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Recruitment and retention in librarianship

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By Margaret Adolphus

Introduction

Librarianship is a people business. Highly skilled and dedicated professionals are required to service information requirements in a world where the right knowledge at the right time is crucial. And being able to attract customers in an environment where they can easily go elsewhere demands excellent customer service and marketing skills.

Librarianship has also seen great changes in the last couple of decades. There have been huge advances in technology, as regards both the solutions used by the customer (the growth of the Internet, for example) and those which librarians make available for their users (for example, the ability to link through directly from catalogue entry to resource).

Education and learning have changed so that libraries are now obliged to provide rooms for group work and skilled instructors who can teach information literacy skills. Lifestyles have become more hectic which, combined with the possibilities of mobile technologies, means that information is consumed on the move.

Knowledge has acquired such a premium in many organizations that business and professional librarians are extending their skills beyond published information and looking at capturing that which exists in the heads of people.

All this makes it very important that people within a library are well managed, and that library managers become aware of human resource issues.