Diversity in LIS – From My Perspective
07/02/2011 § 33 Comments
Please take one moment to scroll down the page a little and look at the fancy little avatar photos we have below, exhibiting the contributing writers to this here blog. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Have any first impressions? Thoughts? I know I did. When bringing this group together for purposes of writing about library school and the profession we are about to enter, I approached the bloggers I had been reading, heard about, or came across in my daily interweb scanning life. It wasn’t until all those photos were posted on this page that I saw an issue. 1 white guy and 5 white girls. Two things bothered me about this discovery. First, if this little group of writers is any sort of microcosm of the greater LIS student body and the profession, there is a problem. Second, and this was most embarrassing to me, when scanning my Twitter lists and blogs for confirmation, I found very little evidence of diversity there.
Coming out of a liberal studies background, I could write you 50 pages on feminist theory applied to any cultural text of your choice. Or I could give a lecture on the necessity of the post (post) modern student having a grasp on all things race, class, gender related. Transferring those comprehensions to my studies in Librarianship however has been complex. In the LIS world “Diversity” comes out in discussions of the digital divide, information literacy and access. The public library is most often the case study for these discussions, and working in one for the past 6 months, I have gained greater insights to the complexity of such issues. But, ignorantly, I never thought it would echo into my own little worldview in the way it has when I saw the 6 faces that represent the inaugural class of HackLibSchool to the internet. And that bugs me.
What to do? Well, “say something about it” is the only thing I could come up with. I know there are myriad issues surrounding diversity in this world, and I think it can be amplified in a profession like ours that is so focused (and rightly so, I believe) on free access to information and knowledge to any person, regardless of race, color, creed or any other culturally inflicted “difference.” We are fortunate to have a forward-thinking, sometimes even radical, organizational body like ALA that does its organizational best to acknowledge the value of diversity to our world. But what about this little collaborative effort I have put together to discuss and be a resource by, for and about library school students?
It is my dearest hope that in the near future we, HackLibSchool, become more representative of the spectrum of students and future professionals that make us invaluable to a misunderstanding and judgmental world.
Personally, I promise to try harder to broaden my scope of view. It’d be great if sooner than later we had a few more beautiful and diverse photos in the array below. Another guy wouldn’t hurt either.