A few days ago, I participated in a linkedin discussion about recent library school graduates. The discussion question, "Are recent grads too picky?" prompted a few passionate responses. Among my comments, I posted this:
Unless recent library school graduates immediately expect lucrative administrative positions in large library systems, I don't think they are being too picky. I think they want responsibilities and pay equal to their educational credentials. They want to be professionals, not paraprofessionals. They want to demonstrate that an MLIS is a professional degree, not an entry level paraprofessional certificate. Can we imagine many law students getting a JD, just to be paralegals or many medical students working for their MDs, to become nursing assistants? No.
This is not a slam against library paraprofessionals. There are many experienced library paraprofessionals who advanced their careers, who provided excellent services and innovations to libraries without having one college degree, let alone two.
Due to the apparent oversupply of library school graduates, more than a few credentialed librarians take paraprofessional positions in order to stay current in the field and to pay their bills. I don't fault my peers. I worked as a student assistant at an academic library during library school and continued that position for 9 months after I received my MLIS. It helped pay the bills; it kept me current in librarianship. I met some very excellent colleagues whose advice and wisdom showed me that librarianship is the right choice for me.
But those colleagues never expected me to stay in that position, no matter how beneficial it would have been for them to have an MLIS holder as a student assistant. When I was hired for my first professional position, they wished me well. When I take the next step in my career, I know that my colleagues at my current institution will bid me a fond adieu.
Was I being "too picky" when I chose a position that more closely matched my education and other credentials? I don't think so. Are many recent library graduate being too picky for applying to professional positions and forgoing paraprofessional opportunities? Are registered nurses being too picky for not applying to any job remotely associated with nursing? Librarians may not be in the same demand curve, but there is a demand for credentialed librarians--especially those who can write grants or otherwise generate revenue for their prospective institutitions.
So, no--I don't think we are too picky. We are credentialed librarians who simply want to practice the profession.