Age diversity and the aging librarian in academic libraries in South Africa

Sophie Van der Walt, Tanya Du Plessis

Abstract


The focus of this article is to illustrate the current age distribution of academic librarians in South Africa and to determine the need for age diversity management in academic libraries. Firstly, a literature review provides a brief overview of recent changes to the higher education landscape in South Africa and the importance of diversity awareness. Secondly, the issue of age diversity in the workplace is explored, followed by a discussion of the age demography of librarians, so raising the important issue this paper seeks to investigate, namely, the current age demography of South African academic librarians. A mixed-method research approach was decided upon and specifically the sequential exploratory design as it studies the unknown relationships between different generations of librarians at work within five of the academic libraries from the Gauteng and Environs Library and Information Consortium (GAELIC). The results showed that most of the middle and senior level library management positions are currently filled by those retiring in the next 15-20 years and that the planning and training of new middle and top management staff members must form part of succession planning policies in order to avoid a leadership vacuum.

Keywords


Generational diversity; generational awareness; academic libraries; library management; succession planning

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7553/76-1-81

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