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June 5, 2011 6:30 PM   Subscribe

LJ 2011 Job Satisfaction Survey: Rocked By Recession, Buoyed By Service
posted by vidur (23 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Librarian would be a cool job, I'd feel like Burgess Meredith in that twilight zone episode with the books.
posted by Renoroc at 6:50 PM on June 5, 2011


Heh:
"My chief satisfaction is working with the public/helping users"
  • School libraries: 65%
  • Public libraries: 47%
  • Academic libraries: 45%
  • Corporate libraries: 29%
Wonder where else corporate librarians get their satisfaction?

Also, holy crap!: Women comprise 88 percent of the total respondents (97 percent for schools).
posted by anarch at 6:57 PM on June 5, 2011


Oh, "lj" stands for library journal. I was thinking it stood for livejournal.

Still, ever get the feeling late in life that you missed the best career for you? I've always loved libraries; I think being a librarian would have suited me.
posted by happyroach at 7:12 PM on June 5, 2011


As a recent MLIS graduate, let me say - a job would be satisfying.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:19 PM on June 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'd feel like Burgess Meredith in that twilight zone episode with the books.

Forever being used by high school English teachers to illustrate the concept of irony?
posted by griphus at 7:27 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, by the way, if you love libraries, please let your local politicians know. They think you don't give a damn.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:41 PM on June 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love libraries, the current move to shutdown library services in the US and UK will have long term repercussions in education. The internet is not a replacement for a good library with a knowledgeable librarian.
posted by arcticseal at 7:54 PM on June 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


My city is considering closing 14 branch libraries and reducing service at the remaining 4 to 3 days a week. Our main library would close their children's room, history room, periodicals room, etc. Our African American library, Spanish language focused library, Chinatown library (with large collections in Chinese, Vietnamese, and other Asian languages), and our wonderful tool library would all close. The layoffs would be massive. This is after our city's library staff have already taken furlough days on what appears to me to be about a 2/month basis for the last couple years (that is, the staff that are salaried; my understanding is the majority are un-benefited "temporary" employees.) Not to mention that no one ever cleans the libraries and basic maintenance - like keeping the computers running - is completely neglected due to long standing budget problems and that library staff spend a considerable (majority?) portion of their time serving as social workers to the large numbers of kids who use the library as a default after school program and to the homeless and mentally ill folks who congregate there. All this and most all of them are still uncannily skilled at recommending the best possible books.

Librarians are fucking heroes. They should be given medals of honor.
posted by serazin at 8:22 PM on June 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wonder where else corporate librarians get their satisfaction?

From the massive amount of money they make.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:25 PM on June 5, 2011


Librarians are fucking heroes. They should be given medals of honor.

I know jess and the MeFi Librarian cadre will likely come down hard on me for asking this, but why are they heroes? Because they're educated people that have to deal with budget cutbacks? That's, like, every single public service you can name.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:30 PM on June 5, 2011


Why are librarians heroes?

Rosemarie Bernier is a hero. She's getting kids online, teaching them digital literacy, and helping them learn research skills, among other things.

How many stories have you read about librarians helping kids by steering them towards books that change their lives, open their minds, and/or help them escape whatever crummy life situation they're in at the moment?

Librarians help people. They don't care if you're reading Sweet Valley High or Dostoevsky; if you're enjoying yourself, that's just fine by them.
posted by mogget at 9:44 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I doubt any librarians will "come down hard" on you for asking Civil_Disobedient (hard to picture what punishment you imagine here!) but I can tell you why I think librarians are heroes:

The librarians I interact with, and I interact with a lot of them because I go to the library 3 to 5 times a month, do an enormous amount of public service work that is nowhere in their job descriptions, including respectfully serving the most maligned and disrespected citizens of our society (the mentally ill homeless for example), and on top of that, the work that is in their job descriptions, which most seem to do unbelievably well, is intrinsically heroic. I am one who feels my life was literally saved by the library. I used to skip high school and hide out at one of the local branches where I discovered all kinds of poetry and literature that changed the course of my life. And the staff served me - judgement free - although some must have known I was a bit young to be spending hours alone out of school. Having a library to go to gave me a choice besides getting high and fucking losers, and opened my world to the possibility that there was something bigger and better than where I was. It made me realize history existed and other people had also had difficult adolescent periods that they'd survived and that people had imagined thousands of alternate worlds that could be better.

