The New Class: A Summer Outside the Classroom


A Summer Outside the Classroom is a series of entries about sampling educational opportunities outside the classroom and expanding my horizons through online education, real life activities, and 100% pure moxie. 

I have one year left until I graduate with my Masters in Library Science.

Cue panic.

I don’t have to mention all the warnings about the sluggish library job market that stem back for years and have continued and continued and so on. In the Library With The Lead Pipe, Brett Bonfield asks if the United States is producing too many or too few librarians. The kick to the teeth for me is the underlying question of Bonfield’s article – are these degrees (and the education that came with) worth the paper that they are printed on?

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that:

Employment of librarians is expected to grow by 7 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is slower than average for all occupations. There may be competition for librarian positions, but those with library science training may be able to use those skills in other settings.

Yet the Bureau also reported that the unemployment rate is only 4% for people with a Master’s degrees. That’s much better than the national average. Yet that doesn’t do much to comfort me when I stare into the haggard face of a recent MLIS grad on an unsuccessful job hunt. I listlessly browse LIS job sites with increasing dismay. I ask myself as sketch out blog entries and sort book donations at a struggling non-profit, ‘is this just the library student equivalent of academic voodoo?’

Cue even more panic.

Its not as if I have just been taking bong rips and playing hacky sack in the quad these last few years.

I have three years of practical academic library experience with skills in reference, MARC cataloging, and all the miscellaneous jobs that library assistants end up doing. I have also volunteered for non-profit community centers and archives. I’m the president of a student association on campus. In essence  I blog, network, and try to work all my angles to ensure that I won’t end up living back with my parents and working at Radioshack.

And at one point, they had me trying desperately to sell electronics in a retirement village.

And at one point, they had me trying desperately to sell electronics in a retirement village.


Never again.


My latest voodoo ritual is to explore outside the classroom this summer. A rare turn of events allows me freedom from grad school for a summer so like the nerd that I am, I decided to learn on my own. I will be exploring free online education, creating a creative writing group, and even more wacky learning shenanigans. 

Join me on my latest offering to the library gods to keep myself from ever darkening the doors of Radioshack again.






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