Q: I am planning to go back to school for library science and will need to choose a minor. I want to be sure I will be able to find employment when I graduate. I am planning on moving to the New England area. What types of library positions will be available, do you think, in 2016?
TA: Well Laurie, it’s a little hard to project that far out on my own, so I took a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition website (http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos068.htm) to see what they think is on the horizon for the profession. According the BLS site, “employment of librarians is expected to grow by 8% between 2008 and 2018”, which is equivalent to the average growth of all occupations. This is good news for folks, such as you, considering librarianship as a career. The BLS goes on to report the following:
Jobs for librarians outside traditional settings will grow the fastest over the decade. Nontraditional librarian jobs include working as information brokers and working for private corporations, nonprofit organizations, and consulting firms. Many companies are turning to librarians because of their research and organizational skills and their knowledge of computer databases and library automation systems. Librarians can review vast amounts of information and analyze, evaluate, and organize it according to a company’s specific needs. Librarians also are hired by organizations to set up information on the Internet. Librarians working in these settings may be classified as systems analysts, database specialists and trainers, webmasters or Web developers, or local area network (LAN) coordinators.
I would heartily agree with this projection and have seen recent graduates moving into positions not conceived of many years ago. I would also toss out my own opinion for your consideration which includes the stability of academic library positions, especially if you’re relocating to the New England area, where academic institutions, large and small, abound. Strongly supported libraries are part of the accreditation process, which means that while their roles may evolve over time, librarians will still be present on campus.