or is it basically a question of where you want to be and how much you can pay? I've checked out the ALA list of accredited programs and I don't really know what I'm looking for.

And [b[mini-mart[/b], your story about the old man and the little girl sounds like something out of Chicken Soup for the Soul (in the best possible way!).


VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
07/20/02 08:31 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Wow, thanks for your replies!

I do like working with people, though my forte is one-on-one rather than speaking to groups. There is a good library school (Simmons College) in Boston (no one here would happen to have attended it, would they?), and I've been wanting for some time to move to Boston.

I hadn't thought about the working-with-the-public aspect, and I have had such jobs in the past. I can't imagine the public treating me worse as a library employee than as a Burger King employee, but if it's half as bad I don't want to do it.

However, that was good advice about trying out different aspects of librarianship while in university.

Imagine! For years I've been racking my brains trying to think of something I thought I could do for more than two years, and here something is. I think I will do it. Thanks everyone!


Lucrezia
(Ching Shih)
07/20/02 11:33 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I have nothing to useful to add, but I would also like to know what people think of various schools. And what exactly is involved in getting a masters in library science? And do you need to get a PhD to get a decent job?

I know I want to be a librarian, but I'm not sure how to get there.


Daegaer
(Ching Shih)
07/21/02 04:36 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

A good friend of mine went to Simmons, VegetarianOnHiatus, and she loved it. She said she'd recommend a library science course to everybody. As she hasn't been unemployed for a single day since graduating, and is paid enough to support many members of her family, I think she may just be right! (And that's with a BA in religion and a Masters in Library Science, Lucrezia, so no, you wouldn't need a PhD).

Go for it. Also, Boston's a lovely city


grandefille
(Ching Shih)
07/22/02 08:40 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

mini-mart, your story made me cry. How wonderful to know that you could make such a difference in one person's life.

That, my friends, is a *calling*, not just a job.

~ rushes off to check e-mail to see if there's a response from UTSIS yet ~


dazey
(Ching Shih)
07/22/02 08:51 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Quote:
she hasn't been unemployed for a single day since graduating


Damn right. As a soon-to-be-made-reduntant library assistant, I note with a degree of bitterness than a sum total of none of the qualified librarians are losing their jobs, while about fifty of us mere mortals are going. Having the Master's doesn't just give you knowlege, it gives you the power not to be an expendable functionary.

Not that that's relevant, but mentioning it makes me feel slightly better...


TraceyB
(Ching Shih)
07/22/02 11:32 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Drexel University, in Philadelphia, has a fine library program. It's not called an MLS, though; as Luthien said, technology is huge in libraries these days, and the Drexel program reflects that. I think it's called Master's in Library and Information Science, something like that. A former co-worker of mine went through the program a few years ago and is now making megabucks with a consulting firm. When I was going to Drexel (different program), the MLIS program was rated very high among US programs.

JaneLouise
(Ching Shih)
07/22/02 03:48 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Can I broaden this topic even more and ask about people's experiences with being or wanting to be an archivist? For some reason, I've started thinking about that as a next career move but I don't know much about the training. Is it even part of the library sciences system?

blu_eyed_librarian
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
07/22/02 06:00 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Being a librarian is great! But like any career or job, it has it's downfalls.

True "librarians" require at least one master's degree. If you want to work
in a school, a master's plus 12 extra credits for teacher certification is
needed. If you want to work in a college or academic library, you need 2 master's; one in library science and one in another subject. Now with all that education you think they'd pay you accordinly, but alas they don't. Starting salary is around $25-30K. Not bad to live off of, but not in line with what is required of us.

The job itself is very fun and rewarding though. Every day is different and
it's very easy to "learn someting new each day". It's a very creative job
as well. Many librarians are program coordinators, publicists and web
designers all roled into one.

After trying out many differnt majors in college and thinking about many
different professions, librarianship seemed the best way to go. I'm never
tied down to one discipline and I get to meet new and interesting people
everyday. Even with the low pay scale, I wouldn't want any other job.


Library Girl
(Ching Shih)
07/24/02 02:42 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

There most popular place that rank library programs is the US News and World Report Graduate School Rankings for Library Science You can get the entire rankings list from your public library--it is a special publication. The most recent ranking is from 1999, however, the top schools are almost always Illinois and Chapel Hill- they tend to switch back and forth.

In my opinion, go to the closest, cheapest program you can get into. The admission standards for most schools aren't that bad. Field work, internship and graduate assistant experience that you take advantage of while in school makes much more of an impact than the school you go to.

Bear in mind, though, if you are going to take a distance learning program, you need to be near a research library--you are going to need their print resources, as well as the electronic databases that you can access through your own program.

I am so glad to see Grandefille taking the leap!!!

[This message has been edited by Library Girl (edited July 24, 2002).]


grandefille
(Ching Shih)
07/26/02 07:47 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

~ waves to the wonderful Library Girl ~

That's what convinced me. Although I would dearly love to be on-campus for my MLS (and could get it in much less time), that situation is just not feasible right now. Fortunately, I have three excellent research libraries within 30 minutes of my house (two of which are 10 miles from my office).

Expect me to be asking for advice in the coming months, y'all. Also, coffee.


Guzzigirl
(Ching Shih)
07/30/02 09:55 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Haven't posted in a while but wanted to chime in as a friend told me about this thread last night.

I'm a high school librarian at a private K-12 school and I love my job. Here in CA, if you wish to be a public school librarian, you must also possess a CA teaching credential AND a library credential (which is essentially about 9 units short of an MLIS/MLS). I didn't want to do that extra schooling so I decided to finish the MLIS and look for private school and/or community college jobs.

I am definitely an extrovert and a people person. Typical duties for me: I teach classes of kids how to do research, help them find print and electronic resources, purchase materials, coordinate technology for the library (including administering the automated circulation system), conduct teacher in-services, serve on the curriculum and technology committees and serve as faculty advisor to three student clubs. My hours and pay are excellent and I get the whole summer off (unless I want to teacher summer school). The only part of my job that is difficult at any time is disciplining the students -- maybe because I still act like a teenager myself sometimes. Even that isn't so bad -- they really do listen most of the time!

The traditional "shsh-ing" school librarian is going away fast. Now you need to be a savvy technologist, know what's out there in print and online, and be able to teach, talk and promote yourself to all kinds of audiences. There are many jobs -- the older generation are retiring in large numbers.

JaneLouise -- There is a professor at UC Fullerton that I know who teaches archiving. It sounds fascinating to me -- I once looked into the field of motion picture archiving. Look online for professional associations. They can give you information on the field.

Sorry this is long -- I get excited!


SarahJanet
(Ching Shih)
07/31/02 02:42 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

My mum teaches in the Library School here. If you'd like more information, do drop me an email.

It's something I've often considering doing, and I worked two summers in children's libraries. I loved it. Loved. It. Having a kid come up to you and tell you how much they loved the book that you suggested to them and how much they want another book just like it? Makes the entire job worth it. Sure, there are difficult customers. But the kids who love to read and keep coming back, or the ones who didn't and started to because of the books you gave them...oh, man. It's the best.

Man, I miss that job.


Out of the Night
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
07/31/02 11:55 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Does anyone have information about programs in Minnesota? As far as I know, St. Catherines is the only college in the state that offers degrees in Library and Information Science.

Library Girl
(Ching Shih)
08/01/02 08:44 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Out Of the Night
According to the ALA office on accreditation, there are no accredited masters programs in library science in Minnesota. Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin seem to be the closest.

Here is the url for the accredited schools: http://www.ala.org/alaorg/oa/lisdir.html


Guzzigirl
(Ching Shih)
08/01/02 09:04 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

If I'm not mistaken, Iowa may have a program as well.

listersgirl
(Ching Shih)
08/02/02 03:30 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Quote:
Originally posted by hopper:
If you like books and organizing but not working with people, you can always become a catalog librarian. I think many folks tend to think of "librarian" as synonymous with "reference librarian". Catalogers are quite sought after and usually well-compensated (for librarians).


Yes, there are always jobs for cataloguers because the vast majority of librarians/library students seem to hate it -- I was definitely in the minority with my intention to get a cataloguing position when I finished. Personally I love it. It really appeals to the way my mind works. Also people with science or medical backgrounds are always in great demand as librarians (probably because most of us go in with humanities degrees).

I would definitely encourage people to go out for their MLIS -- it's a really interesting program, you get to meet people from all kinds of backgrounds, and there is a surprisingly wide variety of careers to which it can lead. Plus it seems like there are lots of jobs right now. It's generally not a high paying career, unless you work for a corporation, but it's very rewarding.


celiathepoet
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
08/03/02 04:46 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I became a librarian in 1998 asan alternative to being a starving poet. I too love books, and research, but in library school (SUNY Buffalo) I found myself most interested in the internet and so far have done mostly highly techinical digital library development, which I've enjoyed very much and which has given many specialized skills, to the point where I now consult part-time. The MLS can lead you in many directions.

I'd recommend anyone thinking of pursuing a MLS simply take (or sit in on, if the professor allows) an intro to library science class. This will give you a sense of the range of the profession and a taste of the work. Good luck.


SlyFrances
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
08/07/02 01:35 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I am beyond thrilled that this topic has been posted. I have been struggling with the idea of "what next" for a few years now (even before being laid off post 9/11) and the idea of a career in Library Science keeps popping up.

Essentially, my struggle stems from wanting to pursue a creative, challenging career while ALSO wanting something that, while not making me filthy rich, will at least allow me to a) choose where I want to live based on what I do (and not vice versa) and b) allow me to keep food on the table and a roof over my head and c) keep me out of the corporate world, if possible.

I had been moving away from the idea of Library Science out of fear that I would be bored out of my skull -- the course catalogue descriptions for The University ot Toronto (where I am moving this winter) do nothing to promote the program. Dull and thick.

Your posts have helped me rethink my situation and I am currently back on track with the idea of visiting the school and trying out a few classes.

I have a few questions:

1) is there anyone who has gone through this program or a similar program and would be willing to talk to me one-on-one?

2) is there a way of combining an MLS with some interesting grad/undergrad classes to add some creative punch to one's concentration (I am thinking mainly of art, language, art history classes, etc.)

I would appreciate some input (and e-mail addresses so as not to take up too much more space on this fabulous forum) if possible.

Thanks a million. Loooooong time lurker, first time poster. I heart Chicklit!



[This message has been edited by SlyFrances (edited August 07, 2002).]


voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
09/11/02 01:53 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

So this is for all the ML(I)Ss and library science students out there: What were your favorite classes and what did you like/dislike about your degree program? I'm going to the open house for the Simmons GLIS program next week, and I think I'm going to try to visit some other places as well, though if I do do a LS program it will probably be at Simmons because it's the only one in Boston (where I live).

Library Girl
(Ching Shih)
09/11/02 04:35 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

My favorite class was actually technical services (cataloging) and I am not a cataloger. However, my favorite part of library school was my graduate assistantship in the university library. I went through in depth training and sat at the reference desk with the librarians and taught bibliographic instruction classes--I think that experience was really the only thing that made me qualified for a job.

Library school is really so much theory and that assistantship gave me real experience (as well as a tuition waiver). So I would recommend asking about opportunities like internships, fieldworks, etc. and see if they have tuition waivers, stipends, whatever, to help with the cost.

Good luck--hope you like the school.


Oh, and off topic--are any of the librarians and librarians to be going to be at ALA midwinter, or ACRL in the spring? I will be at both, as well as annual in Toronto, which is that jount CLA/ALA meeting. If anyone plans to be there we should try and meet up. I have some committee obligations, but I am sure we could all squeeze in some time for a mini chick lit con.

[This message has been edited by Library Girl (edited September 11, 2002).]


llexuus
(Ching Shih)
09/11/02 08:28 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Quote:
Originally posted by Out of the Night:
Does anyone have information about programs in Minnesota? As far as I know, St. Catherines is the only college in the state that offers degrees in Library and Information Science.


