Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Multi-Cultural Graduate Library Education

Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Multi-Cultural Graduate Library Education

Article excerpt

IN THE UNITED STATES, almost everyone knows that a librarian is a middle-aged, white woman. Two times out of ten she will be a man and once every 12 or 13 times she will be other than white, but chances are she is white. Few other occupations are more middle-aged, more female and/or more white. 1 The major purpose of this paper is to discover to what extent, during the past eight to ten years, the student bodies of accredited library school programs have changed from the predominately white demographic characteristics. It's principal focus is upon the activities and problems involved in

During the summer of 1971 at an American Library Association preconference on the recruitment of minorities into the profession, much of the conversation naturally centered on library education. What was said then is still valid: Library schools should be charged with the responsibility of changing the racial and ethnic mix of their student bodies to be more representative of the population which their graduates serve.4 What this profession needs is commitment to the recruitment of minorities. Until we have this commitment, backed up by money, we only play the game of institutional racism.5

The money is shrinking and what commitment there was in the early 1970's is waning. The crisis is still with us, now rather more acute than it was then.

Minority Education in the U.S.

As context, it is im portant for library educators to become familiar with the history of minority education in general and more specifically with postsecondary undergraduate education because of the requirement for Master of Library Science degree candidates to hold the baccalaureate degree. Further, it is useful to be conversant with the experience of other graduate programs, especially professional ones, with regard to minority participation. To that end, the following information is presented. "Since its earliest beginnings, the American public school system has been deeply committed to the maintenance of racial and ethnic barriers. Higher education, both public and private, shared this outlook."6 So states Meyer Weinberg, Director of the Center for Equal Education, Northwestern University and Professor of History, City Colleges of Chicago, in his 1977 book on the history of the educational experience of black, Mexican American, Native American, and Puerto Rican children in the United States.

Even the most noted defenders of public education in America, John Dewey and Horace Mann, remained silent on the subject of minority participation in public schools. The pattern of discrimination against minorities was national and is reflected clearly, not just by circumstance and neglect, but by statutory exclusion and/or statutory separateness. …

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