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#59429 - 07/19/02 11:52 AM Re: Being a Librarian
Ching Shih

Registered: 07/19/02
Posts: 176
Loc: Toronto

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.

#59430 - 07/19/02 12:13 PM Re: Being a Librarian
Ching Shih

Registered: 04/27/02
Posts: 1257
Loc: Brookline, MA, USA

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!).

#59431 - 07/20/02 08:31 AM Re: Being a Librarian
Ching Shih

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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!

#59432 - 07/20/02 11:33 PM Re: Being a Librarian
Ching Shih

Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 53
Loc: USA

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.

#59433 - 07/21/02 04:36 AM Re: Being a Librarian
Ching Shih

Registered: 04/12/02
Posts: 428
Loc: Dublin, Ireland

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

#59434 - 07/22/02 08:40 AM Re: Being a Librarian
Ching Shih

Registered: 06/19/01
Posts: 69
Loc: below the Mason-Dixon polling ...

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 ~

#59435 - 07/22/02 08:51 AM Re: Being a Librarian
Ching Shih

Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 941
Loc: Edinburgh, Scotland

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...

#59436 - 07/22/02 11:32 AM Re: Being a Librarian
Ching Shih

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

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.
#59437 - 07/22/02 03:48 PM Re: Being a Librarian
Ching Shih

Registered: 01/28/02
Posts: 85
Loc: Evanston, IL

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?
#59438 - 07/22/02 06:00 PM Re: Being a Librarian
Gráinne ni Mhaille

Registered: 07/22/02
Posts: 1
Loc: Horseheads, NY USA

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.

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