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Why librarianship? An exploration of the motivations of ethnic minorities to choose library and information science as a career

Advances in Library Administration and Organization

ISBN: 978-1-84950-579-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-580-2

ISSN: 0732-0671

Publication date: 30 October 2009

Abstract

Although there is great potential for diversity, library and information science (LIS) is a relatively homogenous profession. Increasing the presence of librarians of color may help to improve diversity within LIS. However, recruiting ethnic minorities into LIS has proven to be difficult despite various initiative including scholarships, fellowships, and locally focused programs. The central questions explored in this research can be divided into two parts: (1) Why do ethnic minorities choose librarianship as a profession? (2) What would motivate members of minority groups to join a profession in which they cannot see themselves?

The research was conducted through semi-structured, qualitative interviews of 32 ethnic minority students from one of four ethnic minority groups (African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American) currently enrolled in an LIS graduate program. Eleven themes emerged from the data: libraries, librarians, library work experience, LIS graduate program, career plans and goals, education and family, support, mentors, ethnicity and community, acculturation, and views of diversity.

The findings seem to support many assumptions regarding expectations and career goals. The findings related to libraries, librarians, mentors, and support illustrate that many recruitment initiatives are starting in the right place. However, the most noteworthy findings were those that centered on identity, acculturation, and diversity because they dealt with issues that are not often considered or discussed by many in the profession outside of ethnic minority organizations.

Citation

Hussey, L.K. (2009), "Why librarianship? An exploration of the motivations of ethnic minorities to choose library and information science as a career", Williams, D.E., Nyce, J.M. and Golden, J. (Ed.) Advances in Library Administration and Organization (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 153-217. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0732-0671(2009)0000028007

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited