ALA New Members Round Table @ IFLA/ What NewLibrarians Want

One of the most exciting events in IFLA is the Poster Session. The ALA New Members Round Table (NMRT)  poster presentation, New Members Round Table: Mentoring New Librarians into the Profession, presented by Sally Bickley was a total success!

The 75 year-old Round Table which boasts 63,720 members, presented an informative poster encouraging new librarians to join a professional association and the benefits of doing so.

I am very interested in how library associations in different countries encourage and involve their new librarians in association’s work. So it was gratifying to see that at the top of the poster and under the subtitle What New Librarians Want, were results of a survey done by me during October 2006 and published in an article, International Perspectives on the New Librarian Experience, on a Feliciter issue dedicated to New Librarians.  Feliciter is a journal from the Canadian Library Association (CLA). The survey was posted in IFLA/ New Professionals Discussion Group listserv and it was answered by 176 individuals from 12 countries, of these, 64% were librarians with 5 or fewer years of experience.

The challenge for library associations is how they plan to address the needs of their new professionals? While the Australian Library and Information Association  has the strongest professional body dedicated to new graduates and ALA’s Emerging Leaders is starting its second year, there is still much work to be done.  CLA hosts a New Librarians Special Interest Group, and CILIP in the UK,  and the Italian Library Association include many new professionals in Career Development groups.  

I challenge library associations around the globe to work with their new librarians to develop Action Plans to meet the needs of their recently qualified professionals, who ultimately are the future – or the present?! – of the profession.

While I encourage everyone to read the article to find more complete information, below I share few points raised by surveyed librarians.

Points to work with:

Better communication between library associations and new librarians

Tools and materials to assist new librarians in developing leadership skills

Awareness about interest and skills, professionalism of new graduates

Appropriate pay, respect and planning

Want to help drive change

Few statistics include:

97% of participants want better/different library skills

61% want out of the library field: reasons- low pay, lack of stimulating work environment, lack of recognition, more opportunity in private sector.

Link to article: feliciterarticle.pdf

While the article is still not available on line, I do think that it is good to publicize results of the so far only international survey of this nature. Thank you, NMRT! 

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