E-JASL: The Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship


Date of this Version

Summer 2009

Document Type



Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship (Summer 2009) 10(2). Also available at http://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/content/v10n02/chu_m01.html.


Copyright 2009, the author. Used by permission.



Nearly one out of every ten librarians is under the age of thirty. The average age of a graduate student in library and information science is 30-35 years old. Between 2010-2020, 45% of librarians will reach the retirement age of 65 years old. The relative age of the profession will continue to decrease as retirements increase. Statistically, the population of young librarians is a growing minority.

Young, new librarians face age discrimination, including disrespectful treatment in the workplace and unrealistic expectations of performance. Ageism in academic libraries results in job dissatisfaction and loss of retention for these new librarians. A “revolving-door trend” of new librarians is particularly troubling in light of concerted recruitment and retention efforts. The following explores library literature on ageism and presents anecdotal evidence related to age discrimination in academic librarianship.