Yeah! I can be sooooo helpful here! I am a librarian, finished my MLIS 2 yrs ago this summer, finished my pre-doc last summer, and I live in MN. OK -- there are only 2 programs in MN, neither of which have full accreditation. St Kate's requires that you spend some time in IL, and St Cloud isn't a full master's program. Never fear, though -- help is available. I went to the University of IL Champaign Urbana -- which is a good school; it has been ranked the #1 MLS program for (I think) the last 5 yrs. (it has tied for #1 a couple of those years). Anyway, they have a division of the progam called LEEP, which is a part of the regular program but is done through distance learning -- you have regular classes that you attend, with other students, you just do it from your home computer. The graduates of this program (on average) earn 10-20% more than regular grads of the school. You do need to attend a 2 week boot camp the summer before classes start (yes, they actually call it boot camp) and you go down to school for 3-4 days per semester. It was an incredible experience, I have friends that I shall keep for the rest of my life (a couple of them are posters here) and it resulted in my finding a job that I love, love, love. If you want to e-mail me, I would be happy to tell you more about the program. It is a bit hard to get into the school, but it is worth the effort. OK -- I shall stop sounding so very smug. I swear that wasn't intentional -- it is just such a great experience.

-trash


BethG2
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
09/11/02 09:19 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Okay, I'm going to try to answer as many of the questions as I can so bear with me.

I just (August) finished my MLIS at the University of Western Ontario. Be aware that this is a very generalist program and it's almost impossible to get more then 2 courses in any one area.

You must decide whether you want a Library program generally ML(I)S or a Information Science program MIS. MLS is for actually library, MIS is much more technologically based though you will hit lots of tech for both.

I want to be a children's or young adult librarian. I have not yet found a job, but I've only been looking for two monthes. Though I have lots of child care/programming experience I don't have any library experience, so your mileage may very.
The job situation is only going to get better though.

A phD in library science is for those who want to teach courses for MLS librarians nothing else. Librarians who want further degrees usually get a subject masters or a law degree. These are not necessary for entry level in an academic library, but one or the other is generally needed to get anywhere.

Entry level salaries aren't great, but barring public librarians in NYC and DC you can live on them. The money gets better as a department head, and directors/deans make very good money.

When looking at library schools make sure they are ALA accredited, a lot of job ads specifically require this. Ask not just about the classes in the catalog but how often these classes are ACTUALLY offered. Talk to current students if possible. Ask about the backgrounds of faculty, library faculty that are academics and have never worked in a library are AWFUL!

sorry this is so long. If I can answer any other questions go ahead and email me at egaughan@uwo.ca


curlgirl
(Ching Shih)
10/11/02 02:17 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Quote:
Originally posted by voiceofreason:
I'm going to the open house for the Simmons GLIS program next week, and I think I'm going to try to visit some other places as well, though if I do do a LS program it will probably be at Simmons because it's the only one in Boston (where I live).


voiceofreason, what did you think of the Simmons open house? I'm going to the one next week and would love to hear the opinion of someone else who's looking.


voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
10/11/02 04:38 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Quote:
Originally posted by curlgirl:
voiceofreason, what did you think of the Simmons open house? I'm going to the one next week and would love to hear the opinion of someone else who's looking.


I actually was unable to go so I'm going to the one next week, too. See you Tuesday?


curlgirl
(Ching Shih)
10/15/02 11:02 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Quote:
Originally posted by voiceofreason:
I actually was unable to go so I'm going to the one next week, too. See you Tuesday?


Yep, I'll be there tonight, once I get off work. And if you feel like looking for me, I'll give you a hint--my name is curlgirl because I have curly brown hair that's over halfway down my back at this point.


Library Girl
(Ching Shih)
10/15/02 01:42 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Well, since this subject came back up today, it almost seems like a sign to me. Since we have so many librarians on this board, I thought I'd throw this out there and see if anyone can help me out.

I was approached about teaching the Basic Reference Class for the rest of the semester for the library school at my university. The current professor needs to have surgery next week and will have a long recovery time.

This is in addition to my regular job as a librarian here. So I would be teaching as an overload. I am leaning towards doing it because the professor is a friend and mentor. Also because it would be a challenge and look good for my next tenure/promotion review--I have only taught undergrad credit courses before. This would be my first foray into teaching a credit earning graduate level class. She has the class pretty well underway and I still need to see her schedule and stuff.

So, to make a long story even longer, I wanted to see if any recent library school grads had any suggestions about things that you wish you had been taught in your reference classes. I am going to use the syllabus and plans that the current prof has ready, but I have doubts about my ability to teach for 3 hours straight. I am much more comfortable teaching in 1-2 hour increments. So, I thought some less theory, more practical or at least interesting topics might help make the second half of class less of a struggle to teach. Anyway, please let me know if you have any great bursts of ideas. And wish me luck!

[This message has been edited by Library Girl (edited October 15, 2002).]


russus
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
10/17/02 06:22 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

To add my two pennorth about being a librarian...

It's such a wide and varied career that you tend to find that you take out of it what you put in. I'm a Librarian in a Public Health Department in Scotland, and while I have one (unqualified) assistant I do much of the professional work on my own, which makes it a widely varied job ranging from literature searching, book purchasing to man management, negotiation and research. This suits me because I'm a good communicator and enjoy the management side of my work immensely, but there are other roles in librarianship that will allow you to specialise into a job that suits your personality and strengths.

It's also worth noting that while I love my job I am constantly frustrated by the under-rating of my profession. I work with other professionals (doctors, nurses, accountants etc) and I earn half their wage. Also many of them are surprised that my post is professionally qualified, they really don't recognise that some of the skills we have are unique to our profession. That said I would recommend Librarianship to anyone, mainly because of the possibility of choosing a career which suits your personality.

Oh, and by the way, you will need core skills in IT and communication at the very least.


LibraryGirl - I teach 3 year medical students and I love doing it, the more practical work you can give them the better since many of the concepts can be a little dry, but much more fun in practice.


megancita
(Ching Shih)
10/17/02 04:30 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I wanted to add some things regarding the variety of job opportunities available to librarians.

I've worked in para-professional library positions at a newspaper and at a university.

Lots of major newspapers have a "news research" department. In the early days, these departments were the ones that kept the clip files and article/photo archives, but technology has really changed that. At the newspaper I worked at, the librarians where in charge of the daily digital archiving of newspaper content for the public website and the private company intranet. The librarians took daily requests from reporters for short and long-term research projects. They also were invovled in database training. A lot of this has to do with the trend for "computer-assisted reporting" which involves the analysis of data for reporting purposes, i.e. campaign contributions, etc. Staff librarians were also involved in this database design.

My university library experience was as a reference desk assistant and I would echo many of the observations written by others who have worked or are working in academic libraries. Fellow employees are generally great, idiosyncratic and intelligent. The whole tenure process can be grueling, or the university might not even honor your degree by offering tenure-track positions.

I've often thought of library school for myself, but honestly the whole "chained to a desk" type atmosphere really turns me off.

If I did go to library school, I would shoot maybe for more non-traditional library jobs with corporations or research organizations like Lexus-Nexus.

My dream library job would be either with NPR (they have librarians!) or overseas with U.S. embassy staff (I know these jobs exist but I can't for the life of me figure out where to apply ....)


silverflux
(Ching Shih)
10/18/02 09:40 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Does a library school's ranking really count?

I'm planning on applying to schools in the NYC area and can only imagine how competative admissions are. If I get into a low-ranked program should I go? I have always thought that sometimes its not where you go, but what you do and what you get out of it.


Library Girl
(Ching Shih)
10/18/02 12:41 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

It really doesn't matter where you go, as long as it is accredited. Really, it is what you make of it. Just make sure to take advantage of pre-professional opportunities like internships, fieldworks, etc. so you get experience. Good luck.

Helina
(Ching Shih)
04/01/03 06:13 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I wanted to bump this topic since I'm seriously thinking of applying for my MLIS degree.

I'm pretty sure I'd like being a librarian. My mom is a catalog librarian and from what know of her job, I'd like it. I like sorting and cataloguing things and I'm endlessly fascinated by the library of congress classification system. I also like working with computers and it sounds like that sort of experience is in demand.

So what's the problem? The admission guidelines are very intimidating! I have a BSc in physics which isn't exactly a related discipline and I'm wondering who to ask for recommendations. Not that many people, apart from good friends, know how obsessed with books I am and I can't ask them or my mom, unfortunately.

So, who did you ask? Also, does anyone have any comments about the UBC (Vancouver, Canada) MLIS program? I'd appreciate any advice, really.


Bureinato
(Ching Shih)
04/01/03 11:27 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Helina, take heart, a BSc in Physics sounds like a great background for a librarian. Think of all the physics libraries in academia and scientific research companies (like drug companies) who would love a librarian with a science background.

roggey
(Ching Shih)
04/02/03 12:56 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Quote:
Originally posted by mini-mart:
Just had to post my 2 cents worth...
My favorite moment so far was helping this man, who was at least 65-70 years old, find books he wanted. He had a vague idea of what he was looking for (books about birds) and after awhile it became clear that he had no idea how libraries worked. After talking with him a little, I found out that he had never been in a library and that he had just learned to read... when he brought them back, a few weeks later, he was so proud to have read a book by himself for the first time... a group of summer camp kids coming in and one of them (a girl about 4-5) approached him and said that she had just started to read too, and that maybe, if they picked out new books to read right then, they could help each other with the hard words...
mini-mart: as an adult reading tutor, thank you for sharing this story, because this makes my volunteering so worthwhile!

I've always made sure my local librarians know how much I appreciate their work with my clients. I usually introduce my clients to the librarians and together we introduce the library system to my new readers.

It's a wonderful partnership and I cannot say enough nice things about librians and their work!


Clarke
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/06/03 08:52 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hi,
I have been a lurker for some time, and finally, because of this thread, I have decided to post! I am currently enrolled in library school. I also work at a library, and I truly do like the work. However, I find library school to be painfully dull. I am sticking with it, though, because I like the profession (I've worked in it for several years). Not to be negative, but I'm just wondering if anyone else found/finds library school to be less than stimulating.


Albacore
(Ching Shih)
05/28/03 07:59 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Not about being a librarian per se, but I thought the librarians and book lovers here might appreciate this . I definitely need a "Born to Read" temporary tattoo!

voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
05/28/03 09:01 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hey, I was accepted to the Simmons school of library science! I'll be taking my first class in less than a month (unless I decide to defer to the fall, which is definitely a possibility), since there aren't all that many classes open that I want to take. Woot!

TraceyB
(Ching Shih)
05/28/03 10:25 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

voiceofreason, woo-hoo! Congratulations!

ruad
(Ching Shih)
06/12/03 06:25 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

voiceofreason, congratulations! I'm a Simmons undergrad (Dix scholar/English), thinking about the GSLIS program when I'm finished. I'm working at the circulation desk at Beatley evenings Tues-Thurs - come chat if you like.

VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
06/13/03 04:06 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hello...I haven't posted since I started this topic, but I'm glad it's spawned such discussion. I myself have finally decided to apply for Simmons, with hopeful dreams of one day working in a public library or similarly bleeding-heart organization. Now I just have to get all the forms in by July 1! I'm not sure how I'll pay for it all, but hopefully I'll see some of you there.

ellie_umpkin
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
10/22/03 07:27 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hi, hope no-one minds me bumping this up. I have been thinking about doing a degree in library and information science for a while now, and reading this thread has convinced me that it is definitely something I’d be interested in doing.

