Is there a glut of newly minted librarians?

Brett Bronfield does an excellent job of crunching the numbers and analyzing the supply and demand for MLS/MLIS graduates in the “In the Library with the Lead Pipe” blog. Common wisdom (as handed down from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and ingrained in our professional psyche) would say that the profession is graying and we’re on the precipice of an upspwing in demand for librarians to fill this void. But I have been hearing the same rhetoric for the past 15 years.

Bronfield’s excellent analysis places two questions in my mind: 1) Why isn’t the ALA or some other organization crunching these numbers and reporting on trends in library employment on a regular basis? and 2) Why don’t we as librarians currently holding a position care more about this issue? I look forward to further analysis (will there be a Part 2?) on this important topic.

Is the United States Training Too Many Librarians or Too Few? (Part 1) | In the Library with the Lead Pipe.


2 thoughts on “Is there a glut of newly minted librarians?

  1. Hi Matt,

    My answers:
    1. It’s not in ALA’s interest to confront this issue.. More graduates means more members. Any good bureaucracy knows that’s the real key to success.
    2. Well, first I assume laziness on our part. Secondly, what can we do about it? When students ask me about going to library school, I tell them the truth. It’s a great profession if you can get a good full-time job. I tell them they have to be willing to move. But I can’t bring myself to tell someone not to “go for it” when doing the ritual of library school has led me to a career I enjoy very much. In short, it’s complicated and I’m not smart enough to figure out.

  2. Sorry for the double-post, but something that often gets overlooked in the greying discussions, is that the supposed massive influx to replace the massive retirements assume that all librarians are minted equally. I don’t think I’m going out on too much of a limb to say that the retirees will often be in administrative and/or leadership positions, something that new librarians can simply jump into. Just another thought.

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