Divining the Future: Library Workers and Information Technology Darlene Fichter September 19, 1999

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Transcript of Divining the Future: Library Workers and Information Technology Darlene Fichter September 19, 1999

  • Divining the Future: Library Workers and Information TechnologyDarlene FichterSeptember 19, 1999

  • Taking a Look at the Future

    ComputersWider Context: Knowledge Economy/Labour force trends economies, consumers and EatonsLibrary TrendsWhat should library workers focus on?

  • The Future

    "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." (Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949).

    "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. (Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943).

  • "I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year. (The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957)."But what . . . is it good for?" (Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip).There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home. (Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. 1977).

  • Knowledge based economyRapid shift to knowledge based economy has an impact on education, training and skills required to find work in the 1990s.Labour ForceIndustry TrendsSkills

  • What do the Economists have to say?Like all industrialized countries, employment in Canada has shifted from the goods sector (natural resources, manufacturing) to the services sector.Nearly 90% of the job growth in Canada since 1967 has taken place in the services sector, with business services experiencing some of the fastest growth rates.IT sector is one area experiencing growth

  • Labour Market Models

    The Jelly Doughnut

    increasing number of non-standard jobs

  • Jelly Doughnut The doughnut model is so named because jobs in the labour market can be defined as core (the jelly centre of the doughnut) or peripheral (the outer layer). Core jobs can be described as those that are full-time, full-year, with good benefits and some career prospects. The usual employer is a large firm or government.

  • Labour Market Models Layer Cake

    decreasingdemand for middle level jobs

    B.C. Job Futures web site

  • Layer CakeBottom Layerentry level jobs, minimum wagethere is a continuing expectation for a high wage job among the inexperienced and lesser-skilled workers is resulting in both unfilled service jobs and more unemployment.Middle Layerexcess of supply and no demandusually have experience or education but no specific marketable skillTop Layerhighly marketable skill, high demand, short supplyEmployers prefer not to substitute down

  • TrendsRise of small businesses with 20+ employeesrapid increase self-employment. Impact on secretarial and support staff64% of the jobs in the year 2000 will require more than a Grade 12 vs. 44% of existing jobs.

  • Skills (typewriter vs. computer)Generic Skills for Employabilitypeople who can communicatepeople who can think and who show a willingness to continue to learn throughout their livespeople who can demonstrate positive attitudes and behavior, responsibility and adaptability, and people who can work with othersMathematical skills, basic computer literacy, entrepreneurial personality

  • DoomsayersThe sky is falling!All bad things stem from IT.In the old days, .Internet is junk (who cares that 40%* of people now use it from home)End of public libraries (as we know them)

    *1998 Survey of Household Internet Use showed 35% usage, 40% usage is extrapolated based on growth trend from 1997 to1998.

  • PollyannaTechnology is greatLook at this new cool dancing baby siteIf youre not wired, your passeThe library is better than ever before

  • Changing EnvironmentRelearn your job every 2-3 yearsNew skillsElimination of jobsNew opportunities ??

    "In the absence of the old containers [books], almost everything we think we know about intellectual property is wrong. We are going to have to unlearn it. We are going to have to look at information as though we'd never seen the stuff before.

  • Specific Library IT Roles

    Computer OperatorSystem Operator

    ProgrammerPublic Relations & CommunicationsWeb development, Graphic Designers and Illustrating ArtistsComputer ConsultantsTrainers

  • New Job - Data Library AssistantNo one would have the qualificationsActually had 3 pretty good applicants and some others with strength

  • Public Sectors Organizations Struggle to SurviveTax dollars are hard to findCompetitors: bookstores, internet servicesCustomer Service has been reinvented in the 1990s

  • Ask yourself?Did library workers build the search engines?Yahoo?Did library workers build the biggest library on the web?No Amazon did.Its 12:00, do we know where our users are?

  • Ask ourselves what is a library in 1999?Is it bricks and mortar? Or was it bricks and mortar?

  • What has IT really meant for Library jobs?Initially, 1970s and 1980s no real productivity gains, just papering over1990s - new products, new services - reinventing libraries - reorganizations are rampant - downsizing - outsourcing - information age

  • TrendsDisintermediation (self service)self chargeholdsPersonalizationCompetitionhow long until lending comes backInternet (friend or foe)New ProductsConstant Change

  • TrendsConsortiumRevenue GenerationPartnershipsWhole new vocabularies - just in time, document delivery, HTTP, thin clients,

  • Success look likeIf libraries are successful, they will adapt and find a niche in this new orderValue and ServiceEATONS VS CANADIAN TIRE

  • Value Based ServiceObstacles: our library vendors are not with the programOur cultures are behind the timesWhat does our management team look like?

  • Libraries: What This MeansTogether we are facing an incredible challenge with the changing economy. As library workers it is both an exciting time and frightening time.

    Keep the public in the public library!

    What is the servicessector? It includes much more than personal service jobs such as in hairsalons, or jobs in retail stores, hotels, restaurants, amusement andrecreation. It also includes jobs in: * transportation, communication and utilities * business services (such as advertising, legal, scientific, management consulting and computing services) * wholesale trade * finance, insurance and real estate * education, social services and government.In addition to business services, the highest growth ratesare expected in industries that base their products or services ondemographic shifts, such as health care, travel and leisure, orhigh-technology areas such as environmental protection. Computer softwaredesign and applications, telecommunications and the biomedical industry areall expected to have high growth rates.You don't have to be a "high knowledge worker" to work in these industries,however. Whether you're an accountant or a secretary, the best place tolook for work is in these high growth areas. For example, if you're anunemployed miner, getting a job in the computer industry is not thatfar-fetched because they need shippers, people in the warehouse and on theloading dock. And, while the pay will be less than in mining, the averagewage in the computer industry is still higher than the average weekly wagefor all workers.B.C. Job Futures

    The Jelly Doughnut Model

    A good image used to describe non-standard employment is the Jelly Doughnutmodel of the labour market. The doughnut model is so named because jobs inthe labour market can be defined as core (the jelly centre of the doughnut)or peripheral (the outer layer). Core jobs can be described as those thatare full-time, full-year, with good benefits and some career prospects. Theusual employer is a large firm or government. Core jobs in B.C. account forabout half of all jobs.

    There are two contrasting sides to peripheral or non-standard employment.On the one hand, there are many workers earning low wages at part-time orshort-term jobs in restaurants or stores. For these workers non-standardemployment may reflect a lack of choice. Then there are those workers withhighly marketable, in demand skills. For them free-lancing can mean betterpay and more satisfying work. These good jobs are often in thehigh-knowledge/high-tech service industries such as business services,finance, communications and transportation services.

    This trend towards more non-standard employment means that you shouldn'texpect a full-time, full-year job with benefits particularly when embarkingon a new career. You will probably have to accept a part-time or part-yearposition. In many fields, consulting or self-employment is increasinglybecoming the only option. It also means that any job search should includeapplications to small firms and a willingness to undertake contract workopportunities.

    Layer Cake model. Imagine a three-tiered layer cake. It is notdivided by the traditional measures of income or education because you canhave some people in the top layer who have less education than those in themiddle or some people in the middle layer who earn more than the top layer.In this model, the three separate levels of the layer cake are based on thesupply (workers looking for jobs) and demand (employers looking to fillpositions) of skills in the provincial economy.

    The Bottom Layer

    The base or bottom layer of the model includes entry-level jobs, usuallyclose to the minimum wage and frequently with no clear career path. In B.C.Often excess demand and supply

    Some segments of the labour force have been particularly hard hit by themismatch of their skills and expectations with what the job market needsand wants. Younger entrants may not ye