Changes in the Workforce, Technology Replacing Librarians
Economists predict a shortage of 6 million individuals with four-year degrees within the next 10 years. These impending labor shortages are concealed today by the economic slowdown and temporary spike in unemployment. But I promise you, it's temporary. The severity of the problem will become more palpable in the near future as the economy recovers and these conflicting trends - increasing retirements and a contracting supply of young educated new employees - become more apparent and urgent.
From a Public Library Standpoint: Where are all the new MLS graduates going to come from? Are they all focusing on the higher paying and more "current" MIS?
Start focusing on employee retention as a strategic imperative. It's easy to take current employees for granted when skilled candidates are banging on the door. But the tables are turning. Target the right employees for recognition, appreciation and rewards, customize career development plans to individual employees, and offer flexible work arrangements that are also family and elder friendly.
Create a culture where training and continuous learning are routine and frequent, whether for computer literacy, data based decision making, leadership, or appreciation of diversity of all kinds. Think about moving to aging parts of the country - such as Florida, Arizona and Pennsylvania - since these residents might be tempted to return to the work force when you're desperate.
You all know I cannot emphasize the importance of training... beyond technology training, we should be given our librarians and support staff ample opportunities to grow and understand the world of work -- and really the WORLD better. Diversity training is incredibly important as the populations we serve change.
Use technology to solve labor shortages. It's not just assembly line manufacturing that can be replaced with robotics. The work of the bank teller, auditor, paralegal, or librarian can be increasingly substituted with smart technologies. It will soon be consultants, teachers, and nurses whose shortages can be alleviated with more effective use of artificial intelligence solutions.
WOW! Rochelle at LIS noted that this little line was buried in the article. It jives with Barbara Quint's take at the Internet Librarian Endnote session that Librarians have missed the boat.... scary.....but a true. What technologies have replaced true librarianship? Google for sure....
Posted: Sat - November 29, 2003 at 07:02 AM