Because I’m quite scared of taking huge leaps into the unknown (this would be a career change for me, I’m currently in journalism), I was wondering if there was any way of gaining some experience in the field before deciding whether or not to go to library school. Are there any opportunities for volunteering? I have been looking into getting a part time job as a library assistant but as I work crazy hours right now that’s not really a viable option. I live in the UK, if that helps anyone to make suggestions. I’d really appreciate any advice!


voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
10/22/03 09:03 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I'd say try volunteering. Just call up libraries in your area and see if they need anyone (and remember that they will probably want someone who can make a regular weekly or monthly committment, so if you can't do this with your work schedule, they may not want you). And talk to librarians. If you know any librarians, talk to them, and if you don't, talk to the librarians at your local library and any others you can find. Find out if any of them will let you shadow them through their workday/week.

Of course, it's still going to be scary. I think careeer changes probably always are. I'm making a change from biologist to librarian and it's still scaring the hell out of me even as I become more sure that it's the right thing to do. But not all scary things are bad.


Zuzu Petals
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
10/22/03 12:44 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Quote:
Originally posted by mini-mart:
My favorite moment so far was helping this man, who was at least 65-70 years old, find books he wanted. He had a vague idea of what he was looking for (books about birds) and after awhile it became clear that he had no idea how libraries worked. After talking with him a little, I found out that he had never been in a library and that he had just learned to read. I helped him pick out a few easy-to-read books on birds and when he brought them back, a few weeks later, he was so proud to have read a book by himself for the first time. At that time, there was a group of summer camp kids coming in and one of them (a girl about 4-5) approached him and said that she had just started to read too, and that maybe, if they picked out new books to read right then, they could help each other with the hard words.
This made me cry. The good cry where your heart hurts and you know that the world is going to be ok.

Thank you very much!


YesABibliophile
(Ching Shih)
10/28/03 03:48 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Just in, and makes me hopeful once again that serious cash should flow to our libraries...
Libraries to Share Nearly $10M in Grants


Jenne
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
12/04/03 10:24 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hi! I'm starting the application process for an MLS from the University of Missouri. Of course I have no idea if I'll get in, but my undergrad GPA is pretty good. I haven't taken the GRE yet... I'm planning to do that in January. I'm spinning with ideas right now. I'd like to be a school librarian or a music librarian (my background is in radio and television broadcasting.) I guess I'm just jumping in to say hi and meet with librarians and future librarians.

VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
12/04/03 10:47 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hi Jenne, welcome to the world of library school! I'm nearing the end of my first semester at Simmons in Boston. I'm only going part-time, so it'll probably take me at least three years to finish, but so far it's been interesting. I've heard tell that library school isn't the most intellectually stimulating of pursuits, and that's true, but I haven't been bored so far.

voiceofreason, I didn't realize you were at Simmons, too! Are you going full-time or part-time? What classes are you taking? I'm in reference at the moment, and next semester it's on to the wonderful world of cataloging. Woohoo! Email me if you want.


Elissa Mae
(Ching Shih)
12/05/03 02:03 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I'm applying for library school right now, and I'm so excited about it! (I won't be attending until Fall 2004, though.) Does anyone here know anything about the Queens College, Long Island University, Pratt, or Syracuse University (distance) programs? That's where I'm applying... anything I can easily commute to from Brooklyn, and SU is near my hometown so I could stay with my mom for the residencies.

I would also love to hear from any librarians in New York City about their experiences, take on the job market, etc.


StephA
(Ching Shih)
12/08/03 02:39 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I'm thinking about applying to do my Master of Information Studies, specializing in Library and Information Science at the University of Toronto.

I love editing, but right now I'm feeling really blocked and stiffled in this field; I think librarianship might be the way to go for me.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has taken the program at U of T, or the Library Technician program at Seneca. Thanks!!


Katwin1
(Ching Shih)
12/08/03 02:57 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hi Elissa Mae:

I went to Pratt for my MLIS. It's a program that's really designed for people who are working while going to school, which is what I was doing. If you're working for NYPL the cost of the program is heavily subsidized.

Feel free to email me if you'd like some more info.


rh dorsty
(Ching Shih)
12/08/03 04:32 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Elissa Mae, I graduated from the Palmer School of Library Science at CW Post in 1987, so it's been a while since I got my degree. At the time, the big "librarian shortage," was just beginning, and the enrollment at Palmer tripled in the first year I was there. Lots was just getting started in the field in terms of technology as well, so it was both an exciting and a frustrating time for everyone, as the school tried to get itself up to date. To give you an example of what flux the field was in at the time, I went to my advisor one semester with a course in database searching pencilled in on my registration form (at that time, given only in the Computer Department) and he asked me why in the world I thought a school librarian would need to know how to do such a thing! (I managed to win the day on that one, luckily.)

My degree specialty was school librarianship (they wanted us to call ourselves "library-media specialists" but I've always been recalcitrant on that score; librarian is good enough for me, and if someone doesn't understand that the term takes in technology, too bad), but I also received lifetime cert. in both public and special libraries.

But here's what everyone told me before I started (I'd been a classroom teacher, and knew all my district's school librarians and most of them had gone to Palmer): the degree can be a bore, but get through it, because the work itself is fun. And that's exactly how it was for me.

But I'm sure they've upped the excitement quotient over at Palmer by this time. In any case, welcome to the profession. It's a great one.


Jenne
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
01/17/04 07:05 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I just took the GRE and got pretty decent scores, so that's one step closer to library school. Is it true that a lot of library jobs require a second master's on top of the MLS?

I don't think I can be a school librarian because I can't get the credits I need for certification right now, so I'm leaning toward archives, like state archives. I suppose I should have gotten a history degree, not an English degree. Oh, well.


quietjenn
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
01/19/04 02:54 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

in terms of a second master's degree, it really depends on what sort of library you're intersted in. a number of posts in academic libraries require it, although if you're lucky you can get a provisional job, where you can work at the library and go to school (for free!) at the same time. some special libraries may require it too, depending on what field its in. and school librarians/media specialists most often have to be certified. but if you're interested in public libraries or many technical services positions, it's not so necessary. (or so i have been led to believe ...)

Pflaume
(Ching Shih)
01/19/04 11:36 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Quote:
Originally posted by StephA:
I'd love to hear from anyone who has taken the program at U of T, or the Library Technician program at Seneca. Thanks!!
I graduated from U of T a few years ago, specializing in Archives. There are some incredibly tedious core courses, like 'Information and its Social Contexts' but it has the advantage of having the different streams intergrated, unlike UBC, where you either do library or archival studies. Like any program, you get out what you put in. There's a lot of nonsense, and a lot of fun. It got me where I want to be.

Personally, I'd say go into the Archives stream, but I'm biased, naturally. If you are at all concerned that you might be on the cusp for admission criteria (like I was) apply to Archives, as it's much easier to get into. You can always switch once you're there.

As for the tech program at Seneca-it's good, but you get to do more interesting work if you have the MISt.


100watts
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
01/20/04 03:34 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I went to a U of T as well for my library degree. My T is a bit further south.

I currently work in an academic library in the US. When I was looking at/applying for jobs, most of the entry level reference jobs only said, "Second masters degree preferred." The "better" (read: snobbier) colleges and universities often required second degrees.

Good luck with library school - to this longtime library user, the classes often felt like a peek behind the curtain, finally learning how the buildings I'd loved so much worked.


deborahAdministrator
(Ching Shih)
02/06/04 09:11 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Since the forum reorganization has given us a specific forum for career and educational issues, I'm going to move this thread now to the Earning & Learning forum.

strwbrygal
(Ching Shih)
02/21/04 08:50 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Longtime lurker, first post!

I'm considering applying to library school for next fall. I'm aware that my husband and I will need to move, since there is only one MLS program in our state, and it's 2 hours from here, and not what I'm looking for.

Since we're open to moving, and we both love New England, we've talked about Simmons. (I've heard some rave reviews of Simmons from librarians).

I'm thinking that I want to specialize in either archives or IS- as an undergrad, I worked in an archival setting for several years and *loved* it, still have lots of contacts there.

I'm hoping that someone can suggest library programs that aren't too difficult to enter-- I do have some fantastic recommendations from archivists and profs, and I recently took several graduate class in which I did well. I also have a ton of outside volunteer work, not sure how much that makes a difference to admissions. Ideas?

Some schools that have been recommended to me- Simmons, University of Michigan, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland. Anyone know anything about the University of British Columbia? Or the schools in Florida? The other thought was that maybe we should try a warmer climate, if we have a chance... neither of us are crazy about freezing cold winters (one reason why the Univ of Toronto did not make the list).


Library Girl
(Ching Shih)
02/21/04 06:48 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hi strwbrygal- I wouldn't worry too much about your undergrad GPA. Most of the schools I know of look at other experience, letters of rec, and cut you some slack on the GPA. But you will have to have a minimum on the GRE. Usually 1000, I think, which isn't hard.

In Florida, the University of Florida doesn't have a library program, but Florida State (Tallahassee) has one with a good rep, and the University of South Florida (Tampa) has an easy program. Both offer lots of distance classes, actually FSU offers an entirely distance program, with, I believe a few day long mandatory on-campus orientation. (I have a few friends who did FSU, and more that did the USF program.) I just moved out of Florida.

A couple of schools on your list are some pretty top-ranked schools in LIS, so they may have more stringent acceptance requirements.

Good luck! Library school is easy overall, and everyone I know who did it loves being a librarian, and I don't know any other profession where all the people I know who do it like it so much.


Mary K, Librarian
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
02/26/04 11:14 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Quote:
Originally posted by Helina:
So what's the problem? The admission guidelines are very intimidating! I have a BSc in physics which isn't exactly a related discipline and I'm wondering who to ask for recommendations. Not that many people, apart from good friends, know how obsessed with books I am and I can't ask them or my mom, unfortunately.

So, who did you ask? Also, does anyone have any comments about the UBC (Vancouver, Canada) MLIS program? I'd appreciate any advice, really.
(Wow - my first post!)

Don't worry about your background not being a related discipline. My background was poli sci, and in my class there were English majors, history majors, sociology majors, music majors, and a chemistry major. Whatever you bring to the field has potential to be useful in a career as a librarian.

And I can't speak to the UBC program, but I think someone mentioned that it's primarily an archivist and records management program. The program at U of Alberta is excellent, from what I hear. I did my MLIS at Dalhousie, and it was also a good program, if somewhat small.


voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
02/26/04 11:34 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hi strwbrygal. I'm at Simmons right now. I'm only on my second class (I'm going part-time, gradually stepping it up to ~3/4 time). I don't know your GPA or anything, but it seems to me like most library schools aren't really that selective; if you show you really want to do it and you can handle the work, they'll try pretty hard to let you in. So I say, go ahead and apply where you want to go, and see what happens; you might be surprised what kind of school you can get into! Have you taken the GREs? They're not required for all schools, but if you're a good standardized tester a GRE score might help to compensate for your GPA.

I feel a little under-challenged by the classes I've taken so far at Simmons, but the teaching staff is pretty solid (and very student-oriented), and it's a really good generalist program (I know less about the archives track, but it does exist and there are lots of people in it). And I love living in Boston; even aside from the fact that I grew up not far away, I think it's a great city (I can't wait for spring to come so all the rowers and sailors and kayakers get back out on the river). I applied only to Simmons because I didn't want to do distance and I didn't want to move (I was already living in Boston).


Elissa Mae
(Ching Shih)
04/05/04 10:58 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Just got my acceptance letter in the mail this weekend from the library science program at Queens College/CUNY... and they even let you start early, like this summer session! Yay!

Lady Di
(Ching Shih)
04/06/04 08:38 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Congratulations!

CheshireCat
(Ching Shih)
04/13/04 11:50 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I just quit my job at the library, today is my last day, and to be perfectly honest I don't know how any of you stand it. Patrons treat me and my coworkers like absolute dirt beneath their feet, the hours are ridiculously long and demanding, and the pay completely sucks. I don't even have another job lined up, just a very good prospect, and I don't care. Unemployment was a hundred times better than this.

As my final act, I have decided to "get back" at some of the nastiest patrons, and I have already placed lots of Miss Manners books and even kids' books with titles like "Please" and "Thank You" on hold for them, which will conveniently come in after I am gone. I wonder if they'll get it.

