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Don’t Count on those Retirements

"If you truly are an old librarian, then you need to retire so that a young person can have a shot at fixing all the mistakes you have made.  Have a nice day."

That was a comment from one of last week’s posts. This seems one of the most unrealistic comments ever made on the blog, and since I’m in a gloomy mood I wanted to examine it.

First, it assumes that old librarians somehow need to retire. Even before the recession hit, there were a bunch of grumpy younger librarians who had been duped into paying for library school because they believed the propaganda about jobs aplenty in the field because of the alleged librarian shortage that somehow never manifested itself. All the older librarians were going to retire. That was the story. (And apparently some idiots still believe the lies.) Somehow this belief turned into a resentment against older librarians for not retiring. Supposedly they have a duty to move aside for the youngsters. Unfortunately for the youngsters, that’s not the way the world works. Nobody has a duty to retire from a job just because a younger librarian needs one. A lot of older librarians like their jobs and still do them pretty well.

That was then. This is now. There was no librarian shortage in good times, and there’s even less of one in bad times. Those of you who still believe the propaganda about retiring librarians need to shake yourself out of your reverie, because a lot of librarians who were thinking of retiring are definitely going to postpone that retirement. They certainly had no duty to retire so some youngsters can move into their jobs, but now even a lot of librarians who wanted to retire are stuck. I predict the wave of predicted retirements isn’t going to happen on schedule. One of the great things about librarianship is that we can work until we drop dead, and even then it might be a few days before anyone notices. It’s not like we’re coal miners or something. We show up. We sit down. We look at computer screens. We meet with people. It’s not exactly the sort of challenging activity that can’t be done by sexagenarians or even septuagenarians. I’m now thinking I should work until at least 70, and maybe longer. And why not? The job’s not physically demanding. The benefits are good. There’s plenty of vacation. As long as librarians can keep themselves from expanding so much they can’t sit down in their ergonomic chairs anymore, there’s nothing keeping them from working forever.

Even if they don’t work until they drop dead, it still doesn’t bode well for the youngsters, because a lot of library jobs are going to disappear when the current person retires. The assumption that retirements lead to job openings has been a bad assumption for a long time, and is an even worse assumption now. Libraries will be downsized through attrition, not rejuvenated with fresh blood. This was already happening during the boom years. Libraries never benefited significantly during boom times, but they sure do get penalized during bust times. Retirements are a good way to save money and condense services without having to harm anyone, or at least anyone you know. In the abstract, the people who might have gotten those jobs had they been advertised are harmed, but no librarians – including the people without jobs – can claim that they are the specific ones harmed.

There may even be young librarians out there who look around and think a lot of librarians should just be fired. The Darren Stalemates said something about getting rid of librarians who didn’t work like the twopointopians wanted them to, or something like that. One of the things I like about librarianship is the relatively humane treatment librarians get, especially with tenured or unionized jobs. Sure, librarians are never going to get rich, but neither are they treated like dispensable widgets that can be tossed out during the next reorganization. For the most part, their jobs can’t even be outsourced to India. A lot of librarians might be treated like garbage, but they’re not dumped out like garbage, and this in general is a good thing. I don’t particularly want to see anyone fired. However, even if libraries started firing their less than stellar employees willynilly, newer librarians still won’t get those jobs. That will just be a harsher kind of attrition and downsizing. Firing people might make for a leaner, meaner organization, but librarians are nice and plump and think anyone who uses phrases like "leaner and meaner" should be shushed until they learn to play well with others.

Then there’s the final assumption that seems the silliest of all, the idea that younger librarians are going to fix anyone’s mistakes. What a whiggish view of library history. This assumes that older librarians and librarians of the past have made huge mistakes, and I don’t think that assumption is warranted at all. The history of the field seems to be one of ordinary people creating some pretty good things against tough odds. Librarians are plodders, true, but they’re the tortoise that makes it to the end of the race while the hare is too busy playing video games to get anything done. And does anyone really think younger librarians are somehow so great that they’ll fix whatever problems that exist? Younger doesn’t mean more intelligent and competent. It just means fewer wrinkles and less insurance.

Oh, and let’s not forget that generations exist alongside each other, or at least they do as long as anyone is actually hiring young librarians. Arrogant young librarians, even on the off chance you’re hired, you won’t have any power to change things until you’re old, and by that time, you’ll  be the old librarians all the youngsters are complaining about.

Oh, and have a nice day.

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Comments

  1. Eddie says:

    I am not sure if you are following the same job ads I am. Sure, there aren’t too many entry level positions but the 2nd and 3rd level positions (which are not rare) all require a different set of skills than those from a pre-80s era mentality. There will be fewer jobs for those people that just like books and people but don’t have metadata skills or experience in developing interactive tutorials or digital archival skills, etc.

  2. H.G. Nearing says:

    What sad commentary. ”

  3. H.G. Nearing says:

    What sad commentary. “We show up. We sit down. We look at computer screens.” You forgot to add …and we don’t understand them. Grow as old as you like. Technology will retire you regardless of your thoughts on the matter.
    “I’m now thinking I should work until at least 70, and maybe longer. And why not?” Why not? Because your an unapologetic dinosaur that apparently wishes to sit on your but and get paid for it. I doubt that was part of the job description. And if your using your union to maintain your laziness and stubborn perspective then it comes as no surprise that unions, like old librarians, are becoming obsolete windbags shaking their fists at inevitability.

  4. Somewhere in the middle says:

    I know plenty of middle-aged to older librarians that understand technology plenty well enough. How about some proof that they don’t understand what is on the screen, besides your arbitrary biases.

  5. Jei says:

    I guarantee I’ll be working until I’m 70 or even older.

  6. Not Dead Yet says:

    Gee, I guess I’m so old that the only technology I could possibly learn is WebTV. Grow up. Many of us are as technologically advanced as you are. We do XML, ASP, PHP, SQL, and ”

  7. Not Dead Yet says:

    Gee, I guess I’m so old that the only technology I could possibly learn is WebTV. Grow up. Many of us are as technologically advanced as you are. We do XML, ASP, PHP, SQL, and “gasp” own a Kindle and an iPhone. You’d have to pry those out of my cold dead hands (until the next new piece of technology comes along, makes them obsolete, and I am on to the next thing).

    We also know how to spell “butt” and use the correct form of “you’re.” That’s because we were taught those things back when we went to dinosaur school.

  8. young librarian says:

    Most people my age don’t resent the librarians who haven’t retired. Most of us would never make a comment like the one referenced in this post. And, many of us are not “idiots” for believing in the propaganda. When I was 20, I read information from the ALA on the upcoming retirements and believed it because I thought at the time that librarians are generally trustworthy and intelligent people who wouldn’t screw up like that. As much as anyone else resents being called a dinosaur, I resent being called a whiny idiot.

  9. Dr. Pepper says:

    The problem here aren’t the people who believed the propaganda, nor is the problem the lack of retirement. The problem here is the ALA, the ALA-accreditation scheme, and Library schools.

    Library schools want to get money. How do you get money? Students! How do you make sure that there isn’t competition? Make jobs require ALA-accredited MLIS! See a problem here? Competition is good and it is lacking in the library field. The other problem is that Library School students are NOT prepared for the real world. What do people do when they don’t get a job in their field? They need to find a job elsewhere! And you need skills to apply to the job! The MLIS does not give you that!

  10. Andrew says:

    These young librarians need to stop thinking that the library industry owes them a job, simply because they’ve gone to university.

    Here in Australia, many library organisations have realised that you don’t actually NEED a librarianship degree to be a good librarian. You just need to have the brains, and have a passion for the specialist area (ie. systems, children’s lit, community development). Let’s face it, anybody can get an MLIS, and it’s more of a test of academic endurance than any actual skills that you’re going to use in the library. It doesn’t mean you’re actually going to be good for the job.

    These young whipperschnappers need to stop worrying about the booring old farts who won’t retire, and rather worry about the bright young things who are going to take the new jobs from under their noses.

  11. Tina says:

    I feel sorry for anyone who has to work until they’re over 60 because of poor financial planning. These librarians are for the most part bitter and angry and a pain in the ass to work with. Should have gotten a union job and saved more money, suckers!

  12. WorkersUnite says:

    “I feel sorry for anyone who has to work until they’re over 60 because of poor financial planning.” Just how old are you, Tina? I’ve been adding to retirement accounts for 23 years now. Guess what? The market has tanked and I will have to work until at least 65 when … Medicare kicks in. I planned, Sweetie. I planned, scrimped, saved, invested wisely and not too wildly, and now, due to Wall Street and banker incompetence and greed, have seen my retirement funds slashed by a third or more. Texas doesn’t look kindly on unions. I think we need more of them – to protect regular working folks. I enjoy my work, I’ve kept pace with technology, and my colleagues and students like me. I plan on staying around until I feel good and ready to retire. Another 15-20 years. Suck it up, youngsters. You’re not entitled to our jobs just because you believed ALA and got an MLIS. Big whoop!

  13. another young librarian says:

    I understand why librarians are not retiring, and I agree that even if they did retire, many of their jobs would just disappear instead of going to someone else, but older librarians who already have jobs should understand that this feeling is not coming from a belief that older librarians are too old to do their jobs well, in spite of some of the comments. I am finishing my first year of library school, and thankfully I am not on the job market yet because I am seeing the second years apply for at least 5 positions a week all over the country, and I haven’t heard of any of them finding one yet. Also, I go to a major university, and the graduating undergrads are starting to get unruly because they aren’t finding jobs yet. We aren’t looking for cushy positions, just starting jobs to pay off our loans which are in danger of going into default.

