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Analysis of the age, education and salary of library staff in the Czech Republic 2020/2021

Vladana Pillerová a Vít Richter, National Library of the Czech Republic,,

(Libraries of Today 2021 – Proceedings from the 29th conference)

In the first half of 2021, a survey was conducted for the fifth time, mapping the age, education, gender, profession and salary of library staff in the Czech Republic. The National Library of the Czech Republic has been monitoring the development of library staff in the Czech Republic for a long time, and it regularly conducts surveys in this area. The output is a data set that enables us to monitor trends in the structure of library staff in the Czech Republic over the past 20 years, with the addition of current issues.

The following is a selection of several selected topics from the analysis.

Age and gender composition of library staff

Over the course of more than 20 years, we see a decline in especially the youngest age group of librarians between 18 and 30 years of age. In 2004 there were 17% of young librarians, and in 2020 there were only 9%. The amount of library staff aged 31-40 is also gradually declining. On the opposite spectrum, the amount of library staff in the category over 61 years of age has increased to today’s 13%, whereas in 1998 this age group only accounted for 5% of library staff. People who work in libraries are most often aged 41-60; the amount of library staff in this age group fluctuates around 60%. The distribution of this group is balanced; the 41-50 age group accounts for 30% of workers, and the 51-60 age group for 29%.

The aging of the population is a society-wide problem that affects various professions. However, in our field there was always a higher amount of older staff than in other fields, and the current trend emphasizes this fact even more.

Age composition of library staff Source: authors of this article

Captions: 18-30 years/…/61 and over

In total, 85% of female librarians and 15% of male librarians work in the surveyed libraries (compared to 13% of men and 87% of women in 2016). In the monitored groups of libraries, the most men work in central specialised libraries (33%) and regional libraries (23%).

From 1998 to 2020, i.e. over 22 years, we can see an increase in the number of male library employees by 8%, i.e. an increase from 7% in 1998 to 15% in 2020.

Gender composition of library staff (total, public libraries, specialised libraries). Source: authors of this article

Captions: men (muži) / women (ženy)

rows: total (celkem) / public (veřejné) / specialised (specializované)

Education of professional staff

The amount of librarians with secondary school library science education and secondary school education not focusing on library science is now balanced (27%). Overall, 54% of librarians with secondary education, including staff with higher professional education, work in libraries. The share of university-educated library staff increased again from 20% to 23%, especially the share of university-educated librarians, and the share of non-librarian university graduates also increased from 19% to 20%. Overall, the group of university-educated staff accounts for 43%.

From 1998, we can see a very distinctive trend of an increase in professional staff in library positions with university education. There was a 21% increase in staff in this group. This increase logically means a decline in the group of staff with secondary school education; since 1998, the proportion of staff with secondary school education has declined by 20%.

Knowledge of foreign languages

Of the total number of library workers who speak a foreign language or multiple languages (a total of 3,308 workers), 54% speak English, as the previous survey showed. The amount of library workers who speak German increased (21 % compared to 17 % in 2016), whereas we can see a further decline in Russian-speaking library workers (14 % compared to 18 % in 2016). This is a steady decline; in 1998, 40% of library workers reported knowledge of Russian. The number of French-speaking library workers remains pretty much the same (3%), and 8% of library workers are able to communicate in some other language.

As the last survey also showed, it is still true that librarians in specialised libraries have better knowledge of foreign languages, as there may be a greater chance of applying their knowledge of languages there.

Topics of further education

A new area was added to the survey, in which the most requested topics of further education were determined in three areas – library science, management and information technology.

Public libraries are interested in topics such as promoting reading literacy, contemporary literature, the educational and community role of libraries, and the use of social networks. Specialised libraries prefer further education involving information resources, EIS (electronic information resources), databases and search trends. Both types of libraries are equally interested in education in the field of cataloguing and organization of the library collection. In public libraries, technical education (robotics, programming) and library statistics are on the opposite spectrum.

The results of the survey will serve as a basis for updating the Concept of Lifelong Learning of Librarians.

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