I believe very much in the idea of libraries and I think it is good, very respectable work in concept, but it is not treated as such by most and the reality of it was nothing short of utterly horrible.

I wish you all the best of luck in libraryland forever more.


Pflaume
(Ching Shih)
04/14/04 09:23 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Oh, CheshireCat, that's too bad that you had to deal with so many dreadful people! Let me guess-a public library, and you don't have an MLS or the equivalent. An MLS gives you the authority for withering glares and biting comments on lack of manners. I worked in an academic library, and there was this absolutely delightful librarian, who looked like a little grandmotherly bird, who even scared me when she would put on her 'librarian voice' and icily tell a patron that cellphones were not allowed.

ETA: As revenge goes, yours is pretty funny, although it's too bad you won't be there to see the patrons when they get their books!


bookchick
(Ching Shih)
04/16/04 11:12 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

It's been interesting to read all the comments on this thread. Someday I'll get to be a librarian too \:\) -- I'm starting the MLIS program at San Jose State this fall. I'm planning to take mostly online classes and some that meet on weekends, since I live about an hour away and work full-time.

I'm wondering, though, does there tend to be an insane amount of work in MLIS classes? I'm a little worried about how I'll make time for everything. And undergrad was a while ago, so I'm slightly out of the classes-and-studying habit ...


VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
04/19/04 09:57 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

bookchick, it depends on the class. I've only taken two so far. Reference did have a lot of work, but it wasn't very intellectually challenging. I'm in Cataloging now, which might have lots of work if I did it all, but I don't, so I feel pretty comfortable. I'm like you; I graduated college in 1999 so I was out of the habit and still am. I'm not nearly so diligent as I was back then, and I have a lot of other commitments. I figure, as long as I can get a decent grade I don't have to try too hard.

listersgirl
(Ching Shih)
08/05/04 10:17 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Has anyone else noticed the current trend of academic libraries requiring a second (subject) Masters for librarian positions?

I don't think I approve. It seems to me that, as a profession, we don't get paid nearly enough to have that much education as a requirement. Plus the whole idea behind the MLS/MLIS degree was that it is a generalist degree, preparing you for a generalist position (as most library jobs tend to be, at least to a certain extent).

It's reached the point where I'm starting to feel that I need to go back for my MA, which I don't have a particularly strong interest in doing, just so that I will be employable in positions other than the one I have right now.


VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
08/05/04 10:36 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I think that there are a lot of people who already have a Masters in another subject, and who go back to librarianship as a second career. This might be partly why so many librarians have double Masters.

But I think you're right. We shouldn't be expected to have a second Masters.

I'm still in library school, and I have a lowly position as an assistant in a law library, so I don't know so much about the cutthroat world of librarian jobs. I know that law librarians are expected to have a degree in law, especially reference librarians and bibliographers. There are lots of librarians here, though, who don't have law degrees - people who work in Preservation, Cataloging, Acquisitions, and Serials. It's a big library, too.


Selena
(Ching Shih)
08/05/04 10:38 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

There's such thing as law librarians?

*ponders*


Joss
(Ching Shih)
08/05/04 11:02 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Quote:
Originally posted by Selena:
There's such thing as law librarians?

*ponders*
Yep. My brother is currently in a program at the University of Kansas that allows him to get his JD and MLIS simultaneously. It's a lot of work, but pretty cool, from what I understand. He works in the KU law library right now, actually.

bookchick, one of my best friends got her MLIS long-distance from San Jose State while still working full time. (And she is a very cool librarian.) You can do it!


deborahAdministrator
(Ching Shih)
08/05/04 01:01 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Selena, if you want to meet some law librarians in Toronto, Professor Frink knows at least one who sounds like a very cool person (as most librarians are). I don't know if she reads this site regularly but I know he pointed it out to her and she thought it was awesome and promised to give me the private tour of the law library she manages if I ever get around to taking her up on it. I'm sure he could put you in touch with her if you'd like to ask her some questions. Or maybe we could take the tour together.

listersgirl
(Ching Shih)
08/05/04 01:39 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I worked as a law librarian for one summer. A reference librarian, no less, which made for two new experiences at one go.

What I discovered while there is that approximately half the academic law librarian positions in Canada are faculty, and therefore require a law degree as well as the MLIS, and the other half aren't. I'm not sure how it would be for librarians working for law firms, although instinct tells me that it would be easier with a law degree - I've met a few corporate law librarians, and they don't always get respect from the firm if they're not also lawyers.

It was interesting work, though. There are all sorts of issues to do with how much help and information you can offer, much like there are for medical librarians (who always have to remind people that they aren't doctors, and can't help diagnose people).


LauraT
(Ching Shih)
08/10/04 11:36 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

(bookchick, if you check this thread again, drop me a note - I'm doing SJSU's MLIS as well, currently, just started last spring)

 Quote:
Has anyone else noticed the current trend of academic libraries requiring a second (subject) Masters for librarian positions? I don't think I approve. It seems to me that, as a profession, we don't get paid nearly enough to have that much education as a requirement.
It is a lot of education to require for the level and pay usually involved. However, most of the postings I've seen have only recommended a second masters, not required one. In many ways I can see how it is helpful, particularly in an academic library where you need to know the details of how the subject area has evolved over time and what its intellectual characteristics are. That is not to say that that knowledge isn't acquirable without a masters, though!


Vetivert
(Ching Shih)
08/29/04 04:30 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Well, I've just finished my librarianship diploma and am working on my dissertation for the MSc qualification. I've been a library assistant all summer, and am now going onto do a part-time Masters in Medieval Studies while (hopefully) working in a library somewhere.

I can honestly say that I have never been happier than I am doing proper career things, having previously only had jobs. I can't recommend becoming a librarian highly enough.

All the best to everyone doing their library courses!


Library Girl
(Ching Shih)
08/29/04 06:19 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

The second masters for academic librarians is largely a matter of trying to make librarians "more equal" as faculty, in my opinion. Although the masters in library science is generally considered the terminal degree in our field, other faculty members on campus have PhD's, so in my experience, library (and other) administrators want our positions, and therefore qualifications, to seem more like the teaching faculty. I totally disagree, since our jobs and missions are different, but it seems that across the US at least, academic librarians are either losing faculty status, losing tenure track positions, or have to prove ourselves more by getting more degrees.

LauraT
(Ching Shih)
09/14/04 02:58 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

For those of you who work in academic libraries, do you feel pigeonholed? I currently work in administration at a university and am starting my MLIS. It seems to me, though, that the library and library folks are very isolated and don't have much of an opportunity to influence the larger direction of the university. Is this just my institution, or do other people see it as well? I would like to be able to make a "real contribution" to the university, and not just toil away in my library corner.

voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
12/02/04 02:21 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Library school is sucking my will to live! Well, just this one class I'm taking right now. This morning I couldn't decide whether to go to class or stay home and mop the kitchen floor.

I really like the library where I work, and I like about half of my library school classes, but oh my god, sometimes these classes just make me want to die. The boringness! The pointlessness! Arrrgh!


VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
12/02/04 02:42 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Amen, sister.

Pflaume
(Ching Shih)
12/03/04 11:58 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

You aren't going to FIS at the University of Toronto, by any chance? I'll never regret doing it, since it got me my wonderful job, but the number of times I considered becoming an alcoholic, in the hopes that being drunk would make the classes more bearable...

The courses in my stream were okay, but the core ones that all students had to take were excruciating. 'Information and its social contexts'? Half of each class was spent with studants presenting synopses of articles that we had to read. In other words, an excuse for the teachers not to. And most of the students in the IT stream were non-English speakers. They could read and write English very well, but oral presentations were not a strong point. Painful for everyone involved.

The management class was teaching management techniques from the sixties, or ones based on buzzwords.

And the number of times I had to review and analyze websites was ridiculous.

You just have to get through it (without resorting to use of the 'Dewer's Decimal System) and know that the job is way more fun than the degree.


the queen
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
12/12/04 03:11 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I too really want to be a librarian, and have been looking into programs. I've been looking into MLS degrees I can get though distance learning, because the thing is, I'm living in Mexico right now. One question I have: will I be in trouble without access to a research library? And what exactly makes a library a research library? We have an okay English library at the school where I work, but not tons of periodicals. I have good internet access though. I'll appreciate any input anyone has about this.

voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
12/12/04 04:33 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Pflaume, I'm at Simmons in Boston (as is VOH). In one of the classes I'm taking now (which sounded so promising in the course description!) we spent an entire three-hour class period watching the instructor do an HTML tutorial.

I'm sorry, I need to repeat that for effect:

We spent an entire three-hour class period watching the instructor do an HTML tutorial.

Thank god that class only meets one more time, or I think I would go MAD.


AmyJoMarch
(Ching Shih)
12/22/04 06:07 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Y'know, I'm another one who briefly considered this career path, but a) I got a look at how much they make, and b) I got a look at how the people who were in the library near me behave. Yowch. The librarians where I grew up were perfect dears, very helpful and friendly, but most of the people at the place near where I live now are kind of rude, rarely make eye contact, and just don't seem to be happy people.

VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
12/22/04 11:04 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Not all librarians work where you can see them. I work in the back part of my library, with lots of lovely librarians who aren't crabbed or bitter at all. Also, if you're a librarian for a specific subject area like law or medicine (which, granted, usually requires another degree), you make lots more money. Also, lots of reference and whatnot librarians do love their jobs.

My plan isn't to be a reference librarian; I'm too grouchy and misanthropic. I can pretend to be friendly and patient (and mean it on occasion), but I hate pretending and it just makes me a bad person in the end. There are lots of other options.


zine girl
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
01/26/05 05:15 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Anyone know anything about the distance education program for San Jose State? I am in Southern California, and need a program I can attend while working full time. Is a distance learning degree really as credible as one earned in regular session when looking for a job?

I have heard mixed things about the SJSU MLIS program itself (overcrowded, hard to get classes, unorganized adminstration). Does anyone know if this is is true for their distance program as well?

How hard is it to get into this program?


LibraryGoddess
(Ching Shih)
02/01/05 08:20 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I can't speak to San Jose's program. I can say that Rutgers University will have a totally online MLS starting, I believe, this Fall. I did not get my Nasters there, but most librarians I know did. It is ranked 4th or 5th I think in the country. I am sure their online program will be of high quality as well. They have been offering online Professional Development classes now for years. I have take 5 courses in their Children's Lit Certificate program. I know they have been offering some courses for this year as an option for students so I believe they have mastered teaching online courses. It is worth looking at.

LauraT
(Ching Shih)
02/02/05 04:49 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

zg,
SJSU's program has a branch in SoCal, so you can take on-campus courses (usually at Fullerton, I think?) as well as the online ones. I've actually heard better things about the SoCal folks than up here in SJ.

I don't think that the administrative problems will be different whether you do the online classes or in-person. I personally don't think it's horrible but it isn't ideal, either. Feel free to email me if you want more info (i.e. less tact ;\) ).

As far as credibility of online programs goes, it seems like they're pretty well respected by now, as long as they're from an ALA-accredited school.


Sureshot26
(Ching Shih)
04/14/05 02:52 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I'm glad I found this thread - it's nice to see other people doing the MLS thing as well. I'm about to start my third semester through FSU's distance program, but I'm getting a little nervous. While I'm still about a year away from getting my degree, I'm concerned that I don't have enough library experience to get a job when I'm done. I volunteered for many years in my hometown, but haven't done so since I moved away almost 7 years ago. Other than that and the degree, I have no library experience at all. I haven't had any luck in finding a library-related job after almost a year of looking, and I'm worried that it will only get worse. Unfortunately, the time demands of a 9 credit course load and a full-time job prevent me from volunteering or getting a part-time gig somewhere, so I'm kind of at a loss to find a way to beef up my resume.

Are there any librarians here who went into the field without much experience? What would y'all recommend as things to do to try and improve my skills outside the (virtual) classroom?


