Should you become a librarian?

Use this flowchart to decide whether you should become a librarian. I hope you find it helpful.


well this is depressing

Why? Why bash librarians people? I'm a qualified academic librarian, and this is a load of tripe. I could have a chuckle at the flowchart, sure - I've met plenty of librarians who make me weep with how they fit that stereotype perfectly! And I have to admit, I tried public libraries, didn't do anything for me, but I'm a regular user and I'm glad they are there. But some of these comments are appalling.

Stamp books? Sorry, haven't done that in nearly 3 years. RFID, brilliant technology, frees us up to help our library users (mostly HE students and tutors, but could be members of the community too).

No future? As more and more information becomes available to us, we all need help in knowing where to look, how to evaluate information, and how to organise and synthesise that information. THIS is what academic librarianship is all about:

I teach, I have a first degree, a Masters, getting a teaching qualification. Plus I get the added bonus of managing a variety of collections (print and online).

So you know what? those of you who came on here simply to wind a few people up? Well done, you succeeded - but maybe you need to open your mind a little?

Right then, back to those kitties... ;)

should you become a librarian

I changed careers at 50 and have been working for my library district for almost 9 years. I now buy fiction for our district. My boss is fabulous, I love most of our patrons, and the job is fun. I made more money before, but I grew to hate my job. Go librarianship! (The downside of the library degree is the downsizing of library budgets and lack of jobs today.)


No, but I did anyways.................buwa ha ha ha ha!


It's a calling

Humour not understood by the young

It was funny, it didn't tell the whole truth about librarians and libraries, I don't think it was supposed to. Goodness can't people post funny things without stirring up a critique of baby boomers and job satisfaction. Btw I am a librarian of long standing and am planning on holding on to my brilliant library job for a long time to come, suck on that Gen Y.

Wow. It's very revealing how

Wow. It's very revealing how no one has dogpiled this commenter for this comment.

RE: Reality Check

Sounds like you're living in a fantasy land. We like to think that people need us to navigate "billions of pieces of information" but they really don't. They can do it just as well, and better in some cases. And they don't even need an MLS - imagine that!

Reality Check

As someone who has worked in several different fields, I can honestly say that there were days as a teacher, as a technology integrationist, as a bookstore clerk, as a waitress and as a typist that I felt undervalued, unappreciated and walked on. These feelings are not unique to the library world.

As far as librarians not being needed -- yes, information is readily available. But the internet is something like a library in which all the books have been taken off the shelves, pages ripped out and thrown all over. A good librarian is able to help a patron navigate the billions of pieces of information to find the one that is needed. That, to me, is a pretty awesome job!!

And, I get no greater thrill than to have a patron come up to me and say, "That book you gave me is the best one I ever read."

Living in Reality

the original reason for the flowchart

maybe you remember a post with this link a while ago, ?

so as I read that, I wondered what kind of flowchart I could make for librarians. it's not easy to come up with a flowchart when you have no flow to chart. but since my only goal was to make something that might be funny, the paths were wide open.

flowcharting isn't easy for "should you become a librarian?" there are many routes to get to get to the same 'yes/no' answers. so after some time, I just simplified it down to some major complaints I hear about the lack of respect for the profession and the prevalence for feline companionship.

there are many other gags one could make. and I'm sure the chart could be better if I cared more. but it's just a joke. ha and ha.

made me chuckle

And I forwarded it to my staff and most of them got a chuckle out of it too. The day we can't laugh at our stereotypes (while simultaneously working to dispel them) is a sad sad day indeed.
Thanks for making me laugh.

Original reason

Funny. As with most humor (humour if M. Gorman is reading) about our profession, it's incomplete, but there's enough truth to it to be funny. I liked it. It's hard to do a humorous flowchart about the positive aspects of librianship - - as Lewis Black wrote, all humor comes from tension/surprise. Nice job and thanks for sharing!



The proportion of under-30 MLS job applications we get is growing every year. I expect the average new graduate age is still pretty high, but it's definitely shifting.

But no one is required to get out of your way regardless. Those who feel most entitled are also the quickest to burn out and turn bitter.

um, guys?

It's satire. You know that, right?

Of Course....

But then...people get rude and make it personal....

I thought it was funny!


Your point?

Your point?

and another thing

Mean anonymous comments are just that. I don't get really worked up if the writing on the bathroom stall wall says that I'm a loser, so why would I get upset about someone posting something mean on the internet?

