A Kind Reader sent me a link to this job ad with some negative comments. It’s the first ad quite like this that I’ve seen.
On the surface, it’s nothing special. An academic library is looking for a “library technology specialist,” basically someone to work on computers, update software, do some web stuff, etc.
The offending portion for Kind Reader was the Preferred Qualifications:
Broad general education with special interest in computers and their applications in libraries. Enrollment in or recent (2010-2012) completion of a program of study in library science. Prior experience working with computer networks, experience working with Microsoft Windows, and proficient in popular software applications (Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe products, Mozilla products). Web authorship skills and/or application proficiency.
This is an administrative position, not a librarian position, but applicants with recent MLS degrees will be considered if willing to accept a non-librarian position.
Kind Reader commented: “So 50K later, and within 2 years one’s degree is worthless?”
Yep, that pretty much sums it up, at least for this job.
The job doesn’t require an MLS. The Minimum Qualifications don’t mention a degree at all, so technically someone without even a college degree would be qualified if they had the necessary skills.
Nevertheless, they’d like someone with an MLS, or at least some experience in library school. That’s understandable. Librarians are a peculiar bunch, and having some feel for the culture would help people communicate with them.
The recency of the degree is one of the odd things about the job ad. Why only within that 2-year completion window? Is someone who earned an MLS in 2009 so out of date?
There was a similar instance of something like this in the academic news last year. Colorado State University was criticized after advertising for an English professor position that required the person have earned a PhD between 2010 and the time of appointment.
With both jobs I have to wonder why 2010 as the cut off. Did something magical happen in library education after 2009? Or is 2010 just a nice round number? I suspect that’s more like it. 2010 will probably be the go to number for places looking for a cut off for the outdated until 2017, at which time 2015 will take over.
Nevertheless, it’s bad news for potential job seekers if this dubious requirement ever became common. It’s hard to find a job right out of library school and then impossible two years later. Something’s wrong with that picture.
The other odd thing that I haven’t seen before is deliberately saying this isn’t a librarian job but that they want someone with a library degree. I know there are lots of MLS holders working in non-professional jobs because they can’t find professional work.
I also know lots of previously professional jobs have been reduced to non-professional jobs.
But I haven’t seen a job ad specifically stating this isn’t a professional position but they want someone qualified for such a position anyway. Has anyone seen other ads like that?
I suspect there will be plenty of people who finished library school in the past couple of years who would be “willing to accept a non-librarian position” just to have a job, but whatever such a request says about the job situation in libraries right now can’t be good.