October 27, 2021

Research Article: “The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same: Educational and Disciplinary Backgrounds of American Librarians, 1950-2015”

The article linked below (full text) is the author’s accepted manuscript version to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Education for Library and Information science (JELIS).

Title

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same: Educational and Disciplinary Backgrounds of American Librarians, 1950-2015

Authors

Rachel Ivy Clarke
Syracuse University

Young-In Kim
College of St. Rose

Source 

via SURFACE (Syracuse University Research Facility and Collaborative Environment)I
ISSN: 0748-5786

Abstract

Discussions of diversity in American librarianship usually focus on gender or ethnicity, but historical studies also show a lack of diversity in educational and disciplinary backgrounds. Librarians traditionally hail from the humanities, especially English and history. But as current educational attention shifts to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, are librarians reflecting this change? Anonymized data from ALA-accredited graduate programs from the last five years was collected, coded, and classified to determine librarians’ educational and disciplinary backgrounds and in what ways, if any, they differ from the past 65 years and from the contemporary U.S. general population. Unsurprisingly, we found that contemporary librarians still hail predominantly from English and history—a stark contrast from the business and health undergraduate degrees earned by the general U.S. population. Backgrounds in STEM fields remain lacking in librarianship, but librarians with undergraduate education in the arts are on the rise, perhaps supporting the creativity, flexibility, innovation and risk-taking necessary in 21st century libraries.

Direct to Full Text Article
27 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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