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Transportation Librarians Roundtable

Slide 1

  • Presented by Bob Cullen,
  • The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
  • June 12, 2008

Slide 2
Who are the Millennials?

  • Approximately 80 million people born in the United States between 1978 and 1999.
  • They will have a huge social and economic impact on all of us.

Slide 3
The Millennials are also called . . .

  • Generation Y
  • Gen Y
  • Gen Yers
  • Generation Next
  • Internet Generation
  • Net Generation
  • Digital Generation
  • Dot Com Generation
  • Gaming Generation
  • Nexters
  • Nintendo Generation
  • Echo Boomers
  • Generation 2001
  • Tethered Generation
  • Generation M (as in “media”)
  • Digital Natives

Slide 4
Why are the Millennials so important?

  • Their Numbers–They are the largest generation since the Baby Boomers, and nearly twice the size of Generation X immediately preceding them.
  • The Large-Scale Retirement of the Baby Boomers–An increasing proportion of skilled workers from that generation are fast approaching retirement age and that personnel gap will need to be filled in large part by the Millennials.
  • They are the Most Techno-Savvy Generation Yet–They have grown up in a world profoundly dominated and defined by technology.

Slide 5
The Other Workforce Generations

Other workforce generations
Generation Birth Year Range Populaiton
The Veterans/Traditionalists 1922-1945 32 million
The Baby Boomers 1946-1962 76 million
Generation X 1963-1977 45 million

Slide 6
Millennial Connectivity

  • Technology is deeply ingrained in the lives of this generation
  • This high-speed, high-tech, “always on,”24/7 connectivity impacts how they work, communicate, make decisions, and interact

Slide 7
Millennial Connectivity

“The majority of millennials never experienced life without a microwave, computer, ATM card or television remote control.”

Stephen P. Seaward
Director of Career Development
Saint Joseph College
New Hartford, CT

Slide 8
No Title

The Millennials are “Digital Natives” (they have been immersed in the current technology all their lives)

The rest of us are “Digital Immigrants” (we reached this new world of technology later in life)

Slide 9
Millennial Traits and Trends

  • Technology-oriented
  • Independent
  • A strong preference for personalized information
  • Predisposed towards multi-tasking
  • Fast-paced
  • Community-centered
  • More loyal to individuals than institutions

Slide 10
Millennials and Librarians

“Today’s young workers are not ‘little us-es. Their preference is for sharing, staying connected, instaneity, multi-taking, assembling random information into patterns, and using technology in new ways.”

Mark Prensky
Consultant and Educator

  • How do the Millennials view librarians? Are we even relevant totheir needs and priorities?

Slide 11
Pew Internet & American Life Project

  • Between June and September 2007, a national phone survey was conducted to examine the impact of the libraries and others sources of information on families and communities
  • Study found that the “tech-loving”Millennials”(ages 18 to 30) were more likely than anyone else interviewed to use libraries.


Slide 12

  • Welcoming the Millennials to our workplaces, and making them aware of the information and research services we provide.
  • Staying receptive to their own needs, values, and goals.

Slide 13

  • Making the transportation library a friendly, calm, comfortable, and inviting place
  • WisDOT iCommons as a prime example of this
  • When all else fails, there’s always . . .

Slide 14

Slide 15

  • New Employee Orientation
  • Mousepads
  • Notepads
  • Cups
  • Keychains
  • Bookmarks
  • Brochures

Slide 16

  • Connections, a bi-monthly e-newsletter recently started by Jane Minotti for her fellow NYS DOT employees
  • A fast, focused, digitized, easy-to-access means of outreach. It’s also relatively low-maintenance, cost-fee, and readily available for all employees and in particular Millennials who wish to read it.

Slide 17

  • In meeting the needs and expectations of the Millennials, we should not worry about being as technologically adept as they are or blindingly original in what have to offer. We just need to be as receptive as possible to their priorities and habits.
  • As a part of that approach, we might want to pay close attention to evolving and potential work-related applications of customized, collaborative, and interactive technologies (Compendex, blogs, Second Life, YouTube, Wikis, ChaCha).

Slide 18

How can transportation librarians help Millennials do their jobs? For starters, librarians can:

  • Perform “info-triage”
  • Track down facts and figures that are both accurate and up-to-date
  • Supply needed context

Slide 19

Performing Info-Triage

  • Relentlessly but purposefully identifying, sorting out, prioritizing, organizing, and sharing information in a quick and (hopefully) painless manner.
  • There are enormous and complex piles of documents, details, and data out there in cyberspace and many Millennials might not have the time and patience to sift through everything on their own.

Slide 20

Tracking Down Facts and Figures That Are Both Accurate and Up-to-Date

  • Technological expertise and informational literacy do not always go hand in hand.
  • It is vital to verify the origin, credibility, and age of the information found.
  • Wikipedia’s pluses and pitfalls
  • The Google Problem: A lot of people doing a Google search automatically assume that the first several hits constitute good retrieval

Slide 21

Supplying Needed Context

  • It is not always enough just to find the “what”of something (identifying its “when,”“how,”and “why” can make the information even more complete and comprehensible)
  • Example: when, why, and how AASHO became AASHTO
  • The History Detectives TV show on PBS

Slide 22
Millennials and Librarians

  • Librarians have an important if not always readily appreciated service-oriented, information-focused, and boundary-spanning role within transportation organizations. We are therefore uniquely poised to meet the needs of the Millennials who join our respective workplaces.

Slide 23
Strengthening the Links Between the Millennials and the Larger Organization

In helping key members of tomorrow’s transportation workforce launch their careers, we not only gain a new and large pool of champions for library needs and services; we also help our organizations better address the pressing employee retention challenges that lie ahead.

Slide 24
Possible Next Steps and Follow-Up Actions

  • Collecting and disseminating, for internal use among our respective organizations, the latest literature on employee retention “best practices.”
  • Highlighting specific segments of the Millennials and their experiences, especially members of that generation planning to pursue transportation library careers.
  • Developing strategies, materials, and guidelines for new employee orientation.
  • Implementing “informational literacy.” programs to help refine online research skills.

Slide 25
Gen Y Bibliography

A helpful list of resources on the Millennials has been developed by Lisa Metzer, Learning Librarian at the National Geographic Society, and can be found at the link below:


Slide 25
Questions? Comments?

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