For immediate release | June 6, 2011

Committee for the Status of Women in Librarianship hosting sessions at the ALA Annual Conference

CHICAGO - The Committee for the Status of Women in Librarianship (COSWL) will be hosting two programs at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. They provide the opportunity to focus on topics of importance to the status of women in librarianship.

The first session, entitled "Introduction to Women's Issues," which will be held from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, provides an opportunity to discuss the issues of caregivers. Women comprise 46 percent of the total U. S. workforce but 61 percent of caregivers. More than half of working caregivers say they have to go into work late and leave early or take time off during the day to provide care for children, parents, spouses, other relatives or non-family members. In 2008 COWSL member Sharyn Ladner undertook a caregiver survey of library workers. As a result of the findings, COSWL is launching a campaign to raise awareness of care-giving issues and their affects on the lives, work, family and health of many librarians and library support staff. Data from the 2008 survey will be presented as well as a kickoff for the development of a Toolkit for librarians and library workers.

The second session, entitled "Right Here I See My Own Books: A History of the Woman's Library at the Chicago World's Fair, 1893," will be held on Sunday, June 26 from 10:30 a.m. - noon . In this session, Sarah Wadsworth, associate professor, Marquette University, will discuss her manuscript on the subject based on her article from Libraries & Culture, Winter 2006. This presentation discusses the history and analyzes the contents of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair exhibit. The Women’s Library was put together by women and consists of works written only by women for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Wadsworth states, "The materials in the Woman's Building Library emanated from 40 American states and territories, the District of Columbia and 23 foreign countries, distributed across four continents. Between May and October, 1893, hundreds of thousands of people (especially women) passed through this library and marveled at the extent of the collection (7,000 volumes).”

The American Library Association played a major role in helping to put this exhibit together. The discussion will be continued at the Library History Roundtable (LHRT) Ed Holley Lecture from 10:30 a.m. - noon on Monday June 27.


Beatrice Calvin