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Hearing why the librarians of tomorrow chose the library profession is vital, because understanding their motivations provides librarians with a glimpse of the future as well as ways to improve that future for the profession. This article therefore seeks to communicate the career motivations of MLIS students by reporting the results of a survey conducted at the University of Alabama’s School of Library and Information Studies. Library administrators and others responsible for hiring information professionals will want to hear the library students’ reasons for entering the field, their salary expectations, geographic preferences, perceptions of the job market, and interest in various subfields. However, all librarians should seek to learn more about students’ career motivations and professional interests so that they can recruit more people to the profession and accommodate the needs of new colleagues. By using the survey results as a springboard, we propose several recruitment strategies with an emphasis on the key role of reference librarians in future campaigns. We also recommend that RUSA sponsor annual surveys similar to our own questionnaire so that the profession can adopt an informed approach to the recruitment dilemma.


Published in Reference and User Services Quarterly, vol. 45 no. 3 (2006), pp. 236-248.