USA Today career advice feature on October 13, 2017 entitled “Careers: 8 jobs that won’t exist in 2030,” https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/careers/2017/10/13/8-jobs-that-wont-exist-in-2030/104219994/ provoked the following reaction by the ALICE Board of Directors:
Ms. Joanne Lipman
October 20, 2017
Editor-in-Chief of USA Today
7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 22108
Dear Ms. Lipman,
In our roles as the Board of Directors of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), we are writing to express our profound disappointment with the USA Today career advice feature on October 13, 2017 entitled “Careers: 8 jobs that won’t exist in 2030,” which declared that “librarian” is the number one career among the eight jobs that inaccurate statement on two fronts: first, that the profession is declining, and second, that this alleged will disappear in 2030. This is a false and decline is a result of libraries as warehouses of printed books.
The author of this article may not realize that a professional librarian position in the U.S. and many other countries requires a Master’s degree. According to a recent article in Library Journal, 86% of recent graduates from American Library Association (ALA) accredited schools have found jobs. Another recent report (released on September 28, 2017) by Pearson, Nesta, and Oxford University predicts growth in the information professions, including librarians, curators, and archivists. They are among the top ten jobs likely to experience increased demand in 2030. The report is summarized by Library Journal in its article entitled “The Job Outlook: In 2030, Librarians Will Be in Demand.” Furthermore, your own job posting section for librarian positions does not show the decline of our profession. A close reading of the job titles should have indicated to the author that librarians do more than simply check out books.
This article demonstrates a lack of understanding of librarians’ work as information professionals. My note: but so do lack understanding a lot of librarians, paraprofessionals and administrators in libraries. They are the one, who leave the impressions reflected in the article of US Today. Information professionals IS the keyword and, as during the hype around year 2000 with Barnes & Nobles, a great number of people working in libraries continue to behave as it is the Middle Ages and care of paper-based materials the one and only responsibility a “librarian” may have. The lack of understanding regarding the wide scope of “information professionals” is profound.
Libraries provide access to print and special collections of media, and subscription-based or free electronic resources. All of these must be curated, cataloged, or organized by professional librarians to make them accessible to their users. My note: beating your own drum is good, but when failing to recognize the existence of folksonomy and its impact, do not get upset when US Today reflects the impact
College and university librarians carry out research consultations and instruct student and faculty in finding, evaluating, and using information. My note: when faculty let them do it. And administration recognizes it. It is a shaky position, which does not exclude the 2030 scenario.
Public librarians connect patrons to community resources, lead programming for children and adults, and engage in community outreach and advocacy. Special librarians work for corporations, federal and state institutions, focusing on gathering competitive intelligence and making sure their organizations have access to the information they need to make sound business or strategic decisions.
The article also inaccurately presents libraries as dedicated solely to books:
More and more people are clearing out those paperbacks and downloading e-books on their Tablets and Kindles instead. The same goes for borrowing — as books fall out of favor, libraries are not as popular as they once were. That means you’ll have a tough time finding a job if you decide to become a librarian. Many schools and universities are already moving their libraries off the shelves and onto the Internet.
In addition to providing access to books, journals, newspapers, and other media, both electronically and in print, libraries provide access to technology, from computers, laptops, and iPads to 3D printers,
My note: are we? are we doing this at our library? Are the reference librarians allowing such blasphemous thoughts penetrate this library? And if they do, do they allow other professionals to collaborate with them, or “keep it for themselves?”
multimedia software, and recording studios.
My note: whaaat?
Many libraries have expanded their non-print collections and are circulating a wide variety of objects including tools, musical instruments, toys, wifi hotspots, and artwork. Libraries are highly valued as community centers and safe spaces that allow people to connect with information and with each other. Research shows that libraries are one of the most trusted and valued public institutions in the country.
The article further argues that librarians and libraries are not needed because printed books are falling out of favor. However, there is considerable counter-evidence that printed books are still in demand, including the articles cited below.
Cain, S. (2017, March 14). Ebook sales continue to fall as younger generations drive appetite for print. The Guardian. Retrieved from:
Jenkins, S. (2016, May 13). Books are back. Only the technodazzled thought they would go away. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/13/books- ebook-publishers-paper
Milliot, J. (2017, January 20). The Bad News About E-books: Nielsen reports units fell 16% in 2016 compared to 2015. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from:
We respectfully request an open response from you or from the author of the article. Sincerely,
ALISE Board of Directors
Dietmar Wolfram (President), Heidi Julien (President-Elect), Louise Spiteri (Past President), Denice
Adkins (Secretary/Treasurer), Leanne Bowler (Director for Special Interest Groups), Cecilia Salvatore
(Director for Membership Services), Rong Tang (Director for External Relations)