McGill SIS graduates dominate the job market!

13 Jul

Reading library news from the United States can be flat-out depressing. Despite awesome stories of libraries working to better serve the public, one cannot ignore the incessant news of budget cuts and library closures. I have read one too many blogs and subsequent comments that lament the lack of career opportunities for librarians especially recent graduates. Since I know tons of grads who were able to find librarian jobs with relative ease in Canada, I wondered how different the job market must be on the American side of the border. Yet, last year I had many American classmates who found awesome library jobs in the U.S.A. quickly after graduating and in two cases, people had job offers before they had even technically graduated in April.

Well, now a friend of mine and fellow SIS grad 2010 who moved back home to the States after graduation has just announced that he has been offered the position of Library Director at a public library in Maine. I am so proud of him! Way to go Luke! McGill grads dominate the job market even in the U.S.A!

My heart honestly goes out to the countless librarians who have lost their jobs due to budget cuts and library closures. Yet reading all the bitter comments regarding the lack of jobs, I can’t help but wonder how much having a negative attitude has influenced these librarians’ ability to secure an awesome position. Something to think about for all you die-hard pessimists…

Anyways, good luck to everyone who is currently in search of a job. For those of you presently in library school or for those contemplating studying library and information studies, do not let all these reports mislead or discourage you. There are awesome jobs awaiting you after graduation, you just have to work for them and maintain a positive attitude. So congratulations to all the members of class 2010 who are prime examples of how realistic it is to find a librarian position so soon after graduation.


10 Responses to “McGill SIS graduates dominate the job market!”

  1. Amanda West July 13, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    I am a new McGill student from the US. This post makes me feel much better! I have recently been reading all these reports that it is difficult to find jobs in the field. Do you have any advice for getting through library school? I’m a big fan of the blog!

    • Amanda Halfpenny July 14, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

      Hey Amanda! I’m glad that you found the post encouraging. Good luck at SIS starting in the fall! As for advice on getting through library school…I’ve written several posts on the importance of getting involved. Have you already read The Inspired Library School Student blog? He has also written some interesting posts on student involvement.

  2. Meghan July 14, 2010 at 12:04 am #

    This is so true! Many of my classmates from 2009 are currently employed in a variety of interesting jobs all across the country and into the US.

    Those who aren’t employed (or at least, not in the library field), tend to be those who put restrictions on their job hunt- either on types or locations of jobs that they will apply for. In my case, it took me a few months after graduation to find a job, because I chose to limit my search geographically. Even so, I managed to find a job I like in the place I want to live.

    • Amanda Halfpenny July 14, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

      I’m glad to hear that things are going well at your job in windy Winnipeg!

    • Edward Bilodeau July 16, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

      I would just add that there are many people who have restrictions on their job search, especially when it comes to location. Many have familial and other commitments that prevent them from moving from their current location. Also, some are not willing to move just anywhere for a job.

      While many graduates (esp the younger ones) have a lot of freedom in this regard, many choose to honor their commitments, and in doing to, accept that they have a more limited job pool to draw upon.

      Having said all that, yes, the more flexible you are, the more job opportunity you have.

      • Amanda Halfpenny July 16, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

        I understand your point. The fact that I was not “tied down” by certain obligations definitely made it a lot easier for me to pick up and move to New Brunswick. However, each person is different when it comes to accepting that taking risks can make life a lot more interesting. I’ve always been inspired by a woman I used to work with from New York who had quit her job as a nurse and pulled her kids out of private school to move to Quebec. She had fallen in love with a house on Île d’Orléans and had on bought it and moved there on a whim. Talk about spontaneous! At least I knew that my moving to New Brunswick would provide me the chance to be a Library Director. I doubt I would have had that opportunity around Montreal!

      • Edward Bilodeau July 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

        (Sorry, it won’t let me reply to your reply!)

        …except that is just doesn’t boil down to taking a risk if, for example, someone is married, has kids with friends they don’t want to leave, or parents or other extended family that depend on them. Or rather, I wouldn’t characterize it that way, since it makes it sound like they are somehow at fault for, for example, putting their family before their professional aspirations. Granted they have to accept the consequences of how they prioritize their lives, but I wouldn’t want them to feel criticized for making that decision.