Aquagirl
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/15/05 08:18 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Wow...I am also thrilled to have found this thread. I have been seriously thinking of going back to school to become a librarian. But I have no concept of what the master's level classes would be like. And I know what my notion of being a librarian is, but I don't know how realistic that is. What are the day-to-day duties like? I wonder if it is the right career for me. I love books and reading, I love learning new things. I know a little bit about a lot of different subjects. I also really like Young Adult novels and working with kids and teenagers, so I've been thinking of becoming a YA or children's Librarian. Can anyone tell me a bit about that? What you need to do and what it's like? Thanks so much in advance.

Sureshot26
(Ching Shih)
04/15/05 09:04 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Aquagirl, I can tell you a little about the classes since I'm doing that now. My experience is a little different since I'm doing a fully distance program, but I imagine that a lot of it carries over to in-person programs as well.

Most schools have a small group of required courses that everyone takes. FSU's required classes are Intro to Information Policy (mostly about legislation affecting libraries and policy issues in the field), Management of Information Organizations (a management class focused on the operations side of running a library), Intro to Research Methods (a social science research course - survey methods and such), and Information Organization (the heart of library science - the various cataloging systems and such). I imagine most other schools have some combination of courses that cover most of these things. Just about every school offers classes in YA lit and children's lit - they're a great intro to see if it's right for you.

As for the workload, just about all of my classes are graded based on a couple of papers and a group project. Discussion is big at FSU - not a lot of lecturing going on there.

If you have questions about my program, I'd be happy to help. I also can ask my mom about U of I Champaign's program - she's enrolled there and loves it. Feel free to email me.


Pflaume
(Ching Shih)
04/29/05 09:32 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I was just at my hairdresser's (see 'I just' thread) and she was telling me that she's been doing a lot of fun, funky haircuts and dye jobs recently. And the fun, funky clients are all librarians. Yay library school!

Corinne
(Ching Shih)
05/27/05 11:24 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

The perfect thread!

I've been having a hell of a time finding schools that offer MLIS in the area I want to attend school. That area being Victoria.

After hours of searching I managed to find that a college in Vancouver offered something similar, but that was as close as it got. And I find it hard to belive that nowhere on Vancouver Island can I find a school that offers this particular course.

If anyone here knows the area, could you help me out? I live in the Kootenays, close to Alberta, but dream of moving to Victoria after graduation.

I know, I'm such a pest, but thank you for your help!


Sureshot26
(Ching Shih)
05/27/05 11:43 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Corinne, I'm not sure how accreditation for librarians works in Canada, but you might consider distance-learning programs at US schools if that would meet your needs. A quick pass at the ALA's website shows that the ALA has accredited some Canadian schools. I know there are at least 10-15 schools in the US that offer distance learning for the MLIS, including Florida State (I'm in their program now) and University of Illinois-Champaign (my mom attends there). I know that the ALA's website lists all the programs accredited by them that offer a distance option - look under "Education and Careers" for more info.

Speaking from experience, I've had classmates from places as diverse as the UK, Japan, Kenya, and Singapore. These distance programs are great because as you've discovered, fewer and fewer universities offer on-campus programs anymore due to low enrollment. Also, many of the fully online distance programs offer a break on out-of-state tuition because you don't actually come to campus. At least at FSU, the waiver takes tuition costs down to slightly above the in-state level - a savings of more than $5000 for a three-course semester.


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
06/07/05 12:45 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I got an MLIS from Dominican University in Chicago and a post-master's certificate from The Catholic University of America (and no, I'm not Catholic!) I graduated last year with the PM and started temping- there are agencies in larger cities that will place you. I found a full time job from one of my temp assignments, so I would recommend that for a starting point.

 Quote:
Are there any librarians here who went into the field without much experience? What would y'all recommend as things to do to try and improve my skills outside the (virtual) classroom?
I didn't have much experience and it was hard finding work- that's why I went back for the post-master's. Also, I was in a small and isolated location, and my state had very little turnover. I would recommend getting as much computer and website building experience as possible, as these are practically mandatory for a lot of jobs now.

On the YA/children's librarian question:
 Quote:
Can anyone tell me a bit about that? What you need to do and what it's like?
I was a children's librarian for a temp job and the typical day went something like this:

9-10: Get in, check email, look at schedule for day.
10-11: Get ready for children's story time (get out box, find the books you want and do any prep) possibly shelf-read for a bit.
11-12: Children's story time, sometimes two back-to-back.
Half hour lunch.
Shelf read for a while, go browse shelves.
1-2: Work on children's program to be presented in two weeks.
2-4: On desk. Shift may be extended another hour.
5-6: Paperwork, filing, etc. Flee building.

I am very glad to be working mainly with adults now, but then, I'm not that fond of children.


Aquagirl
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
06/27/05 05:19 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Does anyone know about/can recommend the MLS program at Rutgers in NJ? Also, what is funding like for these programs? I've been told that's it's possible to work full-time while getting this degree. Are grants/scholarships/ assistanceships likely? I already have loans from undergrad! I'm not looking to add more, but will if I have to. Thanks! (I love this thread!)

Sureshot26
(Ching Shih)
06/27/05 05:51 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

While I can't speak to the program at Rutgers specifically, I know that my school (Florida State) does offer assistantships and other funding sources. And working full-time while doing the degree is definitely possible - I'm about halfway through my 18 month program and I've worked through the whole thing. Sometimes it can be a little tough, but as long as you concentrate on having great time management you should do fine.

voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
06/27/05 07:27 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I don't know much about the Rutgers program either, but I am another one who's working full-time while in library school. I've been taking my program pretty slowly, partly because it's hard for me to find time to work and go to school but mostly because I don't want to take out unnecessary loans, and between saving enough to pay for school and taking full advantage of my employer's tuition assistance program, that means taking things more slowly than I might otherwise like.

It definitely requires some time management skills, but I'm not a particularly organized person and I've managed to do it so far! I am halfway through my program and have three more semesters ahead of me (I could finish in two, but if I draw it out a little longer my employer will end up paying for more of it).


Pflaume
(Ching Shih)
06/28/05 10:55 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Corrine-The University of British Columbia has a very well respected program: www.slais.ubc.ca. They offer Masters in Library and Information Science, Archives, and a combination. And UBC is one of the top 3 universities in Canada. You're just a ferry ride from Victoria (which is full of old people and hippies, anyway ;\) )

If you're in North America, you definitely want a program accredited by the ALA-without that, your degree is pretty much worthless. So check out this page for programs: http://www.ala.org/ala/accreditation/lisdirb/lisdirectory.htm


dzavory
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
07/11/05 03:22 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

So glad I found this thread....I would LOVE to speak with anyone who has attended/is attending the MLS program at Southern Connecticut State University. Please e-mail me, thanks!!!

Promethea
(Ching Shih)
07/13/05 03:46 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Another job-related query from me ... I am applying for a part-time library assistant job. I have no real experience, other than a lifelong love of books and libraries. I'm sure everyone will put that on their applications but it really is true for me, though I'm not sure how to get that across. I'm also quite anal about organisation so I'd be good at things like shelving properly and so on. Again, how should I put that? Is there anything else I should mention? Any tips any of you librarians could give me about what you'd like to see in a library assistant would help!

voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
07/13/05 08:59 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Promethea, can you think of any ways you've used library-type skills (organisation type stuff, etc.) in other jobs? Also, for different types of library assistant jobs, different things are going to be particularly valuable -- customer service experience for a job where you deal with patrons, attention to detail for a cataloging or tech services job.

On an unrelated note, I'm at the halfway point of my library school career and I'm finally taking a class I actually enjoy! Frabjous day! I wouldn't have thought I'd like Cataloging so much, but the professor is fabulous and I kind of like puzzling things out and looking up subject headings and adding up classification numbers.


VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
07/13/05 10:16 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Good for you, voiceofreason! I didn't love cataloging, but there again I didn't take it with the good teacher. I am also halfway through, which means I'll be done in another year and a half. Bleh. I just signed up for my fall class today: Records Management. It's another internship-heavy class (I took Intro to Archives last semester), but apparently required for the archives concentration. At the moment I'm not taking a class at all and revelling in my free time and signing up for psychological experiments at Harvard to make some extra cash. I'm feeling a bit wary about the fall, though. It's going to require all my (admittedly puny) time management skills.

Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
07/14/05 08:09 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Promethea, for some library assistant jobs they may give you a shelving test. That is, a group of index cards with call numbers which you are to put in order. Find out which system the library uses (Dewey, LOC, whatever) and get familiar with it if you aren't already. That's a make-or-break test, because they're not going to hire someone who can't shelve properly.

On a slightly related note for everyone on this thread, my workplace is currently looking for a cataloger with a lot of experience. My boss is going through the applications now and since I'm second in command I get to help. I can post more things that put him off resumes but thus far the top two are:

1. Enormous employment gaps with no explaination why, combined with lots of stopgap jobs. Why couldn't this person land a permanent job in their 10+ years out of library school? We don't know, but it doesn't look good.

2. Email signatures. Folks, the Latin for "I came, I saw, I want to go home," plus an English translation does not lend confidence to a potential employer. If you have anything like this on your email, TURN IT OFF. Please. You might be competent, but this is a job application and not a standup comedy routine.


dazey
(Ching Shih)
07/14/05 10:59 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Promethea, if I recall my library-assistanting days correctly, they were generally looking for someone who realised that they needed people skills, as well as loving books. If you'll be doing service desk or enquiries desk, they will probably want you to have an idea about dealing with The Public and all the frustrations that that brings.

Promethea
(Ching Shih)
07/14/05 01:04 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Thanks for the advice, all. Well, I haven't had a service industry type job before but I have worked with all types of people, so that should help. It's a public library, by the way. I have, long ago, done some office administration which involved filing, so I'll mention that. Auroranorth, that sounds daunting! I know in theory how Dewey works, I'll try and find out more.

My main problem is that I feel a bit over-qualified for the job in some ways but there are particular reasons I'm only looking for part-time, ad hoc shifts, so I hope that comes across and they don't just think I'm not going to be around for long. I've specified that I'll take on any shift pattern and can fit it around the other stuff, so I hope that helps.

My other fear is that if I got it, it might somehow sully that lifelong love of libraries by associating them with work instead of pleasure! However, needs must when the bank manager drives.


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
07/14/05 03:18 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Promethea, I did a quick search and came up with a brief guide to Dewey. I'd suggest looking it over- you don't have to memorize it but having some idea of the internal logic of the system will help. It's Duke University's site, and a nice simple explanation for someone who doesn't want to be a cataloger but does want to shelve properly (or find books.)

 Quote:
My main problem is that I feel a bit over-qualified for the job in some ways but there are particular reasons I'm only looking for part-time, ad hoc shifts, so I hope that comes across and they don't just think I'm not going to be around for long.
Just tell them a gereral reason- that you're in school, or working around childcare, or whatever. As long as there's a reason, they probably won't care what it is. You should make it clear you do want to stay on and you don't see the job as a short term thing. The example I gave above about gaps was referring to long (several over six months to a year or more) stretches with no reasons given.


Promethea
(Ching Shih)
07/14/05 06:02 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Well, basically the reason is that I have another job and I want something not too taxing, yet with regular pay, to complement it. But that doesn't sound too good! So I'll have to vague things up a bit. Thanks for the site info.

LibraryGoddess
(Ching Shih)
08/01/05 09:35 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Aquagirl,

I would have responded earlier, but I just saw your question now. I highly recommend Rutgers. I live just down the road but chose to go to Drexel (long story!) Both were (and still are) ranked in the Top 10 in the nation. You really can't do much better. My cousin is starting at Rutgers in a month. I think it is ranked #3 if I am not mistaken.