Every good library should have something offensive to everyone. This is one of those times.

Bathroom Stall Walls?

Are these personal attacks (eg, "AndyW is a loser") or generic comments ("you're a loser")?


I wouldn't take much credence in either, although the former is certainly more personal.

I'm 22, btw

I'm 22, btw

New media

I got my first full time library gig part way through my second semester of library school because I have new media admin experience. Libraries aren't dying - the job's just changing.

RE: Something else

Those programs are more for the librarian to stay busy than to actually provide anything of substance for customers.

Attendance does not show your view

If that was even remotely true, programs would not be so heavily attended.

Brian C. Gray

Something else.

I would also like to point out that most librarians that I know spend the bulk of their time creating programs for patrons and students, and such.


Walt-- your comment only demonstrates that you know absolutely nothing about the library field.

Most newly graduated librarians aren't 23. On the contrary, most MLS graduates are 30+ and are onto their second careers upon entering the field.

Thanks for playing. Try again.


When the day comes that I take "you know absolutely nothing about the library field" seriously from Anonymous, I'll complete my passage to retirement. Most isn't all; as Brian Gray's signed comment here notes, some librarians are indeed in their 20s. (Oh, my username is Walt but I'm perfectly willing to provide my full name; just add the Crawford. I may not know anything about the field, but I've been involved in it for several decades...and still am.)

Actually the trend you

Actually the trend you describe was true a few years ago, but that does not mean that some librarians did not enter the field in their 20s.

The last 5 years or so, library schools have had to adjust greatly because the students in their 20s has grown drastically.

Brian C. Gray

Remove head from sand.

Why do you think there is so much self-loathing? It's because librarians are realizing that they are dinosaurs. I'll bet you find a lot more information on your own than you did 10 years ago. Guess what, so can our patrons. And don't give me this information overload hype. Being a librarian can be a great career but we have to realize that the environment is changing, and not for the good for future librarians.

Speaking as a non-librarian...

...some of the anonymous comments are little sad. I'd hate to work in a library where new librarians are consumed with hatred for those who've been around for a while. 35 years in the field isn't all that long, and certainly not long enough for retirement in many/most cases. (Get the MLS at 23, you'd be 58 years old--and I don't know of many librarian salaries that would yield a comfy retirement at age 58.)

As for the various "who needs librarians anyway?" posts, it's always interesting to see the extent of self-loathing within the field, but that's the subject of a post I've deliberately avoided writing...

Missing the point

Wake up people. When librarians retire, their jobs are reassigned or given to paraprofessionals. You're missing the point here. We are no longer needed by the public to find information. Your graduate degree is worthless. Maybe it will get you a job at Border's but that's about it.


Information is now self-serve. Librarians are only needed to fix printer jams and shelve books. If you want a profession with a future, try something else.


Yes this is Library 2.0.... self-service technology...... It is the trend of the "modern" library.



this is the most amazing thing ever - nailed it!

On a rampage... :)

I'm the same commenter from above...just one more thing to say...

Auntie Nanuuq-- you say you've been in this profession for 35 years? Retire already. Seriously. Give someone younger an opportunity to kick start their career. Stop milking the system. Thanks!

Get Over It

I have earned my tenure.....I work my bun off and I am able to easily work with the newest technologies!

I work hard and do an excellent job. The community, FOL, & my staff, love me... I provide great customer service.

You just will have to wait your turn or go someplace else.

Love the way your parents taught you respect!


To the person who wrote ' On

To the person who wrote ' On the rampage'
Who do you think you are? You sound like a twit who no one should hire , why should Auntie whatever her name is retire to let a fool like you have a job, lets face it , you probably wouldnt get the job anyway with your attitude. Why should some one retire early, someone who clearly has a lot of experience and knowledge to impart, to give a bigot like you a job
Children of Australia should fear you!

Hah! I'm not quite sure why

Hah! I'm not quite sure why you're offended (unless YOU are just like Auntie and have been in the field for 30+ years)-- I'm addressing a VERY serious issue and one that has been reported on the news many times. At least in the USA-- I don't know what the situation is like in Australia.

Bluntly, for those looking to start out in a given profession, the added competition of a large group of more experienced professionals presents a challenge. This is a no brainer.

