Librarian Retirements Loom Large

Tom E. Godfrey, Decision Demographics
Stephen J. Tordella, Decision Demographics

Librarians are on the cusp of a critical demographic transition. The aging of Baby-Boomer librarians looms large, as do issues of technological change and potential deprofessionalization. About 5,000 librarians will turn 65 every year from 2010 to 2020 out of a workforce of only 105,000. While not all librarians will retire at 65, transition is inevitable. Drawing on the Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) from the 1980-2000 Censuses and the 2005-2007 American Community Survey, we will estimate recent retirement activity and project future retirement patterns and their effect on the American Library Association (ALA). Census survival rates as well as work-life table analysis will be explored as potential methods for projecting librarians. The demographic analysis of all librarians with PUMS will be augmented by analyses of ALA membership data. We will report results to the ALA Board of Directors in January 2009. Our presentation will describe quantitative methods and results, policy implications, and Board concerns.

Presented in Session 121: Impact of Demographic Change on Organizations