Holt, Rachel; Strock, Adrienne L.
May 2005
Library Journal;5/1/2005, Vol. 130 Issue 8, p36
Trade Publication
The article discusses the library science profession and the difficulty in finding an entry-level job. Data from the library job market and mounting anecdotal evidence show that there is cause for alarm. The number of full-time, professional positions in libraries is dwindling, salaries continue to be depressed, more entry-level positions are being liquidated or "deprofessionalized," and qualified job seekers are having trouble securing work. Meanwhile, an industrywide MLS recruitment drive is in full swing, ensuring another large crop of graduates will be spilled out into the job market each year. Even looking at aggregate numbers, the situation is bleak. The last American Library Association (ALA) estimates, from 2000, give a total of 41,000 job openings owing to growth and replacement for the years 2000-10 (down by 4000 jobs from its earlier estimates for 1996 to 2006). ALA states in the same report that 4,577 people graduated with MLS degrees in the year 2000. The number for 1996 was 5,099, so we can comfortably assume that about 5000 MLS graduates enter the job market each year. This means that, at last count, there will be about 4100 jobs open each year until 2010 for the 5000 new librarians each year. If what we found for the job opportunities in the period studied holds true for the remainder of the year, then a significant portion of those graduates will not qualify for a significant portion of those jobs. The evidence strongly suggests that new librarians are neither sought nor considered for even entry-level librarian positions. The evidence also suggests that the jobs that new professionals need to gain vital experience are the very jobs being cut or greatly reduced.


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