Where Will They Be in the Future? Implementing a Model for Ongoing Career Tracking of Library and Information Science Graduates

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This article provides an overview of Workforce Issues in Library and Information Science 2 (WILIS 2),1 a study aimed at developing a career-tracking and program evaluation system that can potentially be used by all library and information science (LIS) programs. Such a system could enable stakeholders at all levels to collect data on an ongoing basis, informing their planning process and resulting in more effective ways to educate, manage, and retain the LIS workforce. WILIS 2 is informed by the experience of the research team in developing WILIS 1, an in-depth career retrospective study conducted between 2005 and 2009. WILIS 2 is using a community-based participatory research approach that involves members of the LIS community in the major aspects of project design and implementation. Three working groups on survey design, data reporting, and sustainability have been formed to increase the likelihood that the data collection system will meet the needs of a wide range of LIS programs. Members of the working groups are being drawn from the WILIS project advisory committee and representatives of the participating LIS programs as well as stakeholder groups such as the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), the American Library Association (ALA), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Eight programs are participating in a pilot test of the survey, and an additional thirty-five programs will join in the full launch. Results from a WILIS survey of LIS program administrators regarding their existing alumni-tracking practices as well as key results from the recent graduates section of the WILIS 1[End Page 301] survey are included in this paper. The administrators' survey found a high level of interest in a shared approach to alumni tracking, and the results from the recent graduates section of WILIS 1 serve to illustrate the type of data that programs can gather through a recent graduates' survey.