  14. anonymous says:

    wow…truer statements never heard from ALA or Library directors or HR managers; it’s been clear for quite some time that as librarians retire, they will probably not be replaced. Their positions are being reorganized into something else or eliminated completed. This is very true in academic libraries.

  15. LEJ says:

    Man, are old librarians crotchety.

  16. Dr. Pepper says:

    I can’t wait to see “ALA accredited MLIS only” positions disappear into the ether SOON in academia. I’ve worked in few positions on campus and in the library in the past 15 years and I’ve interacted with many colleagues during this period. Being in a library now I can see that you don’t need a librarian with an MLIS to do 90% of the library’s work. Making the library part of the division of IT is a good outcome.

  17. Tina says:

    >I’ve been adding to retirement accounts for 23 years now. Guess what? The market has tanked and I will have to work until at least 65 when … Medicare kicks in. I planned, Sweetie.<

    Should have been more conservative, or gotten a job someplace like SFPL and had a pension!

  18. MN Ron says:

    Yikes, the economic stress is pushing folks to the edge and stimulating unruly comments. This is my 39th year of public and now academic library service plus a fair amount of library consulting. As long you continue to like people (and dogs)and keep successfully juggling all the challenges of what is supposed to be time-saving automation, software, and operating systems, a lot of us will be on the front-line for quite a spell.

  19. Get off my lawn says:

    You’n youngsters seem pretty crotchety yourselves.

  20. Mid-West says:

    I know of 5 retirements in the last year of directors in my state, and one is still looking. If you won’t go where the jobs are then don’t whine.

  21. KCH says:

    “I know of 5 retirements in the last year of directors in my state, and one is still looking. If you won’t go where the jobs are then don’t whine.”

    Especially don’t whine when they are willing to pay you much less than the going rate anywhere, because of this derned economy.

  22. YQV says:

    Remember, you are not old, you are unyoung.

  23. RKP says:

    Ahh if I only had this blog 7 years ago when I graduated in the last economic downturn. Its funny those coming out of library school think they are due a good job. Those of us who have been here a few years are still waiting and have dips on those cushie jobs that are still around.

  24. dork says:

    There’s something that I don’t quite understand, AL. I thought the label “librarian” is a job title, so how can those unemployed people who want the old librarians to retire be referred to as librarians when they are not yet working at a library as a librarian? I’ve been always under the assumption that a degree qualifies one to become something, in this case a librarian. It doesn’t mean one is a librarian. Anyhow, thought I’d bring this up.

  25. TwoQatz says:

    Old(er) folks get to be crotchety and, it would seem, young folks think they are so entitled. Bite me! In some not-so-swell areas of the country, there are baby librarian jobs to be had. You have to start at the bottom … ya know? And Dr. Pepper – there aren’t many in IT who could handle library work. They aren’t real helpful in my experience.

  26. Dr. Pepper says:

    TwiQatz I would disagree about your comment about the IT folk. Yes there are some people out there that have NO idea what to do in library, but there are many that do. The services and issues just need to be rephrased and recontextualized so that they DO know what to do. Skills are transferable, terminology isnt’ always.

  27. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    Dr. Pepper I have to agree with TwiQatz on this one. I cant count the number of times I have had to help tech people handle simple refence questions even those dealing with computers. Its people skills man people skills. I wont even get into their tech ability …looks out over 15 missing computers, 3 different operating systems…cant someone teach these people about planning!

  28. LoneStar Librarian says:

    AL, you do not speak for everybody about the lack of physicality to librarian jobs. In most public libraries, especially smaller libraries, staff are on their feet, go-go-go all day long, multi-tasking, doing reference, doing Circ when needed, shelving when needed, walking back and forth to the collection with customers, lifting tubs of books, etc. I exercise before I come to work, then at the end of a work day, I am beat, but relatively fit I may add! I have worked hard towards my retirement and I am taking it on schedule, even a little early at age 58. I won’t be rich but I’ll have what I need.

  29. LoneStar Librarian says:

    AL, you do not speak for everybody about the lack of physicality to librarian jobs. In most public libraries, especially smaller libraries, staff are on their feet, go-go-go all day long, multi-tasking, doing reference, doing Circ when needed, shelving when needed, walking back and forth to the collection with customers, lifting tubs of books, etc. I exercise before I come to work, then at the end of a work day, I am beat, but relatively fit I may add! I have worked hard towards my retirement and I am taking it on schedule, even a little early at age 58. I won’t be rich but I’ll have what I need.

