“Challenges have been plentiful!” was the common refrain across the 2011 graduating class. As the general economy continues its slow climb out of recession, this past year offered ongoing unemployment and stiff competition for jobs, especially for school library media specialists and reference librarians. However, despite erroneous media reports that library and information science (LIS) is a dying field, there were numerous bright spots and unprecedented gains, ranging from positive salary growth to increased numbers of placements in agencies outside of library environments, and an exciting array of descriptors available to students seeking work inside the LIS field and elsewhere.
Salaries for new LIS graduates exhibited healthy growth that was dependent upon multiple factors, including regional differences such as relative cost of living and population density, while longitudinal data indicates that region plays a role in salary levels.
Details on jobs and pay for 2011 LIS grads, broken down by region, type of role, school, and more.
A total 1,789 LIS graduates responded to LJ’s annual Placements & Salaries Survey, representing a solid 37.3% of the approximately 4790 2010 graduates from the 38 participating schools. Read all about what they’re experiencing, where the jobs are, and salary trends, and dig into the data here.
For 2010 graduates, the past year presented challenges in finding professional jobs with adequate living wages; however, it also offered unexpected opportunities and sounded positive notes despite a battered economy.
A region by region and library by library examination of the survey results shows strength in the Midwest, confirms a decline in public library jobs as budgets get cut, and more.
On the upside, jobs in private industry continued to be lucrative for new LIS graduates, with higher starting salaries and more jobs on offer. On the downside, all too many grads are struggling to make ends meet working lower-paid jobs in coffee shops, retail stores, and offices.
In a year that brought disappointment to many grads, both women and men found modest salary growth in a number of areas, and the gender gap closed significantly. Graduates claiming minority status recovered much of what was lost in 2009, but inequity persists.
Numbers and statistics do not convey the complete story. The words of the graduates provide a sense of what is really happening. They spoke of both triumphs and disappointments in reaching their postgraduation goals and expectations.