At the Special Libraries Association Annual Conference in New York a few years back, a fellow, who if I recall correctly worked for a news organization in Dallas at the time, who is very tall and African-American graced us with his presence. He says he gets lots of weird looks when he tells people his profession because not only are very tall and male librarians rare, but African-American librarians are few and far between. And he is blessed with all three traits.
Amy Disch emailed me a segment of National Public Radio’s Bryant Park Project that deals with the scarcity of black, male librarians via an interview with Julius Jefferson of the Library of Congress. He is attending the American Library Association conference and will be discussing the issue there.
Some of you will appreciate how they draw out the importance of librarians as culture keepers and how minorities can play a very important role in that, the discussion about what it takes to be a librarian (master’s degree, usually), and why there are so few African-Americans in the profession. One bit I didn’t catch in the story is whether the numbers apply to all librarians or just librarians who are likely to be or are members of the ALA. Does the same hold true for special librarianship?
I couldn’t quickly find the name of the interviewer, but it sounds a little like Tavis Smiley. *flashes back to radio days*
Thanks for sharing, Amy!
Addendum 7/3: Apparently, the fellow mentioned above left quite a positive impression on a few of our colleagues because I’ve gotten several emails from people confirming his identity. Thanks for the reminders. Maybe I should have spelled out that I was intentionally not naming him because I don’t generally name people on this weblog without their consent unless they’re named in a source to which I’m linking or have done something very publicly to which I’m referring, like Stephen Abram giving a speech at a conference. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who remembers him and has noticed his absence at subsequent SLAs.
LD, if you’re out there somewhere, feel free to self-identify and give us an update.