  30. Dr. Pepper says:

    Heh, I agree with PoMoLibrarian – however as someone who’s worked in IT (and interacted with the many facets of IT), the issue is not knowledge but rather department culture, and expectations of what services to provide and how to provide them. With a change in culture and a good SLA the issue is solved. Again – skills are there, the implementation is what fails. Encyclopedically, the reason why the library and IT butt heads when they merge is the underlying organization of the culture.

  31. leavingtheoffice says:

    The diplopma millls tell us all sorts of lies to get our money. What they don’t tell us…

    When tenured academic librarians retire, they are either not replaced, or universities hold out for a candidate with 3 languages and additional master’s degrees. When public directors retire, many are being replaced with MBAs or accountants.

    Six years after graduation, I still can’t find a job in a civilized location, so I might just have to go back to school and find a new career. No whining, just facing reality.

  32. H.G. Nearing says:

    Correcting my grammar hardly makes a relevant argument. As for proof of my “arbitrary bias” just visit any local library and go to the first confused, irritable, old biddy you see.

  33. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    IT people may know about technology but I have found over a long career mostly in a corporate setting, more recently academic, that they are not people-oriented. Good librarians are. Technological skills only take one so far in a library setting, far more important are soft skills – communication, listening, coaching. I haven’t found many IT people in 25 years that had those skills. Teachers and librarians, yes. IT is essentially about machines, networks, cables. Librarianship, though it employs technology, is all about people. I usually tend to agree with you Dr. Pepper, but I think you are wrong here.

  34. sidney says:

    “If you won’t go where the jobs are then don’t whine.” I’m not whining because I have a job, but there are places it’s not worth moving to just to find work. There might be “baby librarian” jobs in tiny towns all over America, but who wants to work in Tiny Town, America?

  35. SATXLibrarian says:

    San Antonio is often considered TinyTown, but it is in the top 10 largest cities. I got my first job here at the public library as a “baby librarian” and learned a lot. I had a choice between SA and Houston. The choice was easy since Houston is little better than an armpit. :)

  36. Auntie Nanuuq says:

    I love it! I’m an “older librarian”, 54 to be exact, and what the younger one (30) here puts us through, is amazing. If you ask the community about the changes the young one made….they like their library the way it was… Why? Because this is an “older” community. Yah the young ones are “ambitious”…get rid of all the ones who know the history, the community, the collection, and the technology. Bah!

  37. Slag says:

    My Uncle Jaba refused to retire. He had it good – delivering library services to the Hutt clan. You talk about growing old and fat! Then one day he hires this young librarian Leia and the next thing you know she’s strangling him and tossing his staff into the snake pit. I guess retirement wasn’t in the cards for Uncle Jaba.

  38. relatively young says:

    Get in there and do what you gotta do. Start part-time or even as a volunteer and work your way up. Heck, get three part time jobs. Having a newly-minted MLS does not mean you don’t have to pay your dues and prove your skills. Suck it up. I like old people.

  39. YoungAtHeart says:

    This isn’t the first time I’ve read “retire already” postings. I’m 50 and I have no intention of retiring anytime soon. I paid my dues, I’m entitled to my position because I earned it. Earning something seems to be a foreign concept to too many young people. Grades are earned, not given. Promotions are earned, not given. That said, most of my students are an absolute delight. I like them, they like me. Why? Maybe it’s because I’m a mother figure? I listen to them, I counsel them, I help them, I encourage them. Our newest hire is much younger and male. Being “motherly” I also get to field a lot of complaints – he may be young, but our young female students find him creepy. He’s just a tad too interested in them and when you’re 18, 32 is mighty old. He’s an arrogant young thing too and doesn’t take instruction/advice well. If he did, I’d tell him to cool his heels. But I think that’s a talk our director will get to have with him …

  40. Pointing out the falsehood says:

    There you go again… making a false statement and then getting your undies in a twist about the falsehood.

    You said ‘The Darren Stalemates said something about getting rid of librarians who didn’t work like the twopointopians wanted them to, or something like that.’

    The closest thing I could find is the statement that says ‘Librarians must… Hire the best people and let them do their job; remove staff who cannot or will not.’

    If you’re against this, I assume you advocate NOT removing staff who cannot or will not do their job???

    I could care less about the twopointopian crap, but with this attitude, patrons who cannot get good service at their library (because the librarians can’t or won’t help them) are going to put the library at the top of their list when it comes to cutting the governing body’s (city, college, etc.) budget. That won’t help ANYONE (librarians or patrons).

