How Did I End Up Here?

by Elizabeth on February 23, 2010 · 4 comments

in Adventures

How did I end being an unemployed librarian? Well, it’s not that complicated. I started library school in August of 2008 with my head full of dreams of a cushy job that allowed me to help bright young college students conduct research for term papers, navigate the complex system of academic libraries, and basically help shape their collegiate lives. I knew almost from the beginning that I wanted to be a reference librarian in an academic library. I wasn’t dismissing public librarianship, but I always knew that my skills (and temperament) were best suited to academic librarianship. I worked in a small library on campus for a year and did my internship in my campus’s science and engineering library. Thus, my last semester entered and I was sure, with all this experience, I would have no trouble getting a job.

Obviously, that has not been the case (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this!). It turns out that academic libraries take FOREVER to make any sort of decision. Example: I applied to my very first job in September and applied to 3-4 a week thereafter. I got my first interview at the beginning of December. When was that particular application sent out? The first of October. This is a process that would test the patience of a saint. And patience is not a virtue I’m known for. I’ve had three interviews and one job offer (unfortunately it was not the library or place for me), but haven’t been able to land that perfect ideal: the reference librarian position. I have another job interview coming up this week, so fingers crossed on that!

Being unemployed has its ups and downs. I live with my parents, rent free; in exchange I do most of the cooking and help with the grocery shopping and the housework. My dad works from home, so he does most of the laundry and the housework, but an extra pair of hands is always handy. I’ve introduced my parents to the world of meal planning and budget grocery shopping (the economy has not passed our family over) and am working to trying to make our household more green. Being back at home means living in a city I haven’t lived in for almost 6 years, so that is taking a lot of getting used to. Being away from my friends and my comfort zone is a struggle, but I’m trying to be more social and hang out with friends I didn’t see much while I was in school. There are good parts to being unemployed too: I usually get to sleep late, I’ve started reading 2-3 books a week, and I get to cook and bake, which are two of my favorite activities.

So that’s how I came to be an unemployed librarian. If you are unemployed, please feel free to share your stories!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dark Side of the Fridge March 1, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Hi there! I stumbled onto your blog via Menu Plan Mondays, and just wanted to offer you some encouragement!

Several years ago, I had a dear friend who had earned Masters in Library Science – I worked with her at a law firm where she had been the librarian for several years.

Eventually, she landed a position in the central branch of our City's library system (her "dream job") and, the last time we spoke, she loved it! It took her a while to find a librarian position she loved, but she did find it!

Good luck to you – and don't give up!


2 hburdette March 25, 2010 at 2:20 am

Wow, it's good to know I'm not the only one! I'm almost done with library school, and I moved back in with my parents after college so that I could work full time and go to school at night. If it weren't for my mom, I literally would not eat. I do live rent free but I help out with our household expenses, too; it's been a major change but I'm thankful that they have let me move back in. Are you going to the ALA conference this summer? I'm hoping that it will be a great opportunity to network. Good luck–you'll find your dream job eventually!


3 Diane March 25, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I'm also glad to know I'm not the only one. When I started school in 2007 I was told there would be lots of jobs because so many librarians would be retiring in the coming years. But in my state (CA) we've been hit with hiring freezes everywhere, and almost no entry-level jobs. I've applied out of state as well, gotten 3 in-person interviews, but no offers (my first choice is to be an academic electronic resources librarian; 2nd choice is public librarian). I am truly starting to panic.


4 Elizabeth March 31, 2010 at 9:44 pm

@hburdette, got to love parents who help us eat! I feel so fortunate my parents are helping me out so much. No, I'm not going to ALA this summer; I went last summer hoping to hear about some jobs and do some networking, but it was a huge disappointment on that end. Other than that, I had a great time and learned loads! I felt like a better librarian just for going. Check out my old blog ( for some posts about my adventures at ALA.


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