A Profession White People Like

About a month ago I was discussing the phenomena of hipster librarians to a librarian-friendly individual with more than a passing interest in the topic. As I was running through my criteria of what makes a librarian hipster-like (knitting, iPhone, retro attire), I mentioned one criterion I thought might make her pause: being white.

She didn’t bat an eye (actually, this was over the phone, so it was the aural equivalent of no eye-batting). No disagreement at all–in fact, she understood me perfectly.We both knew that when it comes to describing (or portraying) the Brave New World of Librarianship, its denizens seem to be overwhelmingly Caucasian

Yes, I’m segueing into the perennial topic of diversity and librarianship.We all know the back story: the profession’s commitment to diversity when serving patrons as well as amongst its troops. We have ALA offices. We have awards.We even have conferences. So why is it when we (and more importantly, the public) think of librarians old and young, we think white? And judging from the literature, why haven’t we made much of a dent in the profession, much less the stereotype?

I have some opinions, of course, but they just might surprise you.

To be continued—

Video of the Week Dept: Note to library directors: this is what’s going on with your baby librarians when you’re at those pesky off-site meetings: