Attracting Young People in Bologna


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Presentation given with Barbara Sen at IFLA Satellite Conference in Bologna 2009.

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  • Sarah Introductions
  • Sarah Introduction to the research
  • Barbara Introduction
  • Barbara Literature
  • Barbara Through a review of current literature, the following problems were identified as barriers to attracting young people into librarianship
  • Sarah [Reiterate issues]
  • Sarah With these issues in mind, the research aimed to… [slide]
  • Sarah So we conducted two questionnaires. [CLICK] The first one to young people about to embark on their careers – 19 respondents [CLICK] The second to students on the MA Librarianship course at the University of Sheffield, a group of people who had already chosen to pursue a career in librarianship – 16 respondents Here is a bit of info about our sample… [CLICK] Young People info [CLICK] Librarianship Students info
  • Barbara Explain that we will be talking about both questionnaires simultaneously, by theme Barbara to talk about the results from the young people, Sarah to talk about the librarianship students
  • Barbara Some of the things the young people said when asked “In your view, what do librarians do? What does their job entail?” [5 CLICKS]
  • Barbara Question: Did you know that librarians work in…? (Please tick all places that you are aware of a librarian working in)
  • Sarah Librarianship students were asked about their understandings of the roles of librarians prior to taking the course. [Go through slide] These results show that even though these people have chosen to become librarians, they still didn’t know everything about it before starting the course.
  • Barbara Question: Have you ever or do you currently use any of the following libraries? (Please tick all that apply)
  • Sarah So if we compare the young people’s use of libraries to the librarianship students’ use of libraries, we can see that being a library user may lead to more of an interest in working in them. However, it is interesting that more young people used a school library than the librarianship students!
  • Barbara The appeal of the profession to young people Question: Have you ever considered becoming a librarian? If yes, can you explain why it appeals to you? If no, can you explain why not?
  • Sarah We asked the librarianship students: why did you want to become a librarian? Here are their answers in order of most popular reason to least popular. The score shows how many people out of 16 gave it as a reason. [Go through the table] Nine actually stated an age at which they decided to become librarians: 5 were in their early twenties, 3 in their thirties, one whilst still at secondary school.
  • Sarah What some of the Librarianship students said in response to this question.
  • Sarah As Barbara mentioned earlier, 4 2% of the young people knew people who worked in libraries so some of their perceptions of librarians may have come from these people. All of the Librarianship students had had contact with librarians prior to their librarianship training, so we asked them what their perceptions of librarians were prior to starting the MA course. Stereotypes
  • Sarah We asked the librarianship students - what barriers do you see facing young people wanting to enter the librarianship profession? Invisibility – lack of awareness of it as a professional career choice Stereotypes – the image of the librarian as an older woman may put off young people, and particularly young men Qualifications – a postgraduate course is costly and time consuming Poor careers advice – a respondent to the young people’s questionnaire said that there wasn’t much information available about it, and this was also mentioned by the librarianship students Lack of job opportunities and low salaries were also given by the librarianship students as possible barriers
  • Sarah Here is just one example of how the librarianship students responded to the question on barriers
  • Barbara
  • Sarah Finally, we asked the librarianship students where they would like to work on completing the course. All reported that the course had opened up options or changed their minds about the opportunities available to them. 40% had changed their minds about their preferred sector choice. Oyster – positive outlook, despite perceived barriers mentioned previously (e.g. lack of job opportunities and low salaries)
  • Barbara
  • Barbara Why people do become librarians
  • Barbara Why people don’t become librarians
  • Barbara Summary of barriers to young people entering the profession
  • Barbara Possible solutions to these barriers
  • Sarah [Go through slide] …and this is the key to overcoming all barriers.
  • Sarah Thanks for listening. Are there any questions?
  • Attracting Young People in Bologna

