published by the
BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee
Recruiting Business Information Professionals for the Future
Lisa O'Connor, Instructional Services Coordinator & Business Reference Librarian, Kent University
Stacey Marien, Business Librarian, American University
During the San Francisco 2001 BRASS discussion group meeting, 2 group members, Lisa O'Connor and Stacey Marien presented their findings about the difficulty libraries were having in recruiting quality business librarians. They developed a survey that was sent to 96 institutions who had advertised in a variety of venues such as the Chronicle of Higher Education and the BusLib listserv in year 2000 and 2001 for some sort of business information professional.
Of the 30 institutions who responded to the 9 question survey, 20 were academic libraries, 4 were public libraries and 6 were special or corporate libraries. 70% of the respondents were not satisfied with the applicant pool and 40% of the respondents said they re-advertised the search due to the lack of qualified candidates. Some of the reasons given for the difficulty in recruiting were salary levels, location of the institution, low supply of business information specialists and too much competition from either other libraries or the private sector. 24 of the institutions reported that they did finally successfully hire someone for the position.
Since only 34 out of 96 institutions responded to the survey, it was difficult to make any sweeping generalizations about the results. The survey did contribute to the anecdotal reports from various BRASS meetings that there is a shortage of business information professionals. The full survey results and conclusions can be read in The Bottom Line, vol 15, No 2, 2002, 70-74.