Is Your Library Ready for Generation Z?



February 10, 2017

Generation Z is the cohort that follows Millennials; the starting birth date for this generation is the mid-90s. Their presence and influence in your workplace is going to grow, and they have very specific expectations with regard to information access and knowledge exchange. Get ready for them now.

According to Wikipedia, “A significant aspect of this generation is the widespread usage of the Internet from a young age. Members of Generation Z are typically thought of as being comfortable with technology, and [interact] on social media websites for a significant portion of their socializing.”

Taking it further

They’re actually more than “comfortable” with technology. In fact, writes Patti Girardi, in her Brand Quarterly article “The New Millennials: Transitioning Generation Y to Generation Z,” members of this cohort are “often referred to as tech-native or tech-innate, versus tech-savvy …and [they] do not distinguish between social media and the Internet …Generation Z was born into the modern digital world. They report that they are online constantly, and as a generation, they do not distinguish between their devices.”

Always on

It is likely that for “Gen Zers,” personal and workplace preferences for consuming, sharing and evaluating information are the same. This has clear implications for how organizations enable access to both critical internal knowledge assets and subscribed third party content resources. Essentials include:

  • Everything Internet—nothing to install, no barriers to usage
  • Searching not required—deliver relevant, personalized and timely content/information automatically
  • Browser and device agnostic—offer full portfolio of content via smartphone, tablet, “iEverything” or laptop
  • Social sharing tools built in—enable users to “act on content” and rate, like, share, or comment
  • Integration with third party search engines—your users may start with Google; you want them to land on your platform
  • Always on—full functionality and content, 24/7/365

Get there first

In order to support this growing user population, special librarians and knowledge managers must deliver all of the above. This means that your ILS or KM solution must offer both the traditional and advanced functionality you need, and the basics that Generation Z employees simply assume you’ll provide. Special library sustainability depends on anticipating and fulfilling the requirements of your user base—get ready for Generation Z now.

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