ERIC Identifier: ED411873
Publication Date: 1997-09-00
Author: Lippincott, Kate
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Information and Technology Syracuse NY.
Growing a Diverse Workforce in the Library and Information
Science Professions. ERIC Digest.
The 1997 report, Planning for a Diverse Workforce in Library and Information
Science Professions by Kathleen de la Pena McCook and Kate Lippincott, and their
accompanying article "Library Schools and Diversity: Who Makes the Grade?,"
examine statistical data on the number of minority graduates that accredited
graduate library and information science programs add to the professional
workforce. The source of their statistical information is the Library and
Information Science Education Statistical Report published by the Association
for Library and Information Science Education. ALISE compiles statistics from
ALA accredited library and information science programs. The published ALISE
data was reorganized to analyze minority graduation rates. The number of
minority graduates increased in the decade from 1984-85 to 1994-95. The 1994-95
minority graduation total (419) and the percent of minorities entering the
profession are up from 1984-85. Though this growth rate seems encouraging, it
still reflects a small percentage of the total graduates for those years, 6.79
percent minority graduation in 1984-85 and 10.01 percent minority graduation in
The greatest gains were made by Asian/Pacific Islanders. They represent 3.5
percent of the population and 3.44 percent of 1995 graduates-near parity.
Hispanic graduation rates increased to 2.17 percent; African Americans moved up
slightly to 4.24 percent of all graduates. Native Americans saw a decline to
only .16 percent of the total. These gains, however, are undercut by the shift
in the U.S. population as a whole. During the same ten-year period, the minority
population of the U.S. grew from 22.2 percent to 26.4 percent. The Library and
Information Science (LIS) profession's gain is not enough to bring minority
representation in the profession to a parity level for individual minority
groups. In 1994-95, minorities comprised 26.4 percent of the U.S. population,
but only 10.01 percent of new LIS graduates. A 162 percent increase is needed to
achieve true diversity.
(1) Library and Information Science Programs:
McCook and Lippincott suggest that library schools need to find out what
recruitment strategies work, and then make a concerted effort to work even
harder in those areas. Common themes emerge in the schools that are successful
in recruiting minorities:
Faculty from ethnic or minority groups
Active multicultural participation
--bilingual advising/Spanish webpage
--mentoring by minority faculty or professionals
--LIS faculty active in campus or community diversity
Financial support (Title II-B, university scholarships,
Partnerships with specific libraries
Targeted Recruitment Strategies
--advertising in ethnic yellow pages
--recruiting trips to historically black institutions
--participation in minority career days
Creative delivery of classes
--where people work
--evening or weekend classes
(2) Associations: National and state library associations need to provide
leadership in diversity initiatives aimed at recruitment, retention, and
promotion. ALA and its offices and committees, as well as the Association of
College and Research Libraries, the American Association of Law Librarians, the
Special Libraries Association, and other groups on the national and state level,
have sponsored numerous plans, programs and projects over the years. The
American Library Association's recently announced Spectrum Initiative will focus
on scholarships, leadership training, peer mentoring, and staff development. On
another front, the Library Administration and Management Association's new
Cultural Diversity Grant, designed to encourage high school students and college
undergraduates to consider librarianship as a profession, was awarded for the
first time in June 1997.
(3) Individuals: All library professionals need to encourage and promote the
profession to the minority support staff in their libraries and to the minority
students in their communities who are making career choices. Florence Simkins
Brown's "Stop Talking and Start Doing!" workshops and Margaret Myers' "Each
One-Reach One" programs illustrate successful grassroots methods of recruitment.
The ALA Black Caucus' Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin also exemplifies the personal
commitment required by promoting mentoring as a viable strategy. Personal
outreach and mentoring, though time-consuming, may sometimes be the only way to
identify and reach specially qualified and interested individuals. For these new
recruits, a nationwide scholarship program with significant resources, such as
the Spectrum Initiative's endowment plan, would be invaluable in ushering a new
professional through the educational requirements.
Listed below are key citations on minority recruitment and diversity issues
since 1993. For earlier citations see:
Jones-Quartey, Theo S. & Bynum, Kit S. (1993). Ethnic minorities in
librarianship: A selected bibliography. "Special Libraries," 84(2), 104-111.
Alire, C. A. (1996). Recruitment and retention of librarians of color. In
Sally Gardner Reed (Ed.), "Creating the future: Essays on librarianship"
(pp.126-143). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.
