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Managing the library labor gap: the role of bridge employment for the older library professional

James Castiglione (The City University of New York, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York, USA)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 1 October 2006




This paper seeks to provide librarians and library administrators with the necessary information to begin thinking about and perhaps preparing for the large number of retirements that are projected to take place in the library profession over the coming decade.


The paper broadens the library literature related to the retention and recruitment of older employees with concepts derived from the relevant demographic, management, medical and personnel literature.


The profession has not given this problem the time and research attention that is required to successfully manage through the projected “labor gap”. Librarians possess transferable skills and work habits that would be welcomed by corporations attempting to cope with their own labor shortages that are projected to cut across industry and occupational classes over the next decade. Therefore, library administrators should consider developing satisfactory bridge employment options that retain and attract the older or retired library employee.

Research limitations/implications

The preponderance of the literature consulted for this article was assembled from sources outside of the field of library management. Therefore, library administrators who would use the information contained in this paper to develop viable bridge employment options, are cautioned to develop programs that reflect the unique operational realities of the library they work for and the post‐retirement needs of their employees.


The paper provides a useful review of the library and management literature related to the establishment of bridge employment options in the library environment. The paper concludes by introducing the importance of utilizing mathematical and statistical modeling techniques to determine, where possible, the economic value of the services to the stakeholders served. This information is presented with the objective of increasing awareness, debate and additional research in this neglected but critically important area of “value analysis” and its possible impact on the development of sustainable, long‐term solutions to the problems associated with recruitment and retention.



Castiglione, J. (2006), "Managing the library labor gap: the role of bridge employment for the older library professional", Library Management, Vol. 27 No. 8, pp. 575-587.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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