  41. another young librarian says:

    I really am resenting this idea that people graduating right out of library schools expect to be handed a great job in a major metropolitan area and should instead “earn it.” We don’t expect to be handed a job on a silver platter. However, there are no jobs. Even libraries in Armpit America have hiring freezes. I don’t think that young librarians, or people of any profession are selfish for wanting to find work.

  42. librarygirl says:

    Wow, both young and old sound pretty cranky in these posts! I don’t see why older librarians should retire, unless they aren’t contributing to their respective libraries anymore. It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked in the library for 30 years – that doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to offer less as a librarian now that you’ve ”

  43. librarygirl says:

    My comment was restricted!

  44. TwoQatz says:

    Well, librarygirl, the young wish the old would disappear, the old wish the young would get over themselves. I seem to recall the same sorts of verbal exchanges in the 60s (I was a kid then). There are wonderful older librarians, wonderful younger librarians. Sadly, there are far too many in both generations who should be taken out and shot. I’m sure everyone who posts to this blog has at least one, maybe several co-workers who are past their prime or will never hit it. Just worthless individuals who landed a job and never plan to leave it.

  45. Anonymous says:

    As librarians retire, their jobs will be filled by hourly workers with, at best, an associate’s degree. This will be done by directors who will then increase their own pay with money that might have been spent on someone with an MLIS.

  46. someone says:

    “Our newest hire is much younger and male. Being “motherly” I also get to field a lot of complaints – he may be young, but our young female students find him creepy. He’s just a tad too interested in them and when you’re 18, 32 is mighty old. He’s an arrogant young thing too and doesn’t take instruction/advice well.”

    I was in library school with a couple of guys like that. Ugh.

    If you’re in your 30s and creepily hitting on undergrads…you need to get the h*ll out of academe.

  47. CHK says:

    I know someone like that, but he’s in another part of academia, not specifically libraries. Wouldn’t look at a woman his own age, about 34. He just wants to go out with 18-year-old girls.

  48. Drew says:

    Older librarians should not be forced to retire to back-fill for new graduates. Experience counts for a lot. When I think about it, having a MLIS degree doesn’t qualify one for a job, it just prepares one. Libraries are a business; if you don’t have the skill set a library is looking for in a candidate, move on, suck it up, and lick your wounds. Gain greater job knowledge so when opportunities do come, you’ll be ready.

    Sadly, I am one of the many suckers that believed the ALA’s deception that there will be jobs available after I graduated in 2008. Fortunately, I have a good paying job outside of libraries. It just makes me mad that a lot of these schools, especially these online schools or diploma mills, just keep pumping these graduates out like there going off to war as if to fill a major need of labor in “Libraryland.” These graduates are just left stranded on an empty beach. You grey heads should feel empathy for us; we have grisly futures careers ahead.

    Last year, according to the Library Journal, there were over 5317 Library School graduates. In California, the largest school, San Jose State graduated over 580 students; in Illinois, Dominican graduated about 300, and Univ. of Illinois graduated another 250 graduates; and in Ohio, Kent State graduated another 300 students. Each year these numbers are increasing and increasing, especially with online programs. What is the profession thinking? This over supply of librarians will ultimately drive the profession’s salaries down as more people compete in the workforce for fewer and fewer jobs.

  49. Anonymous and Annoyed says:

    “Sure, librarians are never going to get rich, but neither are they treated like dispensable widgets that can be tossed out during the next reorganization.*”
    * Unless you work for any of a number of public libraries. You can be tossed out on a whim, or at the next time the budget ISN’T approved as written. Then there will be long faces, maybe folks passing the hat, and a long and expensive job search to wherever, “Over the rainbow”, these blasted jobs are that you are supposed to magically find and relocate to out of pocket.

  50. Anonymous says:

    “It just makes me mad that a lot of these schools, especially these online schools or diploma mills, just keep pumping these graduates out like there going off to war as if to fill a major need of labor in “Libraryland.” These graduates are just left stranded on an empty beach. You grey heads should feel empathy for us; we have grisly futures careers ahead.” Somebody should investigate a possible class action for false advertising. That would send a few ripples through the pond.

  51. Mr. Kat says:

    You old librarians had better save up, because when your money runs out once you do retire Us young kids of yours are going to put you in the cheapest nursing home we can possibly find and NO we will not visit!! ;)

    I know what Dr. Pepper means by the Cultural Difference of IT. Over there they assume you are an intelligent human being capable of doing the same level of work thei do to solve their own problems. Not a blinkering oaf. Unfortunately for IT, most of the world are Blinkering Oafs. You’d think then that there is no work for the Intellidiot Tools because a world of Blinkering Oafs couldn’t POSSIBLY need higher intelligence, right.

