It was created last fall, and supposedly “shall exist to develop programs of particular interest to retired persons from all types of libraries and all forms of library services, including formal opportunities for continued involvement and learning; a variety of leadership training and opportunities for mentoring; lifelong professional involvement and networking; and active engagement in the American Library Association and the profession of librarianship.”
Anyone can become a member by paying ALA and RMRT dues, so it’s also a way to keep getting money from people even after they’re not working anymore. Very clever!
Or maybe it’s in response to the huge waves of retirements the ALA has been telling us will come. I’m still waiting!
They even have a Facebook page, though they only post to their wall a couple of times per month. You would think people who don’t have to work would have more time to update their statuses. With only 43 “likes” at the time of writing, the RMRT isn’t terribly popular yet, but maybe we can change all that by handing more money over to the ALA.
Here’s the RMRT activity planned for ALA Annual:
Retired Members Cafe
RMRT. Sun., Jun. 26, 4–5:30 p.m. They will plan activities for the new RMRT. The top priority should be convincing over-the-hill colleagues to retire and make room for the growing number of young, new, unemployed librarians. At the very least, they ought to buy them drinks and dinner.
At least it shows they have a sense of humor, though “over the hill” is a very relative phrase these days. I also don’t see how this is “developing programs of particular interest” for retired librarians. Unemployed librarians can go to the cafe to see if anyone is persuaded to retire. Then they could go to this discussion and find out how to replace the scores of retiring librarians:
Welcome to Planet FURLOW: Advice for Furloughed, Underemployed, Restless, and Laid Off Workers
Planet FURLOW sounds as depressing as the Retired Members Cafe, although considerably more practical. As for “convincing over-the-hill colleagues to retire and make room for the growing number of young, new, unemployed librarians,” I doubt it’s going to happen.
For one thing, making room for the new or the young or the unemployed isn’t a good reason to retire, which would explain why that reason has never motivated anyone to retire.
The larger question is, why retire at all? People wanting me to retire to “make room” for a bunch of people I don’t even know makes me want to work until I die just to spite them.
Does that sound depressing? Not to me. Think of the perks of librarian jobs, or at least a lot of librarian jobs.
Job security. Either through tenure or unionization or some other reason.
Lots of vacation. Public librarians don’t always fare so well, but that’s just bad choosing. Academic librarians often get several weeks of vacation a year, and those embattled school librarians get the whole summer off.
Mental labor, not manual labor. Manual laborers are the worst off in terms of retirement. They rarely make enough to save much money and their bodies have been harmed by decades of physically demanding work. The most manual labor a lot of librarians do is flipping a light switch. Mental laborers last longer, stay healthier, and are less bored with their work than manual laborers.
Varied work. While there is a lot of dull and routinized work in libraries, it’s usually not done by the librarians. It’s done by people supervised by librarians, leaving librarians free for coffee breaks, conferences, and deadly boring meetings. Deadly boring meetings are bad, but smart librarians know to avoid meetings whenever possible and various tricks for making sure they’re kept short.
Good health benefits. It means librarians can be healthier longer and work into their seventies! At least if they stay away from the doughnuts.
Money. This is the most important at all. Many librarians near the end of their careers are administrators making a pretty good living. Even if they have enough saved or invested to retire, it’s still nice having a real income, and with several weeks vacation a year there’s still time to travel and do other things.
Instead of feeling like older librarians should retire just because there are a lot of people who went to library school despite there not being many jobs available, turn the question around. Why would we retire? Varied work, good benefits, decent pay, lots of time off? We’d be crazy to retire.
That’s it. I’m working until I die, and I’m definitely not joining some retired librarians group.