    1. 1. What impressions do young people have of librarianship as a career? Attracting young people to the profession Sarah Newbutt The Grammar School at Leeds Barbara Sen The University of Sheffield
    2. 2. Idea for the research <ul><li>Response to Library Workforce Survey 2005 – UK study </li></ul><ul><li>56.6% of workforce aged 40-59 </li></ul><ul><li>6% of workforce aged between 60-69 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Over half of people who work in libraries are soon to be reaching retirement age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not enough young people are coming into the profession to take their place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Similar problem in USA and Australia </li></ul></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    3. 3. What does this mean? <ul><li>Staffing Crisis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to recruit young people </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Barriers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To people entering the profession </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A Need for Solutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What we can do to attract more young people into librarianship </li></ul></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    4. 4. Quotation– Ard et al (2006) <ul><li>“ In the eyes of many youth, maybe librarians lack the glamour of…other disciplines, or perhaps people with more life experience have had more opportunities to develop a deeper appreciation of the nature of library work.” </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    5. 5. The literature <ul><li>Problems identified: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perceptions of the profession, libraries and librarians - stereotypes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of careers advice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Misunderstanding of what the librarian’s role entails </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of awareness of the scope of libraries, i.e. most young people only have experience of school, academic or public libraries. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Misunderstanding of the skills and qualifications needed </li></ul></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    6. 6. Overview of the issues IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009 <ul><li>Staffing Crisis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to recruit young people </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Barriers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To people entering the profession </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A Need for Solutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What we can do to attract more young people into librarianship </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Research aims <ul><li>To discover young people’s impressions of librarianship as a career </li></ul><ul><li>To identify what barriers there are to young people entering the profession </li></ul><ul><li>To explore what appeals about librarianship as a career choice </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    8. 8. Two questionnaires <ul><li>Young People </li></ul><ul><ul><li>19 respondents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Age span 18-24 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>14 female </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5 male </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Roughly 50:50 split students/in employment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jobs ranged from teachers, IT, sales, ice cream van driver! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Librarianship Students </li></ul><ul><li>16 respondents </li></ul><ul><li>4 aged 18-24 years old </li></ul><ul><li>11 were aged 25-39 years old </li></ul><ul><li>1 was over 40 years old </li></ul><ul><li>1 no answer </li></ul><ul><li>All had some library experience across a range of sectors </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    9. 9. Results of the questionnaires IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    10. 10. Barrier: Misunderstanding of the librarians’ role IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009 “ SHOUT at people!” “ Put books back on shelves” “ Researching&quot; “ Till work” “ Managing staff and resources”
    11. 11. Barrier: Lack of awareness of where we work IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    12. 12. Awareness of the librarians’ roles <ul><li>Librarianship students’ perceptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All librarianship students felt they had an increased awareness of the role of librarianship work since taking the MA Librarianship course, including an increased awareness of different sectors and job titles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many were surprised at the emphasis placed on information technology and information literacy </li></ul></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    13. 13. Barrier: Young people’s use of libraries IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    14. 14. Respondents use of libraries <ul><li>Young People </li></ul><ul><li>73.7% had used a public library </li></ul><ul><li>57.9% had used a school library </li></ul><ul><li>52.6% had used a college or university library </li></ul><ul><li>Librarianship Students </li></ul><ul><li>100% had used a public library </li></ul><ul><li>46.7% had used school library </li></ul><ul><li>100% had used a college or university library </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    15. 15. Barrier: Appeal of the profession <ul><li>15.8% said they had considered becoming a librarian because of their love of books </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 of these respondents knew people who worked in libraries (42% of the respondents knew people who work in libraries) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>84.2% had not considered becoming a librarian because: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Boring/wouldn’t suit my interests” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Lack of careers advice“ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Already decided on a different career” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Seems an unintellectually challenging job” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>5 of these respondents admitted they did not understand what the job entails. One specifically highlighted “… not a lot of information given on the job at school or careers advice.” </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    16. 16. Appeal of the profession to librarianship students IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009 Rank Reason Score 1 Based on prior experience of working in libraries/wanting professional development 9 2 Passion for working with/meeting/helping public/users/new people 9 3 Passion for reading 7 4 Interest in education 5 5 Based on experience of using libraries 3 6 Based on university degree experience 3 7 Mix of skills – interesting and varied 3 8 Important job 2 9 Money 2 10 Natural curiosity – suits personally 1 11 Research 1 12 Sociable and Creative lifestyle 1
    17. 17. What librarianship students said... IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009 “ I wanted a job that would be interesting and varied” “ I was influenced by people I met who were librarians” “ I think that reading and..access to knowledge.. Are two very important things, and the opportunity to be involved in this seemed to good to pass up.”
    18. 18. Perceptions of librarians <ul><li>Librarianship students’ perceptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learned more about librarians from the course </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fellow course mates had changed their perceptions or librarians and future librarians </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aware of stereotypical images “Boring people who wore cardigans” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stereotypes didn’t deter them from entering the profession. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive self perceptions as librarians of the future. </li></ul></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    19. 19. The Barriers <ul><li>Invisibility of the profession </li></ul><ul><li>Negative stereotypes </li></ul><ul><li>Qualifications required </li></ul><ul><li>Poor careers advice </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of job opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Money - low salaries </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    20. 20. The Barriers: What one librarianship student said IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009 “ When you’re younger (and often older!) you want to do a sexy job that pays a fortune…It’s hard to sell librarianship on these grounds.”
    21. 21. Comparison of perceived barriers <ul><li>Young People </li></ul><ul><li>Stereotypes </li></ul><ul><li>Poor careers advice </li></ul><ul><li>Already decided on a different career (lack of awareness of librarianship?) </li></ul><ul><li>Not challenging/not intellectual </li></ul><ul><li>Wouldn’t suit personality </li></ul><ul><li>Librarianship Students </li></ul><ul><li>Stereotypes </li></ul><ul><li>Poor careers advice </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of job opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Money – low salaries </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    22. 22. Where did librarianship students want to work? <ul><li>The course had opened up options or changed their minds about opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>40% had changed their preferred sector choices completely </li></ul><ul><li>“ The library world is my oyster. I’ll see what grabs me.” </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    23. 23. Summary Key issues
    24. 24. What attracts people to the profession? <ul><li>Love of books and reading </li></ul><ul><li>The variety of the job </li></ul><ul><li>Wanting to help users </li></ul><ul><li>Positive influence from library professionals </li></ul><ul><li>Plenty of opportunities to engage with these, e.g. customer service, reader development, team work, varied projects </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    25. 25. Barriers to young people <ul><li>Stereotypical image of librarians – particularly regarding age </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of awareness of the roles of librarians </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of education about career opportunities in libraries </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    26. 26. Conclusions <ul><li>The findings of this study supported evidence from the literature that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Library stereotypes persist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a lack of careers advice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Libraries lack visibility for many young people </li></ul></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    27. 27. Possible solutions for discussion <ul><li>Self-promotion </li></ul><ul><li>Leading by example </li></ul><ul><li>Increase awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Increase visibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing and promotion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement with Web 2.0 technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New buildings, improving library environment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Banish negative stereotypes </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    28. 28. On a positive note - <ul><li>The library students surveyed hadn’t been put off by the stereotypes they had encountered </li></ul><ul><li>Saw themselves differently </li></ul><ul><li>And where enthusiastic about their new careers and the difference they could make in the profession </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009
    29. 29. Any Questions? <ul><li>Or please contact me at a later date: </li></ul>IFLA Satellite Meeting Bologna 2009