06 August 2011

120 years of census data on American librarians

Excerpts from an article at the Oxford University Press blog:
The U.S. Census first collected data on librarians in 1880, four years after the founding of the American Library Association. They only counted 636 librarians nationwide... The number of librarians grew over the next hundred years, peaking at 307,273 in 1990. Then, the profession began to shrink, and as of 2009, it had dropped by nearly a third to 212,742. The data enable us to measure the growth, the gender split in this profession known to be mostly female, and to explore other divides in income and education, as they changed over time.
At the link there are also data regarding librarians' income over time (it has consistently been above the median for all workers), the sex distribution of librarians (they were predominantly male in 1880), the racial distribution ("In 2009, 89 percent of librarians were white while the whole population was 82 percent white"), age, education, and marriage rates ("Today, the marriage rate among librarians is the highest it has ever been with 62 percent of librarians married in 2009.")


  1. My ex-wife librarian points out that while 90% of librarians are female, 90% of the Directors and senior staff positions are filled by males. Go Figure.

  2. More and more often that so-called "reference librarian" who tries to help you in your search is less and less well trained and not a professional librarian at all. Full disclosure: I am married to a first class reference librarian.

  3. I was hoping that graph was for salaries (even with the drop off it would be way more than I'm making now). Alas, I see upon closer inspection that it is number of librarians.

    I still tell people I make a "6 figure income" as a librarian. It's just that 4 of the figures are to the left of the decimal point and 2 of the figures are to the right of it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...