Top 25 careers

U.S. News published its top 25 picks for professions that “will be in growing demand as baby boomers age, the Internet becomes ubiquitous, and Americans seek richer, simpler lives” — and it looks like librarianship is one of those top 25 careers. While the the median salary ($49,708) listed is #22 on the list, the academic requirements place librarianship in the top 50% of the careers. 6 require masters, 7 require doctorates, the other 12 fields can be entered with a bachelors degree. U.S. News grades the quality of life for a librarian as an A, attainability as a B, and prestige and job market outlook as C.

The executive summary frees librarians from the “mousy bookworm” persona to be “high tech information sleuths” and proclaims it an “underrated career.” (I knew that.) According to the article: “librarians’ work hours are reasonable, and the work environment, needless to say, is placid.” (Hmmm, not so sure about that one.)

James Billington, the 13th Librarian of Congress is the featured librarian in the “Expert Opinion” section of the feature. His response to whether librarians are becoming obsolete is that the explosion of information is elevating librarians to be “the intermediaries who will help connect people to the information they need.” His assessment of the job fulfillment is right on — “Someone is paying you–usually not adequately–for a life of continuous learning and the satisfaction of sharing it with other people.”

Incidentally, the U.S. News ranking of top schools for library and information science lists my alma mater, the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champagne as #1. UIUC has been a top-ranked school for a number of years — pretty impressive.

Lessons from Kofi Annan

From the Washington Post comes this message from Kofi Annan, who will leave his post as secretary general of the United Nations on December 31st. The article is based on an address he gave yesterday at the Truman Presidential Museum & Library in Independence, Mo. He says “All my life since has been a learning experience. Now I want to pass on five lessons I have learned during 10 years as secretary general of the United Nations that I believe the community of nations needs to learn as it confronts the challenges of the 21st century.” The entire article is appropriate reading for this reflective season.

  1. In today’s world we are all responsible for each other’s security.
  2. We are also responsible for each other’s welfare.
  3. Both security and prosperity depend on respect for human rights and the rule of law.
  4. Governments must be accountable for their actions, in the international as well as the domestic arena.
  5. Multilateral institutions through which states hold each other to account must be organized in a fair and democratic way, giving the poor and the weak some influence over the actions of the rich and the strong.

. . . and in the same article he also says that nearly 50 years ago when he arrived in Minnesota as a student fresh from Africa he learned that “there is nothing wimpish about wearing earmuffs when it is 15 degrees below zero.”