PhDs and Library Jobs

There’s a long column in yesterday’s Chronicle on Higher Education advising Ph.Ds on how to make the transition to librarianship, “because the library profession consistently offers a deeply satisfying career with multiple rewards that are too often missing from the faculty positions within reach for most Ph.D.’s.” The column includes tips like:

  • “Librarians and human-resources recruiters most appreciate applications that are short and sweet — until you have the MLIS degree in hand (at which point you can revert to the beloved vita with relative impunity).
  • “The years you spent earning your Ph.D., and getting published, could be described as ‘10 years’ experience in academic research and critical writing.’”
  • “That’s why the opening statement of your cover letter should convey that you are genuinely interested in library work — not as an alternative to teaching, driven by desperation, but as your ruling passion.”

Great. Wonder how many Ph.Ds I’ll be competing with when I go out looking for a job. I don’t have anything against Ph.Ds. In fact, I admire you guys. But, you know, I’d like to get a job too. And I don’t have a vita to use “with relative impunity.”