In the ever-changing landscape of librarianship, there is an urgent obligation to attract individuals from underrepresented communities with varying perspectives, and to provide meaningful, collaborative pathways into the profession. According to the AFL-CIO, the profession is overwhelmingly white and female, with over 80% identifying as both, and aging rapidly with 31% over the age of 55.
In addition, a recent study estimates between 500-1,100 additional BIPOC students would need to graduate from MLIS programs every year for the next 10 years if the profession is to become 25 percent BIPOC. In response, Emory Libraries created paid internship opportunities in access services, library conservation, and resource description. These opportunities were offered to members of underrepresented or underserved groups with an interest in libraries or already in graduate programs.
The current approaches we have adopted in our profession are NOT going to yield significant improvements in recruitment and retention any time soon.
It is time for NEW approaches, and it is past time for us to engage in more rigorous tracking and reporting about our efforts.