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Our $50,000 Problem: Why Library School?

  • Jennie Rose Halperin,

57 library schools in the United States are churning out approximately
100 graduates per year, many with debt upwards of $50,000. According to
ONet, 84% of library jobs in the US require an MLS.
The library profession is 92% white and 82% female and entry-level librarians can expect to make $32,500 per year.

Contrasted with developers, who are almost 90% male
and can expect to make $70,000 in an entry-level position,
these numbers are dismal.

According to a recent survey, the top skill that outgoing library
students want to know is “programming” and yet many MLS programs still
consider Microsoft Word an essential technology skill.

What is going on here? Why do we accept this fate, where mostly female
debt-burdened professionals continue to be thrown onto the work force
without the education their expensive degrees promised?

As a community we need to come together to stop this cycle. We need to
provide better support and mentorship to diversify and keep the
profession relevant and help librarianship move into the future it

This talk will walk through the challenges of navigating a hostile
employment environment as well as present models for better development
and future state imagining.