LIBRARIANSHIP IS FACing an acute personnel shortage both in terms of numbers of new librarians needed and in terms of the quality of these individuals. Currently there are a number of efforts being mounted by different specializations...and by different jurisdictions...to grapple with the problem. However, much of the work that is being done is not being integrated into an overall program of concerted effort by the profession."'
That statement is taken from the Office for Library Personnel Resources Advisory Committee's World Book-ALA Goal Award proposal, which sought funding to study labor supply and recruitment efforts and make recommendations for their improvement. Funding was secured and an invitational preconference held in New Orleans, July 7-8, 1988. Part of the preparation for that gathering was a study of current (1988) library school students.
What follows is a brief, preliminary report on findings of the Library and Information Science Student Attitudes, Demographics, and Aspirations (LISSADA) Survey. Conducted by the Louisiana State University School of Library Science, the study surveyed 3,484 students enrolled in 54 accredited MLS programs in the US. in spring 1988. Analysis of data continues. This report provides an overview of the class of 1988.
Our respondents in the Class of 1988 were 80.9% female and 19.1% male. Nearly three-fourths (72.6%) were over 30 years of age, and 93.7% were white (See Table 1).
Differences emerge by gender Table 2 shows that a larger percentage of men (55.5%) were full-time than women (41.4%). Difficulty obtaining responses from part-time students (many of whom are off-campus) may have skewed the LISSADA data in favor of full-time students. Regardless, a far larger percentage of males are enrolled full-time than females.
This has significant implications for career development and gender-status issues. Students able to pursue fun-time studies may have an advantage in professional socialization and are more likely to become involved in activities that lead to career advancement. To examine this theory, a cross-tabulation was run to show the effect of full-time status on professional memberships. This cross-tabulation revealed that full-time students are more involved in national and student organizations than part-time students. Over 60% of all ALA student members and 55% of Special Libraries Association members were fulltime (Table 2). Sixty-five percent of those indicating no memberships were part-time.
Interestingly, part-time students were far more likely (64%) than full-time students (36%) to be members of state-level associations. This suggests that part-time students identified with their state in anticipation of local employment, while full-time students were more likely to be mobile and thus affiliated nationally. Since we know that national association involvement is one predictor of professional advancement,' it may be inferred that even at the student level full-time students are availing themselves of career-building opportunities. In the final LISSADA report, data on enrollment status will be cross-tabulated by professional involvement and sex to investigate this relationship more fully
With the exception of the very youngest students (20-24 years), men are enrolled at earlier ages than women. Table 3 shows that 36.2% of women enrolled are over 40, compared with 24.4% of the men.
In her paper on recruitment of science librarians, Brown' compared undergraduate major data for three MLS programs and found that over 50% held humanities degrees, 22.5% education degrees, and only 5% held degrees in the sciences. LISSADA data, although broken into finer categories, were similiar. Table 4 shows that only 6.4% of respondents held degrees in the sciences. English and literature accounted for 18.6% and history for 10.5%. Paskoff has noted that there is a shortage of qualified librarians in most specialized areas.' Given continuing enrollment by students with undergraduate majors in the humanities and social sciences, this is likely to continue. In general, while demand for librarians is increasing, demand for librarians with technical backgrounds is acute. Although innovative programs such as Brown discusses may bring a few science recruits to the profession, it is clear that a stronger recruitment effort is necessary.
Several questions designed to gain an understanding of the reasons respondents chose a career in librarianship were included. For many, the decision to pursue the MLS was made after respondents had been working for some time or were out of the workforce for a time. A majority of all respondents, 52.7%, had previous library exper ience-many immediately prior to attending library school.
Reasons for choosing library and information science work that scored high were an opportunity to use personal skills, access to the world's knowledge, the importance of information, and the need to earn a living. A surprisingly large number (39.3%) viewed the field as "an alternative to teaching."
