Great expectations? Developing a profile of the 21st century library and information student: a Queensland University of Technology case study

Hallam, Gillian C. & Partridge, Helen L. (2005) Great expectations? Developing a profile of the 21st century library and information student: a Queensland University of Technology case study. In Libraries - a voyage of discovery. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress. 71st IFLA General Conference and Council, 14-18 August 2005, Oslo, Norway. (Unpublished)


The library and information profession in Australia, and indeed throughout the world, is rapidly aging. Whilst Australian statistics are not readily available, Australia undoubtedly reflects the current state of play in the United States where it was recently predicted that, by 2017, some 68 percent of today’s librarians will have retired . The challenge for library and information science (LIS) education is to attract students to enrol in the LIS schools with the desire to work in a dynamic profession, and to then ensure their expectations are met by offering a stimulating and cutting edge course. Interestingly, to date very little information has been obtained about the type of students currently entering into LIS education, about their expectations for the LIS curriculum or about their future profession. This paper will outline a study that considers the questions: who is the 21st century LIS student and what are their expectations for now and the future?

The Queensland University of Technology is committed to ensuring that its Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Studies (GDLIS) is relevant to both students and the profession alike. In particular, QUT endeavours to ensure that the course is continually being developed to meet the ever changing recruitment needs of the LIS industry it serves. To this end, members of the GDLIS teaching team have conducted a study exploring the attributes, capabilities and expectations of the students the course attracts.

Participants in the study are the students enrolled in the GDLIS course from 2002 to 2004. Self-administered surveys were used for data collection. The surveys gathered data on demographics, academic history and previous employment. The survey also obtained the students’ perceptions on the types of skills required by LIS professionals and the functions they perform in the workplace. Students were also asked to indicate their reasons for entering the GDLIS, their expectations of the course, and their future career aspirations. In addition, the students completed the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory. The study’s key findings and the implications for LIS education and the profession as a whole will be discussed. Avenues for future research will be outlined, in particular the steps being undertaken to develop the study into a longitudinal project which aims to capture the students’ capabilities, expectations and employment experiences at the beginning og their studies and as their career develops in the years following their graduation.

This study has provided valuable data that allows QUT to determine whether or not the GDLIS meets the expectations of its current students. The data also assists the LIS industry to determine whether these students’ expectations and capabilities are aligned with the current and future recruitment needs of the LIS industry. Importantly, the study will help industry, library educators and professional associations work collaboratively to develop a targeted marketing campaign designed to attract the ‘bright and funky’ to the dynamic LIS profession.

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ID Code: 1971
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Library and information education, Library and information professionals, Student profiles, Motivation for study, Personality, Psychometric testing
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 18 Aug 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:26

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