    But no; the Intellidiot Tools got smart and invented their own little organizational method and this method really does work. Unfortunatley for all the Blinkering Oafs, the ITs wrote the whole thing in IT code, which is worse than reading a wristwatch manual from china. But then the IT field wrote that too…it’s sort of an inside joke, first the manual was first written a primary language [english, japanese, french, spanish], sent to china, translated to chinese, and then they had a poor chinese IT person retranslate it back into english along with ten other languages and stick it on a piece of paper smaller then a square of toilet paper. The joke is that the primary document was written in vague, ambigious and abstract language in the first palce.

    IT than put BO over the barrel and said, very plainly, “if you want the system to work, you’ll pay me what I think I’m worth – and I personally think I’m worth five people.”

    The BOs pay. If they didn’t, they would not have their computer universe to not work on all day at work. Now the BOs DO try to learn the languages, and they DO, but just as they crack one language and start exhibiting amatuer-novice level competance, the IT people smile and say WHAT?? GE$UW?? That is SOOOO yesterday! We’re using HWPSI@E Now!!!

    What a cruel cruel world. All these exclusive clubs…

  52. Dr. Pepper says:

    @NotMarianTheLibrarian we can’t always agree – otherwise that would just be weird :-)

  53. Fools, the lot of you... says:

    …young people can’t even get a job at McDonald’s in this economy, nevermind as librarians. It’s only the beer drinkers and hellraisers that are worth there salt in this economy.

  54. Mid-west says:

    “Especially don’t whine when they are willing to pay you much less than the going rate anywhere, because of this derned economy.” The pay is not bad for this part of the country and the cost of living is much lower. And as far, as “tiny towns”, I don’t consider them that tiny, and a lot of people would rather rather raise their family in places like this. If you insist that the only place you can work is the top 5 largest cities than don’t complain about all the crap that goes with that.

  55. Mr. Kitty Kat says:

    blah, blah, blah; yadda, yadda, yadda; tweedledee, tweedledum; nothing new here; same old, same old; on and on they ramble, blathering nonsense and then some…this is one of the most useless arguments going in the library field and it’s nothing new. Meanwhile, the world just keeps turning and all the rest is just b~ullsh!T

  56. NFK says:

    Let the old farts have their precious jobs.

    In a couple of years, they will be closing down the libraries totally and those jobs will be gone for good.

    You better polish up those apples for your cart and be prepared to go live in an Obamaville.

  57. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    No, we can’t always agree Dr. Pepper. Life would not only be weird it would be dull!

  58. MLIS student says:

    AL, I think you’re hilarious. The sheer fact that you’ve entertained young whippersnappers like me everywhere with your blog for 3 years, won the respect of the mainstream library community through LJ, while still maintaining your edgy sense of humor only validates my suspicion that you are NOT, in fact,an old fogie. Even if you’re 157 years old, you’re still the coolest librarian I know. Because hell, at least you’re DOING something, raising questions, challenging MLIS students to actually THINK about what they’ve signed up for instead of naively dishing out money with high ideals and idiot aspirations.
    For the record, I’m not planning to swoop in on any old librarian’s job. I wouldn’t complain if the library I currently worked at promoted me, but I want all my older coworkers around to help me out whenever <

  59. MLIS student says:

    I wouldn’t complain if the library I currently worked at promoted me, but I want all my older coworkers around to help me out whenever I screw up.

  60. oldfolks,notyet says:

    God help people around here if I retire! I’m the only one who knows where things are. Also, I know more about database searching than any 3 people just out of library school. When ”

  61. TMR says:

    I feel sorry for people who are so indefensible. You cannot take a vacation, take a day off, call in sick, turn off your cell phone (that is the contraption that you can use to connect to the Bell System to talk person to person)etc….

    NOBODY can be taught like you were or know anything you know.

    You are the Library God and we bow down to you.

  62. Not really that old says:

    I find it hilarious that anyone thinks people of 40 or 50 as old. That’s not old! My mom is 79 and is very tech savvy! C’mon, if you are 25 or 30 it’s time to stop thinking like a kid and start realizing we are all supposed to be adults.

  63. ZRX says:

    Don’t trust anyone over 30.

  64. Demosthenes says:

    In my experience unions for clerical staff
    are bad news. The promotion goes to drum roll… the undergraduate dropout who has worked in a similar position shabbily for 5 years. Unions + Libraries = Joke

  65. Demosthenes says:

    responding to this statement

  66. anonymous says:

    If you truly are a young wanna-be librarian, then you need to get over your entitlement issues. Have a nice day.

    Signed, a middle-aged wanna-be librarian who hates entitlement

  67. rcn says:

    Tina, have you ever read about something called the Great Depression? Have you read about the abyss that is our current global economy ? Are you aware of the genuine fear and dismay shared by many, many people – including those who have successfully planned and invested for a healthy retirement? If not, kindly read up on current issues rather than blaming people for failing to plan for their retirement. Better yet, listen to some of them – they’re all around you.

