The interaction between library associations and New Professionals


This August, a bunch of New Professionals from Botswana, Bulgaria, Colombia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, and Vietnam met at the 1st International Young Librarians Academy “Global Librarians” in Ventspils, Latvia, to share experience and ideas, improve the knowledge of modern librarianship, and inspire each other for new projects.

Also, NPSIG activists were invited to the Academy to run a workshop on the recruitment of New Professionals with library associations. I started the presentation by giving a short introduction to the work of NPSIG, its open infrastructure and involvement in different kinds of activities. I also highlighted the main benefits of getting involved internationally and what library associations should do to attract recently qualified librarians.

After the presentation, the audience was divided into five groups and asked to identify what associations should do to become more attractive for New Professionals; in what way associations can benefit from New Professionals; and how associations can empower New Professionals. This was a challenging thing to do because only a small number of participants had a personal experience with library associations. After 40 minutes of intense brainstorming, all groups presented their discussion results.

group presentation 1

Skirmantė Ivanauskaitė (Lithuania), Viktorija Kirijakaitė (Lithuania),
Svetlanda Sprūža (Latvia), Asta Kupšytė (Lithuania)
and Solveiga Remeikaitė (Lithuania)

group presentation 2

Dominika Paleczna (Poland), Antra Vasiļevska (Latvia),
Svetoslava Toncheva (Bulgaria), Teodora Ivanova (Bulgaria)
and Silvina Furnadzhieva (Bulgaria)

group presentation 3

Izabela Zamfir (Romania), Elena Plamadeala (Moldova),
Laura Bucataru (Romania), Alina Borz (Romania)
and Mariana Harjevschi (Moldova)

group presentation 4

Inga Bindre (Latvia), Agnese Veitas (Latvia),
Radoslav Yorgov (Bulgaria) and Akvilina Niedvaraitė (Lithuania)

group presenation 5

Patrycja Wilamowska (Poland), Agnieszka Olszewska (Poland),
Anżela Grzyś (Poland), Urszula Kopeć-Zaborniak (Poland)
and Ewa Pala (Poland)

Results of the workshop

What attracts New Professionals?

Based on the group presentations and the raw data, I extracted a couple of directions associations should work on to attract New Professionals. First of all, associations should think more of their own presence and marketing, and also be aware that an organization is not about its structure; it is about the people – its members. Associations should promote their activities. It could be done by making an attractive movie (and spreading information on social media). It was also indicated that associations should be modern by breaking stereotypes and supporting new ideas. New Professionals expect associations to provide experience exchange and training programs. This also includes travel grants for international conferences, internships and experience exchange programs. Associations should design new training programs (e.g. summer/winter schools or camps), give opportunity to develop personal skills and provide different kinds of awards, scholarships and grants. Associations should involve/invite New Professionals to their activities by providing different kinds of projects and interesting tasks. Associations should also help implement New Professionals’ ideas and projects, develop passion and give recommendations. There was also a nice idea about a partnership with other cultural institutions when the association membership card would provide a discounted entry to museums and theatres. Here you may find a couple of other useful tips on how library associations can attract and support New Professionals.

In what way associations can benefit from New Professionals?

All groups came up with a top 5 of ways associations can benefit from New Professionals. The most popular benefit was new, fresh and innovative ideas. It was followed by the fact that New Professionals can attract even more New Professionals (volunteers, human resources to implement ideas). The next group of benefits emphasized characteristic features of New Professionals – enthusiasm, energy, inspiration, fresh and open-minded thinking. It was also mentioned that associations can benefit from the New Professionals way of sharing and teaching (experience exchange), networking and building new connections. Besides, New Professionals are strong at multilingual and multicultural co-operation, and they might bring some fun within the organization. Here you may find some other strengths and also weaknesses of New Professionals.

What empowers New Professionals?

When presenting ways on how associations can empower New Professionals, workshop participants touched on some very relevant issues. Alongside with the above mentioned trainings, experience exchange, conferences, new contacts and recommendations, it was indicated that associations could empower New Professionals by giving protection (being a part of a big organization), including new librarians in the important bodies of the organization (executive body/board, professional commission) and giving more responsibilities (trust, social respect, independence). Associations can provide access to professional information sources, foster New Professionals’ work with authorities and co-operation with government. All these activities will promote their self-confidence and creativity, build a stronger New Professionals network, inspire and help them build a better CV.

workshop participants

I will finish this short synopsis with the winged words I distinguished during the workshop:

Associations can help our dreams come true!

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8 thoughts on “The interaction between library associations and New Professionals

    • Same here. I know how busy library associations tend to be, but we need to find time for doing things together.

    • Do you have any suggestions how could we attract male librarians to the profession? In Finland, there is a situation where due to civil service quite a lot of men decide to work in the library. The Library 10 (multimedia library) is a great example for this.

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