I have had so little time to catch up on my personal emails over the last couple of weeks, but today I saw a subject title from the ALA NMRT list that grabbed me:
Is any job better than no job?
Issues of finding relevant library work are so relevant to new graduates – yet so often we only hear from those in work on the forums. If you’re not employed in a library role, there’s a bit of a stigma – even if the economy you live in is super tight, or you’ve had to move for personal reasons. I’ve been through this myself – ten jobs in six years, primarily due to contracting, and moving cities three times.
I’m so grateful to have a permanent job now, but right before I took this job I was seriously considering leaving library work, as it just didn’t look like I would get a permanent, full time job in the information profession, in a workplace that suited my values. I was all ready to jump into professional adminstrative roles – which of course tend to pay better than library roles. However I am very glad that I got the job I have, as I am passionate about the profession. But I am also passionate about new graduates knowing that they are not alone, and that there is a community out there to support them. So I took a break from my 1000 item to-do list and trawled through the pain that is the ALIA inCite archives to find an article that I wrote with Katie Hannan and Andrew Finegan about 18 months ago, about this very issue.
And my answer is: YES. A job is better than no job. Going into a job that allows you to use skills that you can transfer into the library context (and the longer I’m a librarian, the broader I realise they are) is a super-bonus-plus YES.
And if you’re an ALIA member, you can check out the article we wrote here – it is now a resource on Career Connect for new graduates. And if you’re not an ALIA member: Join. My experience with our professional association has been invaluable to my development as a professional. Re-reading the article, it’s still relevant. It outlines lots of strategies. Strategies that we have all discussed needing to use to find work ourselves.
So all I can say to the new graduates and not so new graduates looking for library work out there is: keep the faith and keep hold of your passion for the work. You will find a way to it. And I’ll be here to welcome you.