  68. you''ll accuse me of arrogance says:

    Have your nice shiny MLS/MLIS and want a job in an academic research library? Stop complaining, get a doctorate in some subject field (not LIS), do serious research, publish it, and help patrons – especially graduate students.

    If that’s too hard or not your inclination, fine. But don’t expect a job in an ARL library anytime soon.

  69. you''ll accuse me of arrogance says:

    Have your nice shiny MLS/MLIS and want a job in an academic research library? Stop complaining, get a doctorate in some subject field (not LIS), do serious research, publish it, and help patrons – especially graduate students.

    If that’s too hard or not your inclination, fine. But don’t expect a job in an ARL library anytime soon.

  70. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    Silly silly NFK – the demise of libraries has been predicted since I was in library school (early 1980s). In one form or another, they’ll remain. Read the papers (or a Web site) lately? Public libraries have been inundated with people using their services – books, computers, AV, wireless. We’re not so friendly at our private university but I assure you, we are seeing more visitors willing to use our visitor computers (our oldest and slowest). In these hard times, libraries are a great place to hang out. Generally, folks who work in them don’t judge too harshly.

  71. Mr. Kat says:

    The problem with long term predictions is that the common person expects them to come true before they are projected to come true – as in, the second after the prediction is made.

    The Nice part about a prediciton is that it gives those people who are willing to take the situation seriously time to do something that results in a different outcome – perhaps for just themselves, perhaps for many more people.

    A prediction is only as good as the stability of the timeline after it is made. If an entire economy changes, there’s a high chance the whole prediciton goes away. Or part of it falls apart. The point of the matter is, one small skip in time can put the whole course of history out of whack.

    Ten years ago in the roaring 90s when everybody was going to a retirement at 50, we could say this might have become true. But even then we had retirees working at Walmart.

    The greatest chage we’re going to see in the next 15 years will be in Academia. The legitamcy gap between what Universities offer [A degree that will get a great job] and what they deliver [a degree that isn't even worth the envelope it is stuff in] is too big to ignore.

  72. FinalExam says:

    ye Gods! brevity mr. kat … brevity

  73. GYD says:

    “Have your nice shiny MLS/MLIS and want a job in an academic research library? Stop complaining, get a doctorate in some subject field (not LIS), do serious research, publish it, and help patrons – especially graduate students. If that’s too hard or not your inclination, fine. But don’t expect a job in an ARL library anytime soon.”

    Also, be prepared to wait months to hear back from hiring committees and the fact that they will pay you pennies on the dollar what they would pay a new hire in other departments: be they professors or janitors.

  74. Dr. Pepper says:

    Personally I would much rather teach with a PhD than be a librarian. Not that it’s any easier to get a job, but I would prefer to teach instead of pontificating about how students can’t be monitored when watching porn on our machines…but on the other hand Martinis are good….that’s a thought… (by the way, this commenting system stinks)

  75. decent-looking straight guy says:

    Dr.Pepper says:

    “but I would prefer to teach instead of pontificating about how students can’t be monitored when watching porn on our machines”

    Dr. Pepper you are likely smart enough to realize that would be a false dichotomy. There are other academic library jobs for people with doctorates besides the Quest for Porn Liberation (and therefore your only choices are not merely porn advocacy or teaching) – Perhaps, though, you just meant that in the present you are facing those two choices, and considered the martini amelioration effect. That’s a valid enough point though. I’ll still go for a beer though.

  76. Katherine says:

    If you truly spend all your time being an ”

  77. Katherine says:

    If you truly spend all your time being an annoyed librarian maybe you should switch fields. I’m all in for debate and critical discussion but a lot of what I hear from you is griping.

  78. notgriping says:

    I don’t consider this griping, Katherine. I believe AL should be required reading for anyone considering an MLIS. Our martini-drinking blogger raises many a question that library schools won’t. And the people who have jobs don’t seem to be griping – they’re making honest comments about the profession. It is damn hard to get a decent position in LibraryLand. It has been all of my career (more than 25 years) and library schools and ALA are guilty of false advertising. I for one am tired of hearing newbies whine about the job market and how hard it is to catch a break. I took a huge chance all those years ago that I would be able to find a job when I finished my MLIS. If today’s youngsters are so tech-savvy and smart, how come they haven’t found our AL and gotten a real feeling for job prospects. It’s called research and that’s what one can do in the places called … libraries.

  79. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    You know Dr. Pepper, there are times I wish I had the Ph.D. and a nine-month contract … sigh … but then I’d HAVE to read student papers and that would just about kill me.

