Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Librarian Not One of the Best Jobs

Money Magazine published its "Best Jobs in America" a couple weeks ago. Librarians didn't make the Top 50. But they were mentioned on the supplemental list:

Job Growth 10-year Forecast: 4.94%
Average Pay (Salary & Bonus): $52,977

The average pay isn't bad, but the growth forecast is terrible. Only a few jobs are projected to grow more slowly in the coming decade. This is a scary statistic. I don't like being grouped alongside dead jobs like reporters, historians, and legislators.

At the moment there is an ongoing study called "The Future of Librarians in the Workforce." The blurb on their website mentions "anticipated labor shortages." The number of expected retirements must be profound, because the Money list says growth is slow while everyone keeps telling me the library schools are overflowing with students these days eager to get out there and be librarians. How then could there be a shortage unless everyone already in is leaving? I expect the study would address the anemic growth rate mentioned on the Money list. Somehow that needs to change.

The leader of the Workforce study, Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, Dean of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is scheduled to give a presentation at the SLA conference in Baltimore in June. She will give an update on the progress of the study. I look forward to hearing it.

Of interest to me is whether there is any hidden agenda associated with this study--were specific results desired before it began? A close reading of the recommendations should tell us if there were. I only mention this because I've noticed some prominent librarians enjoy subordinating library issues to other causes more dear to their hearts.

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