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Forum: National Advisory Board

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How are libraries staffing – full time, part time; is there a move toward using more part time employees - to avoid benefit costs?

What are the positions and salaries/benefits of positions?

What is appropriate balance between MLS and non-MLS for professional positions?


What are the factors that drive recruitment – degree requirements, salary, benefits, library culture, culture of specific library

How will libraries of all kinds compete with the business world as they
also are losing large numbers of employees to retirement?

Location (library, library graduate programs, applicants) – how does this affect recruitment to profession?

Family considerations – how does this places limitations on individuals responding to job and/or career opportunities.

Age - how do we attract younger people to the profession – out of college? (e.g., age of MLS students is now in 30s)

How do union, civil service and academic “rules� affect recruitment and retention of library professionals?

Career Paths

What are the opportunities for professionals & support staff to have a career in a library?

How do degree and other requirements promote or limit a career?

What does the MLS degree mean – why is it required, when should it be required?

Are there alternatives to the MLS for some positions – either “equivalent� experience and/or degrees, or different approaches to provide the “librarian� values, etc. such as certification program?

Is there a need for combined degrees – e.g., MLS/MBA (similar to public health, hospital administration, etc.)?

How to present/market “management� as a career in the large libraries?

What will jobs look like in the future – content, activities and requirements?


How to promote an understanding of the role, value, importance of culture in an organization and its affect on individuals and change and the future?

How to promote the positive culture/values of the library profession to potential recruits to the profession?

How to promote the positive culture/values of an individual library?

How to create a culture that is attractive – for the profession, for a library?

How to change the culture of the library (& what aspects) and how to change perceptions of the library profession to attract more people and people with more diverse backgrounds?

What does “leadership� in the library mean?

What are ways to generate leadership capacity on a much larger scale and throughout the library profession?

How does the library organization, management style encourage or discourage leadership?

What are options to deliver leadership training and learning more broadly?

What will library look like in the future – how will/should it be organized to be agile and respond to the changing environment?

How will – and should - the organization function (e.g., working relationships, delegation, innovation, development of staff)

How do limitations on upward mobility (e.g., salary scales and assignments) contribute to individuals remaining in the profession – professionals and support staff?

How does “burnout� affect retention of people?

How should libraries define their “business� – and who are their competitors?

How does the governance of a library affect recruitment and retention?


How should collaboration be viewed in the future of libraries?

What are the various models for collaboration that should be considered for shaping/reshaping libraries – in the U.S. and elsewhere?

Are there dynamic new ways to explore collaboration with other libraries, with the business community, etc.

Do new ways of collaborating (even merging) services, programs, facilities between libraries offer potential ways to address staffing needs and funding limitations?


How might virtual reference been affected in a more global environment?

Might virtual reference be seen as an “off shore� service?

What is the future for study abroad programs?

another thought, we might want to think about the new face of retirement and how that might affect library staffing. The wave of baby boomers may indeed be seeking new opportunities to re-career or to volunteer.

third thought, I think we need to reference context in the issue on collaboration...too often we do not discuss the social, economic, political content within which we must work. GladysAnn

I am very excited about the list of panels as they are now configured, I think we will reach most types of libraries with this list....or sets of library circumstances. Could tribal libraries fit under "Federal and State"....just add tribal??? GladysAnn

The whole issue of continuing education needs attention. This may tie in with career paths. On the other hand it is also important for those who are happy with their current positions but wish to become more effective in them. One of our recent LTA students stretched my mind a little when she said, "My job changed into my dream job when I started the Library/Information Technology program."

As Sheila noted the average MLS student is around 30. The average LTA student is probably a decade older. Even though some LTAs eventually get their MLS most would not have many years left to practice by that time.

What we need is a nationwide series of Future Cybrary Workers clubs in middle schools across the country to capture them young and never let them go.

One other gap that I have personally observed is that I have had support staff who had Associate Degrees in Library Science who thought they wanted to be librarians some day. A number of them have not found another academic major that thrilled them at the baccalaureate level. After a few years in support staff jobs and a few false starts in upper division undergraduate educaton, they wandered off to other career fields. One can nit-pick their motivation and decision making but if my experience is at all typical we are losing a large number of potential librarians because of the "black hole" between our Associate level educational programs and our Masters level programs.

Building off of one of Sheila's issues about what is a librarian and James' comments about the library as place, I have always seen the librarians (MLS) as those who were at the boundary of the library as place and the many constituencies of that library. They should be constantly evaluating the current and future information needs of those particular constituencies and proposing services and other resources that meet those information needs.

As the library becomes less place, then the appropriate location for those librarians needs to shift in order that they can continue to monitor the needs of customers and potential customers of their libraries. No longer can they have the luxuary of waiting for patrons to come in to the library place. Very innovative methods and skill-sets will need to be developed to be able to perform this role when cyber space is the "place."

Political Action to promote the value of libraries and of qualified library staff members is key to any long-term progress. The old cliché, "all politics are local" applies to this very much. National initiatives can only empower those who can and will work locally to improve the salaries of library workers and therefore make library work more attractive to more competent people.

I suspect my issue is actually subsumed in Sheila's inventory, but I am most interested in the relationship between the library as place and the virtual library.

As everyone does, I see marked change in library use.

It seems to me that the primary use of the physical library used to be individual information seeking.

As I observe our libraries, it appears to me that individual information seeking has largely migrated to the online space.

That change will only accelerate as more and more resources are online. Anytime, anywhere access is really hard to beat for such use.

What I see emerging as the primary use of the physical space in academic libraries is collaborative face to face use of information. This use may also decline, if collaboration technologies work well. On the other hand, if face to face high touch collaboration continues to be important, then physically centralized communities will congregate in spaces that facilitate such use.

My mantra has become replace paper storage with people space, people using digital information.

Dear All,

I have looked at Sheila's Issues and think they are good ones. I can't think of entirely new ones, but perhaps some issues that I am passionate about could add to the richness of the discussion.

I don't know whether they fall under culture or leadership, but here they are:

Leadershop and mentoring:

How do we help leaders to become good mentors to those who have the potential to become leaders?

Leadership and sound management:

How do we help leaders privide a climate which will nurture a vital and energetic workforce? The staff must feel committed to a vision of service and access to information and that they must feel that their efforts are appreciated. I guess you could call this leadership in developing a good working climate.

How do we develop a culture of assessment of services, reworking of services, making change?

How do we help more library leaders to develop a public voice about the importance of libraries and library services to the general health of society?


How do we assure that the profession is attractive to people of all cultures and races? How do we recruit young people? How do we set up a library culture in which they feel comfortable and in which we can assure that they can develop and use their talents?

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