Librarianship: a profession for the future or a future profession?


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Presentation given by CILIP Trustee Judy Broady-Preston

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Librarianship: a profession for the future or a future profession?

  1. 1. Librarianship: a profession for the future or a future profession ? A personal view by Dr Judith Broady-Preston Leader, CILIP Council/Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University Presentation to “ The keys to time: workforce development in the 21st century”, CDG National Conference 2008, Cardiff City Hall, 28th April 2008 ( copyright retained)
  2. 2. Outline <ul><ul><li>Personal view </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Doom and gloom? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current concerns/ future trends (brief recap) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professions and professionals associations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LIS profession: partnerships and stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skills agenda, the Leitch review, employability, workforce development, Sector Skills Councils, and Foundation degrees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blurring the boundaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional education </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Where are we now? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Doom and gloom? <ul><li>“ if libraries didn’t exist, they would not be invented now” (Fintan O’Toole, quoted in the Presidential Address, AGM, Library Association of Ireland, 9/03/2006) </li></ul><ul><li>“ it is clearly the case that the public view of libraries is that they are no longer relevant in a digital age” (O’Connor, 2006). </li></ul><ul><li>New public library standards in England “may marginalise books” ( Bookseller , 8 September, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Research on relationships between university libraries and their users concluded: “ librarians need to embrace positively the challenges of creating and sustaining relationships based on active partnership with their customers…moving beyond merely ascertaining need and providing for [it]…into a two-way collaborative relationship reliant on purposeful and relevant communication strategies ( Broady-Preston, Felice and Marshall, 2006) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Doom and gloom? <ul><li>“ for years now, the outlook for libraries has verged on worrying, to very worrying, to grim. Forty libraries closed in 2007, with the overall book-spend falling by 0.6 per cent. Qualified librarians have been leaving in droves, with a dip of 4.1 per cent in the number of professionals employed in UK libraries last year, and a further 6.6 per cent decrease expected this year” (Cochrane, K. (2008) Your library: use it or lose it, New Statesman, 13 March). </li></ul><ul><li>‘“ My sister reads a lot of books but she wastes a lot of money buying them and then never looking at them again. Is there sort of, like, a video rental place for books?”’ Do we need to, like, sort of, worry about the profession’s image when the real world has got as bad as this?’ (Swaffield, L. (2008) Media watching, Library + Information Update, 7 (4), p.48) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Current concerns/ future trends (brief recap) <ul><li>“ Googlisation” and the rise of digital libraries – competitors? </li></ul><ul><li>Career rewards vs costs of education </li></ul><ul><li>Impact of ‘baby boomer’ retirements: succession planning and leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Blurring of boundaries – two aspects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional vs paraprofessional divides </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Borders between differing professions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Concept of professionalism – unique skills/knowledge set? NB PLA Conference Debate 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Employability’ </li></ul>
  6. 6. What is a profession? <ul><li>Watkins (1999) suggests professions have 3 distinguishing features: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>possession of specialised skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>requirement for intellectual and practical training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>maintenance of the integrity of the profession through a professional body or association. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. What is the role of a professional association? <ul><li>Evaluative framework (Broady-Preston, 2006) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definition of a professional skills/knowledge base </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requirement for intellectual/practical training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintenance of professional integrity via an ethical and disciplinary framework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategic direction, operating on 3 levels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Establishing mission, purpose and long-term orientation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Providing governance structures which facilitate the implementation of strategies and plans </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provision of relevant services for members, including representation, advocacy and practical support </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. LIS Profession: partnerships and stakeholders <ul><li>Stakeholders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Government (International and Domestic) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional associations/bodies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Educators – the “library schools” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals – librarians </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Partnerships and new dynamics? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborators or competitors? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Work-based learning (Sector Skills Councils; Professional Associations, e.g. CILIP) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sub-HE education (UK = FE Colleges) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Skills and competences: definitions <ul><li>Concise Oxford Dictionary definitions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skill – ability to do something well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a sufficiency of means for… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>able to do </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>“ if we can think of a continuum ranging from just knowing how to do something at one end to knowing how to do something very well at the other, knowing how to do something competently would fall somewhere along this continuum” (Pearson,1984). </li></ul>
