School Librarianship: Career Choice and Recruitment

By Shannon, Donna M | Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

School Librarianship: Career Choice and Recruitment


Shannon, Donna M, Journal of Education for Library and Information Science


Recruitment to librarianship has been a recurring topic in the professional literature with the prediction of shortages as baby boomers begin to retire in large numbers. This article reports results from surveys conducted to gather information on reasons for choosing school librarianship as a career path and how employers go about recruiting school library media specialists (SLMSs) to their schools and school districts. As part of a survey of University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science program completers, respondents explained reasons for becoming a SLMS. Focus group interviews with current students and recent graduates were also conducted. Three South Carolina employer groups (school district media supervisors, human resource directors, and school principals) were surveyed to determine how they recruit SLMSs. Results will inform recruitment efforts of LIS programs, professional organizations, and school districts.

Introduction and Background

A wave of retirements among the nation's librarians is expected to occur between 2010 and 2020. Given graduation rates reported by library and information science (LIS) programs accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), this could result in a deficit of LIS professionals.1 According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, three in five of the nation's librarians are 45 years of age or older.2 In recent years, recruitment to the profession has been a recurrent theme in the professional literature and the focus of a number of initiatives created to address the problem. Then ALA President John Berry appointed a Recruitment and Diversity Task Force in 2002 and in 2004 ALA President-Elect Michael Gorman announced that his presidential year would focus on library education and recruitment of librarians from diverse ethnic and cultural groups.3 In 2001 American Association of School Librarians (AASL) President Helen Adams appointed the AASL Task Force on Recruitment for the Profession and in 2002 First Lady and former school librarian Laura Bush announced the "Recruiting and Educating Librarians for the 21st Century" program. At the 2005 ALA midwinter conference, the ALA Recruitment Assembly sponsored a day-long forum to share information and ideas for recruiting "high quality people from diverse backgrounds to library careers."4 Recruiting young librarians to school librarianship emerged as a top concern of school library leaders who attended the 2006 School Library Journal Summit in Chicago.5

Most studies of librarians' career choice and recruitment conducted over the past few decades have solicited perspectives of library school students through surveys carried out in library school settings.6 More recently, researchers using Web-based surveys have sought participation of library workers identified through mass mailings to electronic discussion forums.7 Results of these studies have revealed some consistent patterns. The nature of library work is often given as a reason for choosing librarianship as a career path. Many respondents mention gratification in helping people find information, a love for books and reading, or that they like "library work" and believe that it makes a difference in users' lives. Prior work in a library setting and personal contact with a librarian are both significant motivators for those who enroll in library school. None of these studies, however, focused specifically on preservice or practicing school library media specialists (SLMSs).

Findings from an AASL Recruitment Task Force survey conducted in 2002 cited the following reasons for a predicted shortage of SLMSs: (1) retirements, (2) limited access to library education, (3) poor teaching conditions, (4) low pay, (5) negative stereotypes of librarians, and (6) no job security.8 The impact of each of these explanations varies from state to state depending on a number of factors. In some states (such as South Carolina) SLMSs are required in all but the smallest schools which translates into more job security. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

School Librarianship: Career Choice and Recruitment
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.