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The professional development of small community librarians in Texas: A qualitative study of the female experience

Advances in Library Administration and Organization

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1488-1, eISBN: 978-1-84950-528-4

ISSN: 0732-0671

Publication date: 3 June 2008


In 2005, a qualitative study was undertaken to explore the educational events, personal experiences, and job circumstances that a selected group of non-MLS library directors working in small Texas communities believed were significant in contributing to their professional development. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 17 female library directors working in Texas communities with populations of 25,000 or less using open-ended questions, and interviews were recorded and transcribed for later analysis. Four major topic areas relating to the professionalization of non-MLS library directors were identified from the data: (1) job satisfaction, including library work as spiritual salvation, librarianship and the ethic of caring, making a difference in the community, and pride in professional identity; (2) professional development, including hiring narratives, continuing education and lifelong learning, mentoring and professional development, and the importance of the MLS degree; (3) challenges facing small community library directors, including gender-based discrimination, resistance from local governing officials, and geographic isolation; and (4) guidelines for success, including understanding the community, becoming part of the community, making the library the heart of the community, business and managerial skills, and people and customer service skills.


Boon, B. (2008), "The professional development of small community librarians in Texas: A qualitative study of the female experience", Garten, E.D., Williams, D.E., Nyce, J.M. and Golden, J. (Ed.) Advances in Library Administration and Organization (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 26), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 209-264.



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