In my constant perusal of The Library Network’s job board, I noted that there were some positions that had been posted for several months and not yet filled. Curious about the aspects of these particular jobs that might make them difficult to find qualified candidates for, I chose one from Texas Tech University School of Law Library to analyze.
This is an opening for a Digital and Bibliographic Technologies Librarian in the School of Law Library, and focuses heavily on technology and assistance in legal research. The librarian is required to provide “user-friendly searchable bibliographic records,” discover and implement new technologies, and coordinate acquisitions, serials, and cataloguing. In addition to these main duties, the librarian would also occasionally work the Reference Desk.
It is interesting to note that the outline of the job does not mention a specific number of years of experience in an academic library setting, this is obviously not an entry-level position. In addition to an MLIS, applicants need to have familiarity with media migration, database management, metadata, digitization, and knowledge of electronic legal information sources. The ideal candidate would preferably have a JD in addition to an MLIS and experience using Innovative Interfaces Millennium system.
Since this is considered an Assistant Librarian position, he or she would likely answer to the Head Librarian or Library Director. However, because this is an academic position, the power structure could be slightly different. The current opening is a tenure-track position, which changes my perspective of it slightly. In order to become tenured, academics generally have to jump through a series of hoops and engage in research or publication in addition to their usual duties. Also, the employee in this case is subjected to a background check and fingerprinting upon being hired, because applicants are given a security clearance at a low level. This also indicates that the librarian might, at some point, need to gain an even higher security clearance, which could require even more time and red tape.
This position strikes me as one that could truly be a career. The possibility of tenure and the room for upward mobility is connotative of stability and long-term prospects; it is unlikely that Texas Tech is looking for any professional that is too new or untested. And while the possibility of stability and a job that could potentially be one that you’d hold until retirement is alluring, there is also something daunting about it. In the early years, before one achieved tenure, it seems as though perhaps family life and outside interests would certainly take a backseat to career ambition.
TLN Job Board. The Library Network. Retrieved from http://tln.lib.mi.us/jobs