As far as working, you can work and go there, it will just take you longer to finish. I personally went full time and my cousin will be going full time. If you have to go part time, you just have to know it will take twice as long to finish. You don't want to overload on courses in the interest of finishing. I know several Rutgers grads and they said their program was similar to mine at Drexel-- some of the courses required 20 hours of work a week, plus class time. But, the work is worth it and the reason Rutgers is ALA accredited and many other programs in this area are not.

Good luck to you!


Courtofnee
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
08/31/05 11:31 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I'm about to begin my MLIS program at Drexel University this fall, so I thought I would chime in as well. Like many others, I'm excited about this field and am optimistic about employment opportunities once I'm finished. I suspect I'll be happiest with the non-traditional positions out there as I'm not interested in public servitude. I worked in social service agencies for years, so my patience and interest in the public have worn thin.

Has anyone else done the Drexel elearning program? I decided to enroll because I didn't want to move nor could I afford to give up my job. So far my experiences have been positive, although classes don't start until the end of Sept. (crossing fingers)

Anyway, I'm really happy to have found a forum of like minded folks!


VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
08/31/05 11:45 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Congratulations, Courtofnee! I don't know anything about Drexel U., but I hope you enjoy your program.

Meanwhile, I'm starting class in a couple weeks. It's called "Archives, History, and Collective Memory," and I'm totally excited. After this one I'll have four more classes to go, which means four more semesters. Agh, it seems like forever, but I've already done five classes, and I took this summer off, which has been really nice.

So far, I like the archives track that I'm on, but I applied for a library assistant position in a special collections nearby, and I didn't even get an interview. So now I'm all worried that I'll end up with this degree and won't be able to find a job! And I won't be well-qualified for other varieties of library work. I suppose I should take some other kinds of classes as backup. My big fear is that I'll be stuck in my current job for the rest of my life. It's a nice enough job, but it isn't where I want to be forever.


LaSalleUGirl
(Ching Shih)
08/31/05 11:49 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Courtofnee, a friend of mine just graduated from Drexel's MLIS e-learning program, and she loved it. I can ask her if she'd mind letting me pass on her e-mail address to you if you think you'd like to talk with her about the program. If you have to come to Philadelphia for an orientation or anything, let me know. I'm a Philly girl myself, and we could get coffee or something.

Courtofnee
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
08/31/05 12:34 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

LaSalleUGirl, thanks for the coffee offer! Fortunately I don't have to travel to Philadelphia (I live in Maine) at all for this program. I would love to talk to your friend about Drexel, though.

VegetarianOnHiatus, I'm really excited about this decision, but at the same time I'm somewhat nervous about finding a traditional library job if that's what I want after completing my degree. Like I said, I *think* I want to go after the more technical jobs, but who knows? I may fall in love with archiving or cataloguing and academic libraries. We shall see. I still think this career track is worth it since these days, or at least with Drexel, you get the information management piece along with library science in many masters programs.


LibraryGoddess
(Ching Shih)
08/31/05 06:49 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I gradated from Drexel with my degree in Library & Info Sciences. I loved it. I am not sure what the online program is like, though. The education I received on campus was top notch, though.

ruad
(Ching Shih)
09/02/05 01:38 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I'm thinking about Drexel's e-learning program too - I'm working right now and would like to try taking a class or two at a time, maybe starting in the Spring.

kandiam
(Ching Shih)
10/01/05 11:55 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I have a question about qualifying to be a California school librarian...do you need a teaching credential in addition to a Library Media Teacher Services credential?

Courtofnee
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
10/01/05 12:24 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I just completed my first week in Drexel's MLIS program - I love it! The pace for 2 classes (and working full time) is pretty rigorous, but definitely can be done. If anyone wants more information, feel free to contact me here. As for the requirements for school librarianship in CA, I'm not sure. I would check www.ALA.org (American Library Association) as they might have some information for you there. Otherwise, I would check your state's website. Good luck!

Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
10/03/05 08:10 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

kandiam, you'll need to check with your state's department of education. They can tell you what the requirements are. I found this:

 Quote:
Library media teacher is a person who possesses both a California teaching credential and a California Library Media Teacher Services credential. Other states refer to this as "library media specialist."
on this page under the heading Library Media Teachers. Required credentials are also given.


kandiam
(Ching Shih)
10/03/05 10:11 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Thanks, Auroranorth...that pointer is exactly what I need.

nanamik
(Ching Shih)
01/14/06 12:14 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I was listening to the BBC news on NPR the other morning and there was a report that British psychologists had found that librarians had one of the most stressful jobs in the country. The anchor was very unbelieving of this report and even stated that perhaps emotional, very easily stressed people perhaps go more into the library field, which the psychologist disputed. I was interested in the opinion of the librarians on this board about the report.

I am not a librarian but I did work at my college library. I enjoyed the job very much although I did occasionally have to deal with very annoying, high maintance patrons. My favorite story is a woman who called up and told me that she liked the book that she had taken out so much that she was going to keep it. I tried to explain to her that library did not work that way but she did not understand why she could not just buy the book. I am not sure if she ever returned it.


LibraryGoddess
(Ching Shih)
01/15/06 02:30 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I am a school librarian. Dealing with teenagers all day would stress anyone out. But, I think the classroom teachers have far more stress. They have to grade papers and do planning. I just do my job and go home. I do read YA novels for work in the evenings, but I enjoy that.

I think there may be something to the types of people that go into the profession to begin with. Most librarians (I know I am generalizing here) are book-ish and quiet, less social than others. I don't know what comes first-- the reading which leads to being around people less, or if we are socially less successful which brings us to books. Not that we are all social outcasts, not at all, but we are just quieter types. I think people like us tend to crack up easier esp. if we don't have a wide social network to catch us as we fall.


chickeninthewoods
(Ching Shih)
01/16/06 01:08 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hmm, that's weird. I'm an academic/special librarian (reference & middle-management at a U.S. law school), and while it's not a walk on the beach, I wouldn't call my job particularly stressful. The head of the technical services departments are probably quite stressed, and library directors would be stressed because of pressure from the Law School as well as the library concerns, but it's the administrative nature of those positions that makes their day so stressful.

deborahAdministrator
(Ching Shih)
01/25/06 09:54 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Here's something to look forward to:

The Hollywood Librarian


strwbrygal
(Ching Shih)
02/05/06 10:44 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

It's been quite awhile since I last looked at this thread, and now I'm in my second semester in the Simmons GSLIS program. Last semester I took four classes and did an internship, and this time I'm doing that plus working part-time for an archives. Library school is lots of fun, but exhausting!
Anyone out there planning to go to the New England Archivists conference or the PLA conference in March?


LibraryGoddess
(Ching Shih)
02/05/06 06:54 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I am glad you are enjoying library school, strawberry girl. \:\) My cousin is now in her 2nd full time semester in library school. She is doing her internship with me at my schoo, which is interesting.

I was excited to see that Hollywood Librarian thing over the summer. I wonder what's going on with it, if it will ever come to anything. I hope so! I filled out the form on the guest book and told them to feel free to interview me. I really wish they would. It would be so neat!


Lady Agnew
(Ching Shih)
02/21/06 01:28 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hi, I'm new to the thread but I'm jumping in to ask some questions borne of nerves.

I'm from California, and the two ALA-accredited universities in-state (so qualifying for the resident tuition) are UCLA and San Jose State. I could never live in L.A., plus the admission standards are much higher, but I'm waffling about SJSU. Does anyone here have any opinions about it? I live in San Francisco, and know quite a lot of people who go there for their computer science undergrad program, but know nothing about their Library Science grad program. I poked around the website, and most of the classes seem to be online, or a combination of online/on-site, which would suit me as I could continue to live/work here in S.F. and commute as needed (it's 45 min to an hour by car). But the admission standards are not very high: they don't require GRE scores (unless you have a GPA lower than 3.0) or letters of reference. This worries me.

I like the school because it's convenient, inexpensive and it has lots of ties to libraries in Northern California, which is definitely where I want to live/work, but should I base academic decisions on these factors and choose a school I suspect might not be academic rigorous? Does it really really matter what university you get your master's from? What are the top programs? I'm 80% sold on going, but any advice or words of wisdom are welcome. And needed. Thanks in advance!


Sureshot26
(Ching Shih)
02/21/06 10:10 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Lady Agnew, fear not - from what I understand, SJSU is a well-respected program. The admissions standards you cite are very common for library schools - my school and every other school I applied to used roughly equivalent standards. This is sparking a huge "is library school tough enough?!" debate on the newlib-L listserv right now, but for now it is what it is.

For library school, what really matters is ALA accredidation, as many large municipalities and universities will only hire people who got their MLS from an ALA-approved school. In the ALA group, the programs do vary some in their focus (Drexel, for example, is much more tech-oriented) but the core training is largely the same.

My vote? Go for SJSU and have a great time.


Courtofnee
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
02/21/06 10:13 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hi Lady Agnew - welcome! I haven't posted in a while, so it's been fun reading and catching up. I'm currently enrolled in Drexel University's online MLS program.

I looked at many programs around New England (I live in Maine) and decided on Drexel for a couple of reasons. First, I wasn't able to relocate for school, so geography was important. The online option is really great and the curriculum is the same as the on-campus program. Secondly, the admissions did not require GRE scores. Personally, I think standardized tests are crap, not a reflection of cability (and my undergraduate GPA clearly shows my ability). They do require letters of recommendation from professionals, as well as an admissions essay. Lastly, I considered their reputation. I believe Drexel's program is ranked in the top 10 nationwide. Their specialty is information science (the degree is an MLIS), which fits my career goals.

So, to answer your questions, I think it's important to choose a good program that will challenge you at a level you deem appropriate, and also one that fits your life and future goals. Unless you want to go on to get a doctorate, I don't think the professional world really cares where you got your master's. I searched the web for initial information on online grad. programs, and I also consulted US News and World Report's information on ranking and specialty. Maybe you can call up the university admissions office and ask if there are any students willing to talk to you about the program?

Hope this helps! Everyone's decision is unique, so don't stress over your reservations. Good luck!


LoHaze
(Ching Shih)
02/25/06 01:06 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hello everyone! It has been too long since I've participated regularly on these wonderful boards, but I have been lurking on this thread in particular since I've decided to go back to school to become a librarian. All of your advice and experiences have been invaluable and inspiring, thank you so much!

I'm looking to enroll at the University of Texas at Austin because I lived in Austin for several years, and because the cost and distance are more reasonable for me than other accredited programs. Has anyone here had specific experience in the School of Information at UT?

Right now, I'm working on my applications and letter of intent. I have experience in publishing and worked in children's literature for several years. It remains a passion of mine and is the primary reason I'm seeking another degree, but I don't want to pigeonhole myself since I have little interest in becoming a school librarian. I'm not quite sure what other avenues are available to me that might involve children's/YA lit, but I am hopeful that some of you have ideas or experience that may present a new opportunity.

My other question: What particular computer systems and programs do librarians use most frequently? Which specialized ones would you recommend I already be proficient in?

I worked in a special collections/archival library for several years in college. I loved it...sometimes. This was more than six years ago, and we used Macs and mostly PageMaker and QuarkXPress. From what I gather, this is somewhat atypical. True?


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
02/27/06 03:01 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Congratulations, LoHaze! Always nice to hear from a newbie.

When I was a public librarian in youth services we used Microsoft Office, which seems to be standard. Dreamweaver gets a lot of use too. I recommend a web-designing class, since that's really big.


LoHaze
(Ching Shih)
02/27/06 08:23 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Thanks, Auroranorth!

I'm considering taking a continuing ed. class in Microsoft Access since a couple librarians have mentioned using it, and it was the primary program used when I applied for a library position recently. I'm somewhat proficient in web designing but I'll consider a tutorial in that as well.


Lady Agnew
(Ching Shih)
03/11/06 04:22 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Sureshot26 and Courtofnee, belated thanks! Your words have made me feel less panicky about applying. I actually wouldn't have minded taking the GREs -- I have the odd knack of testing well on standardized tests. I'm one of those people who prefer tests to essays any day of the week, and for some reason, I'm especially good at standardized tests. (I hope that doesn't sound like bragging -- frankly, it's a freakish skill that has zero real world relevance, much like my ability to whistle.)

