Diving into the thick of job-hunting now that I have my MLIS, I’ve been noticing just how many jobs out there are stealth library jobs. Stealth library jobs are ones where employers don’t say they want a librarian, but everything else in the job description screams WE NEED LIBRARIANS.
This is important to recognize, especially since these stealth jobs won’t show up if you search for “library” on job boards. Sometimes they show up under if you search for “archive,” but not always. “Information organization” is another keyword that these employers DON’T use, even though they desperately need someone who understands the principles of organizing information.
It’s also important for us MLIS grads to realize that stealth library jobs exist for another reason. Remember how people kept talking about the upcoming retirement wave that would open up thousands of library jobs? At the risk of sounding cynical, it’s an old lie. Well-meaning, perhaps, but it doesn’t help us when it comes time to search for jobs. (and why am I thinking about the last four lines of Wilfred Owen’s poem?)
Here’s a prime example of a stealth library job from the Art Institute of Chicago. I’ve highlighted the library-relevant terms:
Collection Manager for Comprehensive Inventory
Assists the curator in his or her work on the eighteen-month inventory of the permanent collection. Participates in research and cataloguing of the collection. Serves as liaison between departmental curator, departmental specialist, and support staff, with departments of Conservation, Registration, Imaging, and other museum departments for all collection inventory-related issues. In consultation with curator, departmental specialist, and staff from other relevant departments (e.g. Registrar, Conservation, Imaging, and Digital Information and Access), assists in developing protocol pertaining to the permanent collection inventory (it sounds like they want someone who can set up an ongoing procedure for inventorying the permanent collection) and is responsible for its coordination and implementation. Maintains and updates departmental accession files, locations lists, and corresponding CITI records in an accurate, consistent and timely manner. Assists the curator in ensuring that all documentation is correct. Serves as departmental liaison with CITI projects. Coordinates with the department specialist in organizing movement of works of art to facilitate inventory process and safe keeping of the collection. Provides research support to curator in regard to the permanent collection inventory. Coordinates rapid imaging of collection with curator and imaging personnel. Assists visiting scholars in viewing works in storage and departmental files and makes museum resources available through providing photographs and collection information for the assessment process as appropriate, and as time permits. Other duties as assigned.
M.A. in Art History or related subject required; museum gallery and collection management experience a plus; knowledge of European Decorative Arts and/or collection important; strong research and cataloguing skills; comprehensive knowledge of CITI or other collection management systems desired.
I looked up CITI, and if I’m correct, it’s the Corporate IT Inventory software. So, basically if you know any ILS, you can figure out CITI. Anyway, you can see just how much theyneed a librarian without actually realizing it. Bonus points if you have an art background.
So, if you’re in the job hunt, too, don’t despair at the lack of library jobs. There’s actually a fair bit of jobs out there that need librarians.