Next Generation Librarianship: Examining the Unique Role of GenX and GenY Librarians Can Strengthen Our Professional Future

By Gordon, Rachel Singer | American Libraries, March 2006 | Go to article overview

Next Generation Librarianship: Examining the Unique Role of GenX and GenY Librarians Can Strengthen Our Professional Future


Gordon, Rachel Singer, American Libraries


Why is next generation librarianship an issue now? Successive waves of younger librarians have, of course, always moved into library workplaces, interacted with colleagues and patrons from different generations, and faced similar issues. Several factors, though, put today's next generation librarians in a unique situation.

* The flattening of workplace hierarchies and the rise of participative management means that younger and greener librarians are participating on equal ground (or on the pretense or perception of equal ground) with their elder colleagues more often than they were likely to in the past.

* Technological change brings a need for new skills and a new way of looking at library services. Technological savvy is often people's first gut impression when thinking about NextGens, and while technological expertise and interest necessarily vary by the individual, this is an important perception for a reason. Growing up with technology affects NextGens' perspective on and comfort with its use. While technical skills are by no means unique to younger librarians, the way they integrate technology into their lives, in general, often differs.

* Outside pressures on librarianship in the 21st century place younger librarians in a unique role. Beyond technology, we need to challenge existing perceptions of libraries and librarians, and show our continued relevance to various groups. NextGen librarians bring in new ideas and are often better able to relate to younger groups, drawing them in and involving them in their libraries.

* NextGens have more options open to them than many younger librarians and potential librarians had in the past. Much has been written about librarianship as a traditionally women's profession. Younger women who, in the past, might have become teachers, librarians, social workers, or nurses now have more options. Librarianship must compete for a new generation of recruits on a different ground. As one NextGen puts it, "[Younger librarians are] also not willing to accept what is given to them and realize that they only get what they ask for. They are more assertive. What is unique is that younger librarians have the opportunity to do this; Baby Boomers were only starting to break out of the restrictions placed on them due to their gender."

* Information skills are in demand and transferable; if traditional libraries are to keep younger workers, they need to find a way to remain attractive in the face of increased nontraditional opportunities.

* The graying of the profession makes it essential for library workplaces to retain and nurture their younger staff. Those who want to ensure the future of a graying profession had best begin paying attention to its greenest entrants now.

* Changing generational expectations and experiences affect younger librarians' attitudes toward the profession and toward traditional practices in many library workplaces. These include changing expectations of work/life balance, a differing view on employer/employee loyalty, and a predisposition toward continuous challenges and lifelong learning.

* Budget cuts and the post-9/11 economy have been less than kind to libraries, resulting in a tight job market for new grads, less professional development funding, and other belt-tightening measures.

These and other changes require that we pay attention to generational issues, looking at intergenerational interactions in the library workplace and at trends affecting our professional future.

defining generations

Different observers define generations somewhat differently; their beginning and ending dates vary somewhat and tend to overlap. The general agreement, though, is that today's workplace is comprised of four generations with these approximate birth years: Veterans (1922-1945), also called the Silent Generation, Great Generation, or World War II Generation; Boomers (1946-1964); GenX (1965-1978), also called Baby Bust; and GenY (1979-2000), also called Millennials, Net Gen, N-Gen, Nexters, or Echo Boomers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Next Generation Librarianship: Examining the Unique Role of GenX and GenY Librarians Can Strengthen Our Professional Future
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.