  10. 10. Leitch Review of Skills (2006): a paradigm? <ul><li>Requires: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rebalancing HE learning and teaching strategies to include ALL adult workforce (2010-2020 25% decline in 18 year old demographics and a ‘greying’ workforce (Tallantyre, 2007)) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programme content to be designed in partnership with employers and employer organisations (NB role of sectorskills councils – LLUK) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexible and responsive provision to meet employer and workforce needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workforce market to be stimulated and developed (NB demand not supply-led) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Link to Foundation degrees </li></ul>
  11. 11. Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) (Employer) <ul><li>Remit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creation of new National Occupational Standards (NOS) and frameworks of vocational qualifications (VQs) for UK </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Possible integrated framework? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2000 – sets of skills defined for each area (libraries; archives; RM/IM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2007/ 8– National Occupational Standards (NOS) for libraries, archives and record management ( set common core skills) sent for approval to the UK Co-ordinating Group of the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA), as the approving body, in November 2007 and now awaiting final approval (25 April 2008) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mechanism for bringing together LIS stakeholders? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Memorandum of understanding LLUK and CILIP (2006) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UK wide remit </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Work based learning: employability <ul><li>Definitions (HEA Research) </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate employment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acquisition of a job? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Immediate employability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acquisition of skills? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Work readiness’? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sustainable employability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>USEM: “a blend of u nderstanding, s kilful practices, e fficacy beliefs and m etacognition” (Knight and Yorke, 2005). </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Employability: Foundation degrees <ul><li>What are they? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Concept of ‘hybridity’ – crossing the HE/Vocational divide @ level 4/5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demand not supply-led - address new markets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Partnerships - FE and HE or Employment sectors and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not UK-wide -role of FDF – Wales situation ( </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Universities unwilling to change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Little evidence of demand in library sector – nb clash with concept of professionalism. ‘FDs need to be distinctive…challenge assumptions about curriculum…not constrained by subject benchmarks and academic disciplines – trans-disciplinary ’ (Longhurst, 2007). </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Foundation degrees and LIS <ul><li>Example: Foundation Degree in Cultural Services for museums, libraries and archives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>developed by MLA East of England in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University and in consultation with museums, libraries and archives across the East of England </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>funded by MOVE (the Lifelong Learning Network for the region) and Foundation Degree Forward. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>due to start September 2008 (subject to validation June 2008). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open day/information sharing Monday 12 May 2008 Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge 10.30am – 12.30 </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Blurring the boundaries: differing professions? <ul><li>Unique skills and knowledge base? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional body view </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BPK – Body of Professional Knowledge (CILIP UK) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employer’s view </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Synergy – NOS 3 rd edition “common core skills-set” (Sector Skills Council UK – LLUK) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government views </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>MLA (England) – emphasis on cross-domain focus especially vis-à-vis workforce development </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CyMAL (Wales) – ‘joining together’ – organised by function </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>NB wider interpretation of “professional” in a LIS context? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Professional education <ul><li>Issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Graduate profession vs recognition/rewarding of vocational qualifications and work – based training? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FoQA Review (CILIP 2008) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Career progression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mode of study – when, where and how? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who pays and cui bono? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Currency and validity of formal educational courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition and rewarding of non-traditional routes into the profession – e.g. retail management, marketing, publishing etc? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Where are we now? <ul><li>Fundamental questions/issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is librarianship still a discrete profession? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do librarians possess a set of unique skills, competencies and knowledge? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it significant/important if the answer to the above questions is NO? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Key strengths (profession) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ADAPTABILITY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive attitude to change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library brand = strong and positive </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Finally… <ul><li>No easy solutions for anyone </li></ul><ul><li>Hopefully a starting point for further discussion/debate </li></ul><ul><li>Thank-you for listening – happy to answer questions either now or in the future </li></ul><ul><li>Contact – [email_address] or [email_address] </li></ul>