Young Librarians

Nobody becomes a librarian for the money, but the Wall Street Journal reports that the prospects for librarians are looking especially bleak right now:

Although library-school enrollment is healthy, low salaries and limited opportunities for advancement as baby boomers put off retirement have helped push 44% of librarians with master's degrees under age 45 — who make up just a third of the library work force in the U.S. — to leave for more lucrative jobs in finance, academia and the government…. "The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Google, and engineering firms all hire librarians," notes Jennifer Inglis, 33, a children's librarian at Marlborough Public Library in Marlborough, Mass.

The article goes on to point out that "a number of her classmates struggled to find jobs, while others had to piece together two part-time jobs."

…as long as salaries remain low, public libraries may have a hard time recruiting. Salaries start at around $39,000 a year, according to the ALA [American Library Association], while library science degree holders in other fields — such as law librarians, digital librarians and librarians for research firms — start at around $47,600. And education is expensive. Annual tuition for the two-year library and information-science master's program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne is $19,260 for out-of-state residents and $8,864 for Illinois students.

This article presents another opportunity for me to remind people contemplating graduate degrees to be brutally honest with themselves about the math involved and the realities of the program's job market.