Careers in Rare Books and Manuscripts: Frequently Asked Questions / Job Resources / New Librarians
What is the job market like for new librarians / archivists?
The job market for new librarians varies according to type of library and geographical location. Not long ago, it was predicted that the “graying” of the librarian profession would lead to mass retirements, and therefore an increase in the number of opportunities for new graduates from library schools. Though some still believe that a shortage of qualified applicants will materialize, other research suggests that competition for entry-level jobs will continue to be fierce.¹
For special collections librarians, the market is generally more competitive than the average in other fields of librarianship. When applying for your first professional position in special collections, it is wise to be flexible about salary, location, and even responsibilities. Once you have a few years as a professional librarian under your belt, you should find that you have greater control over your career.
The good news, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is that job growth for librarians is expected to be as fast as the average and job opportunities are expected to be favorable through 2018.² The job outlook for archivists, curators, and museum technicians is for much faster than average employment growth over the next eight years, but “keen competition” is anticipated because the number of qualified applicants is expected to outnumber job openings.³ Read more in the online Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 edition.
1. See, for example: Holt, Rachel and Adrienne L. Strock. "The Entry Level Gap: Breaking in to the profession is harder than ever -- if you're fresh out of library school." Library Journal (May 2005), http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA527965.html ; Also see the follow-up article: Holt, Rachel and Adrienne L. Strock. "BackTalk: The Entry-Level Gap, Revisited." Library Journal (October 2007), http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6483877.html?q=Entry+Level+Gap
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Librarians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos068.htm. Accessed April 27, 2010.
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Archivists, Curators, and Museum Technicians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos065.htm. Accessed April 27, 2010.