REAL PUBLIC LIBRARIAN

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Position...still...Vacant!

Is it coincidence that this month's Incite has a summary of the age distribution of Australian librarians, which gives the somewhat worrying picture that as well as most of them being over 46 (nothing wrong with 46, 46 is nice!), 32% of librarians are planning to retire in the next 10 years? The apparent shortage of librarians has hit home after being unable to attract a successful applicant for a general library job at our library recently. Despite advertising via ALIA, we had 3 applicants in total - 1 withdrew before interview, 1 accepted another job closer to home, and 1 was a mature new graduate who obtained employment at a neighbouring local authority. Woe is us!!! So the next person who walks in the door with a library qualification...

However, the next job vacancy might be my own! Not that I'm thinking of retiring (far from it, still got a good 20 years left), but because our local government is staring down the biggest calamity in its 100+ year history - yes, forced amalgamation. I am personally convinced that we will in fact be amalgamating with our neighbouring area, Rockhampton. Not that I'm against it in principle. And knitting together 2 or more library systems could be quite interesting. For someone else. Sitting through endless committee meetings nutting over the detail is not my thing (been there done that). I prefer the instant gratification of having a good idea in the morning, implementing it in the afternoon. So...while I love living in paradise, and intend to return to DIE here (with a longish retirement first!) there are hopefully 20 or so years that I could be...somewhere else for a while.

Scary but also strangely liberating...like being 20 again. Will I upgrade to a Masters degree? Will I study something completely different? Will I step into a similar job elsewhere (in which case I hope there really IS a shortage of librarians out there!)? Or try a different sector? Or career? Looking forward with anticipation...

10 Comments:

  • Hi RPL,
    I've just left my job as Coordinator Library Services in a WA public library (going back to the education sector - overseas) and I've heard they're having trouble filling the position.

    Not sure what the problem is - I know when I was studying (97-2000), we were told that there weren't any library jobs around and that we would have trouble finding work.
    They subsequently combined the Library course with Records Management, and I think this strategy may be coming back to bite them on the tail!

    By Blogger Sputty, at 11:08 AM  

  • If I could only convince my husband to move up to central qld I'd certainly be up for working at your library - however he is heat intollerant and I'm cold intollerant - where does this leave us when he wishes to live in Tasmania!!!

    Good luck with the almangamation issues - think it will be impacting on many library services and will also be interesting to see what happens with County Lending Service staff.

    By Blogger SharonU, at 7:40 PM  

  • The ageing of the workforce is not a 'library' specific problem, read any management journals today and you'll be overwhelmed with the ageing workforce dilemna.

    Yes, of course, as Librarian's, we're more concerned with our own profession.

    What's of more concern is that we, as a profession, don't seem to be adressing this problem.

    Again, read any management journal, any HR journal and they will all tell you that successful recruitment today MUST think outside the square to recruit and any number of solutions including flexibility, sabaticals, pay of course, challenges etc.

    OUR peak professional agency, the NLA, recruits to a low standard and starts their recruits at a level which is not mirrored in the general public service - and everyone takes their cue from the National. Is it any wonder that we're not attracting graduates to the profession at a decent replacement rate for all those retiring? Our profession MUST offer competitive salaries conditions or library graduates will (and DO!) take their skillset and apply this outside of traditional libraries and the demise of the library profession marches on.

    That ageing library profession (those in Senior Mngt) must stop classifying positions at lower levels because that's where they started out, and must recognise what the marketplace is offering and delivering to new graduates and recruits if we ever hope to compete or replinish our retiring age professionals

    Peter Bere

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:42 PM  

  • Peter

    Thankyou for your very insightful and true comments. I agree wholeheartedly - the trick is getting the HR departments in local governments to abandon their old tactics and get with the times. Now that I've seen the light, I'm hoping, as a library manager, to apply my creds in HR (brushing up on the most current theories so I can argue with some conviction) to lobby for meaningful strategies for attracting and retaining not just library staff, but staff across the board that are in such desperately short supply in regional local government. It's a shame that the NLA and other major library employers haven't got with the program yet. We all need to be chipping away at archaic HR practices.

    By Blogger Deb, at 4:59 PM  

  • I'm a graduate of Bachelor in Elementary Education in the year 1993 and a License Teacher. Then I'm also a graduate of Bachelor in Secondary Education Major in Library Science in the year 1995 and a License Librarian too. I have a complete academic requirement in Master in Library Science and passed the Comprehensive Exam. I am presently working in a private school for almost 13 years. I am now willing to work abroad and if you want to know more about me you can email me at lei3204@yahoo.com.

    By Anonymous Lei, at 7:50 PM  

  • dear deb,
    Could I have your emaill address ? I am really interested in working librarian .
    plz email me habiba_khan07@yahoo.com Thank you .

    By Blogger habibah, at 11:29 PM  

  • hi RPL I'am interested to work in abroad, I'am a LIBRARIAN and I have a Masteral Of Library and Information Science. Here is my email marnielle28@yahoo.com.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:27 PM  

  • hello Deb, im june carmille..i am really interested to work abroad...i've been surfing the net for possible employment...can you pls help me...i am a license librarian and with a few masters degree units...dis is my email add...jcarmille@yahoo.com or jckendra@gmail.com

    By Blogger June Carmille, at 4:22 PM  

  • hi deb....i'm looking for a job in other countries, can you help me...here's my email add mudvwin_1968@yahoo.com......thank you

    By Anonymous shane, at 5:06 PM  

  • hi! i am a librarian for 12 years and a graduate of Master's Degree in Library and Information Science, interested to work abroad, if you want to know more about me here's my email: bernalterhodora@yahoo.com

    By Blogger Rhodora Bernalte, at 12:08 PM  

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