Thursday, March 27, 2008

why won't those damn librarians just retire already?

Of late there has been a bit of a firestorm brewing on publib about how old librarians won’t retire to make room for the new.

here’s the email that started it off:

Just to chime in here...

There have been quite a few postings for jobs here in Michigan, some requiring to no experience, but I have yet to get my degree so they won't interview me at all.

From what I read, I got the impression that this "librarian shortage" or "job increase" was not due to demand, but to the retirement of a lot of librarians. At least here where I am, a lot of librarians are very old and ready to retire, even the University ones. The new
reference librarian at MSU just graduated last year, so they want to hire new people. Especially with the old librarians and technology? Oh God, do they want new people!

The universities are having the students teach old librarians up here.

I agree with the economy issue. The failing economy, the recession, social security and all that, are making retirees nervous. I'm thinking that the reason we aren't seeing jobs as much, is due to a lot of people working longer than they should because they're worried they won't have enough money. At least, that's what's I'm hearing from the older

This problem could go away soon, could not. I'm considering a possible overseas move, librarians are in demand elsewhere in the world... drastic though it be.

yes, it is a bit incendiary, and it really makes you wonder what is considered old. I thought a couple of things:

  • First of all the poster hasn’t even started looking for a job yet, are things really as dire as she believes (i got my first job, my first interview, directly out of grad school, in the city i was living~and I know it all depends on the time you are looking but my system still has openings…)?

  • Perhaps she has unrealistic expectations of income in this profession (i remember when i was applying to grad school and discovered the little bit of info that librarianship is the lowest paying profession for the level of education it requires~a choice you make when you are deciding what to do with your life~money ratio to job satisfaction desire)

  • Perhaps a different career, one that pays more and has more perceived opportunity is in order here (but perhaps attitude is a factor?)

  • Why should someone be forced into retirement simply because they are of a certain age, especially if they still enjoy what they do?

  • Librarianship is a second career for many people (maybe because they need the income?) so the average age at entry is older to begin with...

  • Sure some older librarians are not up on the new technology (just as many younger ones aren’t) but many are (and many of them are more adaptable than the rest of us having gone through many drastic changes in the profession in the working life~not to mention that this is one profession to quickly take on the new technology) .

  • It is true that people are not making enough money to save enough, should we force them to live on less than they can simply to make room for the younger whipper-snappers?

  • Some of us (even not so old) librarians have extreme medical costs (or other life-circumstances) which require us to retain that job for the health insurance.

  • Will she feel the same when she comes of age and somewhat younger, stronger, leaner, more learned, more sure of her own abilities wants her job (and your perception of age does change relative to your own age)?

  • There is something to be said for experience!

These are all my own assumptions and presumptions of course...

1 comment:

Emily said...

i agree that i think sometimes we (the younger generation) are too quick to push the older generation out the door towards retirement. if they don't want to retire, and continue doing their job well, why begrudge them their job? like you said, let's value their experience and years of knowledge about their job!