My Friend Is Interested in Becoming a Librarian, …

by Jill Olsen, Head Editor, INALJ Nevada

My Friend Is Interested in Becoming a Librarian, Can You Talk to Them?

jill-olsenI seem to be getting this question a lot lately so I thought I would put it out here and talk about my recommendations to someone who is thinking about becoming a Librarian.  I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.
Let me clarify, I see my role as merely having a conversation with them, answering their questions and directing them to resources where they can read and talk with others in the field and in the specific area they think they want to go into, i.e. public, academic, etc. and make their own decision. I do feel it’s important for them to understand the profession and how it’s evolving and changing and what the job opportunities will be down the road.
Here are my recommendations:
  • INALJ – I encourage the person to check out the articles and to look at the jobs posted (qualifications/skills needed and salary). I think this is one of the best resources available especially the articles written by folks in the real world on real issues related to the field.
  • Join LinkedIn Groups relating to related Library/Organizations they are interested in and read the discussions regarding current MLS Graduates and overall state of library related employment.
  • Volunteer if at all possible to get real life experience and decide it the real world matches with their “fantasy world”.
  • Associations – I suggest they check out ALA, SLA, or other related professional associations to the area they are interested in.
  • Network/Interview – I encourage them to network and find someone who is doing what they want to do and then do an interview even if it’s just a casual grab a cup of coffee conversation.
  • Shadow someone – Another possible option is to shadow someone for a day or a few days get a sense of the job, projects, skills etc.
  • Library School – Research what library schools are out there, look at their programs, talk with folks involved with the school and even students if possible.
Again just a few thoughts and resources that I have, what are yours?

  2 comments for “My Friend Is Interested in Becoming a Librarian, …

  1. Rebecca
    August 14, 2013 at 9:22 am

    While the profession is rewarding, though underpaid, geographical mobility is vital for people seeking permanent work as a librarian. Cities & towns around universities, and especially those with library schools, are saturated with people with under-employed MLS degrees, so competition for any full & part-time positions is stiff. Getting a foot in the door (and experience) sometimes requires taking a job in a remote location.

  2. Jessica
    August 13, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I’ve gotten this question a lot lately, too! I think it’s very very important that anyone who’s interested in getting an MSIS/MLIS actually takes a good, hard look at the courses offered and the faculty who they’ll be working with. Since the profession has changed so much, it seems that there isn’t a standard curriculum across schools, which can be really surprising for people who assume they’ll be getting the same education no matter where they go.

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