Librarians have to deal with budget cutbacks like many other public servants, some who are also, in my view heroic, and much more than other supposed public servants who are willing to cut the wages of those under them but not themselves. In my city, the librarians are being blackmailed into taking some "concessions" to their contract while the police still have a sweet pension deal that is not up for discussion at the moment anyway. Some pubic servants are punished more than others. That inverse relationship between the value of the work librarians do and the working conditions some must endure - well - it takes a hero to stick that out.
posted by serazin at 10:15 PM on June 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


(And if you're nerdy like me, here's more specifics on the uneven compensation of civil employees. Now, I actually think all civil employees should make a fair wage and we should be talking about raising up not cutting down anyone - but the reality is that compensation and expectations for concessions are not equitable.)
posted by serazin at 10:32 PM on June 5, 2011


(Sorry for the post spam but to clarify, that blog post relates to the crisis I was referring to in my own city - Oakland.)
posted by serazin at 10:36 PM on June 5, 2011


Wonder where else corporate librarians get their satisfaction?

From the massive amount of money they make.


(Comparative to public librarians, I mean. I know some librarians ("knowledge management specialist") in Australian law firms that make in excess of $150K/year).

posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:53 PM on June 5, 2011


His thoughts were red thoughts: I'm wondering if those are pretty high-level specialist positions. I'm at the 'librarian' level in a very large UK law firm, and I don't make anything remotely approaching that figure (I make about as much as the secretaries, for what it's worth). Yes, I do make more than a public librarian, but that's only because public librarians here are so offensively underpaid. And, at least among LJ survey respondents, corporate librarians don't seem to earn much more than other librarians.

As for satisfaction: it still comes from helping people, solving problems, same as it did when I was an academic or government librarian.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:11 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


How many stories have you read about librarians helping kids by steering them towards books that change their lives, open their minds, and/or help them escape whatever crummy life situation they're in at the moment?

I'm honestly not trying to rail on librarians, but how does this differ from teachers? Or Scout masters? Or Big Brothers/Big Sisters? Or any number of other jobs and professions? Are they all heroes? Substitute "librarian" with "minister" and "books" with "Bible." Satisfies the same criteria... heroes?

including respectfully serving the most maligned and disrespected citizens of our society (the mentally ill homeless for example)

Public health workers? Mental health workers? Just about every person involved in organized religion? Just about any doctor in a public hospital? My wife used to work in public housing, and could tell you some stories about the mentally ill and homeless. Hero?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:36 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of people (myself included) would probably classify teachers, librarians, public health workers, social workers, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, ministers who help kids escape crummy life situations, and other professions in the "hero" category.

I read a discussion once where some people had the view that hero is such a strong term it should only be reserved for those who put their own life in danger to save the life of another. I don't think I take as strong a view on the use of the word. For me, anyone doing a job that is demanding, a job that is not considered to be one that pays well, a job that is not considered glamorous or prestigious, and - most inportantly - a job that helps change people for the better, is probably one I'd consider a hero.

Although this being MetaFilter, I'm sure someone could probably think of a profession that fits my criteria but is unheroic in its face. C'est la vie.
posted by texano at 5:19 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly not trying to rail on librarians, but how does this differ from teachers? Or Scout masters? Or Big Brothers/Big Sisters? Or any number of other jobs and professions? Are they all heroes? Substitute "librarian" with "minister" and "books" with "Bible." Satisfies the same criteria... heroes?

You know that 'heroism' in this context is not a zero sum game, right? Just because someone is named as a hero, doesn't mean other people are not also heroes.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:11 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


infinite jest: I'm wondering if those are pretty high-level specialist positions.

I would imagine so, yes.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:18 AM on June 6, 2011


anarch said: Wonder where else corporate librarians get their satisfaction?

I recognize this was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but if you're curious, this is the comment from our research manager on the satisfaction of corporate librarians:
“Variety of tasks” (14%) and “Autonomy” (also 14%) are particularly higher [for corporate/special librarians] than for other library types.
(I didn't work on this particular story, but I do work for Library Journal)
posted by Hadroed at 8:56 AM on June 6, 2011


Librarian would be a cool job, I'd feel like Burgess Meredith in that twilight zone episode with the books.

You do realize that episode has an unhappy ending, right?
posted by blucevalo at 9:04 PM on June 6, 2011


I'm honestly not trying to rail on librarians, but how does this differ from teachers? Or Scout masters? Or Big Brothers/Big Sisters? Or any number of other jobs and professions? Are they all heroes? Substitute "librarian" with "minister" and "books" with "Bible." Satisfies the same criteria... heroes?

I'm readily willing to concede that I'm light years from being any kind of hero, but I sure as hell am not part of some dark "cadre" either.
posted by blucevalo at 9:23 PM on June 6, 2011


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