17 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 295 2018 Hiring and Staffing Trends in ARL Libraries Stanley Wilder, Dean of Libraries, Louisiana State University We are who we hire. As it turns out, we are also how many we hire, for what jobs, with what skills, credentials, and experience. Hiring decisions are palpable expressions of our evolving values, and in 2015 ARL’s demographic data series reflected a profession in a state of flux unlike any since the data series began in 1986.1 In some cases, change is consistent with longstanding trends, but some changes in the ARL data are recent, surprising, even counterintuitive. Taken as a whole, these changes in hiring amount to an epochal shift in the nature of library work, in what it means to be a library professional, and in the value that research libraries propose to contribute to society. The most dramatic change relates to the rate at which ARL libraries are hiring professionals, which at first glance appears not to be undergoing epochal change at all, but rather to be simply low, in its usual way. To compare hiring rates across years, we look to the number of new hires as a percentage of the overall population. Figure 1 illustrates this approach, and suggests that in 2015, hiring was slightly lower than in past years, but not exceptionally so. The problem with this analysis is that it assumes reasonable stability in the age profile of the population as a whole. The delayed retirements described in installment 1 of this series2 are one indication that ARL’s population is anything but stable as regards to age.
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