Some of you might have already seen this news story a kind reader sent to me. I’m finding the whole story a bit odd, and wondered what you all think.
Supposedly there’s a shortage of librarians. You’ve heard this before, I know, but this time it’s more specific. There’s supposedly a shortage of librarians in Montana. That came as a surprise to me, because I didn’t even know there were any libraries in Montana. I thought it was all mountains and moose. The Montana State Library thinks librarians are hard to come by. "The state library is currently running a media campaign promoting librarianship as a career. In past years the Montana State Library has also offered scholarships for Montanans pursuing library graduate degrees."
A media campaign. Wow! That should solve the problem, if indeed they have a problem. Oh, and those scholarships? Where did they come from? Money from an irrational IMLS grant in 2003, part of the US Government’s ALA-inspired and utterly misguided effort to solve the problem of a librarian shortage that didn’t exist. If the government is going to waste my tax dollars on something, at least it could be something we could all enjoy, like fireworks displays or in-home foot massages or something.
One might question whether there really is a librarian shortage in Montana, and if so what might the cause be. This story was published in the Great Falls Tribune, but doesn’t look very encouraging to Great Falls residents.
"The Great Falls Public Library employs five master’s degree level librarians. The library isn’t currently hiring librarians and won’t be until one of those positions goes vacant, said library director JimHeckel. ‘When we do need them, it’s difficult to find somebody,’ he said.’"
Now that sounds more like it! It’s great logic. We don’t have any jobs for librarians, but on the off chance we do it’s hard to find librarians.Hmm, I wonder why?
Could it be the pay? "Librarians in Montana earn between $13 and $22 an hour, according to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry." Methinks it could be the pay, especially if that’s the range, so that it means the newer librarians would make about $13/ hour and the more experienced ones could work their way up to a stratospheric $22/hour.
I just don’t understand the standards of portions of this profession. Who would spend a year or two and thousands of dollars on a so-called graduate degree that might earn a new librarian $13/hour. What makes it more bizarre are the comments in the article trumpeting how specialized and difficult librarianship is these days (please, no snickering). Who would spend this sort of money for so little reward or prestige? Morons, that’s who.
Based on the evidence in this article, Montana – like the rest of the country – doesn’t have a librarian shortage. It has a moron shortage. As hard as it is to believe, the whole country seems to have a moron shortage, and this is what has made it hard to find librarians, if indeed it is hard to find librarians.
And no doubt Montana is trying to grow its own librarians who couldn’t compete nationally, because there’s almost no chance of finding morons from other parts of the country to move to Montana for that rate, even if there were jobs, which it seems there aren’t.
The situation seems to defy logic until you realize there’s a conspiracy against librarians. If there really was a librarian shortage, paying higher salaries and advertising those high salaries on job sites would take care of the problem. The pay of librarians isn’t rising dramatically to attract new librarians. Thus, there really isn’t a shortage. It’s like the folks at ALA and the Montana State Library and the IMLS and every other place pushing this myth never heard of supply and demand.
Once again, we have a news story propagated by a library organization proclaiming the myth of the librarian shortage. Whoever’s in this conspiracy, the aim is obvious. Keep as many unemployed librarians as possible in the country. This keeps wages low and makes librarians expendable, thus increasing the control over them by the powers that run libraries. The logic is clear. "We don’t have any jobs at the moment, but if we ever do have a job open we want a large pool of unemployed librarians desperate for work so we can get them cheap and keep them in line because they’re utterly expendable." It’s the logic of every domineering exploiter, and it’s coming to a library near you.