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(Fwd) Librarians Adjust Image in an Effort to Fill Jobs
in den USA werden inzwischen dringend Menschen fuer eine
bibliothekarische Ausbildung gesucht (s. Bericht).
Mit freundlichen Gruessen
Hans J. Becker
------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Librarians Adjust Image in an Effort to Fill Jobs
By JOHN W. FOUNTAIN
CHICAGO, Aug. 22 — Dana Garzolini frequently turns heads when
she is on the job in the Chicago public libraries.
" `You don't look like a librarian,' " Ms. Garzolini
says people tell her. " `It doesn't fit you at all.' "
Ms. Garzolini does seem like a typical 26-year-old, though.
like to go out to eat," she said. "I like to go to bars. I like to
travel. Pretty much, I'm up for anything. I consider myself very
That is the image library administrators want to project as they
try to lure young people to fill what could soon be thousands of
vacant jobs as older librarians retire and the private sector
In a Web site promoting a campaign by the American Library
Association, librarians ride Harleys, surf and skateboard. They are
young and hip. They wear dreadlocks and practice yoga. And like Ms.
Garzolini, they are known to enjoy an occasional night at a bar.
There is a cook and caterer, a "popular culture junkie" who started
a hip-hop program for the Cleveland library and a "surfer dude" who
owns a record company.
Colleges and universities are turning out more library and
information science graduates than ever, the association says, but
public libraries must compete with the growing number of higher
paying jobs in the private sector, a formidable competitor even
with the economy slowing.
At the same time, the need for public, school and academic
librarians is growing. The association's president, John W. Berry,
said that in the next 12 years, nearly half of the approximately
125,000 fully qualified librarians in the nation would retire.
In June 2000, at the annual conference of the American Library
Association, only 481 job seekers showed up for 1,000 posted
openings. At an association conference in January, only 260 people
showed up for 813 postings, officials said.
Already a small number of libraries have begun using recruiting
videos and even a Web site. Officials at the association say their
Web site is part of a five-year campaign, begun in April, that is
likely to include public service advertisements.
Even the phrases used in the promotion, called "The 21st Century
Librarians," cast the profession in a new light, with librarians
seen as "ambassadors," "teachers," "linguists," "technology
experts" and "human search engines."
"It's time for us to work on advocating for libraries to change
the image," said one of the "21st Century Librarians," Veronda
Pitchford, an African-American librarian in Chicago who wears
dreadlocks, enjoys in-line skating, practices yoga and listens to
eclectic music. "I want little kids to know that this is an option.
I want little girls to see me."
Ms. Pitchford, 30, said that even in an age when computers may be
leading children to forget the human touch of a librarian, there is
"When I say that we're the ultimate search engine," she said, "I'm
From New England to Los Angeles, the shortage has left scores of
libraries understaffed or staffed by less-qualified workers. The
library association requires that professional librarians earn a
master's degree in library and information sciences, which some
prospective students deem too costly for a job that pays less than
other professions. The mean salary for beginning librarians is
$32,891, the association says.
Leigh Estabrook, a professor at the Graduate School of Library and
Information Science at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign said about 20 percent of the school's graduates
get jobs outside libraries.
"The competition is not just financial, that business and
Microsoft pays a lot better than most public libraries, for
example, but also that some corporate jobs, nonlibrary jobs, offer
our students opportunities to get in on the ground floor and
develop new things," Professor Estabrook said.
But while the number of library and information sciences graduates
continues to rise nationally, to 4,472 in 1999 from 2,975 in 1981,
the association says, it is not likely to soon remedy the shortage.
"Even with more grads," Professor Estabrook said, "the
demographics of people retiring does mean that for a certain period
of time, there will be a real trough in libraries."
Many libraries have been trying to recruit from their own support
staffs, offering tuition vouchers and support for employees who
want to become librarians.
The hope is that they will follow in the footsteps of those like
Tyrone Ward, 48, now a manager at a West Side branch of the Chicago
Public Library system who began work as a literacy coordinator,
then went back to school to earn a master's degree in a program
partly financed by the city and the library.
As an African-American man, whose assistant is also a black man,
Mr. Ward says he can influence African-American children.
"When they see the two of us, just seeing it is enough for young
black males to see their place," he said.
"The schoolmarmish librarian, with the reading glasses and the
sort of long dress and long skirt with the bun hair was a wonderful
lady, very loving and very devoted to her work," Mr. Ward added.
"But her day is long gone. The stereotype has more life than she
Mr. Ward is an avid jazz fan, a book collector who enjoys
traveling and jogging along the shores of Lake Michigan in the cool
of a summer's evening. Still, some images die hard.
When people learn that he is a librarian, "the response is kind of
lukewarm, especially when I'm talking to ladies," Mr. Ward said.
"There seems to be a gleam in their eyes, and it dims ever so
But even that is changing. Recently, Ms. Garzolini sat with
co-workers in a conference room at the Harold Washington Library in
downtown Chicago, chatting and pondering the new day for
"I think that the American Library Association should run a
campaign that librarians are hot," one librarian said.
They all laughed.
"A calendar maybe?" another woman said,
Well, maybe not.
Hans J. Becker
Leiter der Erwerbungs- und Katalogabteilung
Referat Mathematik/Informatik, SSG Reine Mathematik
Niedersaechsische Staats- und Universitaetsbibliothek Goettingen
Platz der Goettinger Sieben 1
Tel: ++49 551/395230
FAX: ++49 551/393199
e-mail: becker _at__ mail.sub.uni-goettingen.de
Listeninformationen unter http://www.inetbib.de.