The OU SLIS Alumni Association encourages all alumni and friends of
the library school to join. The regular membership year is July 1-June
30 and dues are $10.00. Donations beyond the $10 are welcomed.
TOMBERLIN SCHOLARSHIP AWARD WINNER IS ANNOUNCED
Karen Cozart was presented the Irma Rayne Tomberlin Scholarship
at the annual Beta Phi Mu Banquet in April. The award is presented annually
to a student enrolled in the OU School of Library and Information Studies.
To be nominated by a faculty member for the Irma Rayne Tomberlin Scholarship,
students must hold distinguished rank in the school, have at least a 3.75
grade point average based on a 4.0 scale over the last 60 hours of undergraduate
work, or a 3.75 grade average or better in the last twelve hours of graduate
work. Also, applicants must exhibit strength of character, seriousness
of purpose, leadership ability, and promise of future involvement in the
A native Texan, Karen has lived in Norman since 1982.
She and her husband Charles have 2 children and one grandson. She graduated
with distinction from the University of Oklahoma in 1996 with a degree
in English/Women’s studies and was selected as the Women’s Studies outstanding
graduating senior for 1996. She completed requirements for the MLIS/M.Ed.
dual degree (instructional psychology and technology) in May 1999. While
working on the Master’s program, Karen worked as a graduate assistant for
Dr. June Lester, Director of the Library School.
Upon graduation from OU SLIS, Karen took a one-year temporary
position with the Library School serving as the Editor/Coordinator for
re-accreditation in 2000. She will also be teaching the undergraduate course
in the Use of Library and Information Resources that she has taught for
the past 1½ years. Additionally, she is working as an instructional
designer on a State Regents for Higher Education quality initiative grant
to provide faculty instructional technology training to faculty members
at Oklahoma City Community College and Rose State College.
RECEPTION AT OLA
Alumni and friends of the Library School got together
on Thursday, March 25 at the Annual Oklahoma Library Association Conference
in Enid to visit with each other, renew acquaintances and enjoy refreshments.
Vicki Sullivan, President of the Alumni Association, welcomed everyone
and introduced officers for the coming year. She also encouraged all alumni
to join the Association and discussed the benefits of doing so. This annual
event is the perfect time to visit informally with those friends from library
school you never get a chance to see any other time. If you could not work
the reception into your schedule this year at Conference, plan on being
there in 2000 in Tulsa at the Adams Mark Hotel.
BETA PHI MU
The Lambda Chapter of Beta Phi Mu, a honorary library
organization, held its annual initiation and banquet at the University
Club at the University of Oklahoma on Saturday, April 12, 1999. Attendees
enjoyed hearing Dr. Ralph Doty, Associate Professor of Classics at the
University of Oklahoma speak on "Blow-dried Bunnies and Acrobatic Professors:
Modern Urban Legends." After Dr. Doty’s discussion of several modern legends,
attendees began to think of legends in a slightly different way. They also
enjoyed dinner, visiting with each other and participating in the initiation
of 9 new members. They are: Audrey Defrank, Denise Walker, Woods Wheeler,
Cokie Anderson, Linda Angie, Lori Bell, Jean Bielke-Rodenbiker, Jerrie
Hall, and Philip H. Viles, Jr. Dr. June Lester presented Karen Cozart with
the 1999 Irma R. Tomberlin Award. Vicki Sullivan, President of the OUSLIS
Alumni Association, presented Robert L. Roddy with the Association’s 1999
Student Paper Award for his paper: "Multicultural Librarianship: Changing
the World One Patron at a Time." The full-text of his paper appears later
in this issue. 1998-99 officers were: President -- Mary Beth Webb Ozmun;
Vice-President -- Jennifer Goodson; Past President -- Kathryn Roots Lewis;
Secretary -- Cecilia Brown; Treasurer -- Tom Messner. The faculty sponsor
is Dr. Rhonda Taylor. The 1999-2000 slate of officers is now available
on the website at http://www-lib.ou.edu/depts/chem/betaphimu.htm.
Ballots will be sent out in August, and the results will be announced later
on the website.
Jerri Hall has accepted a position with Tulsa City-County
Karen Campbell has accepted a position as a law
librarian with a law firm in Los Angeles.
Sonya Palmer ’98 has a new position as Assistant
Medical Librarian at Integris Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
Address: 903 Maguire, #165, Noble, OK 73068.
Philenese Slaughter ’98 has been Serials Librarian
at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee since July, 1998.
She was recently elected to a two year term as the President of CALA, the
Clarksville Area Library Association. CALA includes librarians from all
fields and "many wonderful retired librarians." Address: 2421 Madison,
#31, Clarksville, TN 37043-5462. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Philip Viles, Jr. ’98 can be reached at P.O. Box
700414, Tulsa, OK 74170-0414.
Marla Roberson ’97 has been Medical Librarian at
Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City since June, 1998. Previously, she
had done interlibrary loan lending for the University of Oklahoma and reference
work for OSU-OKC. Address: 1223 Dakota, Norman, OK 73069. E-mail: email@example.com
Jim Teliha ’97 has a new position as Access Services
Librarian at Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls, Oregon. Address:
4152 Adelaide Ave., Apt. A., Klamath Falls, Oregon 97603.
Susan L. Webb ’97 has been Cataloging/Reference
Librarian for Southeastern Oklahoma State University since January, 1998.
Karen Bays Blount ‘96 is Reference Librarian at
Edmond Public Library and co-editor of the Oklahoma Librarian. Address:
4516 Valley View Lane, Edmond, OK 73034-9040. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenda B. Lamb ’95 has been Library Director of
the Public Library of Enid and Garfield County since 1996. Address: 1320
North Oakwood Rd., Enid, OK 73703. E-mail: email@example.com.
Diane Thompson ’95 is finishing her second year
as Library Media Specialist in a new library at Cherry Creek High School
in Englewood, Colorado. Address: 610 E. Kettle Ave., Littleton, CO 80122.
Susan Box ’90, Corporate Archivist and Curator
of Special Properties at the American International Group in New York City,
was the keynote speaker for the Society of Southwest Archivists Conference
this Spring. She also served as President of ACA this year.
MaryGrace Berkowitz ’94 is a cataloger for the
Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma City. Address: P.O. Box 1437, Norman,
Linda Barton ’93 is Library Media Specialist at
Pioneer Intermediate School in Noble. Address: 3613 Burlington Drive, Norman,
Donna R. Hogan ’90 has a new position as Head of
Electronic Information and Reference Services at the University of Texas
at San Antonio. She was formerly at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa
as Reference Librarian. Address: 9318 Woodheather, San Antonio, TX 78250.
Elizabeth Romero ’90 is Branch Manager at Moore
Public Library. Address: 633 Okmulgee, Norman, OK 73071. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marion Edwards ’89 is with the Fort Worth Public
Library as Branch Manager at the Riverside Branch and the BOLD Satellite
library in the Butler Housing Project. Address: 2301 Shady Grove Dr., Bedford,
TX 76021-4422. E-mail: email@example.com.
Linda Pye ’88, Acquisitions Librarian at Southwestern
Oklahoma State University, participated in a panel discussion on "Demystifying
Deselection" at the Annual OLA Conference in Enid in March, 1999. Address:
423 N. 6th, Weatherford, OK 73096. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen L. Litteral ’87 is Library Media Specialist
at Putnam City Schools. Address: P.O. Box 1298, Bethany, Oklahoma 73008.
Dona Steffens Davidson ’86 resides at 8432 S. 34th
W. Ave., Tulsa, OK 74132. E-mail: email@example.com.
Kathleen Ryan ’84 can be reached at P.O. Box 57626,
Oklahoma City, OK 73157 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Taylor ’84 is Reference Department Head at
the University of Central Oklahoma. Address: 400 NW 54th St., Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma 73118.
Beverly Geer ’80, Head Cataloger at Trinity University
in San Antonio, has been Vice President/President/Past President of the
North American Serials Interest Group since 1995. She is co-editor of Notes
for Serials Cataloging, 2nd edition, published by Libraries Unlimited
in 1998, Associate Editor of Serials Review, and co-editor of the
"Serials Report Column" of the Serials Librarian. In 1998, she was
promoted to Associate Professor and granted tenure at Trinity University.
Address: 1048 Ivy Lane, San Antonio, TX 78209-6047.
Lynn Barker ’79 is Library Media Specialist at
Kelley Elementary School, Moore Public Schools. Her school, including the
library, was completely destroyed by the May 3rd tornado that "ripped"
through Moore and other parts of the Oklahoma City area. However,
she says her new library will be "better than ever." Address: 1136 SW 131st,
Oklahoma City, OK 73170.
Valerie Kimble ’77 has a new position as Director
of Development at Mental Health Services of Oklahoma. Address: 700 Rosewood,
Ardmore, OK 73401
Patricia Davis ’74 is Secondary Library Coordinator
at Enid High School. Address: Route 1, Box 107, Ames, OK 73718. E-mail:
Vicki Sullivan ’74 is currently Administrator,
Office of Government Information, Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Address:
200 NE 18th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73105. E-mail: email@example.com.
Barbara Lancaster ’73 received her Ph.D. from Texas
Woman’s University in 1998.
