Job fair shows lack of openings in library field

Joe Zucker

With the country in a recession, a career fair in the Student Center Ballroom last night demonstrated how difficult finding a job has become.

Various libraries from around the area set up tables in the ballroom to provide information about the opportunities offered in the fields of library and information science. The fair followed a panel discussion of library professionals earlier in the night. In attendance were students and others interested in the library and information science profession.

Libraries are not immune to the economic crunch, which was evident during the fair.

Linda Sperry, representing the Cleveland Public Library, said job availability is one of the problems the library is experiencing.

“We would love to be able to hire new people, but we’re really restricted by funding right now,” she said. “It’s just not a good time to need a job.”

Christine Morris, electronic resources coordinator for OHIONET and Kent State alumna, said OHIONET, a library membership organization that spans Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania, is not hiring at the moment either.

On the other hand, at least one library in attendance could provide those interested with some

reassuring news.

Celia Huffman, youth services manager for the Cuyahoga County Public Library and Kent State alumna, said the library is hiring. She said it always seems to have positions available.

“I’ve had students come up to me and say that they check our Web site every day for new openings, and that is what they need to do,” she said. “As the youth services manager, I want to tell people about the openings in the youth services area, but we have positions in other areas as well.”

Although the library job well might be drying up, the fair proved helpful in other ways. It enabled students and others to learn from experienced professionals in the field.

“Although we can’t offer any jobs, it’s good to share our expertise in librarianship for all these students and prospective employees,” Morris said.

Sperry said she wanted to show what was unique about the Cleveland Public Library.

“We want to try and illustrate all the differences between our library and others,” Sperry said. “We have so many branch libraries and offer many options that smaller libraries can’t.”

The professionals in attendance also found the fair very fulfilling.

“It is rejuvenating for us to see young people interested in our field,” Morris said. “It kind of takes me back to when I was in their shoes.”

Contact libraries and information services reporter Joe Zucker at [email protected].