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Retention begins before day one: orientation and socialization in libraries

Connie Chapman (Fraser Valley Regional Library, Maple Ridge, Canada)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 27 March 2009



The purpose of this paper is to promote the notion that an orientation plan and socialization to the culture of the organization are crucial components for the retention of library employees.


A review of selected literature was conducted from both within and outside librarianship to determine the relationship orientation and socialization have to retention.


Employee orientation is a multi‐stage process utilizing both formal and informal activities that help assist the employee to become part of the culture of any organization, including the library. A human resources program that includes well‐planned processes for recruitment, selection, orientation, socialization and retention will help a library be more competitive as librarians retire. Paying attention to these processes is increasingly important as we enter the period in which the baby boomer generation is moving toward retirement.

Practical implications

As baby‐boomer librarians retire, libraries should strive to maintain retention by improving current orientation practices and assisting with socialization to the organizational culture. The orientation process and retention can be improved by the use of checklists, the support of the immediate supervisor, and appointing a mentor.


The paper provides considerations that may assist planning approaches for libraries considering future staffing in a shrinking employment market.



Chapman, C. (2009), "Retention begins before day one: orientation and socialization in libraries", New Library World, Vol. 110 No. 3/4, pp. 122-135.



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