I am not sure that the gender imbalance in librarianship is discussed as often as it should be. Yes, there have been endless conferences on boys and reading, and the emphasis on nonfiction that has come with the Common Core is sometimes framed as an effort to bring more books boys like into the curriculum. Yet, I wonder what would happen if, say, if the American Library Association approached a group that was as male as librarianship is female–in sports, business, military, business (I realize that women are rising in all of these fields)–and conducted focus groups on what K-12 libraries are, can be, and should be. The meetings would be private and have no determinative role–so there would be no danger that libraries would suddenly need to change the books they buy, or drop printed books–but there would be an influx of new ideas from a different perspective. In turn, adult males–who often have least contact with a school or public library, yet frequently vote in local elections, might see more reason to support existing or increased funding for libraries. While this would not address the gender gap in librarianship, it would bring a new set of ideas and actors to the field while it remains primarily female.
Marc Aronson- Diversity in Librarianship
I mean yeah there are no POC but you know what’s really important? The fact that there are no men. Let’s add men. White men. We’re the ones who really suffer.
Is it any wonder I dislike my program so much?
As an adult male—a white one, at that—I’m well aware that if I bring substantially “new ideas […] to the field,” it’ll be in part because too many folks who look like me will only begin to listen to an idea when it comes out of my mouth, even as I literally explain to them that I’m repeating something I read from bell hooks, Wendy Brown, Rosi Braidotti, Lisa Nakamura, Samuel Delany, etc.
Sure, many patrons might be drawn to librarians who look like them.
But that doesn’t magically turn the larger issues (i.e. structural racism and the shift away from funding resources that benefit the community in indirect-yet-highly-quantifiable-ways) into issues that can be solved by merely bringing more phalluses to librarianship’s yard. Certainly not when, as Andy Woodward recently pointed out, 75% of the bloggers and columnists of Library Journal and American Libraries are male.
Of all the problems facing librarianship, our gender gap barely registers—and if it does, it’s as a symptom rather than a cause. However, the underlying issues that perpetuate it, and that render a female-dominated field less respected/funded, do actually merit sustained work.
Let’s use our time addressing important problems, not distractions that are simple to count.
Exactly! Ugh. Thank you.
The case of the clueless dude who doesn’t get that the true gender disparity in librarianship is how even though we are a female dominated profession the highest earners in positions of highest power (Directors etc) are disproportionately male.
Dude voices are in libraries and are often, in fact, the loudest. Also commentary above about racial disparity and underlying structural issues is spot on.
Bolded some stuff there.