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Who are young librarians? Millennials as academic librarians Jenny Emanuel Taylor Digital Resources & Reference Librarian; Reference, Research, and Scholarly.

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Presentation on theme: "Who are young librarians? Millennials as academic librarians Jenny Emanuel Taylor Digital Resources & Reference Librarian; Reference, Research, and Scholarly."— Presentation transcript:

1 Who are young librarians? Millennials as academic librarians Jenny Emanuel Taylor Digital Resources & Reference Librarian; Reference, Research, and Scholarly Services Introduction There has been a lot of discussion and literature about meeting the needs of Millennial student, also referred to as digital natives. This generation, generally born 1982 – 2000, is frequently referred to as being very technology and media savvy. Universities and their libraries have talked for some time how to make the academic experience centered around technologies Millennials use. Libraries: Academic libraries are interested in supporting campus technology needs, including building media labs, introducing multimedia tutorials, and utilizing technology in instruction. I was very interested if younger librarians were being driven into librarianship because of the increasingly technical nature of the job. I was also interested in learning the technical skills of younger librarians, to see if they could be defined as digital natives. Research Questions 1.What factors influenced Millennials to chose academic librarianship as a career? 2.What influence does technology have on career choice? 3.What are the demographics of Millennial librarians? Method Survey: A 55 question survey was sent to ALA accredited library schools in the United States and various groups serving new librarians, including NMRT, the ACRL New Members Discussion Group, and the Emerging Leaders. The survey focused on demographics, technology skills and generational attitudes. There were approximately 450 valid responses. Interview: Survey responders were asked if they would participate in a follow up interview. Twenty participants were chosen at random for an approximately 45 minute interview done utilizing Skype. Interview questions focused on career choice, attitudes towards technology, and generational characteristics. DemographicsTechnology Skills Career Choice Influences: 1.Desire to have a profession 2.Wide variety of jobs 3.Desire for meaningful work 4.Peers respect work 5.Values fit with workplace 6.Technology resources 7.Opportunities to learn Overall, participants believed they learned more about technology in library school than they had previously. However, there was a frustration that they learned how to use technology, but really needed to learn how to develop technology. When asked what skills they wanted to learn, programming was the top answer. Most wanted to be reference & instruction librarians, but lamented that there were few jobs. They noticed that most of the jobs require specialized technology experience that they did not get in library school, such as programming, user experience, advanced web design, data management, and GIS software. When interviewed, few considered themselves a digital native. Most remember their family getting their first computer and getting Internet access, and most did not have this until they were in middle school. They were quick to say that they could not be a true digital native because their family did not have internet access their entire lives. Participants did like searching for information online, and talked extensively about the amount of time they spent looking at random things online and doing in depth searches. They felt these skills were more developed than their colleagues’ and made them better searchers. This is one thing that united participants. Two interview participants talked about how their family did not own technology while they were growing up, and they were the “have nots” in the digital divide. They disliked the digital native term as they felt it only applied to people of their generation who lived in more urban areas or had more money. Conclusions The write up of the technology portion of this project was recently published in Information Technology and Libraries, vol. 31, no. 4. rticle/view/3811 rticle/view/3811 It has generated a lot of buzz, and many have stated that this backs up the idea that there is no such thing as the Millennial librarian, and shows there is a disconnect between LIS education and practice. A second demographic article is out for review. Conclusions Although participants believed they had better skills at using technology and searching for it online than previous generations, they were reluctant to refer to themselves as technically savvy or digital natives. Technology played little role in the career choice of younger librarians. Once they entered the job market, they realized that many jobs required higher technical skills, which they saw as a barrier to career entry. They believed that library schools were out of touch to the actual needs of libraries, which made it difficult to get a job. Overall, participants like what they do in their jobs. However, there were a few concerns. Many felt they were burdened with technology projects in their library because their colleagues saw them as technically savvy, so they should be the ones doing that work. Many desired to work in other, less-technical roles, and resented that their colleagues saw them as the “library tech person”. Academic Backgrounds 56.8% Humanities 35.8% Social Sciences 3.6% Education 3.8% Life Sciences 0.5% Physical Sciences, Math, Computer Science 3 Majors were technical: Multimedia (2), Computer Science (1) 1 in 5 had a graduate degree, almost all Master’s 42.9% Humanities 26.5% Social Sciences Half had previous library experience. Many considered careers in K-12 education, higher education, publishing, writing, and the non-profit sector. Eight considered technical career alternatives including programmer (4), IT specialist (2), intelligence analyst (1), engineer (1), and user experience specialist (1). Many saw librarianship as a way to work in higher education without specializing in a single subject or getting a PhD. Most believed getting a library job would be easier than a job in their college major.


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