April 2002, Volume 34, Number 4
Around the State
‘Interesting times:’ Recruitment
There is an old adage, “May you live in interesting times.”
Recruitment will be one of those processes you may not want to experience in future interesting times.
Whether it will be the director looking for a librarian with a graduate degree, or the board recruiting for a new director, the future will be challenging.
If you don’t read recent library journals received at your library, you are probably unaware that the profession is preparing trustees, librarians, and ultimately the public, for the wave of retirements that will occur during the next five to 10 years.
As the education, nursing and automotive professions — as examples — are getting news coverage for their impending difficulties in hiring due to retirements, the library profession is moving into an era with the same challenge.
Even if there could be one individual graduating from an American Library Association accredited library program for every retiree, the domino principle does not mean that you will see successful recruitment. Some graduates will focus on academic libraries, some graduates will go into allied professions and not enter the library market at all, and some will not have the experience or potential that fits with your goals and philosophy.
What does this mean to you as a trustee?
It means that the recruitment marketplace in the future will be very competitive and attracting professional staff and managers into your county will require new strategies in your communities.
Experience continues to show us that rural states like Wyoming have a difficult time looking attractive to librarians for many factors: salary and benefits; employment opportunities for spouses; housing costs; and cultural opportunities for the family.
What can you do now to set the groundwork for those future events?
Several important actions on your part include becoming an observer of the library employment marketplace in the library journals and on the Web.
of library personnel will be
a challenge in the future
These actions won’t guarantee that your future recruitment will be smooth, but they will keep you on the competitive playing field.
- See what the professionals are being expected to do, and what compensation is coming with those
- Discuss with your director the benefits of supporting the staff in working towards a degree through
distance education and implement a plan to make it happen.
- Continually work with your commissioners to provide compensation and benefits that reflect the current value of a professional.
Manual can lead to consistency
March, Vol. 34, No. 3
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