Get Over the "Graying" Profession Hype

Finishing up library school and starting to look for that first job? You should feel courted. The American Library Association (ALA) and other professional associations have gone into full-court press recruitment mode, pointing out that librarianship is "graying" faster than other professions and that we soon will be in need of young, vibrant, new professionals to replace all of those to retire. Read It At LJ

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Jobs for young librarians

This is an excellent article--but only if read in its entirety. I was surprised to see the percentage of young librarians was so much lower than other professions, however, the strengths brought to the library field through 2nd career entry librarians is fantastic.

I once trained a serials clerk in her early 50s who was getting her 3rd master's level degree, the MLS. She wasted no time and quickly moved up and on--my loss, because she was outstanding, but right for her. She was working in a professional position before she got her MLS degree.

I suppose that's part of the ALA's job

Recruiting, after all. I can't think of a better angle to come from than, "Lots of jobs! People are retiring!" whether it's entirely true or not.

I would trust Occupational Outlook over what the ALA says, actually, since of course the ALA is a little biased on bringing people into the profession.

I guess I have an atypical library. Most librarians at our library, at least the ones not in upper management, are younger (in the 25-35 year range). The circ desk is a little older than that range. I'd be interested to see how that compares with the national average, actually.

Part of the charm in my job interview: the director, who to my 30 year old self is an older woman, mentioned old people in the same way little kids say, "When I grow up..." She obviously doesn't think of herself in these terms. I think that's really neat. If you love your job, and have your health, why retire?

Don't hold your breath

It's nice in theory, but another profession that is supposedly graying and leaving unfilled positions is teaching. That hasn't helped me get a job, and I have experience (3.5 years).

I have a hunch that the only time that this graying thing works the way it's predicted is when the economy is going gung-ho. Right now, in a jobless "recovery" people are clinging to their jobs for dear life and will probably put off retirement for a few years.

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