Printer Friendly
The Free Library
22,749,942 articles and books


AN ASSESSMENT OF THE STATUS OF LIBRARY SERVICE to minority populations of the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  first requires an understanding of the long struggle to include people of color Noun 1. people of color - a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
people of colour, colour, color

race - people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock; "some biologists doubt that there are important
 among the ranks of those providing library service. This issue of Library Trends presents an overview of the efforts of African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islander-Americans, Chinese Americans The following is a list of Chinese Americans who are famous, have made significant contributions to the American culture or society politically, artistically or scientifically, or have appeared in the news numerous times.

See also a List of Taiwanese Americans.
, Latinos, and Native Americans to develop services, identify important issues, foster leadership, and establish inclusive definitions of identity. Without these narratives, there would be insufficient philosophical, intellectual, or emotional bases on which to develop future programs and collections.(1)

In 1988, the American Library Association American Library Association, founded 1876, organization whose purpose is to increase the usefulness of books through the improvement and extension of library services.  (ALA), Office for Library Personnel Resources (OLPR) under the leadership of its director, Margaret Myers, issued Librarians for the New Millennium (Moen & Heim, 1988). In that volume, the need for emphasis on the recruitment of minorities to the library and information science professions was a central theme. Efforts to secure ALA funding for the recruitment of minorities, including OLPR hearings held in 1987, are summarized and a 1988 invitational in·vi·ta·tion·al  
Restricted to invited participants: an invitational golf tournament.

An event, especially a sports tournament, restricted to invited participants.

Adj. 1.
 preconference on recruitment described. As background for the preconference, OLPR supported an analysis of students enrolled in U.S. programs of library and information science: the Library and Information Science Student Attitudes, Demographics and Aspirations Survey (LISSADA Survey) (Moen & Heim, 1988). The LISSADA Survey reported that enrolled students in 1988 were 90 percent white. Thus began a decade of studies, initiatives, and a profession-wide commitment to emphasize recruitment among people of color (Josey, 1999; McCook & Lippincott, 1997a; McCook & Lippincott, 1997b; McCook & Geist, 1993; McCook & Gonsalves, 1993). A decade later, the 1998 annual statistical report of the Association for Library and Information Science Education found 83 percent of enrolled students are white (Saye, 1999).

This improvement in minority enrollment provides hope that general recruitment of minorities in librarianship is demonstrating some success. However, it is important to realize that even this modest success is the result of a concerted effort on the part of the profession in the last decade of the millennium and that the increase in minority enrollment is not proportionate by ethnicity.

Over the years, professional associations have provided minority scholarship funds, but these have not been concentrated in a way to make a strong impact in overall patterns of recruitment and occupational entry. The establishment of the ALA SPECTRUM scholarships, first awarded in 1998 to fifty library and information science students of color not of the white race; - commonly meaning, esp. in the United States, of negro blood, pure or mixed.

See also: Color
, marked a sea change in the profession's Commitment to recruitment of a diverse workforce. The years of meetings, reports, and studies initiated by OLPR have finally borne fruit. The SPECTRUM program provides national publicity, a recruitment network, leadership seminars, and mentoring support for the SPECTRUM scholarship recipients. The national campaign to recruit students for the SPECTRUM scholarship program has provided publicity that has generally enhanced recognition of library and information science as a viable career option for people of color.

This step forward by ALA to recruit a diverse cohort of minority librarians must be seen in the context of the ongoing movements to recognize and value differences among the people of the United States. Without the establishment of strong ethnic caucuses in the American Library Association and the subsequent creation of a grassroots leadership, ALA would not have had the foundation to support the development of this creative program.

Today the American Library Association has included "Diversity" as one of five key action areas to fulfill its mission of providing the highest quality library and information services See Information Systems.  to all people. By "diversity," ALA means race and ethnicity as well as physical disabilities, sexual orientation sexual orientation
The direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes, especially a direction seen to be dictated by physiologic rather than sociologic forces.
, age, language, and social class (Diversity, 2000). An ongoing new initiative by the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services is the "Diversity Fair" held at ALA's annual conferences and providing an opportunity for librarians to demonstrate possibilities for other librarians in search of "diversity in action" ideas.

New energy fueled by the SPECTRUM initiative, the delineation of "diversity" as a key action area by the ALA, and the recognition that the United States is becoming a nation characterized by growing cultural acceptance and inclusion has been infused into the thinking about the kind of profession librarianship needs to become. This issue of Library Trends captures the rich traditions of the major ethnic groups that have struggled to achieve a position in the development and delivery of library services.

To capture the intellectual foundations and informed activism that characterize the profession's commitment to diversity, authors have been selected who have a history of scholarship and advocacy. These librarians and scholars all began their careers before or at the time that the civil rights movement provided a legislative mandate for equality. They know from personal experience and personal journeys of the long road to full participation in U.S. society. They have devoted their professional careers to providing excellent service informed by social consciousness and commitment to equality.