A related question found th"intellectual" opportunities in the field an extraordinarily high reason for career selection (84.7%), as was the field's perceived "service orientation" (66.8%). (See Tables 5 & 6)
Respondents were most often influenced by individuals to choose
librarianship. Friends were cited as influences by 31.9%. Public librarians were cited by 22.4%, teachers by 22.3%, school librarians by 20.2%, and college librarians by 19.5%. These figures suggest strongly that the OLPR "Each One Reach One" recruitment initiative is a well-targeted theme.
The survey shows that many respondents have placed geographical limitations on the location of a first position. Twothirds-66.2% -either already had a permanent position (15.1%), would seek work only near home (45.1%), or near the school (5.3%), or would not seek a position (.7%). Only 16.5% of respondents indicated that they had "no limitations" on first job; 17% were uncertain. This rather small group becomes the "pool" of new librarians in areas where library and information science education is not easily obtained. Recruitment strategies of employers and the delivery of library education need to be influence by this information.
Two to 10 colleagues
Most respondents desired work in a relatively small library. Forty-sLx percent indicated that a library setting employing 2-10 librarians was most desirable. Only 3.8% sought to work in settings where more than 51 librarians were employed. While these figures might dismay personnel administrators in large public or academic systems there were also a good number of students who were uncertain (14.4%) or to whom size of employing institution did not matter (12.3%). Nevertheless, larger libraries need to be concerned that so few new graduates are predisposed to careers in large systems.
The relative desirability of types of positions was also investigated. Reference positions were indicated as most desirable by the most respondents (28.9%), while cataloging positions (7.6%) received scant consideration. Table 7 shows percentages of respondents indicating strong interest in a variety of positions. Youth services receives higher ranking than might have been expected, considering the frequency of written expressions of concern over shortages in this area. However, the high response rate derives from the large number of school media specialists in the sample. A very different market structure exists for these two youth services career tracks.
Finally, respondents were asked to express their preference for types of libraries in which to assume a first position. Large academic libraries were seen as most desirable (22.7%) followed by school library media centers (19.8%). Despite concern about the outflow of MLS graduates to the information industry, only 5.9% indicated this as a desirable career path. Corporate and non-corporate special libraries, however, were seen as desirable by 29.9%.
Although librarianship has changed a great deal over the last 30 years, students' backgrounds are not very different from those analyzed in earlier surveys. Affective attitudes (to be reported later) show that the majority of respondents are excited by developing technologies and combine this with a strong service orientation. Thus, current students possess a positive orientation to innovation.
However, several venerable professional concerns are reinforced by the LISSADA data. Many respondents are geographically limited, minority students continue to comprise an abysmally small number of future librarians, and technical services work is not viewed as a very desirable specialization.
The survey provides a profile of people now entering the profession-people who will be in administrative and policy-making positions at the turn of the century. The data show us the reasons people enter the field and the kinds of positions that seem desirable. This information can be used by the profession to plan recruitment strategies both to librarianship and to specializations within it. Clearly, today's leaders need to plan and work to ensure library services to tomorrow's citizens.
This brief overview reports only a small portion of the data gathered in the survey.
Additional analysis will be published in a later report. But one last, impressionistic note bears mention. After reading over 3,400 responses to the open-ended questions, "Why did you choose this profession?", "How would you describe the future of this profession?", and "What are three reasons you would give to others to persuade them to choose this profession?", the authors were left with a sense of extraordinary optimism and energy. The class of 1988 is committed to information access, holds democratic and egalitarian values regarding the provision of information, and is undaunted by rapidly evolving technologies. We may not have enough librarians in 1988 but the ones we have will be outstanding.
"Each One Reach On
The purpose of ALA's Office for Library Personnel Resources (OLPR) is to coordinate those ALA staff activities in library education, recruitment, and staff welfare that assist librarians and libraries. OLPR concerns itself with librarianship as a profession and with individual career goals.
