WEDNESDAY, OCT 05, 2011

A Look at a Few of the Librarians Behind Social Explorer's Recent Data Analysis


Librarians love Social Explorer, and now we have 12 more reasons to love them back. As census data show, men make up a small proportion of the population of librarians, but a number of them have brought this minority into the spotlight with the publication of the Men of the Stacks calendar.   (See Zack as Mr. January at left, and Brett as Mr. March below.) This summer,  Social Explorer conducted an analysis of data on librarians, offering a picture of the profession today and outlining trends over decades. “Librarians in the U.S. from 1880-2009: An analysis using 120 years of census data” Among the findings:
  • Today, 83 percent of librarians are women, but in the 1880s men had the edge, making up 52 percent of the 636 librarians enumerated.
  • In 1930, male librarians were truly rare, making up just 8 percent of the librarian population.
  • Male librarians out-earned female librarians in 1950 and 1990, but by 2009, median wages for the two sexes were within $100 of each other
Now you can take a look at a few librarians while taking a look at librarian data. Here's a description of the making of the calendar highlighting this small subset of librarians (proceeds going to the It Gets Better Project): The Men of the Stacks project was first conceived a couple of years ago after learning of the publication of another library-themed calendar.  Our first reaction to that calendar?  “Well, cool but…where are all the men?”  There was another, earlier calendar that featured only male librarians, but we felt it didn’t quite capture the way we saw ourselves.  In both cases, either the stereotype was reinforced or it didn’t go far enough in breaking free of it. There is an entire population of professional librarians out there who disagree with the way the library profession is perceived in contemporary media outlets and in the historical consciousness of the American mind.  Different people and different associations will use different means to try to change those perceptions.  This is ours.
by Sydney Beveridge
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