Tuesday, 4 January 2011

12 days of Christmas - Post 10 On recruiting to the profession

An issue that is very dear to my heart is that of using well thought out and meaningful work experience programs for secondary school students as a way to recruit more to the profession. There has been a lot of concern expressed internationally about the future of the library and information services profession; there are quite a number of factors that are contributing to an uncertain future. These include: recruitment and retention, changing skill sets and declining numbers of people choosing librarianship as a career. Library professional bodies, such as ALIA and ALA ,have encouraged considerable research into these problems so we can attempt to better understand issues of sustainability, however one area that has not been explored in any depth is the topic of why LIS studies are not perceived, let alone promoted, as a good first professional qualification for school leavers.

There needs to be some sort of development of effective career pathways which will require integrated relationships between the schools, vocational education and higher education sectors, along with employers and professional associations. I think there's quite a bit of scope for the LIS profession to develop career models that might be representative for other areas of employment.

There isn't much in the way of professional literature that examines the uptake of librarianship as a first qualification by school leavers, which is what made me take on a research study of the issues impacting on recruitment of young people. In particular, I like to look at opportunities for inspiring and motivating students through well structured and stimulating work experience programs. This topic is relevant to all librarians who are interested in the future of the LIS profession. After all, we owe it to ourselves and we owe it to our profession.

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