This has been a truly fascinating discussion to follow. My personal opinion is that many Systems Librarians in the near future will need to have some degree of developer skills to do their jobs most successfully (if that isn't already true), but many libraries might not recognize this when they recruit & hire. I think others have already covered well the reasons for why the profession might be slow to recognize this reality. I too wonder how salary expectations might impact the search for librarians that have both pieces (librarianship and computer science) to further that much needed cross-pollination. Some University departments do offer "market-based" salary scale deviations for specific disciplines out of necessity: has anyone ever heard of such an exception being made for a librarian, though?
Working in favor of librarian recruitment: It really is hard to replace the passion, purpose & academic freedom that is afforded a faculty librarian. Also, sticking with it for 15+ years might begin to pay off relative to the private sector in terms of how far the maximum salary band for faculty can reach, and related benefits... depending on the University. For entry-level positions, there's also the benefit of PSLF (public service loan forgiveness), assuming that doesn't get axed soon.
I've noticed that the fields of Data Engineering & Data Architecture are really coming into their own recently, following the big Data Science explosion. I've even seen library positions using these terms (though not for librarians). This seems like an area that libraries could really contribute more to (and an area that some library folk could be poised to move into). Does anyone see that data trend in the private sector affecting this discussion about librarian developers?
Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2017 12:10:00 +0000
From: "Samson, Bob" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Systems Librarian / software developer
I have a question regarding staff development and I am hoping someone can provide some advice. I have two vacant librarian positions in my Library Systems department. I need to fill those vacancies with software/systems developers in order to move our initiatives forward. We have encountered reluctance on the part of our human resources to repurpose those librarian positions into developer positions.
Has anyone had success in posting Systems Librarian positions using education and experience requirements consistent with software developers? We have sufficient flexibility in hiring librarians, but the skill sets differ significantly between librarians and developers. Ideally, we would want someone with backgrounds in computer science rather than library science, for example. I'm curious to know if anyone has tried this and been successful.
Head of Library Systems & Technology
University of Texas at Arlington