February 16, 2018

Feedback: Letters to LJ, January 2012

The MLS belittled

While I realize the inclusion of the Annoyed Librarian (AL) on your website is driving up traffic, AL’s blog entry [“New Grads on the Market,” ow.ly/7ZjmW] is not amusing. As you at LJ must know, finding entry-level positions for new MLS grads is next to impossible. The degree is not enough; now you must have extra master’s degrees, teaching certificates, bilingual skills, three to five years of experience, supervisory experience (often for entry-level jobs), and more.

While I am the mother of one of these unfortunate souls, I find it disheartening that you allow someone to bully, belittle, and intimidate those who entered the profession due to being misled by associations and those in the field. Once the newly minted discover what is happening in the field, they now have lost thousands of dollars as well as hope. Due to this I have a low opinion not only of the profession but of those who are in the profession…. As an individual who spent her life in a psychology career, I can tell you that there was mentoring. We do not openly humiliate those who enter the career.

Instead, in the library field people make their living by writing books and doing seminars to get the newly minted librarians to spend money to learn to market an MLS openly belittled by the very same people who encourage and profit from newly minted MLS degree holders. This open negating of the degree only makes employers see the degree in and of itself as useless. The AL entry was mean-spirited and in the spirit that I have increasingly observed from your ranks.

—Name withheld upon request

Splitting jobs

I am currently working as a part-time library clerk, hoping to find something better in the near future (ow.ly/7ZjmW). I am well aware that I will likely have to commute a long distance or simply move in order to get a decent job. Although with the way the economy is, most of the libraries I apply to are taking full-time positions and splitting them in half so they don’t have to pay their employees benefits.

—Name withheld upon request

Move to nowhere

The real key to getting a library job: be willing to move to the middle of nowhere (ow.ly/7ZjmW). The libraries in my area are constantly hiring. Sure, it sucks to move from somewhere cosmopolitan and exciting to a complete backwater, but stick it out for a couple of years, and hopefully you’ll be able to find a job somewhere slightly better. Repeat that cycle a few times, and you might even end up back in civilization again.

—Name withheld upon request

Can’t sell themselves

The problem I am seeing is that librarians (particularly new ones) have no clue about how to sell themselves during the hiring process (ow.ly/7ZjmW). Résumés that look like they were typed in Notepad, contain far to little detail, contain far too much detail (more than two pages is not appropriate outside an academic environment), and poorly tailored to the position are the standard. A good looking résumé is a rarity. I suspect that many of those bemoaning the lack of jobs are unable to obtain jobs due as much to their lack of skill as the market in general.

—Name withheld upon request

Get advice elsewhere

Here’s a hint for all library science grads (ow.ly/7ZjmW): Do not take advice on résumé building or interviewing from your department. Instead, go to another department like business…you will get better advice.

Name withheld upon request

Online MLIS is tougher

I am going to finish my MLIS in May 2012. I will have completed it all online. I find it rather offensive to be referred to as “silly” because I didn’t attend classes in person (ow.ly/7ZjmW). I haven’t been able to go to class and simply absorb the information. There is much more reading and self-motivated learning in the online environment. It is easier when you can see your professor and classmates.

—Name withheld upon request

Facebook channel

The user analysis study you refer to (ow.ly/7ZkNa) ignores the value of Facebook as a channel for “pushing” library news to users who “like” the page but might not regularly visit the library’s main website. For our library, Face­book is another channel (like Twitter) by which our blog stories can reach a larger audience. Whether readers like or comment on the posts doesn’t necessarily mean [they have] been ­ignored.

—Name withheld upon request

Facebook in the PL

The draw of social networking for public libraries, at least in my neighborhood, seems to center on their daily and after-school programming, announcing events, asking for patron input, and keeping the rest of the neighborhood involved. Although academic libraries may participate less beyond their campus (ow.ly/7ZkNa), their archives and special collections (whose successes depend largely on their out-of-campus outreach) may benefit from starting their own pages.

—Name withheld upon request


Author JoAnn Ross (On Lavender Lane, LJ 12/11, p. 106) now resides in the Pacific Northwest. Our review hadn’t yet caught up with her move.

We meant to give Ken West Photography (www.kenwestphotography.com) credit for the beautiful shot of Arkansas’s Van Buren Public Library (LJ 12/11, p. 37). Also, Elise H. Mahoney is responsible for the well-rounded photo (p. 33) of the University of California–Santa Cruz McHenry Library.

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