Module 13: Careers in Digital Librarianship

Since the first OPACs began to appear technology has been instituting change in how libraries operate and redefining the skills librarians need to work in the field of librarianship. The specialization of digital librarianship requires a combination of technical knowledge and administrative and traditional skills.

According to the section “Emerging Jobs, New Titles” in Stephanie Matta’s Library Journal article “A Job By Any Other Name: LJ’s Placements & Salaries Survey 2012” new job titles are emerging to encompass the growing need for technologically proficient librarians to build, maintain and manage digital content, digital projects and digital libraries.

Recent and future college graduates are facing an uncertain job market in a struggling economy. The library job market study by Matta shows good and not-s0-good results for future librarians. She found that the average starting salaries for librarians increased five % between 2010 and 2011, along with growth in public and academic library job placements. Yet, full-time library employment after graduation remained at 75.4%, and those reporting taking jobs outside of the LIS field rose from 10.1% to 18.3%.

1. Tzoc and Millard (2011) conclude that “current students as well as practicing librarians need to seek out additional non-curricular opportunities to build competency in the technical areas represented in this study if they are or expect to be marketable” (p. 14).

Should LIS programs address this gap in experience and skills? How? If you wish, talk about how the UW program has expanded (or not expanded) your technological skill set.

2. In their 2009 study, Choi and Rasmussen found that 79.3% of digital librarian job advertisements required an ALA-accredited master’s degree (p. 460).

What are the implications for the profession if libraries begin to loosen educational requirements for the wide range of digital librarianship positions, i.e. not require an MLS/MLIS degree?

3. Choi and Rasmussen also point out that “the requirement of a managerial qualification was an emerging trend in the library profession” and to “librarians involved in digital work” (p 464).

During a job search one may come across a position in which she or he is qualified for in every area but management. How can new and recent graduates apply previous work and educational experiences to the managerial requirement? For example, some of you have been involved in some or all areas of project management. How can this (or another) work/school experience serve as a way to show a prospective employer that you can successfully handle this part of the job?

4. Discuss something I haven’t covered or, if you are currently job hunting, share your something about your search.

5. Also, this week’s task per Sarah in the content module: “Seek out a current or recent (last two-three years) job listing in the field of librarianship that asks for a “digital librarian,” or asks for significant digital librarianship skills. Post a link to the listing, as well as key portions of it, and discuss the listing in the context of the week’s readings. Hint: you might find good resources and job sites _in_ the readings themselves, so check these first.


One response to “Module 13: Careers in Digital Librarianship

  1. Thanks so much for kicking us off, drummergirl40. All of the readings and content are up on Learn; please find a job description or two to contribute, as drummergirl mentioned! Hopefully these great questions and readings, as well as taking a look at some real-world job solicitations, will engender a good discussion that can be of use to those of you getting ready to take your next step.

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