Alice Robbin is a political scientist whose research focuses on the classification of racial and ethnic data. She presents statistical data on selected economic and social indicators derived from the U.S. Census that provide this issue with robust demographic information with which to assess the achievements and challenges that confront us in the decades to come.

Alma Dawson, who has chaired the Association of College and Research Libraries Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity and the Association of Education for Library and Information Science Recruitment Committee writes of the achievements of African-American librarians and the Black Caucus caucus: see convention.  of the ALA from the perspectives of a professor of library and information science with experience as an administrator and student at historically black as well as at majority universities.

Kenneth A. Yamashita, former president of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA APALA Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
APALA Anthropology, Physical Anthropology, Linguistics and Archaeology Conference
), has been active in many areas of the American Library Association including Council and member of the Committee on Minority Concerns and Social Diversity. His article traces the history of APALA with special attention to the work of Janet M. Suzuki in APALA's precursor, the Asian American A·sian A·mer·i·can also A·sian-A·mer·i·can  
A U.S. citizen or resident of Asian descent. See Usage Note at Amerasian.

 Librarians Caucus.

As former President of the Chinese American Librarians Association The Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) started in 1973 as Mid-West Chinese American Librarians Association, a regional organization in Illinois. A year later, Chinese Librarians Association was formed in California in 1974. , Mengxiong Liu has studied library services for ethnolinguistic students. She provides a history of Chinese American Chinese Americans (Chinese language: 美籍華人 or 華裔美國人) are Americans of Chinese descent. Chinese Americans constitute one group of Overseas Chinese and are a subgroup of Asian Americans.  librarians in the United States with a special focus on the building of East Asian libraries. Her article places the experience of Chinese American librarians in a cultural context with attention to contributions and accomplishments.

Edward Erazo has been president of REFORMA and the Border Regional Library Association; Salvador Guerena has also been president of REFORMA and was honored by the association as 1992 "Librarian of the Year." From their broad experience in serving Spanish-speaking users, Erazo and Guerena provide a complex portrait of efforts to establish services to Latinos taking into account the many different cultures joined by a linguistic heritage.

Lotsee Patterson is professor at the School of Library and Information Science A School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) is a university-based institution that provides a Master's degree or other advanced degrees associated with Library science, Information Science, or a combination of the two.  at the University of Oklahoma University of Oklahoma, abbreviated OU, is a coeducational public research university located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. . She is of Comanche and Chickasaw heritage. Her work to affect government policy change for library service to Native Americans has been recognized by the NCLIS NCLIS National Commission On Libraries and Information Science
NCLIS National Council for Languages and International Studies
 with the Silver Star Award and by the ALA Equality Award. As Patterson points out, the tribal governments of Native Americans define a mutual interdependence with the U.S. government unique among the nation's ethnic minorities. Thus, describing the history of service development is rich in complication. Separate legislation regarding Native Americans creates a shifting basis for describing and assessing service.

The issue concludes with Sandra Rios Balderrama's essay on diversity. As the first diversity officer appointed by the American Library Association, Balderrama asks why we want someone distinct from us to work with us, not for us; to create with us, not duplicate us; to reciprocate re·cip·ro·cate  
v. re·cip·ro·cat·ed, re·cip·ro·cat·ing, re·cip·ro·cates
1. To give or take mutually; interchange.

2. To show, feel, or give in response or return.

 with us, not assimilate to us; to mentor us, not intimidate in·tim·i·date  
tr.v. in·tim·i·dat·ed, in·tim·i·dat·ing, in·tim·i·dates
1. To make timid; fill with fear.

2. To coerce or inhibit by or as if by threats.
 us; to be an equal, not a box in the organizational hierarchy. Her essay is a poetic discourse that invites readers to contribute equally their ideas, expertise, potential, and distinctiveness. Balderrama's synthesis elicits the dream of individualized in·di·vid·u·al·ize  
tr.v. in·di·vid·u·al·ized, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·ing, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·es
1. To give individuality to.

2. To consider or treat individually; particularize.

 hope for a coexisting co·ex·ist  
intr.v. co·ex·ist·ed, co·ex·ist·ing, co·ex·ists
1. To exist together, at the same time, or in the same place.

 sense of care.

These ideas reach back to touch the spirit of former OLPR Director Margaret Myers whose work on personnel concerns within the American Library Association during the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s laid much of the foundation on which we build today. Upon her return from the Peace Corps where she provided community library service in Botswana, Myers expressed a calm thanksgiving that ALA has dedicated resources to expand its commitment to diversity (M. Myers, personal communication, January 18, 2000).

Acceptance of diversity as a value of librarianship is crucial to the goal of librarians seeking to build communities. The decision to identify diversity as a key action area by the ALA is a decision by librarians to work to build communities that will be resilient and enduring.


