ALA Unit/Subunit: ALA
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.
In 2014, Hiring Librarians, a blog designed to help students and job seekers find jobs in libraries featured a post entitled “Do not go to library school, librarianship is dying.” Public perceptions of the death of libraries, as well as the horror stories from unsuccessful job seekers and the underemployed in our field, stoke the flames of anxiety in recent graduates. For those of us employed as librarians, we often share stories of persevering against naysayers and express personal doubts about getting into the field. What does this say about the emotions and affect of the job search? How does the perception of the future of libraries impact MLIS students? How do new professionals and students prepare psychologically for an ever changing field?
Connecting interviews from recent job seekers and students with uncertainty and pessimism surrounding the future of libraries, this program will explore the defeatist attitudes, internal struggles, competition, successes, and failures into larger themes of economic frustrations. Our attachment to a field that is constantly in flux and the way in which we throw our lot into the field that is seen as dying, harshly pits new professionals, students, and coworkers against each other in a way that frustrates and simplifies the fact that everyone has their own journey and life that impacts their job search process. Other job-hunters, who should be our natural allies, because they are in the same boat as us, become caught in unwitting competition in the search for the elusive “good” job. By connecting these theories of affect with personal interviews, the panel will illuminate the common struggle and name the anxieties that plague the youngest in our field while providing hope and possibility for the future of LIS. The ways in which we understand the anxieties and cruelties of the field guide how we, as professionals, support the hopeful. In this program session, we will to provide context for the field, insight from those who have experienced these feelings, and provide strategies and practical tips for those about to navigate the search.