Now all I have to panic about is the statement of intent I'm to write; sorry for more brain-picking, but what are the general parameters of writing those things? I haven't actually ever worked in a library -- should I just talk about my desire to be a librarian? Or provide more specific motivations? That I want desperately to be a academic librarian, etc.?


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
03/13/06 09:50 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Lady Agnew, In reply to your previous question- as long as the program is ALA accredited, no one really cares where you got your degree. They just care that you have it.

When I was writing the letter of intent, I sat down and made a list of all the reasons I wanted to be a librarian and to go to that school. Think about why you want to be a librarian, then tell them. I actually submitted my letter as a list and got in, but you might not want to do that.


Pflaume
(Ching Shih)
03/13/06 10:09 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

In my application essay, I wanted to write about how librarians create order out of chaos, in much the same way that deities across various belief systems do, but my dad didn't think that was a good idea. In my defense, I have a minor in religion, and the whole 'order out of chaos' was a favourite theme of mine.

Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
03/13/06 10:22 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Sounds like an interesting approach, though I can see why your dad thought it a no-no.

katydid
(Ching Shih)
03/13/06 05:06 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

If I attend an ALA accredited program that also has a concentration in school library media, will I then be able to work in either schools or other library settings? I'm leaning very heavily toward the school library side, but I don't want to limit myself in case I want a change of scenery a few years down the line.

Albacore
(Ching Shih)
03/13/06 06:30 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

In my statement of intent, I described my background, the specific work project that got me thinking about librarianship (since this is a career change for me), the personal qualities I felt would make me a good librarian, and my new career goals. I also included the reasons why I wanted to study at that particular school.

The whole thing was quite short, but it worked. They sure didn't take me because of my undergrad marks - I was a horrible student back then. I'm doing a lot better this time around - it's amazing what a difference it makes studying something you're actually interested in!


Lady Agnew
(Ching Shih)
03/15/06 04:18 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Y'all rock, and have given me several interesting ideas. I was a little blocked with the statement b/c I had a cloudy idea of what they wanted from the essay: a list of my accomplishments trying to sell myself to them? a list of specific career goals? a strange amalgam of both? These things always trip me up.

ahnonemos
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
03/27/06 03:25 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Lady Agnew, I feel your pain with the statement. I applied at Simmons for the fall, and my personal statement never got far beyond 'I like books!' Oh well. At least it got done. I have admissions interviews there tomorrow and the next day. Wish me luck!

VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
03/27/06 03:45 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

ahnonemos, good luck, but my cynical view is that Simmons will take you if you can pay tuition.

Not that there's anything wrong with the program; it's well-respected. But library students are self-selecting - it's not as if we're going into it for the money. So if you want to be a librarian Simmons will most likely take you.

Basically what I'm saying is there's no need to be nervous. Just make sure it's what you really want.


LA_
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
03/28/06 09:39 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

just wanted to say Hi, nice to meet you
Im new here also (first day)
I saw your post and for a long time, Ive thought that being a librarian would be my dream job.
I already have a career(Im an operating room RN) though and am too dependant on eating to change now \:\)
Id love to be around books all day though, if I had a choice


vanillabean
(Ching Shih)
04/12/06 08:56 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hi everyone!! Right now I am an undergrad, getting an english degree. I am thinking seriously about becoming a librarian, I really cant imagine anything else. how is the job market for librarians? I am thinking about an online program, I cant bear the thought of sitting around a classroom. Are online degrees, provided that they are ALA certified, acceptable? I do not know where I want to work---anywhere probably! I'm not as interested in becoming a public librarian, but maybe working with YA would be cool. I dont know! this forum is so great, I just happened upon it.

Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
04/13/06 10:12 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Vanillabean, welcome to Chicklit!

In answer to your question, what libraries want is someone with a master's degree from an ALA certified program. Distance education or traditional doesn't really matter, though there is still a slight prejudice towards the traditional degree. I would not, however, consider an non-ALA approved program- the degree is valid in the state it's issued but outside it won't count. If you want to work in a university or special library, you may need a second graduate degree, depending on what they're looking for.

The job market isn't bad, but you may have to move for a job.

I've attached the ALA page that lets you search for online programs- take a look at the possibilities.
Search library programs

I hope this helps.


LibraryGoddess
(Ching Shih)
04/16/06 09:32 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I wouldn't obsess over the applications that much. The fact of the matter is that we are in a major librarian shortage right now. Library Schools want more people to go there and can accomodate them. The problem is getting adequate applicants. The good programs won't take just anyone, but even they can't be TOO picky or they won't have a program! When I applied I think I did the applications in a matter of an hour, and I got into both programs-- both of which were, and still are, ranked in the Top 10 in the country for Library Science Programs. So, I wouldn't stress too much about any one aspect of the application.

aharrington
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/19/06 10:13 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

LibraryGoddess is right. I've been an academic librarian for a number of years. Don't stress out about the application. Do your very best and I'm sure that you'll get in.

The thing to think about though is positioning yourself so you can get a job after library school. I work in an area that is saturated with library school grads. If you can get experience before you graduate through internships, co-ops etc., you'll be farther ahead than the rest.


Lady Agnew
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 02:46 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

LibraryGoddess, you've relieved me. Not that I'm happy the standards are low, but that schools are looking for qualified applicants however they can get them. My grades are good, but I've practically no professional experience and didn't need to take the GRE, so no scores.

For my Personal Statement, I went with how I've always loved books and libraries, how I think libraries serve an important function in society, what kind of librarian I might want to be (academic, probably) and why the school suited me. Fingers crossed.


slightlynerdy
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
05/15/06 09:10 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I'm going to start my applications for library schools soon, and I am leaning towards applying to only one school but don't know if I should apply to more.

The school I want to attend is Indiana University and am considering applying to Michigan as well. There was a third school, but their program lacks collection development, which is something I'm interested in.

Is it better to apply to one school or more?


voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
05/15/06 08:46 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

If you're pretty sure you know where you want to go, and you have a reasonably good undergrad/previous grad GPA and test scores (if necessary), I'd say just apply to the one -- as has been mentioned above, most library schools aren't that selective, and although some programs are a bit better than others, so long as they're accredited they're all fine. I decided on Simmons (which I just finished! my last class was Thursday!) based 100% on location and didn't apply anywhere else.

Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
05/16/06 08:31 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Congratulations, voiceofreason!!

When I did my master's and post-master's certificate, I applied to only one school and got in. My test scores were good but my grades were less than stellar.


slightlynerdy
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
05/16/06 01:54 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Thanks, you guys are great.

I realized later that although I am from MI I moved away 6 years ago, I don't think I qualify as an instate resident anymore and don't relish the thought of paying $14k a year. I wouldn't have to take the GRE (yay!) and my GPA overall is about 3.7.


Sureshot26
(Ching Shih)
05/17/06 08:31 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Congrats, voiceofreason - I'm joining you in the graduation celebration as I finished up on April 29. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the job leads I've turned up will pan out - I'm so ready to get moving!

Pflaume
(Ching Shih)
05/17/06 10:26 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

LibraryGoddess, where do you find rankings of library schools? I've already got my degree, but I was just wondering.

ETA-I can't recall if I mentioned this before, but ALA-certified graduates are actually in NAFTA-we get automatic green cards, or whatever the Canadian or Mexican equivalents are. Pretty cool!


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
05/17/06 02:06 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

US News and World Report puts out rankings. They are briefly mentioned online, but you either have to read the yearly print edition for full results or else buy access to the site.

mst78
(Ching Shih)
05/21/06 05:42 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I've wanted to be a librarian since I was three. It's my dream job... I love introducing people to new authors & finding books people really want.

Now that I've decided to take the steps to attain my dream job as a public librarian, I'm having problems finding a place to start. I have an AS degree in Elementry Education, but I'm unsure where to go from there. I was told to get a BS in Applied Science (whatever that means), and then I would be able to take MLS courses. There are so many different Applied Science courses that I'm unsure what would be the best for me to take.

Please help me!!!


voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
05/21/06 11:29 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

As far as I know, MLS programs take people from any undergraduate major. I say, get a bachelor's degree in whatever you want, and you'll be good to go. If you're thinking about academic librarianship (in a college or university), you might want to think about majoring in a science, since that's a little less common and therefore slightly more in demand (says the MLS with the undergrad science major who hasn't found a professional job yet...), but really, do what you want. A bachelor's degree with reasonably good grades is all you need.

LibraryGoddess
(Ching Shih)
05/25/06 05:45 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

You can't be a librarian without a master's degre ein library science. So, I would recommend finishing up your Bachelor's degree first. It doesn't matter what it's in. Most have degrees in English, I think, because librarians like to read. My degrees are in education and history. Others have degrees in all sorts of things.

Mingo Moll
(Ching Shih)
06/15/06 12:52 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Does anyone know anything about the program at University of Maryland? I know it's accredited, but was curious about its reputation (if any) generally. It's my state school, so would be the place for me if I actually pursued the career change I'm considering.

Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
06/16/06 01:51 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

One of the library techs I work with just got her masters from there. It seems like a good school. She's out today but I'll ask her about it on Monday.

Mingo Moll
(Ching Shih)
06/19/06 03:53 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Thanks, Auroranorth. Let me know what you find out.

Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
06/28/06 10:23 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Sorry this took so long- J's leaving us for a new job as an IT librarian so we haven't had much chance to sit down and talk. However, UMD is good on IT and reference, plus they're also doing a lot with virtual reference. They now have some web-only classes, which J took and found workable. The only things she mentioned as a problem was the required courses (no one ever liks those, no matter what the school) and the archiving program is not terribly good. If that's an area of interest, you'd probably do better at The Catholic University of America in DC since they have a tie-in with the Library of Congress.

ruad
(Ching Shih)
09/26/06 03:22 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Just got into the Drexel online program (my emailed letter of acceptance came the day classes start - by the time I get processed it'll be a week from now. Will I have missed to much..??) But: Whoop!eee!

Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
09/26/06 03:24 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Congratulations, ruad!

I don't think you'll have missed much. The first week should be like most first weeks- syllabus, some idea of assignments, etc. At least you won't have to sit in a classroom for it.


vanillabean
(Ching Shih)
01/15/07 09:52 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

*bumping* to update my old post. I am really looking at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign for the Library Science program, it looks very exciting! Since I'm not too familiar with the format of the Library Science classes, I'm wondering how it works? Do most programs focus on computer-related coursework, or is there a number of papers involved...?

All I know right now is that I want the career, but I'm not relishing the training involved!


urbanerd
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
01/29/07 11:22 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

So, I found this discussion (and was very grateful) as I searched the web to get insight on being a librarian as I am considering a career change. I am currently a high school teacher and not enjoying it.

I feel that librarnship wold be a good fit for me on many levels.
I'm in Canada and have applied to the MLIS program at UBC (Vancouver) and at McGill (Montreal) for September 2007 - if anyone has feedback on either school please speak up. I'm leaning towards living in Montreal.

Part of my research involved my looking at job postings in the Canadian Library Ass'n site and I was very discouraged to find that every single job posting wanted you to have 3-4 years experience. So how exactly do librarians get their first jobs when they are fresh out of school?

Someone please tell me something encouraging...Thanks.


Pflaume
(Ching Shih)
01/30/07 09:49 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Well, the Archives program at UBC is considered very good, so I'd imagine the library one is too.

I graduated from U of T, and I think every one of us had a job. You can often get experience while at school. At U of T I was a GALT: Graduate Assistant Library Technician, as were many of my classmates.

New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries came up to recruit, and always went away with fewer new hires than the would have liked. Probably because their starting salaries sucked (NYPL more than Brooklyn). On the other hand, anyone I know who started there has done really, really well.

