Abstract

An increasingly younger student body across ALA-accredited master's programs, coupled with an aging workforce facing delayed retirement may form a future library workforce skewed at both ends of the age spectrum. When compared with the average age of credentialed librarians from 2001 to 2005, the average age of students enrolled in ALA-accredited programs during the same years reveals a wave of new librarians, 54 percent of whom are under thirty-five, entering a workforce in which 70 percent of librarians are over 45. Assuming the profession is able to retain these new librarians, managers should plan now to implement the best and most productive human resource management policies and practices for a workforce heavily weighted at both ends of the age and career spectrums. Such plans would necessarily include considerations for avoiding ageism, resolving intergenerational conflict, meeting the professional development needs of age-diverse learners, enabling the transfer of institutional knowledge, and encouraging work/life balance. There is potential for conflict among generations sharing the work and the workplace, but it could also be an historic opportunity to transfer leadership from one generation to the next in a manner that respects both and that benefits our libraries.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0682
Print ISSN
0024-2594
Pages
pp. 88-108
Launched on MUSE
2011-01-08
Open Access
No
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