Research on Libraries and Librarianship in 2000


In his 1995 report The Age Demographics of Academic Librarians: A Profession Apart (Washington: Association of Research Libraries, 1995), Stanley Wilder (now assistant dean at the University of Rochester Libraries) used data from several years of the ARL salary survey plus data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Wilder demonstrated that librarians are, as a group, substantially older than those in comparable professions, and they are aging at a much faster rate. Wilder has now updated that work in an article featured in No. 208/209 of ARL: A Bimonthly Report on Research Library Issues and Actions from ARL, CNI, and SPARC His article, "The Changing Profile of Research Library Professional Staff," describes what the 1998 salary survey data reveals about age trends in the ARL university library population, with special analyses by racial/ethnic classification and by type of position. This analysis of 8,400 professional staff in 110 university libraries has implications far beyond the studied population. In the same issue are two other articles by Martha Kyrillidou, ARL's Senior Program Officer for Statistics and Measurement, analyzing the ARL data sets. The first article, "Salary Trends Highlight Inequities--Old and New," tracks trends over 20 years and makes comparisons by region, sex, and racial/ethnic group. In a second article, "Educational Credentials, Professionalism, and Librarians," Kyrillidou uses the salary survey and other ARL data to show growth in the percentage of ARL professionals who lack an MLS and the relationship between that degree and the awarding of faculty status or tenure. Another article in the same issue, "Back-Room and Front-Line Changes" by Julia Blixrud, ARL Director of Information Services, tracks the decline in cataloging positions and growth in reference positions from 1983 to 1998 based on data from the annual ARL salary survey.

The articles just described present a picture of the current librarian work force. An indication of what future librarians may be like comes from results of the KALIPER project completed in 2000. KALIPER (Kellogg-ALISE Information Professions and Education Reform project) is the most extensive examination of the library and information science curriculum since the 1923 Williamson Report. The final report of the project describes it as a two-year, in-depth examination of information and library science education made possible by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Five "scholar teams," involving a total of 20 LIS faculty members and Ph.D. students, studied 27 LIS programs to analyze the nature and extent of major curriculum changes in LIS education. Multiple methods were used to collect data, including surveys, case studies, content analysis, and interviews. As a result of the work, the project report identified six trends shaping LIS programs:

  • In addition to libraries as institutions and library-specific operations, LIS curricula are addressing broad-based information environments and information problems.
  • While LIS curricula continue to incorporate perspectives from other disciplines, a distinct core has taken shape that is predominately user-centered.
  • LIS schools and programs are increasing the investment and infusion of information technology into their curricula.
  • LIS schools and programs are experimenting with the structure of specialization within the curriculum.
  • LIS schools and programs are offering instruction in different formats to provide students with more flexibility.
  • LIS schools and programs are expanding their curricula by offering related degrees at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels.

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