My NewLib-L Recent Post
I think it would be best to qualify what people mean when they talk about lack of entry-level jobs. Do you mean lack of entry-level jobs you'd be willing to take? Probably. I got my current job a year ago after 4 months of searching. In that time, while I sent out a ton of applications, they were all written to that specific job opportunity (which took a lot of time), and I made sure to highlight how I met the required and the preferred qualifications. While I understand not everyone has the ability to go cross-country for a job, I think it behooves people to understand that the MLS is not likely to get you a job close to home, especially if you live near an MLS-granting institution.
Just recently, I decided to toss out 2 applications to dream jobs, though I'm perfectly happy and pleased with my current job, and I was offered interviews (at no cost to me, other than some vacation days from work) at both. Both are still entry-level, which I don't mind, since I'm only one year in. I find it hard to believe, given the success of last year's job hunt and this year's feelers put out, that there is such a serious dearth of positions. While I consider myself active in the profession, I am most decidedly not one of the *rock stars* who gets flown about the country to tell others about my awesome programming, developing, or new projects. I'm just yer ordinary librarian, librarianating.
Not only do I *not* see a dearth of positions advertised (are you all subscribed to the same listservs as I am? Perhaps not, because my inbox chokes on the number of job opportunities), in my experience (and that of most other librarians I know - public librarians, folks in the private sector doing info work, and others, as well as my academic library pals), what we're seeing are sub-par applications. Yes, positions are being eliminated, but at no greater rate than they are in any other industry due to automation, position elimination and 'spreading the job,' or simply hiring less skilled workers for less pay.
It's one thing if you are geographically stuck due to whatever circumstance. In that case, yes, you're going to find it quite difficult to find something close, because that's not how library openings work. You must go to the work, the work does not come to you. And while you could market your MLS into information-skillz, if you want to be an official quote-librarian-unquote, your choices will be rather limited. Unless the situation was unexpected, you have no one to blame but yourself if you find yourself saddled with an MLS and no close job to ride off to.
I'll also note - as we do on this list from time to time - an MLS is not a guarantee of a job. Neither is an MBA for that matter, and we're graduating far more of those in this country than MLS folks. As a veteran of quite a few graduate programs, I don't think it amiss to say if you're about to invest a ton of money and time in a graduate program, it's your own danged fault if you didn't look at the job prospects ahead of time. It is not the academic program's job to "be more proactive in informing graduates about the job market sectors are looking for librarians" - the job of the program is to give you the opportunity to complete the degree. The job hunt is just that - a HUNT, requiring effort, planning, and the proper tools and weapons. It's not something that falls into your lap because someone else does the research for it, particularly since everyone's needs and wants will differ. There is very little expectation in other disciplines (at least according to my grad experience beyond libsci in PoliSci, Education, English, Fine Arts) that the *program* helps you find a job, or even keeps you informed about the market. That is your own responsibility as an engaged about-to-be professional.
If you are not taking advantage of social networking to meet and talk to other librarians or information professionals (who become friends, offer to help with resumes and letters, and keep you apprised of job openings that may not make it to bigger lists, or may throw your name in for consideration), if you are not making it a point to do professional development (most LIS programs offer free or discounted opportunities, and working in a non-library sector while applying does not preclude you from using vacation or sick time to attend conferences), then I am afraid I don't know what to tell you. You get back whatever effort you put in. Apologies if that sounds harsh, but it's truth.
Colleen (my opinions, of course, do not reflect that of
my employer or colleagues, who would likely be horrified by my crankiness)