Hope In A Not So Hopeful Job Market

By Emily Love

The prospects of employment in this current economic crisis are undoubtedly scary, uncertain and intimidating to say the least. I hear friends who all believe that their professional skills and places of employment will escape the rise of layoffs that dominate the front pages of newspapers today. The mechanic friend argues that people will not be purchasing new cars, therefore, they will take their older cars in for maintenance. The professor states that with this economic crisis, more people will turn to education, as they begin losing their jobs. Even the accountant claims that people will need more reliable financial advice regarding their assets as times get tough. All of these examples could be true. We often tell ourselves what we want to hear.

The library profession will likely experience its share of hard times. Already, universities across the country are mandating hiring freezes. Public Libraries are laying people off. Corporations and News Libraries are offering early retirement packages. But, with all of that gloom and doom, there is certainly hope and viable options in the library profession for new graduates with an ALA accredited degree in Library and Information Sciences and for those currently underemployed or seeking new positions.


Librarians are aging, and coming closer to retirements. A realistic report suggests that the mass exodus of our older brethren will likely occur closer to 2015, which unfortunately does not ease the uncertainty in this current economic downturn. In surveying the Chronicle of Higher Education library job announcements, one notices that many of the job vacancies exist in higher level administrative positions. Nevertheless, I have seen several young, recent library school graduates take on director positions of small public libraries within their first year in the job market. In small public libraries, there are often fewer than three librarians who operate the daily functions of the library. In short, someone with the theory, knowledge, and an ALA accredited masters’ degree in library science needs to fill these positions. That could be you!


Anyone who regularly searches the job banks from www.lisjobs.com to the federal job bank database, will find that multiple librarian positions emerge across the country on a daily basis. These postings may not be in your ideal state, near family and friends nor in your preferred time zone. However, when perusing the job announcements in this unnerving economic climate, the ability to move to a new state and into a new position will inevitably opens many more doors. Few librarians are even aware of the fact that the Masters degree itself is covered under the NAFTA Free Trade Agreement. To elaborate, under the NAFTA agreement, it allows for facilitated cross border mobility and employment for any North American (Canadians, Americans and Mexicans) to work in any of these three countries for a one-year renewable contract. So, to be clear, job seekers can search in not one, but three countries! For more information, check out http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1274.html.

Free Resume Reviewing

All NMRT members are entitled free access to the Resume Review Online Service and the on-site reviewing service at the ALA Mid-Winter and Annual conferences. This service, which is provided by volunteer NMRT committee members, matches job hunters with resume reviewers who will proceed to edit, comment and critique your resume. Many of the reviewers who volunteer with this service are deans, administrators and human resource specialists in the library field. Although their feedback and input is not one of a professional, licensed counseling service, it does create unique networking opportunities. For instance, several years ago, a job seeker sent her resume to the online service. She was matched with a reviewer, who read her resume and encouraged her to apply to a job at the reviewer’s institution. Long story short, this job seeker landed her first job at the reviewer’s library. Stories like this emerge at the conference resume review service as well. In short, the Resume Review Service not only offers free resume reviewing, but it also enables individuals to gain valuable connections in the field.

The economic situation unfortunately is projected to last several years. Job prospects in most professions will remain challenging. I hope not to have veered too far off from reality, as some of these examples and anecdotes took place prior to the burst of the housing bubble. However, 2008 witnessed a successful, far reaching, whirlwind presidential campaign based largely on the concept of ‘hope.’ Hope is a valuable commodity. Combine hope, mobility and the Resume Review Service, and ‘hopefully’ you will experience a successful end to your job hunt.