New Imperatives for Developing a Vital
21st-Century Research Library Workforce
We must develop a vital research library workforce able
to provide quality services to growing multicultural,
multinational student and faculty constituencies.
With the exception of a precipitous decline in international student enroll-
ment following the events of September 11, 2001, enrollment of international
students in higher education continues to increase. In 2008–2009, the Institute
of International Education reported that the universities with the top 20 enroll-
ments of international students were campuses served by ARL member
libraries.3 Representation of racial and ethnic minorities in higher education, as
well, is undergoing a steady transformation. According to the National Center
for Education Statistics (NCES), representation of ethnic and racial minorities in
higher education is expected to grow at a rate far surpassing their non-Hispanic,
white counterparts. According to projections, in the period from 2007 to 2018,
enrollment of Hispanics/Latinos in institutions of higher learning will increase
by 38%; the projections are 32% for American Indian/Alaska natives, 29% for
Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 26% for African Americans or blacks.4 This reality
calls for research libraries to consider the implications for library collections and
services of this changing demographic profile in the academy. It is incumbent
upon the research library community to anticipate staffing needs in response to
these demographic changes, reaching beyond simple representation of the
library workforce, and assessing cultural competencies and language fluencies
necessary for maintaining and improving customer service.
We must develop a vital research library workforce equipped
to deal with research needs of faculty, graduates, and
undergraduates working in subject domains and collections
with increasingly global orientations.
The development of the Internet and improved access to national and global
resources (both in traditional print formats and realia, as well as primary
source materials available in digital formats) is paving the way for increased
collaboration between teachers and researchers on intra- and international
scales. Ease of access provided by technological advances, often facilitated by
research libraries, is helping to bring researchers together even in synchronous
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Developing a Vital Research Library Workforce
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OCTOBER 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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