Monthly Archives: February 2014


There’s a new survey that’s getting a bit of attention from “mature” librarians.  It’s not good attention.

The survey is for The Mature Librarian, and purports to uncover the challenges we mature folk have doing our jobs as librarians. Interestingly, none of the challenges I face are included. Instead, the possible problems are insulting at best. To wit:

4. What do you feel are the four greatest challenges to you as a mature librarian? Please rank them with 1 being the greatest, 2 the next greatest and so forth
1 2 3 4
Keeping up with technology
Working with younger employees
Keeping track of meetings, trainings, appointments and other library business.
Feeling obsolete
Participating in work related travel
Attending meetings
Adapting to new initiatives, such as “makerspaces”, “learning commons”, etc.
Learning new procedures
Other (please specify)
Oh, sweetie.  You really don’t want me to fill in the “Other (please specify) box.
The survey goes on to ask whether mature librarians should retire, so that younger librarians could take their place.  The survey invites you to elaborate on your answer, should you choose to do so. I would do so, but I try not to use that kind of language in public.
What the hell? This kind of ridiculous stereotyping is unhelpful at best, and vicious at worst. I am, as many of my “mature” counterparts are, rather skilled in using and adapting to new technologies, thank you very much. (And by the way, just what generation do you suppose invented all this stuff??)
I am not alone in my disgust.  It will be interesting to see how long the survey stays online.
Update: The survey is being run by two librarians, one at Belmont University in Nashville, TN and the other at Jackson State Community College in Jackson, TN.  Here’s the program description for which they’re conducting the survey:
"The story of the mature librarian will be discussed. How can the 55 and over librarian remain relevant? How can the older librarian keep up with new technologies and work with much younger colleagues? Learn how to stay current, cope with all the changes that are taking place in the workplace and remain vital  to the organization in which you work if you are over 55"
Update, part two: Some librarians are having great fun with this.

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