Only one in every 200 American librarians is a black man, according to U.S. Census statistics. That remarkable scarcity was a topic of discussion at the American Librarian Association’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California, this past weekend.
Julius Jefferson, a researcher at the Library of Congress who is chairing a panel on the topic entitled An Endangered Species: The Black Male Librarian, recently told NPR that African-American men are not discouraged from becoming librarians; it is just not a common occurrence.
“”We just don’t have a lot of African-American males — and even a lot of African Americans — seeing librarianship as a viable career option,” he said.
Other members of the panel suggested advocating for librarianship as something attractive to urban males, relating popular information like sports statistics to the field, and “highlight[ing] the role of the Internet.”