Sunday, June 01, 2008

Response to Wendy Reynolds on Slaw: Why Librarianship?

If you haven't already seen it, you should read Wendy Reynolds' article on Slaw, Why Librarianship? I am delighted Wendy has joined us on Slaw. You may recall she had a short-lived but brilliant blog on knowledge management a couple years ago.

In this recent article, she questions whether librarianship is still a viable career option for those just starting out, whether she would recommend her niece to pursue this avenue. I personally don't hesitate to recommend librarianship to smart, inquisitive people who are interested in information, research, people and technology. Certainly our society is now based so much on information and technology, I believe talented students graduating from library school--especially if they have business savvy--will be in demand. They may need to sell their skills in areas that are not traditional library arenas, but they do have skills that are needed in many industries.

For me the question is more along the lines of whether law librarianship in Canada specifically is still a viable career option for someone just starting out. Academic law libraries are generally looking for a law degree combined with the library degree. In Toronto law firms we are also seeing what may be a trend away from librarians managing the libraries and instead having KM directors with law degrees overseeing the libraries directly. If one is interested in spending a career doing legal reference and research, there is still plenty of demand. But I wonder if there is enough demand now for those at the management level? As more law firm managers and directors retire, will we see those currently at the intermediate level moved up?

I am not judging the current trends, but am closely watching to see what happens. What is your take?

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