I write from the reference desk, which has received a brand-new chair since last I sat here. It is making a remarkable difference. Firm back, easy to raise and lower, arm rests in the right place, I feel ergonomically-correct for the first time in ages. If you ask around you’ll find that our library requested and received two or three new chairs (the number varies depending on who you ask, which makes me think that phantom third chair has already been snaked). Now, if you’ve got one of these new chairs, all is right and rosy in the chair department. We just got brand new chairs! If you’re one of the rest of us, this library hasn’t gotten new chairs in years.
So, yeah. It all looks good (and at the right height) when you’re the one in the chair. Sort of like if you’re the school enrolling hundreds and hundreds of additional tuition-paying students in your library school, the outlook for librarians looks great. I was glad to read today that so many people want to follow in the vaunted footsteps of Melvil Dewey and E.J. Josey and, well, me. But I worry that while things look great for the accountants at Drexel, things look awful for new librarians on the job market. I mean, I went to library school. It took me a year following graduation to find my first professional gig (and I worked in libraries the entire time and am good at working–they told me I had management potential when I was fourteen and working at mcdonalds, and I haven’t changed much), and I only landed that first gig because of the kinds of connections you make when you never leave the city where you went to college. Can it possibly be that the profession is adding enough jobs to absorb the 30% enrollment jumps at Kutztown? Does evidence of an oversupply tell us anything about the demand? Are library schools diploma mills? How’s the horizon if you’re not sitting in a brand new chair in an office with a view, financed by the next round of underemployed MLS holders?
Or am I just in a sour mood because my office chair is broken?