Opening the Blinds: Facing LIS Job Market Facts




Readers, this week, I’m opening the blinds to new career options by literally looking at job ads in and beyond my focus of late.   As you know, I have boldly declared an interest in combining two fields: library & Information Science and Gerontology.  This unusual coupling engenders a few raised brows, and some concern that the “real world” may not offer such a unique opportunity; therefore, I have and will continue to search the job ads for more real life possibilities.  Here are a few library-related (advanced and entry level) positions worthy of a closer look:

Library Director- This high cost of living, big time library position comes with a six figure salary.  Aside from the MLIS degree, five years post degree experience, including a minimum of three years of administrative level experience is needed.  

“Under administrative direction is responsible for planning, organizing, coordinating and directing the operations of a library system.”

A closer target might be one similar to this Senior Subject Specialist position:  Requirements in addition to the MLIS included 3-5 years of collection development, programming, and readers’ advisory experience.  This position is in a lower cost of living midsize city in the Midwest.  No salary was published.  In the interest of full disclosure, this (no longer active) post: was sent to me a few months ago by a working librarian and mentor who said she could see me in a job like this.  I saved this ad  because I too, could envisage this:

”This position is responsible for managing the staff, operations, and budget of the Center for the Reader at Central Library. Under general direction of the First Floor Manager, the Senior Subject Specialist plans, coordinates and executes a comprehensive program in order to establish the Center for the Reader as the place for patrons to find what they want to read next in paper or electronic format, the latest information on authors and new books as well as classics, and how to utilize technology to enhance their reading experience.”

This Adult Reference Librarian position appears within scope: Responsibilities include outreach, research, content and staff development.  Strong customer service and diplomatic skills are required for this full time civil service position at this large urban public library. Salary posted is in keeping with a higher cost of living, a consideration since relocation would be necessary. 

With recollections of my initial gerontology department interview where I was given the name of a librarian at WSU with a background in social work and library science, this job was spotted: Health Professions and Social Work Librarian.  Minimum qualifications include MLS and “education or background in health professions, life sciences, or social work.” This position has an in-depth job description including the following: “Provides general and specialized reference service using multiple delivery methods to include face-to-face, telephone, text, chat and other online systems. Plans, designs, implements, and assesses face-to-face and online instruction. Designs online library-related resources and instructional materials in multiple formats (audio, video, print, etc.) to support the curriculum in assigned disciplines.” (shorter link is no longer working)

Readers, for the ultimate library career reality check, WSU Assistant Professor Stephanie Maatta’s annual  LIS salary survey will appear next fall.  FYI, in case you missed the 2013 Library Journal article, find:


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