43 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 295 2018 approximations, but they are useful in pulling together the emerging skill sets required by modern research libraries, skill sets that often benefit from strong demand beyond libraries. Millennials are a case in point, insofar as 43% of them occupied non- traditional positions, compared to 32% of their older colleagues. It seems likely that a defining characteristic of millennial-age library professionals will be their grounding in work that may not have existed for previous generations. Millennials are a revolution in the making. Except when they are perfectly ordinary. In many of the ARL demographic variables, the 2015 millennials aren’t noticeably different from their colleagues in terms of the distribution of females and males, underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, or credentials. Millennials are underrepresented in leadership positions, but no more so than their youthful counterparts in previous years. If millennials are going to change the culture, values, and product of research librarianship, it is not at all clear what that change will look like. But of course millennials will change all those things, just as every generation before them did. The cognitive scientist Alison Gopnik addresses this phenomenon when discussing how the minds of children are wired to think the world afresh, and the principle of biologically driven generational change applies in any context. The writer Michael Pollan quotes Gopnik speaking on this point in his book How to Change Your Mind: Each generation of children confronts a new environment…and their brains are particularly good at learning and thriving in that environment. Think of the children of immigrants, or four-year-olds confronted with an iPhone. Children don’t invent these new tools, they don’t create the new environment, but in every generation they build the kind of brain that can best thrive in it.9 Coming to understand the kinds of brains that our millennial-aged
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