And, for your information, I am employed, albeit only part-time, as a librarian at the moment. I need full-time gainful employment to fully begin the next stage of my life.

Are you for real?

I think this *must* be a joke. Could you reread what you've written and think about it for two seconds. *Of course* "a large group of more experienced professionals presents a challenge" to your job search. and *of course" that doesn't mean that they should give you their jobs. Nobody owes you a job. Do you think these experienced professionals got jobs without trying?

I've been working in libraries about 12 years now (I'm 44) and I had trouble finding a position. But I didn't whine that experienced professionals should quit their jobs and give them to me!! I just kept trying - I had to volunteer at my local library for a while before I was hired as a full-time librarian.

OK I guess that's it for my rant today. Except to say - get over yourself!


Rant Time!

I graduated in Sept '08 with my degree and haven't been able to find a job. Why? Baby boomers. They just won't retired. And, when they do, they return as part-timer/sub librarians. Why hire someone young looking for a full-time job with benefits, when one can hire a bunch of retired baby boomers who will work part-time? FULLY RETIRE ALREADY AND GIVE NEW GRADUATES THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT YOU HAD WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER.


I'm 27, by the way.


I have 35 years and I'm 55, but I can not retire unless I want 52% of my salary...which I can not live on. So you are just going to have to put up with me for another 6-7 years until I can retire on 85+% of my current salary!



The non-retiring boomers are not the problem, the lousy economy is. At least you should understand the real cause of the problem. Also, many boomers have had to put off retiring because of the economy.

Aaaand, who told you that finding a job would be effortless? That other people should make life decisions like when they retire based on what YOU want, and what would make things easiest for YOU? Who are you to be outraged when something requires more than the minimum effort you have decided should be sufficient? Getting the degree *qualifies* you for SOME (entry level) jobs, it does not ENTITLE you to ANYTHING. People who understand this and who work to get the skills that employers want will get the few jobs that are available (whatever their ages), and will have positioned themselves for even better jobs once the economy improves.

Those who spend their time whining about how difficult it is to get a job and putting blame on others and complaining... well 'good luck to you' is all I can say. I am GenX and make hiring decisions where I work and if I got a whiff of your attitude I would not hire you. Your sense of entitlement is entirely unwarranted, and is repulsive. You would likely be a problem employee for that reason.

I love your comments, so

I love your comments, so right, and so helpful to anyone who is smart enough to listen!

Age does not matter. The

Age does not matter. The best and most qualified position gets the job. Instead of whining, make yourself a better candidate.

27 year old

Wasn't smart enough to do anything else were you? There's always Law school, Medical school, Business school...Sounds like you're nothing but a lazy 27 year old, who by the way will quickly become a baby boomer who won't retire.

New to libraries

Hey, I'm not even out of school yet! Maybe you should give me a year in the job before crushing my spirit? :)

Get library experience before graduating

One of the best ways to market yourself as a great candidate for library jobs is to already have experience when you graduate with your MLIS. Working as a part-time student in a library also exposes you to the variety of tasks performed by today's librarians and facilitates conversations with librarians to hear about their appreciation for their jobs. Contrary to the posts I see here, most librarians I know love their job and consider their hard work to be both rewarding and extremely relevant in today's society. Read more about working part-time in a library while completing your MLIS : Biblioblond's Blog: How Valuable is Library Experience to MLIS Students?


good luck.

Libraries are dying

Why would you want to become a librarian when libraries are being phased out all over? You might want to consider a career with a bright future.


oh noes! what will all the cranky and snarky assholes do for employment then!?

Bad libraries are being

Bad libraries are being phased out. Libraries in dying communities may be lost as well.

But overall, libraries are experiencing no more cuts than any other education or service industry during this economic struggle.

Too Late

Cats with people's names?

I don't think Aristophanes (aka. Bud, NOT Buddy) or Zeinab would like any other names but the ones they have....those are the ones they answer to.

>^..^< >^..^<

Yes I give my customers secret names too....but not as nice as the ones you use.....

New to library school? There are no jobs.....just hiring freezes, what will you do should you not find a library with an abundance of $$$$ to hire you?

As for "negativity"....humor tends to be that way in many cases. In fact I believe it's called "satire".

I think it's funny....and I've 35 years in this "profession".

Now that most all of our libraries are going to "Self-Service" (shades of Library 2.0) we might not be working with customers to give them such sweet names any longer.

Syndicate content