(1) This issue focuses on the development of services to a diverse population and the efforts to recruit a diverse workforce as reflected by the efforts of members of the American Library Association. Researchers should be aware that other library-related associations have also endeavored to increase the participation of minorities in the profession, including the American Association American Association refers to one of the following professional baseball leagues:
  • American Association (19th century), active from 1882 to 1891.
  • American Association (20th century), active from 1902 to 1962 and 1969 to 1997.
 of Law Librarians (Committee on Diversity, Scholarships); the Association of Research Libraries (Diversity Program; Conferences on Career Development and Leadership); the Medical Library Association (scholarships); as well as initiatives in state library associations International
  • Association of Christian Librarians Website
  • International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists Website (IAALD)
  • International Association of Law Libraries Website
  • International Association of Music Libraries Website


American Library Association. (1999). Diversity. Chicago: American Library Association (ALA Action No. 4 in a series. Insert in American Libraries American Libraries is the official publication of the American Library Association. Published monthly except for a combined July/August issue, it is distributed to all members of the organization. American Libraries is currently edited by Leonard Kniffel. , 31 [January 2000]).

Josey, E. J. (1999). Diversity: Political and societal barriers. Journal of Library Administration The Journal of Library Administration is a quarterly scholarly journal that provides information on how to manage a library. It is published by Haworth Information Press, and was launched in 1980. , 27(1/2), 191-202.

McCook, K. d. l. P. (2000). Diverse communities: The challenge to community building. In A place at the table: Participating in Community building. (pp. 17-27). Chicago: American Library Association.

McCook, K. d. l. P., & Geist, P. (1993). Diversity deferred: Where are the minority librarians? Library Journal, 118(18), 35-38.

McCook, K. d. l. P., & Gonsalves, T. (1992/1993). Diversity: Ten issues to consider. Bottomline 6, 43-48.

McCook, K. d. l. P., & Lippincott, K. (1997a). Library schools and diversity: Who makes the grade? Library Journal, 122(7), 30-32.

McCook, K. d. l. P., & Lippincott, K. (1997b). Planning for a diverse workforce in library and information science professions (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 402 948).

Moen, W. E., & Heim, K. M. (1988). Librarians for the new millennium. Chicago: American Library Association.

Moen, W. E., & Heim, K. M. (1989) Occupational entry: Library and information science students' attitudes, demographics, and aspirations survey. Chicago: American Library Association.

Saye, J. D. (1998). Library and information science education statistical report, 1998. Washington, DC: Association for Library and Information Science Education. Retrieved August 16, 2000 from the World Wide Web: students.htm.

Third Annual ALA Diversity Fair. Retrieved February 15, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

Kathleen de la Pena McCook, School of Library and Information Science, University of South Florida

, 4204 East Fowler Avenue, CIS Cis (sĭs), same as Kish (1.)

(1) (CompuServe Information Service) See CompuServe.

(2) (Card Information S
 1040, Tampa, FL, 33620-7800

KATHLEEN DE LA PENA McCOOK is a librarian and is also a professor at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Florida since 1993. She was previously Professor and Dean at Louisiana State University Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, generally known as Louisiana State University or LSU, is a public, coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the main campus of the Louisiana State University System.  as well as a member of the faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Early years: 1867-1880
The Morrill Act of 1862 granted each state in the United States a portion of land on which to establish a major public state university, one which could teach agriculture, mechanic arts, and military training, "without excluding other scientific
. Among her recent publications are: Library Services to Youth of Hispanic Heritage (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2000), Women of Color in Librarianship: An Oral History (Chicago: American Library Association, 1998), and Global Reach, Local Touch (Chicago: ALA Editions, 1998). Ms. McCook is a contributing editor A contributing editor is a magazine job title that varies in responsibilities. Most often, a contributing editor is a freelancer who has proven ability and readership draw.  for American Libraries and is currently active in the Rural Social Services social services
Noun, pl

welfare services provided by local authorities or a state agency for people with particular social needs

social services nplservicios mpl sociales 
 Partnership, the South County Coalition of Human Services, the Good Community Collaborative, and the University of South Florida Community Initiative. She was honored with the ALA Equality Award and the Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award.
COPYRIGHT 2000 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 Reader Opinion




Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:library service to minority populations
Publication:Library Trends
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2000
Previous Article:Navigating the Parallel Universe: Education for Collection Management in the Electronic Age.
Next Article:We the People: One Nation, a Multicultural Society.

Related Articles
We the People: One Nation, a Multicultural Society.
Celebrating African-American Librarians and Librarianship.
Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association--A History of APALA and Its Founders.
History and Status of Native Americans in Librarianship.
Assessing User Needs, Satisfaction, and Library Performance at the University of Washington Libraries.
Performance, Processes and Costs: Managing Service Quality with the Balanced Scorecard.
Measuring Service Quality in the Networked Environment: Approaches and Considerations.
Meeting the health information needs of diverse populations.
Access to electronic health information for the public: analysis of fifty-three funded projects.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters