When I'm 64: The public library after the retirement of the baby boomers

Christina Williamson, Marion Bannister, L. Makin, G. Johanson, D. Schauder, J. Sullivan

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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Across the world, governments are aware that the retirement of the baby boomers will have a big impact on developed societies. This large group of the population is better educated, more technologically literate and generally wealthier than any previous generation. They are also renowned for their voracious consumption of information in all media.The pilot project reported in this paper has investigated the likely impact of the retirement of the baby boomers on the public library. The study was exploratory, in interpretivist mode, with the emphasis being placed on questions to encourage participants to think creatively about the library of the future, unfettered by present realities or even possibilities. The study focus was the generation of ideas and, therefore, begins with two visions of the future library that might serve baby boomers. The sample included 16 baby boomers representing mainly leading edge boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) but also trailing edge boomers (born between 1956 and 1965), who were interviewed in two focus groups ' one in Newcastle, NSW and one in Melbourne. We also interviewed four gatekeepers, defined as visionary leaders in the baby boomers age range, who have a broad knowledge of the needs of their communities.There is a rich array of findings, a selection of which will be discussed. A key finding was that there were some differences in the perspectives of those who believed that they would be financially comfortable in the future and those who thought they would have minimal resources. Major issues include: the particular characteristics of the baby boomer cohort, e.g. the perception of them as a demanding generation who will want to travel when still active, who will have a range of interests and will require services that are flexible and of high quality; needs in the transition period (when some of the baby boomers will be only semi-retired); the role of the library in relation to technology; and the popularity ofnotion of the public library as a social/cultural hub and a key networking and linking organisation. The needs of the baby boomers when they are 'frail aged' were included in the project, but will be the subject of another paper. The conclusion will discuss the visions, in relation to the project findings, and the need for further research.1 Ms Lynne Makin (CEO & Manager, Upper Murray Regional
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRAILS2
EditorsAnne LLoyd, Bob Pymm
Place of PublicationWagga Wagga NSW
PublisherCentre for Information Studies
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)1876938250
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventResearch Applications in Information and Library Studies (RAILS) Seminar - NLA Canberra, Australia
Duration: 16 Sep 200617 Sep 2006


ConferenceResearch Applications in Information and Library Studies (RAILS) Seminar


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