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Kirsty Williamson; Marion Bannister; Lynne Makin (UMRL & PLA); Graeme Johanson, Don Schauder, and Jen Sullivan. ‘When I’m 64’: The public library after the retirement of the baby boomers Overview Introduction Two visions for the future Literature review Research design

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slide1

Kirsty Williamson; Marion Bannister; Lynne Makin (UMRL & PLA); Graeme Johanson, Don Schauder, and Jen Sullivan.

‘When I’m 64’:

The public library after the retirement of the baby boomers

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

overview
Overview
  • Introduction
  • Two visions for the future
  • Literature review
  • Research design
  • Findings – Parts 1 and 2
  • Conclusion

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

introduction
Introduction
  • Baby boomers a large cohort – 5.4m (one-quarter of Australian population).
  • Have already had a major impact on Australian society.
  • Libraries have good reason to plan and develop policy.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

two visions for the future 1
Two visions for the future: 1

A 65 year old female academic considers her options

at retirement:

  • Financial situation – reduced income, possible part-

time work.

  • Richer in time but family responsibilities increasing.
  • Access to resources post workplace connectivity.
  • Role of public library – personal interests, social

interaction, technological access.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

two visions for the future 2
Two visions for the future: 2

POLKA (Public Online Leisure and Knowledge

Australia), one Australia-wide networked public library

by 2030.

  • Reciprocal use of local services and resources.
  • Emphasis on access not collections.
  • Access to POLKA via portals on the Internet (or its

successor) and personal mobile digital devices.

  • A heavy reliance on e-formats of all sorts.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

literature review
Literature review

A paucity of research on impact on public libraries of retirement of baby boomers except for work of Kahlert / Lockyer-Benzie.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

literature review7
Literature review

Characteristics of baby boomers:

  • voracious users of information (McKay 1997).
  • most highly educated generation (ABS 1999).
  • more affluent than previous generations.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

literature review8
Literature review

Characteristics of baby boomers:

  • will have time to explore personal interests.
  • will lose access to workplace resources.
  • lifelong learning will interest them.
  • health and lifestyle important.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

literature review9
Literature review

Future needs of baby boomers:

  • post-retirement work: flexible working

arrangements, self-employment, part-time or

casual work (Australian Government 2004).

  • technology: remote access to public libraries

via technology a high priority (Kahlert 2000).

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

project philosophy
Project philosophy
  • Interpretivist/constructivist philosophy.
  • Suited to stimulating creativity and

generating ideas.

  • Multiple realities like layers of an onion:

‘Each layer provides a different perspective

of reality, and none can be considered more

“true” than any other’ (Guba & Lincoln,1981).

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

data collection
Data collection
  • Focus groups - interaction amongst

participants.

  • Individual interviews – in-depth perspectives

from one person.

  • Open questions to stimulate generation of

ideas.

  • Two locations – Newcastle and St Kilda.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

the sample
The sample
  • Two focus groups, 8 baby boomers in each,

recruited through 2 library services.

  • Four ‘gatekeepers’ - visionary leaders.
  • All born between1946 and 1965.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

data analysis
Data analysis
  • Compilation of ideas - useful to public library

policy makers, in keeping with participants’

perspectives.

  • Three team members developed themes and

categories of analysis.

  • Findings - construction resulting from

interaction of participants and researchers

(Charmaz 2003).

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

findings 1 key characteristics and needs of baby boomers
Findings 1: Key characteristics and needs of baby boomers

“This generation is different to the one that is out there now.” (GK)

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

key c haracteristics
Key characteristics
  • Well educated, IT savvy, many comfortable financially, many have worked full-time.
  • Enjoy quality products, convenience, require value for money and ‘want it now!’
  • Renowned for their high expectations of life.
  • Spoke of hobbies and interests they will pursue (travel important).
  • Strong interest in continuing education.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

information and r ecreational p references
Information and recreational preferences
  • Proficiency with technology, but many prefer the book for information and recreation.
  • Many are good information seekers accustomed to finding information using all available resources.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

financial i ssues
Financial issues
  • Stark contrasts in participants’ views about their financial circumstances after retirement.
  • Disparity between those who will have the means to get what they want immediately, and those who will not.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

post retirement w ork
Post-retirement work
  • Many will want to keep working, if on their own terms, and not “where their time is controlled by someone else”. (GK)
  • Many will need to work for financial reasons because “ their expectations are higher”. (GK)
  • ‘Transition stage’:

- period between full-time work and full-

time retirement

- a range of flexible working options.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

technological n eeds
Technological needs
  • Younger boomers particularly savvy through education and workplace demands.
  • Will retire from a connected workplace and face home access without the IT support.
  • Maintaining their places in the wired world a major issue.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

social and c ultural n eeds
Social and cultural needs
  • Library as social hub – particularly with coffee!