Polly Roberts Lackey ’72 is Director of the Learning
Resources Center at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas. Also,
she completed a Doctorate in Higher Education at Texas Tech University
Mary Beth Webb-Ozmun ’68 is Library Media Specialist
at Union Public Schools in Tulsa. She served as the 1998-99 President of
the Lambda Chapter of Beta Phi Mu. She also serves on the Sequoyah Children’s
Book Award Reading Committee. Her son, Ashley, attends Northwestern University
in Evanston, Illinois. Address: 7398 E. 24th St., Tulsa, Oklahoma 74129.
Mary Elizabeth (Roberts) Webb ‘68, retired, resides
at 7398 E. 24th St., Tulsa, Oklahoma 74129.
Dorothy A. Winbray ’67, retired, resides at 224
S. Lexington Way, Edmond, Oklahoma 73003.
Donna Denniston ’66 has been employed by the Oklahoma
Department of Libraries in the Oklahoma Publications Clearinghouse since
1997. Address: 1134 NW 37th, Oklahoma City, OK 73118. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
George M. Jenks ’59 is retired from Bucknell University.
Addresss: 202 N. 2nd St., Lewisburg, PA 17837.
Jimmie Welch, Librarian at Chickasha Public Library
since 1969, died on April 8, 1999 from complications from heart surgery.
Her funeral was held on April 12 at First Baptist Church in Chickasha.
NEWS FROM THE LIBRARY SCHOOL…
The Library School’s newest faculty member is Dr. Ron Day. Dr. Day has his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Binghamton
and his MLIS from the University of California at Berkeley. Previous to his
appointment at OU, he was a high school librarian in California for four years.
His research interests are in the cultural and social aspects of libraries and
information. Welcome to Oklahoma, Dr. Day!
- In June, 1999, two faculty members, Dr. Lotsee Patterson and Dr. Wallace Koehler presented papers at the Sixth International
Conference "Libraries and Associations in the Transient World: New Technologies
& New Forms of Cooperation." The Conference was held in Sudaq, Republic
of Crimea, Ukraine.
- Dr. Rhonda Taylor was recently
promoted to Associate Professor.
- Dr. Wallace Koehler and Dr.
Claire McInerney recently received junior faculty grants from the University
- In the Fall 1999, the Library School will begin a new required
course "Information Systems and Networks for Libraries, Archives & Museums."
- Two OU SLIS students, Erika Ripley and Karla Shaffer received Gates Foundation grants to work with the Gates Project in Oklahoma.
- OU SLIS students Erica Ripley and Kara Whately will be Co-Presidents of ALSO, the library school student organization, for
the 1999-2000 year.
- The Library School participated in a reunion for OU SLIS
alums in June at the Annual Convention of the American Library Association
which was held in New Orleans.
- The Library School has a new secretary, Janie Allen,
who began working in February, 1999.
- Handsome new bookcases have been installed for the Festival
of Books Collection, and computers in the lab have been upgraded.
- The Library School is extending classes to a new site, Northwestern
Oklahoma State University in Enid, for the Fall 1999.
FESTIVAL OF BOOKS
The Mildred Laughlin Festival of Books will be held Saturday,
October 30, 1999 at the Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Avenue. Featured
writers will be Joanne Ryder, Rosemary Wells, & Laurence Yep. For more
information, e-mail Kathy Latrobe at email@example.com or call her at 405-325-3921
at the Library School.
ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Alumni Association Executive Board for 1999-2000 are:
- Vicki Sullivan -
- Yvonne Hinchee -
- Glenda Lamb
- Pat Zachary
- David Corbly
- Dana Belcher
- Sybil Connolly
- Dona Davidson
- Jennifer Greenstreet
- Linda Pye
- Tracings Editor
- Richard Cheek
- Tracings Layout
- Laura Carter
- Student Representative
WINNING STUDENT PAPER
Multicultural Librarianship: Changing the World One Patron at
by Robert Roddy
Historic change has begun. America is rapidly evolving and
will soon become what Ben Waffenberg has described as the first universal
nation in human history (Friedman and Pollack 16). Having accounted for
74 percent of the total population in 1995, census estimates reveal that
non-Hispanic whites will be poised for inclusion into minority status midway
through the next century. These same estimates project that by the year
2050 whites will represent only 53 percent of the U.S. population. During
this period, the number of American Indians and African Americans will
roughly double in size. Hispanics and Asian Americans, however, will see
their numbers increase at an amazing pace which will eventually exceed
even that of the Baby Boom era in its peak (United States 1). Significant
realignments of political and economic power are certain to accompany these
demographic shifts. Change of this magnitude could easily foster needless
fear and apprehension which, in turn, could lead to misplaced calls for
cultural entrenchment, isolation and, in the worst case scenario, violence.
Libraries, receiving higher levels of public trust than hospitals, local
police, and even churches ("lmage"), are uniquely positioned to provide
leadership and perspective throughout this period. Accordingly, librarians
have within their reach the ability to facilitate a calm and reasoned transition.
