Advice to Potential MLIS Students

If you are on the LITA listserv, then you have been witness to a few days of responses to one long thread about the plight of LIS students.  The initial e-mail was about a person who asked about the value of the degree and stories that there are 75 applications per job opening in the field.  What followed was 2 days of nonstop responses about the value of the degree.

My perspective: I have not finished the degree yet.  This will be my last semester, so it is time for me to face the treacherous waters of the job search.  Would I recommend the degree?  Probably not.  Many people that I have met come in to the degree because of a lack of job prospects with their undergrad degree whether it was in English, Art History, Graphic Design, Philosophy, etc.  I went to school myself because of lack of direction, and I would discourage myself from attending if I could speak to myself like that (like in a time-traveling phone booth).  But I do not regret my education, or the degree that I will be getting.  I am quietly confident that there is a position somewhere on this earth that I can fill.  I have no real reason to be confident, I just am.

While the curriculum was pretty good, what school gave me more than anything was a direction.  I’m not speaking entirely about the library field, either.  I now have a better idea of my skills and competencies, likes and dislikes.  I can now speak to employers with a sense of direction and savvy.  I know who I am and what I can offer.

But I don’t want to acquit the profession.  The recruitment tale is always the same, “baby-boomers are retiring, so positions will start to open up.”  That’s not necessarily true when those positions are not being filled because of shrinking budgets.  My school has remarked about record enrollment when I entered, so that’s just more competition for fewer open spots.  We can’t be information professionals and peddle in misinformation.

So, in short, don’t get this degree unless you understand that this is no magic bullet.  The degree won’t make finding a job easier.


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