who’re you calling an oxymoron?

I love this post  by Ryan Deschamps because it expresses so many things that I have thought or felt but haven’t been able to express about librarianship.

Let us look at point number eight:

8.   Accredited Library Schools Do Not Adequately Prepare Students for Library Work

The process for creating ‘professional’ librarians has long been criticized for its lack of relevance to real life library work.    It’s like saying we are great espresso-making experts because we understand the secrets of tea bag design.

It would be pretty easy for anyone to figure out where I went to library school, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I will say this: my library school experience was sub-par. The librarian who taught my intro course was pulled in at the last minute and spent the semester showing us websites and terrible power-point presentations. In all my following classes,  professors would say, “As you remember from your intro course…” and I would sit there, having absolutely NO CLUE what they were talking about. Out of all the courses I took, only three or four required effort beyond the minimum, and only two felt like actual graduate level coursework.

I must add that I think this is probably true of most graduate schools these days and even most colleges. A bachelor’s degree has really become the new high school diploma, in my opinion. Colleges are strapped for cash and have begun enrolling anyone who can pay the tuition or bring in the federal loan money. I mean, when I think of some of the people I went to college with…hoo doggies.

I think my master’s degree prepared me adequately for many aspects of being a librarian, but I don’t know if it gave me the tools to be an exceptional one. If I were less self-motivated and vainglorious, I think I’d be a pretty mediocre librarian. Frankly, without my background in preschool teaching, it probably would have been harder for me to get my foot in the door at many libraries, since my degree really isn’t all that special in and of itself . Especially since it feels like tons of people who went to my school are staying in the area, inundating the job market to a frightening degree. Couple that with all of the swarms of retiring librarians who got spooked by the economy and decided to not retire, and you’re left with a bunch of graduates with essentially the same credentials all vying for a dwindling number of positions.

We’ve sort of segued nicely into another topic that is dear to my heart–the job search. Specifically, the library world job search. How does one find a job in their chosen profession? What about ye old cover letter and resume? The interview! I’m no expert, but I’ve done quite a few searches in my short career, and I think have some good tips to pass on.  We’ll talk about that tomorrow*.

fondly yours,

Miss Julie

*and by tomorrow I mean, when I get around to it. I will aim for “soon”.

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