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.