        Fortunately, will all you free spirits flying away to libraries in exotic locals, there will be that much less competition for the local jobs when they do appear! 🙂

      • Amanda Halfpenny July 16, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

        I’ve certainly sacrificed relationships in the past in order to pursue what I thought was best for me. Perhaps that’s why I’m sitting home alone on a Friday night replying to your comments 😉 Just so I don’t get too bitter, I’ll keep reminding myself that “it’s lonely at the top”… Luckily you’ve scored an extremely sweet “local” job where you can use your talents and not disrupt your happy life in Montreal. Congrats! McGill grads really do dominate the job market!

  3. Carrie July 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Hi Amanda — I can’t help but take issue with this part of your post — you’ve hit a personal sore spot:

    “Yet reading all the bitter comments regarding the lack of jobs, I can’t help but wonder how much having a negative attitude has influenced these librarians’ ability to secure an awesome position.”

    Not all “negative attitudes” just pop out of nowhere. As Ed has said, extenuating circumstances play a huge part in a person’s job search. Maintaining a positive attitude can be very difficult when, in my case, my job hunt and general life plans were derailed by a family member’s suicide, which resulted in my husband and I relocating to help prevent another suicide (so far, so good).

    I have been unemployed for 2 years, after my first job out of grad school completely burned me out. (Yes! I got a job within 4 months of graduating, and it turned out to be not as ‘awesome’ as I had originally thought.) That’s another fun thing with stats: maybe you and your friends are getting jobs right now, but those jobs could turn sour, or be made redundant while you are still riding a high. I’m not being negative — that is simply the truth.

    My husband has been unemployed for 1 year (not a librarian, but a filmmaker). We have multiple university and college degrees between us, we are both intelligent, and sometimes we are even fun at parties.

    We are not dour Eeyores all the time, but we have gone through some bad times. Our extended family has had a very difficult time, and flippant remarks such as “maintain a positive attitude”, which I read as “you make your own life, it’s all YOUR fault if you are not 100% happy all the time” make me snort. Sometimes, things happen that we have no control over. A little empathy can go a long way, instead of a dismissive and overly simplified “Maintain a positive attitude and it will all work out.”

    I don’t whine in job interviews or cover letters. I don’t mention the suicide to prospective employers — I say we moved to Vancouver due to a death in the family — I’m not interested in playing the “pity me” card. Plus I worry that people who have the power to hire me might be one of those ill-informed folks who think mental illness is catching, or they think I’m going to be some emotionally fragile basketcase to work with. Which I totally would have been in the months immediately following the suicide — or having a job to go to could have helped bring some much-needed structure during an emotionally horrible time.

    I am very happy that I now have a job in the library field — it’s a part-time, one-year contract, certainly not the full time job I was hoping for to help pay down the loans I had to take out to go to grad school in the first place — but this job has taken me over 2 years to get.

    That’s 2 years of volunteering and paying my own way (going deeper into debt) to industry conferences and workshops to keep up my skills. And consulting many employed librarians and archivists for 2 and 3 sets of eyes on cover letters and resumes. And starting my own business as a way to generate some sort of income. I have not been sitting around whining and being pessimistic. And up until just over a year ago, I wasn’t geographically restricting my job search at all.

    Please don’t dismiss people who are having a difficult time finding a job as “die-hard pessimists.” Perhaps what you perceive as pessimism is something else founded in a deeper emotional struggle to keep on keepin’ on.

    • Amanda Halfpenny July 25, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

      Thank you for your frankness. Obviously my opinions in this post were generalized to address some specific “whiny” comments I’ve seen on different blog posts. The harshly negative tone of these comments was more than enough to discourage anyone from becoming a librarian. To read these comments would lead one to believe that being a librarian was a completely unfulfilling career and that getting a MLIS was the biggest waste of time and money imaginable. It was upon reading these comments that I thought to myself “I would never want to hire or work with a person with this much negativity”. If I had such a strong reaction from reading a few sentences of their laments then I’m sure that their negativity would probably also manifest itself in job interviews.
      I’m sorry if you felt that I misrepresented unemployed librarians, it’s true that I am on quite a high from having landed a great job after graduation. I especially believe strongly in librarianship and I want to encourage potential MLIS students that it is a rewarding and viable career choice. You obviously also believe in librarianship as you’ve continued to volunteer and seek opportunities for professional development. I’m glad to hear that you have not given up and are now being paid to do what you love. Good luck!

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