Office Hours Extra: Library Science without the Library by Jane Greenstein

http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/home/893005-264/library_science_without_the_library.html.csp

Recent MLIS graduates are gravitating to different fields than their predecessors. According to theLibrary Journal survey, respondents are working at “software and Internet companies, practicing information architecture, user interface analysis and design, and software engineering…and in medical centers and pharmaceutical companies, law firms and corporations.”

But the survey also states that graduates are accepting “lower salaries and part-time hours as retail clerks, baristas, and office assistants in order to pay the bills.”

While my motives for entering library school may be anathema to many librarians, students with my background are becoming hard to ignore.

It’s safe to say that library students are beginning to branch out—by force or by choice.

But my impression is that library and information schools don’t know how to properly court prospective “information”-oriented candidates or appeal to my colleagues in the interactive field.

How can this situation be remedied? If a library school were to consult a marketing agency such as the one I work for, we’d undoubtedly recommend a media campaign to “re-position” their message and “re-brand” their image.

Many (including myself) have discovered multimedia careers by way of graphic design, copywriting, business strategy and computer programming–without formal training as “information professionals.”

Something has to change to keep library schools successfully recruiting students-and for students to remain hopeful about their future. If students think there aren’t any jobs waiting for them on the other side of their academic trek, MLIS programs face extinction.

While no one becomes a librarian for the money, no one thinks they’re going to end up without any long-term job prospects when they graduate either.

At this critical juncture in both library science and information technology, it’s incumbent on MLIS programs to not only offer classes, but also develop a solid curriculum (and encourage a non-traditional career path) for the next class of graduating librarians.

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