Okay, this is not a complete review because I’m only on page 70 out of almost 200, but I wanted to let you all know that I have started my copy of The NextGen Librarian’s Survival Guide and I’m loving it!
Having worked in a library for 5 years (as of next month) some of this is review for me – but I can remember being fresh out of college and feeling some of the same things as Rachel’s survey respondents – in fact I still feel them sometimes. I liked the idea that a NextGen Librarian is not necessarily a 20-something librarian, a NextGen Librarian can be anyone just coming out of school with their MLS. While I understand this in theory, it’s not always true. It seems that a lot of the quotes Rachel uses are from younger librarians dealing with these issues. The way I see it (and this is a generalization – not necessarily true in all places) if you’re a 50-something recent grad you’re going to get more respect than the 20-something recent grad – solely because of your age and the fact that you’ve (most likely) had professional experience before this.
Anyway, I got a little off topic there.
So far I’ve read about library school and the job hunt. I was grateful for the chapter on library school since I am currently undergoing the application process. There were useful links to scholarship information and mailing lists like NEWLIB-L and NEXGENLIB-L (which by the way was a real pain to sign up for – Topica bombards you with 20 or 30 offers and it takes a lot of clicking “skip” to get signed up). There was also a tip that I had gotten from Marydee at CIL this year – take classes you might not think you’ll need. It will not only pad your skill set on your resume, but you’ll learn something new and that is always useful.
As for the job hunt, there is a wealth of information for those of you in that position. One that makes the most sense is to take part-time positions in the field if that’s all you can find and work another job to make up the funds you may need – this way you are adding experience to your resume and learning the ropes – even if it’s not your dream job. I was lucky lucky lucky when I graduated. I got a great full-time job in a library right out of school – and at that time I didn’t even know that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life – I just figured it was a job and I’d move on in 3-5 years. Now here I am applying to graduate school so I can become and “official” librarian.
That brings me to another annoying point – this snobbery about “You’re not a real librarian”. This was mentioned in the chapter on Surviving Entry-Level Positions – and it’s so frustrating. I’m all for education – and continuing education specifically – but I don’t think a degree makes you a real anything. Experience and love of the field make you a real librarian – not that simple piece of paper you got 30 years ago – because we all know that what you learned 30 years ago is nothing like what you’re doing today.
Anyway, my initial review is that this a worthwhile read and I’m going to be writing up a book report to share with everyone here at work once I’m through reading.