Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Recruiting the next generation

Those who know me know of my passion for recruiting new blood into the profession and how I feel it is necessary to engage with the younger generation more in order to encourage them into the industry.

The ALIA Promote LIS Career committee is working on this and are establishing a wiki to showcase the professional opportunities available in the library and information industry. See the DestinationLibrary wiki for career options, profiles and workplace examples available.

The Age VCE and Careers Expo will be held in Melbourne from Friday 11 April to Sunday 13 April (10 am to 4 pm) and the Committee would like professional involvement in the event to promote careers in the Library and Information industry. It isn't hard - I did it 3 years ago and it is really rewarding seeing the comprehension in students' eyes when they realise our profession is not just 'pearls and cardigans' and shushing all the time! Yes, I had detractors and yes, there are many that will never believe the library industry is challenging and constantly evolving, but if we do nothing then we never will make a difference. Something to think about.

If you can help with the careers expo for just a couple of hours, contact Dr Bonna Jones from RMIT University for more information. As I have said before, we owe it to ourselves and we owe it to our profession.

As an aside, I will be presenting a paper at the ALIA Bienniel Conference, dreaming08, on this topic. Hope to see you there.


Andrew said...

Hi Tania,

I was just wondering - yes, there are substantially fewer school leavers going into library studies than other age groups, but is this a new trend at all? Most librarians I know entered the industry as a second or third career path.

And really - it does make sense when, say, somebody who's worked in health sciences, wants a change, and becomes a health librarian. Or somebody working as a youth social worker, moving into youth library services, or a paralegal who wants to move into law libraries.

Couldn't these people - specialists in other areas who are looking for a change - have the best potential for enriching and strengthening the profession? Sure, school leavers have spunk, and understand their generation better than anybody else, but mightn't necessarily have the range of miscellaneous knowledge that librarians are reknowned for. ;)

And how do we go about poaching potential librarians from their current professions? (Not that it'd be hard to convince school teachers that they'd be better off moving into librarianship at the moment!)

Tania said...

Sure Andrew, you have a point, but even though school leavers entering the profession may not be a new trend, it doesn't mean we can't start doing something about it. Why aren't school leavers seeing our profession as a profession of choice? Excluding wages here... :-)

Those entering the industry as a second or third career path add value to the profession, as do school leavers - I feel they both complement what each can add to the profession.

Poaching - that could be a whole new blog post, I think!

Andrew said...

Why aren't school leavers seeing our profession as a profession of choice?

Because - as some might argue - librarianship isn't really a "profession". Just as library science isn't really a "science".

Oooh! Contentious statement! Prove me wrong, I dare ya! :-P