Association of Research Libraries. Association of Research Libraries
Diversity Program. Internet WWW page, at URL: <HTTP:
http://arl.cni.org/diversity/>. [1997, September 8]. Caywood, C. (1996, May).
It takes all kinds: Calling for a diverse workforce is a solid recruitment
strategy. "School Library Journal," 42(5), 56.
Dawson, A. (1997, July). "Recruiting the underrepresented to academic
libraries: Challenges and opportunities-assessment of the sixteen
recommendations with implications for the ACRL Strategic Plan FY 1997-2001."
Report Presented to the Board of Directors, Association of College and Research
Libraries by the ACRL Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee 1995-1997, Annual
Conference, San Francisco, CA.
Diaz, J. & Starkus, K. (1994, January). Increasing minority
representation in academic libraries: The minority library intern program at the
Ohio State University. "College and Research Libraries," 55(1), 41-46. (EJ 476
Downing, K. E. & Others. (1993). "Reaching a multicultural student
community: A handbook for academic librarians." Greenwood Library Management
Collection. (ED 366 669)
Gilton, D. (1996). Cultural diversity in the workplace: A look at the library
science literature. "RQ," 36(2), 186-189.
Jennings, K. A. (1993). Recruiting new populations to the library profession.
"Journal of Library Administration," 19(3-4), 175-91. (EJ 481 818)
Josey, E. J. (1993). The challenges of cultural diversity in the recruitment
of faculty and students from diverse backgrounds. "Journal of Education for
Library and Information Science," 34(4), 302-11. (EJ 473 044)
Josey, E. J. (Ed.). (1994). "The Black librarian in America revisited."
Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.
Library Administration and Management Association. "Cultural diversity
grant." Internet WWW page, at URL:
<http://www.ala.org/lama/awards/culturaldiv/index.html> [1997, May 8].
Liu, C. F. L. (1994, Spring). Cultural diversity: A conversation with the
presidents of ALA's ethnic caucuses. "Library Administration & Management,"
8(2), 70-4. (EJ 483 659)
Liu, C. F. L. (1994, Summer). Cultural diversity: A conversation with the
presidents of ALA's ethnic caucuses. Part 2. "Library Administration &
Management," 8(3) , 126-30. (EJ 486 744)
Martin, L. M. & Via, B. J. (1994). Looking at the mirror: Reflections on
researching the recruitment of minority librarians to the profession in "LISA"
and "Library Literature" on CD-ROM. "The Reference Librarian," 45-46, 253-78.
(EJ 489 719)
McCook, K. & Geist, P. (1993, November 1). Diversity deferred: Where are
the minority librarians? "Library Journal," 118(18), 35-38. (EJ 473 089)
McCook, K. & Lippincott, K. (1997). "Planning for a diverse workforce in
library and information science professions" (Rev. ed.). Tampa, FL: University
of South Florida, School of Library and Information Science, Research Group. (ED
McCook, K. & Lippincott, K. (1997, April 15). Library schools and
diversity: Who makes the grade? "Library Journal," 122(7), 30-32. (EJ 543 174)
Mersky, R. M. (1993). AALL and the road to diversity: Providing opportunities
in law librarianship for members of minority groups. "Law Library Journal,"
Nance-Mitchell, V. E. (1996). A multicultural library: Strategies for the
twenty-first century, minorities underrepresented in librarianship." "College
& Research Libraries," 57(5), 405-13. (EJ 537 870)
National Conference of African American Librarians. (1993). "Culture keepers:
Enlightening and empowering our communities." Proceedings of the First National
Conference of African American Librarians, September 4-6, 1992, Columbus, OH.
Newark, NJ: Black Caucus of the American Library Association.
Neely, T. Y. & Abif, K. K. (Eds.). (1996). "In our own voices: The
changing face of librarianship." Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. (ED 401 890)
Robbins, J. (1978). "Celebrating diversity: A report and a plea for
multi-cultural graduate library education." Paper presented at the annual
conference of the Association of American Library Schools, January 1978,
Chicago, IL (ED 153 624)
Sullivan, P. (1996). Recruitment: A task for saviors. In Sally Gardner Reed
(Ed.), "Creating the future: Essays on librarianship" (pp.108-125). Jefferson,
NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.
Watkins, C. (1996, May). 'Stop Talking' in Tampa: Minority recruitment
workshop presented at various conferences. "American Libraries," 27(5), 11.
Whitwell, S. C. A. (1996, February). Intimate world, intimate workplace.
"American Libraries," 27(2), 56-9.