It seems weird that this past week a number of different people have asked me for advice about applying to library school. Not so much where to apply, since there’s only one school in the area, but more about what to expect and if they should do it. I couldn’t bring myself to enthusiastically say, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” All I could answer was, “Have you worked in a library and do you have any idea of what you’d want to do in one?” How’s that for cautious?
I know part of my response stems from my weariness of school and work. I started at Drexel in Fall 2006. Since then I’ve managed to go to school full-time, work full-time, under go treatment for breast cancer, and volunteer an excessive amount of time at KALX. Two years on, I’m in dire need of a break, so of course I probably am not as enthusiastic about library school as I may have been otherwise.
I think it’s important for future librarians to think about those questions before applying to school. It’s not like having a masters will hurt your career, but why go into debt when you will be perfectly happy in a position that doesn’t require the MLS? I really love the library world, but I know that there are some jobs that don’t need the degree and I don’t think somebody spending the money on one is the most sensible thing in the world. I definitely think that it’s good to get experience before taking the plunge, but I don’t want to advise somebody to spend $40k to get a masters, only to work as a paraprofessional for $35k a year.