Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I'm beginning to feel a little obsolete myself

Placements & Salaries 2014: Public, Academic, and Special Libraries
However, reports of placements in special libraries have fallen off in recent years, dropping from 6% in 2011 to 3.6% in 2012. This may signal, as some suggest, that hospital and corporate libraries, among others, are becoming obsolete, or it may indicate changing roles and titles within these situations.
Approximately 2017, my position with the hospital will cease as it moves to a new building near the university and a new ambulatory care model without a library. In the intervening time, I and my library committee will have to find an exit strategy of sorts for the library, while providing services and resources up to the bitter end. In the meantime, I am looking at jobs in other areas of the library world, albeit in this geographical area. I've applied to the public library, but they keep promoting from within, which is a good thing unless you're on the outside. :) I've also applied with the state. I keep looking each week actively. The good news is that there are more jobs now than there were during the Great Recession. The bad news is that while I am mid-career (almost 18 years in this position), I am a solo librarian, and while I have supervised some, I haven't held an actual managerial job whose supervision of others was a major component of the job description. I think that's hurting me. I think people are reluctant to hire me in a Librarian I position because that's entry level, even though I'd still probably get paid more since it would be full time (I currently have two jobs at the hospital, one with a librarian pay grade, one with a data entry clerk pay grade, so they average out lower than a full-time librarian would make), and with my experience, they would have to pay more than someone just out of school, or so they think. And I am worth that, although frankly, I'd work for a little less than I'm worth in exchange for a real full-time job with benefits. But a Librarian II position often includes departmental and even branch managerial duties, so that may be beyond my reach at the moment. The field is very competitive in my area because the university here has a library school. It took me four years just to find my current job, which I started out at with an abysmal wage for a job requiring a master's degree. (It improved greatly when they started including medical librarian in our salary surveys in comparison with other hospitals). Then in 2003 I was reduced in hours from 35 to 20 due to some lay-offs. For years I worked my 20 hours and then also at a gas station. At least I got benefits at 20 hours, although they cost more for part-timers. In 2010 I got the data entry position where I do charge entries and reconciliation for billing, as well as acquiring doctor's referrals. That brought me to full time. But while it does (barely) pay the bills, I'd really like to be doing a library gig full time, for one, with other librarians around, and I've got about two years to find a position that's a good fit. I have deep roots in the region and loved ones I can't move away from, so it'll have to be here (besides, I love living in the Bluegrass). Wish me luck!

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