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What impressions do young people have of librarianship as a career? Attracting young people to the profession. Sarah Newbutt The Grammar School at Leeds Barbara Sen The University of Sheffield. Idea for the research. Response to Library Workforce Survey 2005 – UK study

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What impressions do young people have of librarianship as a career?Attracting young people to the profession

Sarah Newbutt The Grammar School at Leeds

Barbara Sen The University of Sheffield

idea for the research
Idea for the research
  • Response to Library Workforce Survey 2005 – UK study
  • 56.6% of workforce aged 40-59
  • 6% of workforce aged between 60-69
    • Over half of people who work in libraries are soon to be reaching retirement age
    • Not enough young people are coming into the profession to take their place
    • Similar problem in USA and Australia

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what does this mean
What does this mean?
  • Staffing Crisis
    • Need to recruit young people
  • Barriers
    • To people entering the profession
  • A Need for Solutions
    • What we can do to attract more young people into librarianship

IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009

quotation ard et al 2006
Quotation– Ard et al (2006)

“In the eyes of many youth, maybe librarians lack the glamour of…other disciplines, or perhaps people with more life experience have had more opportunities to develop a deeper appreciation of the nature of library work.”

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the literature
The literature
  • Problems identified:
    • Perceptions of the profession, libraries and librarians - stereotypes
    • Lack of careers advice
    • Misunderstanding of what the librarian’s role entails
    • Lack of awareness of the scope of libraries, i.e. most young people only have experience of school, academic or public libraries.
    • Misunderstanding of the skills and qualifications needed

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overview of the issues
Overview of the issues
  • Staffing Crisis
    • Need to recruit young people
  • Barriers
    • To people entering the profession
  • A Need for Solutions
    • What we can do to attract more young people into librarianship

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research aims
Research aims
  • To discover young people’s impressions of librarianship as a career
  • To identify what barriers there are to young people entering the profession
  • To explore what appeals about librarianship as a career choice

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two questionnaires
Two questionnaires

Young People

  • 19 respondents
  • Age span 18-24
  • 14 female
  • 5 male
  • Roughly 50:50 split students/in employment
  • Jobs ranged from teachers, IT, sales, ice cream van driver!

Librarianship Students

  • 16 respondents
  • 4 aged 18-24 years old
  • 11 were aged 25-39 years old
  • 1 was over 40 years old
  • 1 no answer
  • All had some library experience across a range of sectors

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results of the questionnaires

Results of the questionnaires

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barrier misunderstanding of the librarians role
Barrier:Misunderstanding of the librarians’ role

“SHOUT at people!”

“Put books

back on

shelves”

“Researching"

“Managing staff

and resources”

“Till work”

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barrier lack of awareness of where we work
Barrier:Lack of awareness of where we work

IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009

awareness of the librarians roles
Awareness of the librarians’ roles
  • Librarianship students’ perceptions:
    • All librarianship students felt they had an increased awareness of the role of librarianship work since taking the MA Librarianship course, including an increased awareness of different sectors and job titles
    • Many were surprised at the emphasis placed on information technology and information literacy

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barrier young people s use of libraries
Barrier:Young people’s use of libraries

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respondents use of libraries
Respondents use of libraries

Young People

  • 73.7% had used a public library
  • 57.9% had used a school library
  • 52.6% had used a college or university library

Librarianship Students

  • 100% had used a public library
  • 46.7% had used school library
  • 100% had used a college or university library

IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009

barrier appeal of the profession
Barrier:Appeal of the profession
  • 15.8% said they had considered becoming a librarian because of their love of books
    • 2 of these respondents knew people who worked in libraries (42% of the respondents knew people who work in libraries)
  • 84.2% had not considered becoming a librarian because:
    • “Boring/wouldn’t suit my interests”
    • “Lack of careers advice“
    • “Already decided on a different career”
    • “Seems an unintellectually challenging job”
  • 5 of these respondents admitted they did not understand what the job entails. One specifically highlighted “… not a lot of information given on the job at school or careers advice.”

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appeal of the profession to librarianship students
Appeal of the profession to librarianship students

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what librarianship students said

“I was influenced by people I met who were librarians”

“I think that reading and..access to knowledge.. Are two very important things, and the opportunity to be involved in this seemed to good to pass up.”

What librarianship students said...

“I wanted a job that would be interesting and varied”

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perceptions of librarians
Perceptions of librarians
  • Librarianship students’ perceptions:
    • Learned more about librarians from the course
    • Fellow course mates had changed their perceptions or librarians and future librarians
    • Aware of stereotypical images “Boring people who wore cardigans”
    • Stereotypes didn’t deter them from entering the profession.
    • Positive self perceptions as librarians of the future.

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the barriers
The Barriers
  • Invisibility of the profession
  • Negative stereotypes
  • Qualifications required
  • Poor careers advice
  • Lack of job opportunities
  • Money - low salaries

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the barriers what one librarianship student said
The Barriers:What one librarianship student said

“When you’re younger (and often older!) you want to do a sexy job that pays a fortune…It’s hard to sell librarianship on these grounds.”

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comparison of perceived barriers
Comparison of perceived barriers

Young People

  • Stereotypes
  • Poor careers advice
  • Already decided on a different career(lack of awareness of librarianship?)
  • Not challenging/not intellectual
  • Wouldn’t suit personality

Librarianship Students

  • Stereotypes
  • Poor careers advice
  • Lack of awareness
  • Qualifications
  • Lack of job opportunities
  • Money – low salaries

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where did librarianship students want to work
Where did librarianship students want to work?
  • The course had opened up options or changed their minds about opportunities
  • 40% had changed their preferred sector choices completely
  • “The library world is my oyster. I’ll see what grabs me.”

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summary

Summary

Key issues

what attracts people to the profession
What attracts people to the profession?
  • Love of books and reading
  • The variety of the job
  • Wanting to help users
  • Positive influence from library professionals
  • Plenty of opportunities to engage with these, e.g. customer service, reader development, team work, varied projects

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barriers to young people
Barriers to young people
  • Stereotypical image of librarians – particularly regarding age
  • Lack of awareness of the roles of librarians
  • Lack of education about career opportunities in libraries

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conclusions
Conclusions
  • The findings of this study supported evidence from the literature that:
    • Library stereotypes persist
    • There is a lack of careers advice
    • Libraries lack visibility for many young people

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possible solutions for discussion
Possible solutions for discussion
  • Self-promotion
  • Leading by example
  • Increase awareness
  • Increase visibility
    • Marketing and promotion
    • Engagement with Web 2.0 technologies
    • New buildings, improving library environment
  • Banish negative stereotypes

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on a positive note
On a positive note -
  • The library students surveyed hadn’t been put off by the stereotypes they had encountered
  • Saw themselves differently
  • And where enthusiastic about their new careers and the difference they could make in the profession

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any questions
Any Questions?

Or please contact me at a later date: SarahNewbutt@yahoo.co.uk

IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009