Another Monday, another 4-hour long stint in the tech center at the public. I have my cataloging cart to keep me company, and the general public using the computers seem to be well behaved and have all woken up on the right side of the bed (Hooray!). I hope I’m not jinxing myself here, but times like this that it’s not bad at all, just sitting in a computer lab, cataloging and blogging. As I was putting some notated books on the processing shelf in the back I noticed a giant copy of a reference book that was moving from reference to circulating, probably because we are getting an update. The book is called; The Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-2017. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a yearly publication complied by the US Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics that essentially gives a description of, and projected outcomes for specific occupations. The book is very large, so I’m pretty sure that it covers most traditional job roles and titles.
I had to see what is in store for me for the next couple of years. When I flipped to the first page of librarian I found the heading What Librarians Do. Hey! That’s the name of my blog, I had to read on, the US Dept. of Labor answers the question I’ve been trying to figure out the last 4 years in two sentences:
“Librarians help people find information and conduct research for personal and professional use. Their job duties may change based on the type of library they work in such as public, school, and medical libraries” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016, p.373).
It’s a pretty vague description but I guess I’ll take it as a general entry point into what being a librarian encompasses. It goes on to describe the different kinds of librarians: user services, technical services, school librarian, public librarian, academic librarian, law, government, medical and corporate. The projected increase in jobs to 2024 is 2%, at least it’s a growth but it’s slow compared to other industries. The job prospects indicate strong competition since there are a limited number of jobs, but it’s supposed to turn towards the later part of the 20’s when more people start retiring.
I recently advised a friend who is applying to library school to do so, even if being a librarian isn’t the best “prospect” wise on paper and reports. I remember Forbes putting out an article for the WORST Master’s degrees listing the MLIS as #1 the exact month that I started grad school back in 2011. I don’t know as much as I may complain about the random patron here or there, and the politics that happen all over the place being a librarian really is a pretty sweet gig when you aren’t getting yelled at or having somebody attach themselves to you and suck the life out of you for all their needs of the day (both information and otherwise). Reading on I also found an answer to another question I get asked all the time, do you think we even need librarians? Well, the US Department of Labor sure does, they say:
“However, there will continue to be a need for librarians to manage libraries and help patrons find information. Parents value the learning opportunities that libraries present for children because libraries are able to provide children with information they often cannot access from home. In addition, the increased availability of electronic information is also expected to increase the demand for librarians in research and special libraries, where patrons will need help sorting through the large amount of digital information” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016, p.374).
It’s hard to describe a thing in words. I know I try it all the time, but these over simplified descriptions offer a general overview of the world of librarianship and why it’s not going away any time soon. Since I’m bored, and stuck here with this book, I’m going to pick a random page and see what I should have been instead of a librarian….. drum roll please….
Paralegals and Legal Assistants?? Um, yeah I don’t think I would last in the legal world, but they do have an 8% growth outlook. Maybe in a couple years if I’m still stuck in part time limbo I’ll reconsider. Anyways, if you are looking for a new career, or just wondering what the prospects are for your occupation I’m sure your local library has a copy. And like most things, you can also find this information online HERE.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.