Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Terrifying Impending Labor Shortage

The Boomer generation of librarians is supposedly retiring soon. It sounds like library staff rooms will be ghost towns at the peak of the withdrawal. Will anyone be left? What if everyone leaves? Well, Google would step in.

The "Retirement Exodus" (not to be confused with the Old Testament Exodus) is the subject of a program at the ALA conference in New Orleans. I thought it was only fair that I advertise it since I've written on this supposed historic exodus and the resulting "labor shortage" before, and since I've been gloomy about the upcoming ALA conference.

I'm starting to get scared about the exodus. Am I prepared? Are you prepared? Is your library prepared? What will we do when all the Boomers leave us? How will we cope? Maybe we'll just have to shut down all the libraries.

Maybe this will be an opportunity for grief counselors to meet with the younger librarians who are staying and help them overcome the trauma of losing all those Boomer librarians and their inimitable skills.

It could also happen that the shortage is the most overhyped event in the history of libraries and the retirement pace will be far slower than anticipated and there will be no great labor shortage.

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