Thursday, February 22, 2007

The New Library Professional

"What does the growing generation gap among their employees mean for academic research libraries and for the profession?" This question is posed by Stanley Wilder in his recent article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, The New Library Professional (2/23/07).

No longer under 35, like many this is my second (or is it third?) career, I do have the dubious distinction of being the youngest faculty librarian here at AU. I also find myself immersed more in the hands-on technology (scanners, software, cameras) and Web 2.0 technologies (web pages, blogs)than some of my co-workers; some because of my job itself, more often because I am interested in the technology. However, I do find myself to be one of the more mature members of the audience when attending sessions on technology at various conferences. Issues of age aside, Wilder makes several interesting points in his essay, among them:

"The generation gap in research libraries begins with the large proportion of young people who work at jobs that either did not exist for their older colleagues, or weren't associated years ago with librarianship." (Wilder, 2/23/07)

I definitely agree with the observation that the nontraditional jobs existing in any library are changing as libraries must adapt to new technologies. Information Commons are a prime example of merging technology and library information. Add to that the changes made to library information science curriculum's in recent years, new library professionals are graduating with a different set of skills as well.

Is the new library professional really all that different? The more things change ...

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