Ageism

The other day an article on ageism in the library profession made the rounds on Twitter, and generated quite a bit of conversation.  Long story short, there is a lot of ageism in the profession.

As the converstaion went on a few trends became apparent:

Employers are resistant to hiring young librarians for fear that they will not remain for long.

Young librarians are often given unreasonably high expectations, leading to inevitable burn out.

Newer librarians often feel belittled by their more experienced peers.

Personally I think that while I have experienced some of all of these issues, I’ve generally been pretty fortunate.  I do however have my own observation on how the generation gap affects librarians based on my library.  I find that the difference between generations manifests primarily as conflicting approaches to librarianship.  The experienced librarians think in terms of the library’s patrons, the younger librarians think about those not being served.  And I guess I’m not alone, based on a recent post from frequent commenter Wolfhowl on the need to advertise libraries to those who aren’t already using them (such a novel concept isn’t it?).

I know quite a few colleagues that have entirely given up on attracting new patrons to the library.  They won’t think of it in those terms, instead they’ll talk about how there are so few teens in the place, or how many of our regulars have begun to die out.  On the other hand it seems to be the young librarians who come in and immediately want to find ways to make the library relevant to a younger audience (thus ensuring a steady stream of library n00bs).

So, I know budgets are tight right now, but if there are any jobs out there, please get over your hang ups and seriously consider a recent graduate.

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2 Comments on “Ageism”

  1. wolfshowl Says:

    By “regulars who have begun to die out” do you mean literally die out? That’s so creepy!

    PS Thanks for the link!


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