Leadership: Tertiary Libraries and the New Library Professional
Research Problem: The library workforce is rapidly aging and many library leaders will be lost as they retire. This is exacerbated in tertiary libraries, which traditionally attract an older workforce. Libraries face constant change that requires leaders to negotiate. Doubts have been expressed about new library professionals’ willingness to take on leadership roles. To understand how problematic this situation is in New Zealand’s tertiary sector, this research examined the attitude of new library professionals’ toward leadership. Methodology: The research used a survey method incorporating quantitative and qualitative questions. For the purpose of this research a new library professional is defined as someone who began studying for a library qualification within the last five years, or who has completed a library qualification within the last five years. Results: 32 eligible participants took part. The results show a desire for access to mentoring and while the attitudes toward leadership are dependent on confidence, experience and involvement in development opportunities, most participants expressed a positive attitude to taking on a leadership role either now or in the future. Implications: Access to leadership development opportunities builds knowledge and confidence, and attitudes are negatively impacted without this. Mentoring is a key development opportunity that the majority of new librarians currently lack. These findings positively reinforce the leadership and mentoring opportunities currently offered by the LIANZA, although regular reminders to new professionals of these opportunities would help. The findings suggest the proposed changes to the MIS library curriculum of incorporating a practicum for all students is an additional development opportunity that will add to new professionals’ experience.