For the last several years, the OLPR Advisory Committee has been discussing shortages of specialist librarians-in children's services, technical services, science and technology librarianship, and other areas. It has also been observing a decade-long decline in the number of MLS degrees granted and continuing shortages of librarians of color.
Demographic projections of the year 2000 indicate that nearly one-third of U.S. citizens will be black, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, or native American. The library workforce is overwhelmingly white.
Numerous studies of librarians have suggested that we choose the profession because of significant role modelspeople we know and respect who are librarians. The Advisory Committee's perception of the problem, declining numbers of librarians, acute shortages in some specializations, a rapidly changing user population, and the belief that we are our own best recruiters, spurred the development of the "Each One Reach One" concept.
FIGURES FROM THE LATEST ALA salary survey show U.S. librarians gaining increases that compare adequately with salary growth in other occupations.
The salary surveys have been published biennially since 1982. As before, ALBS Office for Research and Office for Library Personnel Resources worked together to produce the report. The Library Research Center at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois/Urbana, mailed the survey and processed the returns.
The ALA Survey of Librarian Salaries, 1988, by Project Director Mary Jo Lynch and Margaret Myers, is now available for $30 from the ALA Order Dept., 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611 (0-8389-3366-1; ISSN 0747-7201).
Once again, the survey covers full-time professional positions in academic and public libraries. The report displays salaries in libraries grouped into five type-and-size categories (public libraries serving populations of from 25,000 to 99,999; public libraries serving populations of 100,000 or more; 2-year colleges; 4-year colleges; and universities) and in four geographic regions (North Atlantic, Great Lakes and Plains, Southeast, and West and Southwest.
The 1988 report differs from earlier surveys in that it provides more information about salaries actually paid for the seven key positions shown in the table, as well as for Beginning Librarian. However, the 1988 survey did not request information about scheduled salaries for those positions, or any information about six other positions for which the number of cases reported was low in previous years.
For the seven positions covered, the 1988 report shows the first quartile, median, and third quartile for salaries paid in each category of library and in each region, in addition to the mean and range (low and high).
In using percentiles, the ALA salary survey now follows a practice common to
salary surveys in related fields. An 86 % response
The survey questionnaire was mailed to 1,314 randomly selected libraries in February 1988, and usable responses were received from 1,133 libraries, 86% of those selected. The results are presented in eight sets of tables-one table for each category of library, plus a summary table.
In the table shown here, the seven positions are listed in rank order by mean of salaries paid in 1988. The table also shows the dollar amount of change from 1986 to 1988, and the percent of change over the two years.
The percentage increase over the two years is comparable to other occupations. In the April 1987 and 1988 issues of Monthly Labor Review, the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that civilian workers (i.e., in private industry and state and local government, but excluding farm, household, and federal government workers) received an average 3.5% increase in 1986 over the previous year and another 3.5% increase in 1987. White collar workers received an average increase of 4% in 1986 and 3.90/o in 1987.
Library type and region
The highest salary mean for Director and Deputy/Associate/Assistant Director is found in university libraries; the lowest is in four-year colleges. For the other four common positions, the mean is highest in 2-year colleges and second highest in universities-except for Cataloger and/or Classifier, for which the mean is lowest in 4-year colleges. For the position found only in public libraries-Children's and/or Young Adult Services Librarian-the mean of salaries paid is higher in large public libraries. In most cases, salaries are highest in the West and Southwest and second highest in the North Atlantic. For most positions, the lowest salaries are in the Southeast.
Although the table shown here provides average salaries paid for each of the seven positions, the job seeker or the library administrator would need more information in considering the salary for a particular position. Both would want to know the salary range for a position in a particular type of library or in a particular geographic area. The ALA Survey of Librarian Salaries provides this information.
In addition to data about salaries, the report includes an annotated list of "Salary Surveys Providing Information on Library Workers," the text of all ALA policies relating to salary issues, and a "Selected Bibliography on Compensation and Employee Benefits."…