In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Introduction:Workforce Issues in Library and Information Science, Part 2
  • Joanne Gard Marshall (bio), Susan Rathbun-Grubb (bio), Deborah Barreau (bio), and Jennifer Craft Morgan (bio)

This double issue represents a continuation of our first collection of research articles on workforce issues published in Library Trends, Volume 58, Number 2, Fall 2009. Concerns about the current and future state of the library workforce continue to grow as greater numbers of Baby Boomers move closer to their retirement years. As Manjarrez, Ray, and Bisher point out in this issue, half of librarians were over age fifty in 2007, and a fifth of librarians were over age sixty. A number of factors have made librarianship one of the occupations with the highest proportion of older workers: many librarians enter the profession as a second career; reductions in hiring in public and academic libraries during the 1970s and 1980s resulted in fewer hires of younger librarians; and high levels of job satisfaction contribute to worker longevity in positions. The complexity of the library workforce situation is also increased by the greater proportion of women in the profession who are more likely than men to have career interruptions and caregiving demands for both child care and elder care. In some cases, these responsibilities, or even being married to an older spouse, may result in some women retiring at an earlier age.

While there has been much discussion and speculation about workforce issues in the past, research data on the subject has been sparse. Most studies have been limited in size and scope and have produced snapshots from narrow or focused angles rather than comprehensive and wide-angle pictures of the changes that are occurring in the library workforce over time. Since librarianship is not a licensed profession requiring annual registration and submission of job information, as is the case in the health professions, we have not had a strong body of workforce data to draw upon for educational and workforce planning. Nor is it easy for policy makers or even prospective recruits to find out about workforce needs [End Page 1] and trends. Much of the workforce literature that does exist has often been published as reports rather than in the indexed journal literature, making it challenging to find.

Fortunately, the editors of Library Trends agreed to publish an issue on workforce issues in 2009, which allowed us to begin bringing together some of the existing research studies. Since there were a number of authors with key insights who would have liked to submit an article for consideration but were unable to meet the deadline, the editors agreed to publish a second issue on the topic. A public call for submissions resulted in twenty-nine responses and the final nineteen articles appear in this second issue. We were impressed by the range and quality of the submissions and the number of important research questions that are being investigated not only in the United States but also internationally. We are indebted to the Library Trends editors for providing the means to bring this important work together at a critical time in the history of our profession. Our hope is that it will inspire future researchers and provide evidence for informed educational and workforce planning at all levels.

An overview of the contents of this issue gives a picture of the diversity of recent workforce research and the challenges that we face. Manjarrez, Ray, and Bisher's demographic overview of the current and projected library workforce is a landmark work based on a cross survey analysis of major national data sets. The authors from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) point out the limitations of the currently available data sets and set the stage for continuing the discussion of this challenging situation. Both librarians and library technicians are discussed at the national and state levels. Even though the projections suggest modest growth for the paraprofessional segment of the workforce and stable demand for ALA-accredited MLS librarians, the authors point out that the large number of expected retirements will make it difficult to maintain the current size of the library workforce. The second part of the article documents the IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0682
Print ISSN
0024-2594
Pages
pp. 1-5
Launched on MUSE
2011-01-08
Open Access
No
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