- Develop community social capital.

- Assist with possible loneliness.

- Facilitate social interaction and social mix.

- Cost free aspect.

“A welcoming place, and a social place.” (GK)

  • Clubs and organised events - book clubs,

travel, news clubs, discussion groups.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

findings 2 suggestions for possible library responses
Findings 2:Suggestions for possible library responses

“To me the important thing about public libraries is the role that it has in [developing] social capital for the community.” (FG)

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

i nterests and h obbies
Interests and hobbies
  • Consider types of interests and hobbies.

“… all kinds of issues. Travel, gardening, reading, fitness, beauty.” (GK)

  • Flexibility important particularly for travel.

“how on earth can they get a book back within a month?” (GK)

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

c ontinuing e ducation
Continuing education
  • Plan for continuing education needs for retired baby boomers.

“Libraries could be a fantastic place where people who are interested in studying something, not to pass it but because they wanted to learn.” (FG)

  • Partnership with other organisations such as TAFE colleges.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

i nformation p references
Information preferences
  • Assess the information focus and preferences.

“baby boomers would like to see better collections and more responsive collections” (FG)

“public libraries [need] to find some way that they can get the best sellers on the shelves almost as soon as they're in the bookshops and in sufficient quantities.”(FG)

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

h igh e xpectations
High expectations
  • Be aware of the ‘wanting it now’ attitude.
  • Fast and efficient service a priority.

“So if you could tap into that ‘now’ thing, that would be really good.” (GK)

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

e quity i ssues
Equity issues

Take into account equity issues - some baby

boomers will struggle financially.

  • Libraries charging for some services not

popular with any interviewees in focus

groups.

“Once you start going down that path you just

keep going down it.” (FG)

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

p ost retirement w ork
Post-retirement work
  • Libraries can play a role in transitional phase.

- ways to continue earning income.

- how to learn new skills for their

money-making ventures.

“Topic areas?...minimum stuff on how to get businesses going and how to manage them.” (GK)

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

t echnology
Technology
  • Consider range of support for remote access and in-house state-of-the art hardware and software.
  • Innovative approaches to partnerships between libraries and IT companies.
  • Assistance to keep IT skills up-to-date, via training initiatives.

Library needs to showcase “technology in a safe environment”. (GK)

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

s ocial and c ultural h ub
Social and cultural hub
  • Planning to provide a vibrant social and cultural hub.
  • A strongly supported idea: good coffee in library precinct.
  • Collaborations to provide cultural activities: with writers' groups, arts, performing arts groups, visual arts.

“[The library provides] a really good spin off for other places to hang off their programs.”

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

conclusion
Conclusion

Vision 1: resonance with participants’ views.

- fears of lower income.

- reduced access to information.

- keeping up with technological changes.

Vision 2: did not match participants’ views.

- an innovative perspective raising

strategic policy issues for further

research.

Neither vision addresses affordability and who will pay.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

conclusion31
Conclusion
  • Exploratory research.
  • Strong indicators for more research.

- Data from small sample; need wider

cross-section of views.

- Need to research rural and remote areas.

  • Planning for libraries and library service delivery of the future.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd

references
References

Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Social Trends 1999, Our aging population, Catalogue number 4102.0, Canberra.

Australian Government, The Treasury, Social Policy Division 2004, Australia’s demographic challenges, viewed 16 August 2005, http://demographics.treasury.gov.au/content/_download/Outcome_of_consultation/Summary_of_final_report.asp

Charmaz, K 2003, ‘Grounded theory: Objectivist and constructivist methods, in Strategies of qualitative inquiry, NK Denzin & YS Lincoln (eds), 2nd ed, Sage, Thousand Oaks, Ca, pp. 249-291.

Guba, EG & Lincoln, Y 1981, Effective evaluation, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Kahlert, M 2000, ‘The baby boomer generation - impact on public libraries theoretical and practical evidence’. Paper presented at the 66th IFLA Council and General Conference, Jerusalem, 13-18 August. Retrieved from http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla66/papers/051-099e.htm 27 July 2005 27 July 2005.

Lockyer-Benzie, M 2002, ‘Public Libraries response to changing demographics in Western Australia’, paper presented at the Maturity matters: 6th Global Conference on Ageing, Perth, 27 - 30 October.

McKay, H 1997, Generations: Baby boomers, their parents and their children, Macmillan, Sydney.

Upper Murray Regional Library & Public Libraries Australia Ltd