ETA: I just checked with some colleagues, and we're recommending the McGill program, since it also has an Archives and an IT stream, and we believe in a cross-disciplinary approach. UBC has an archives program, but it is completely separate. At McGill you can take courses in any of the streams.


katydid
(Ching Shih)
02/01/07 01:23 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I'm in my second semester in the MLIS program at Catholic University of America, and I've just started to apply for some library jobs...I'm so excited and nervous and impatient all at the same time. It's making getting through the day at my current job next to impossible.

vanillabean
(Ching Shih)
02/02/07 07:55 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Katydid, what areas are you interested in? I feel like I don't know much about what I can specialize in if I do decide to apply to a MLS program.

voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
02/02/07 10:02 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

When I was looking at library schools, I considered applying to the McGill program (although I now don't entirely remember what was so appealing about it!) but ended up deciding to go to Simmons because I didn't want to move.

As for the three-to-five years experience thing, yeah, it's a bit of an issue. I am still in the preprofessional job I began during library school, and I enjoy it and am getting good experience, but I'd rather have a professional position of course. My job hunt has actually been going very well, though -- I've been offered two jobs, although I turned them both down (good jobs, just not right for me). Of course, now, two months after turning down those jobs, there's a part of me that wishes I'd taken them! But I'm fairly confident that I can afford to be a little picky and that I'll eventually be able to find a job I like in a place I like.

And I'm pretty sure others have said this further upthread, but wherever you go try to work as much as possible while you're studying for your degree. Significant library experience is extremely attractive to employers.


katydid
(Ching Shih)
02/02/07 11:04 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Vanillabean, I'm in the school library media program at CUA, but the jobs I'm applying for are in public libraries. I really want to work with young adults--I'm taking a young adult literature class this semester, and I'm loving it--but I think I would be happy doing that either in schools or in public libraries.

The program I'm in fulfills the educational requirements for teacher certification in DC, Maryland and Virginia--I'll still have to take all of the exams and such in order to get the teaching license I'll need to work in the schools, but if I find a job I like in a public library I won't be in as much of a hurry to do that. I'm all about keeping my options open right now.


VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
03/09/07 02:36 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I'm currently looking for a job though I haven't quite finished my degree. I want a professional job in archives, but since I don't have experience in archives, I'm looking at preprofessional archives jobs. I'm also trying to expand my search since there's a part of me that wouldn't hate doing reference and collection development. I'm in a similar boat as you, voiceofreason, since I currently have a preprofessional job that is quite good, but I've been here four years and I'm feeling pretty done with it. It's nice and secure, but there's not much more I can learn from it. Still, I can afford to be picky and not just take the first thing that comes along (which has been nothing so far). I guess I'm feeling a little discouraged.

Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
03/09/07 03:49 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

They all say the 3-5 years experience thing. Student experience and volunteering count too- I was a library volunteer at the local public library and worked as a student assistant for a year and a half at CUA while getting my post-master's certificate in library science. When I applied for real-world jobs, they all accepted those as experience.

ruad
(Ching Shih)
03/10/07 09:56 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I'm in my second quarter at Drexel, doing the MLIS online; I'd like to work in archives or an academic library. I have student experience as an undergrad at the circ desk, and working with the Collections Development librarian on the ongoing weeding project. These aren't quite enough to speed me on my way, but I'm glad I did get some experience - just not sure what to look for as I get further along.

Lady Agnew
(Ching Shih)
03/13/07 07:02 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Any advice for those looking into a public library YA/children's lit track? I have no experience in a library except for 6 months in a law library, and all I got from that was a huge dislike of law libraries and the corporate track. I want to start volunteering at the libraries at any local public schools, so I've started that process. It's quite lengthy: TB test, reference letters, even a background check. I'm doing this just to get experience with kids and in a actual library setting, but I'm worried about employment after graduation.

I'm fairly committed to being a children's librarian -- in fact, it kind of makes me giddy inside, to be a complete and utter dork -- but I'm not sure it's the most practical idea.


vanillabean
(Ching Shih)
03/21/07 03:11 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Just to let anyone know, Librarianship is included in the list of "Best Careers for 2007" according to Newsweek. This is based on job growth, earning potential, and good quality of life, with a median salary at $49,708. The article goes on to state a "smart speciality" is the Special Librarian (whatever that entails). Looks interesting!

Nice to know that if I do decide on this, the career won't be fading anytime soon.


VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
03/21/07 06:11 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Special librarians do make more, but they usually have to have another graduate degree besides the library one. I work at a law school library, and a lot of our professional jobs require a law degree as well as a library science degree. They pay more. I think this is true as well for medical librarians, etc.

voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
03/22/07 10:46 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I think it depends what kind of a special librarian you want to be -- law librarians almost always have to have a JD, but that's not the case for all special librarians. I don't know whether a librarian at a large corporation would be expected to have an additional degree or not -- probably it would depend on the type of organization.

I work in a health sciences library right now (mostly pharmacy), and probably half of the librarians have other related degrees (nursing, chemistry, etc.) but the other half don't. At the medical library where I worked before this, none of the librarians had medical/allied health degrees, and most weren't even science majors.

I think a willingness to become familiar with the medical literature (possibly by taking medical classes, but not necessarily by getting a degree) is more desirable than an actual medical degree in medical libraries (although I do know one or two medical librarians with MDs). Most health science educational programs are only interested in training people who are going to practice, so it's kind of frowned-upon for a person with no intention of becoming a nurse to enroll in an M.S.N. program.


LibraryGoddess
(Ching Shih)
03/24/07 08:18 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I find this interesting, that Librarianship is listed as a "hot career". School librarianship is slowly dying. Many schools are hiring people that don't even have library degrees. They don't think we need to have any specialised knowledge. I guess they think we dust books all day.

When schools have to slash budgets, the librarians are often the ones to go because we are "expendable". Despite overwhelming evidence that schools with full time CERTIFIED librarians have higher test scores than those that do not doesn't seem to matter. Each year more and more schools cut librarians and their budgets. What happens is a librarian will serve 2 schools instead of one. Or, they get rid of all of the librarians except one. That person is the "supervisor" and each library is manned by an aide that is cheaper to pay and can sometimes even be part time to avoid benefits. This year I was reading that a fairly large school district in another state eliminated every librarian they had. Some had been there for years and now they have no idea if they will even be able to find a new job anywhere else with the cuts happening everywhere.

This all scares me. Here I am, 9 years in. What happens in 20 years? Will we be totally obsolete? It's scary. Part of me wants to leave education now while I am still young (32) and get into a public library. I think public libraries are more stable as far as still being relevant 30 years from now.


techgeek
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/23/07 02:21 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I'm surprised that library schools aren't super competitive considering I think it's such a great career (and am now seriously thinking of doing it). What I wanted to know, though, is how in-demand this field really is. It seems to me that people are moving to different parts of the country for jobs and I'd really rather stay in one place. Is that realistic?

I'm actually thinking of being an academic or medical librarian because I have a science background. I want to stay in or around LA or San Diego.


Lady Agnew
(Ching Shih)
04/26/07 12:24 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I dunno. I live/go to school in Northern California, and my Cataloging professor spent an hour of class time talking about job prospects, and told us that it might take up to a year and a half to get a job when we graduate if we want to stay in the area. Since there is a library school right there, every year pumping out graduates, there's a surfeit of qualified MLIS grads running around. She bluntly said if we were willing to move, it'd be easier to get a job. I guess it depends on where you live; I know that UCLA has a program, and that might make employment hard-ish right after graduation. But also--there are a lot of universities and consequently, academic libraries, in the area.

LibraryGoddess, have you seen the latest ALA report on the health of libraries? Apparently public & academic libraries are doing flourishingly well; public school libraries, not so much. When I was growing up and going to public schools in San Francisco, there were no librarians in the library. Thanks to the budget cuts in the '70s, librarians were almost entirely phased out.


voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
04/26/07 11:42 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Yeah, I've been looking for a librarian job for close to a year now, and I've been offered two jobs but I would have had to move for them (from the Boston area). So it's my experience that being willing to move helps! I am willing to move, it just turned out I wasn't willing to move to those particular places for those particular jobs. I'm also being fairly picky about the subfield of librarianship I'm interested in -- I really want to be a science or medical librarian, ideally at a research university. Which narrows my options considerably.

VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
05/21/07 08:33 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Last Saturday, May 19, I, who started this thread with my wonderings about being a librarian, graduated with my Master's of Library Science with a concentration in archives. Woohoo! I've been going part-time for the past 4 years, which meant I could also have a life while going to school and working full-time. Dang, it feels good to be done!

TraceyB
(Ching Shih)
05/21/07 01:09 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Congratulations, VoH!

Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
05/22/07 09:47 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Congratulations and enjoy having a little more life now!

VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
05/27/07 08:17 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Thanks! I'm now looking for a job. Eek. It's not so bad since I already have a job, but I'd like to get a professional job that pays more.

vanillabean
(Ching Shih)
09/10/07 10:28 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

Hey everyone,

So, I'm now at the stage of applying for graduate schools in library science and I'm looking at Wayne State University in Detroit and the University of Illinois. This is preparing me for the fact that if I don't get a job after I graduate in May (not likely), I will at least have another option.

Would anyone that works in a library mind if I ask a few questions (a few q's on issues facing libraries today) through e-mail? It's required for one of my applications and it'd be great if I could receive some input. Thanks! My e-mail is wilso598@msu.edu


Oh, and any type of library is applicable!


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
09/19/07 07:52 AM
Re: Being a Librarian

I just saw this and I'm emailing you now.

crescentmoon
()
10/02/07 03:54 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

I just had to say that this thread is incredible. I just did a search on Google for "being a librarian" and found it. I'm so happy I did. I've been contemplating getting my MLIS for awhile and now I believe I just may do it!

I love people. I love children/teens and YA literature (youth would be my focus). I love books, researching, etc. I love helping people. Being a librarian sure does sound like something I may find fulfilling.

Wow, those post sounds cheesy. The thread just inspired me!


VegetarianOnHiatus
(Ching Shih)
11/17/08 02:55 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Have to bump this thread to share my little and belated news!

Did I tell y'all that I got a part-time job as a culinary librarian? I'm still working as a library assistant full-time even though I have my MLS, but this Le Cordon Bleu branch opened up nearby and they needed someone for evening shifts. So now I am working three nights a week doing awesome stuff!

I get to do user instruction, reference, cataloging, circulation, and collection development! I freaking love collection development! And the students are awesome and make me food and it rocks.


vanillabean
(Ching Shih)
12/02/08 07:44 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

 Originally Posted By: VegetarianOnHiatus
Have to bump this thread to share my little and belated news!

Did I tell y'all that I got a part-time job as a culinary librarian? I'm still working as a library assistant full-time even though I have my MLS, but this Le Cordon Bleu branch opened up nearby and they needed someone for evening shifts. So now I am working three nights a week doing awesome stuff!

I get to do user instruction, reference, cataloging, circulation, and collection development! I freaking love collection development! And the students are awesome and make me food and it rocks.


Wow, that sounds so great! I love food and I love books, what a perfect job! I'm currently in the first semester of my MLIS program, on track for a career in academic librarianship.


ruad
(Ching Shih)
02/04/10 03:04 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Returning to the boards after a while. Graduated with my MLS in March 2009 (Drexel's iSchool program), still looking for work (although I have a non-library job I love, cataloging rare books and photographing them for an antiquarian book dealer). Went to ALA Midwinter for the first time, met a few folks, a little career advice gleaned, resume retooled, ready to find the right next step. Have applied for several likely jobs but not having any luck at all. A bit discouraged. I know I have to just keep trying.

essay
(Ching Shih)
02/04/10 09:16 PM
Re: Being a Librarian

Well,hey ruad, congratulations! Having been a housemate of a guy going through the Library drill, I know it's not that easy. I hope you find something in your field soon, but it's pretty great that for now you have a job you love--and that remains related to your career path.