Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Position: AGS Library - Digital/Spatial Data GIS

Digital/Spatial Data GIS Librarian - UWM Libraries - AGS Library [PDF]

via: Maps-L

C'mon now, all you GIS librarians and all you librarians with an interest in GIS... This is a great job, but something must not have worked out when they opened this position late last year.

This position is with the American Geographical Society Library, "one of America's foremost geography and map collections."

Here are changes that I see in the job description since the job was initially opened:
  • Removal of the MLS (Masters in Library Science) Requirement
    • Now, this is a major change that requires some thought. The position is now open to anyone with an "advanced, terminal degree in another relevant subject discipline." The management of metadata and digital maps access does not require a trained librarian per se, but when you add in liaison work with faculty, collection development for GIS-related literature, a non-librarian would have a much tougher time than an experienced GIS librarian. However, (and this is a big but...), would it be easier to teach a librarian GIS or a GIS analyst with metadata experience how to be a librarian. This is not an easy question. Sure GIS is a highly technical and specialized subject matter, but a computer-savvy librarian with the will to learn GIS can surely do so. Nor is it easy for a GIS professional to learn the ins-and-outs of the professional librarian world. Sometimes, however, when an applicant pool is shallow without sufficiently qualified applicants, the requirements must be lessened and the most logical thing to do is to open the position to non-librarians.

  • The Added Requirement of Geography-Related Degree or Experience
    • If the position is opened to non-librarians, the emphasis of course will shift to the GIS/geography experience and so this is now specified.

  • More Emphasis on Digital Spatial Data Clearinghouse
    • From what I can tell from the previous posting, the job requirements appear to be the same, but there is more of an emphasis on the Digital Spatial Data Clearinghouse. I think this was well done as it makes the position immensely more me at least.

  • What Did Not Change?
    • Salary. As is unfortunately often the case, library-offered salaries are too low to attract sufficiently qualified applicants. $ 37,719 minimum is low for an advanced degree with experience. The same thing happened with a professional librarian position here a short while ago, where the posted salary was too low to attract applicants, and the response was to lessen the requirements (remove the MLS requirement) as the salary was immovable.


Growbot said...

Alas, this is becoming all too common. Librarians, for as long as I've known them, have complained of being underpaid. But now that I am one, and make less money than I did in 1999, it's all too tempting to snag any one of the many entry-level GIS positions that the freshly minted BS's in geography are taking.

mapz said...

You and me both! Think about it quite often.

But then I sit back and I know that I could not really imagine leaving the academic environment. There is absolutely no way that the average corporate or government position would support and (or even encourage) the many professional development and other learning ventures that were not directly related to essential job functions. Nor would I have so much flexibility in the way I want to provide GIS services. I have become spoiled with these and other benefits of working in a library. These benefits are worth at least as much as the $10,000 per year (pre-tax) salary jump a move to a private company would give to me.

Golly, I rambled on here, but you touched upon something that often lurks around the back of my mind. Thanks for the comment...