  80. Dr. Pepper says:

    No each his (or her) own NotMarianTheLibrarian :-)

    By the way, depending on your contract you may be able to get a 9-month appointment. I know of several cases where this was done – of course the librarians were part of the faculty, and there was a pay cut involved.

  81. Seen it all says:

    In my experience, Mother is code for gossiping, interfering, busybody. The kind that runs to her boss or co-worker as soon as you leave the room to undermine you. You are hired to do a job, not be mother to younger adults or co-workers.

  82. jmo says:

    Couple of questions: 1) What do the people who can’t find a job in the megacity they insist on living in think they are going to miss if they move somewhere else for a few years and build up experience? Do they really think they cannot get organic produce or latte in the sticks? Do they really think that digital cable or the internet does not exist in statistical areas under 5 million people? How many times can you go to the art museum or afford theatre tickets on a Barnes &

  83. JMO says:

    Noble cashier’s salary? 2) To the person(s) scorning 30-ish academes’ interest in co-eds…I always thought that lechery was one of the major perks of being in academia? You think in all honesty that such types would willingly give that up?

  84. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    Okay Seen it all … I’m thinking your mother must have been a piece of work! In all my years on the job, it was never the sweet motherly/grandmotherly types I worried about. It was the evil bastards of both sexes who made no bones about their ruthlessness. And the stupid ones – they were probably the most dangerous of all. If some of my favorite students through the years thought of me as a mother figure, I’d be real happy about that. And Dr. Pepper … so sad to report, librarians at my institution are not eligible for 9-month contracts. :-(

  85. seen it all says:

    My mother was great. It’s the people who define themselves as the motherly type in the workplace who usually really are not. The types that really are motherly usually don’t have to call themselves that; they just are. And if co-eds wanted their mother with them they wouldn’t leave home and go away to college.

  86. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    Um … seen it all, many, maybe most of our students call their parents once or twice a day. Those apron strings are closely and firmly knotted. They may be living here but mom is just a thrice-daily call away.

  87. RolyPoly Librarian says:

    Funny… I’ve seen both sides of the coin. I’ve seen the librarian of age to retire, who can’t – due to financial or personal reasons, who is totally frustrated with staff and patron alike – but still able to kick all our butts when it comes to true librarianship (as well as able to learn all the new technology requiredto handle her job). I’ve also seen the “new” librarian, dying to get into the field, who rapidly becomes disillusioned and frustrated with staff and patron alike. What everyone needs to realize is that to be a decent librarian, you must have the HEART of a librarian – outside of that, we each have our strengths and weaknesses. Not everyone can (or wishes to) “Twitter,” but not everyone can have the perspective offered by having lived through a few stages (and repetitions) of history.

    My $.02 + inflation.

    Guess my opinion makes me “middle-aged?”

  88. McNasty says:

    Somebody above posted:
    “We do XML, ASP, PHP, SQL, and “gasp” own a Kindle and an iPhone.”

    Please stop with the PHP and SQL.. now. I’ve seen more exploitable code coming from librarians who have either completed some half-baked online tutorial or read “PHP and MySQL Web Development” than any other avenue (with the possible exception of the CEOs nephew).

    Leave the code to the people who do it for a living.

  89. AngelaB says:

    What younger librarians need to realize is that getting a libary job is HARD. It took me 5 years of applying and interviewing after I got my MLS to get into a public library, and I am at age 38, one the youngest in the libary system. My county isn’t hiring period, and if people retire they won’t be replaced. Yes, there are a lot of retirements but the jobs just aren’t there.

  90. Mr. Kat says:

    If you foregone college at 18 and entered the military services instead, you would now be pulling a retirement check equivalent to half your pay in the last three months. You would also have full medical benefits, your undergraduate degree might be finished [cleps, college while in the service], your next degree or the education for your children would be paid for, and if you banked up yourself well, the service paid for roughly 85% of your mortgage, if not all of it.

    Now to add insult to injury; if you were on the job market now, just having four years of active service on your record and a honorable discharge automatically puts you on the top of the stack for many government jobs. Other places smile favorably on service as well, becasue surprise surprise, many of your people working everywhere are retired service people now working on a second career…never mind that retirement check that rolls in every month!! Take a guess how those librarians can afford to take such a low paid job and not eat Ramen every night!!!

    I’m only sad that I didn’t get hit over the head with the smart stick earlier, or I would have done this right after I finished my bachelors degree!!!

  91. Faye says:

    I just turned 68 . Do I want to still be working – no. Can I afford to retire – no. I got my M.L.S. in 1966 – before most of you were born. I learned computers on the job as a special librarian for the U.S. Army. Without the military there would be no internet. Think about that the next time you kick the military. I have worked part time for a city library system since I retired from Civil Service. All that saves me is that I am permanent part time. I have 43 years of experience. Young is not good but neither is old.