Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Have any thoughts on the librarian shortage?

The editors of the PERSPECTIVES column in Public Libraries are looking for your input.

Public library folk, your perspective is welcome!

“What in the world does a librarian do? It’s up to you!”

That was the text of an ALA poster that I hung in my office in 1975, when I began my first job as a real librarian. The poster promoted the many kinds of libraries where one could work—public, school, academic, institutional, special. After a librarian shortage in the mid-1960’s ALA stepped up recruitment efforts and Baby Boomers like me responded.

Decades later the profession anticipates another shortfall in the number of qualified librarians.

In 1999 leaders of the Public Library Association realized the problem and began its effort to do something about it:


We’d like to you to tell us about librarian recruitment from your PERSPECTIVE.

Are you the employer? Have you had difficulty filling positions? Have you downgraded or upgraded jobs or benefits to get a better applicant pool? Since 2000 how many vacancies have you had due to retirement, burnout, or a change to another type of library? How many vacancies do you anticipate by 2010? Have you developed a grow-your-own program?

Are you the employee? Do you think there is a librarian shortage? Have you been able to find a job in your specialty? What comments can you make about the search process? What advice do you have for those considering librarianship or about to graduate from library school?

PERSPECTIVES is a regular feature in Public Libraries, the journal of the Public Library Association. Essays of 1000 words +/- on the topic of “librarian recruitment” are needed for the Jan/Feb 2006 issue.

Submit your essay as an MSWord attachment by August 25.

Nann Blaine Hilyard, co-editor
Zion-Benton Public Library
Zion, IL

Thank you!