Census estimates reflect that by the year 2050
today's dominant culture, non-Hispanic whites, will represent only 53 percent
of the U.S. population. Change often brings fear which, in some instances,
cultivates violence. Libraries are uniquely positioned to provide leadership
and perspective throughout this historic event due to high levels of public
trust. This trust, however, has been bestowed by a predominantly white culture.
As library staffs and schools of library science are overwhelmingly populated
by whites, it comes as no surprise that people of color repeatedly view
the profession with suspicion. Aggressive internal assessment combined with
inclusive professional recruitment and collection development are fundamental
to library leadership. Diverse staffing and collections will affirm the
significance of all perspectives and will serve to preserve public trust
within a rapidly changing world.
No institution can expect to exist in a vacuum during
this period. Libraries will be no exception. Despite current levels of
trust (bestowed by a population wherein three of four persons were white)
and the assertion that libraries have been society's most visible symbol
of diversity for thousands of years (Whitwell 56), maintaining such status
will prove challenging during these years of increasing diversity. Therefore,
prior to the assumption of this essential leadership role, libraries must
first look inward to examine the present state of the profession. This
will involve a thorough and critical examination of long-standing policies
regarding staffing, promotion, and collection development to determine
if the profession has been and continues to be an unwitting contributor
to the very environment it seeks to transform.
People of color often view libraries with suspicion (Martin
33). A survey of traditional resources and the predominantly professional
presence found in most libraries provide context and clarification regarding
the origin of this distrust. It is readily apparent to even the untrained
eye which culture has received preference and which cultures have been
poorly represented. Throughout this period of rising diversity, declining
levels of public trust and credibility can be reasonably predicted should
libraries fail to acknowledge the need for internal change. This trust
must come from people of color if they are to nurture reasonable expectations
that libraries can perform as successful agents of change. Similarly, this
trust must come from whites if they are expected to listen, learn, and
gracefully acknowledge their evolving demographic status.
Nowhere is the need for change more obviously visible
than within the ranks of professional librarians. ALA statistics reflect
that whites accounted for 88.5 percent of the profession in 1985 and 87.7
percent in 1991. These same statistics show that in 1991 Asian Americans
represented 3.85 percent of the profession, African Americans 6.28 percent,
and Hispanics only 1.8 percent. Graciously or skeptically, depending on
the perspective, ALA statistics do not extend beyond 1991 (St. Lifer and
Nelson 44). This is one example which clearly demonstrates the contention
that libraries are often perceived as institutional symbols of middle class
whites (Alire 38).
The "pipeline" provides little hope for significant improvement
in ethnic representation. Reports from library schools indicate that African
Americans represented a mere 4 percent of graduates in 1982. Over the next
thirteen years, the same African American presence climbed to an equally
modest 4.2 percent of all graduates. Similarly, Hispanic graduation rates
rose from 1.2 percent in 1982 to 2.1 percent in 1995. Asian Americans accounted
for this highest level of growth with 1.8 percent in 1982 and 3.4 percent
in 1995 (St Lifer and Nelson 44). These figures are consistent with statistics
prepared by the National Center for Education. Of the 4893 MLIS degrees
conferred from 1991 to 1992, whites accounted for 4230 of all graduates
while African Americans received only 159 of these degrees. Next in line
were Asian Americans with 148, followed by Hispanics with 106, and American
Indians with 8 (Nance-Mitchell 407).
The challenge could not be clearer. Calls for acceptance
and tolerance on a national level will have little impact as long as critics
can point to the profession with justifiable admonitions of "heal thyself."
It therefore falls to an institution dominated by overwhelming numbers
of whites to initially act as proactive agents of internal change. However,
reports from librarians of color indicate mere advocacy of inclusion and
diversity will not be enough. The need for internal change will also require
examination at the level of the individual.
The literature of librarianship and case studies of race
relations provide many examples of the pervasive nature of racism as well
as the evolution of racist attitudes and practices. Curry refers to a "new
racism" characterized by either the outright denial of its existence or,
if acknowledged, the persistent refusal to accept responsibility for its
existence. This is a discreet racism that avoids white sheets and burning
crosses. This is a racism of the fashionably dressed and better educated
(301). A recent survey conducted by Library Journal found that racism
and discrimination in the library profession are no better and no worse
than society in general. When asked if white librarians have better career
opportunities than librarians from other racial groups, 55 percent of Hispanics
and Asian Americans stated that whites have the advantage. An alarming
80 percent of African Americans in the profession responded with an overwhelming
"yes." That only 32 percent of white librarians found this to be the case
is indicative of the work that lies ahead (St. Lifer and Nelson 43).
Programs and policies for the elimination of racism are
destined for failure, if, through denial, they are considered unnecessary
in the first place. Therefore, awareness and acknowledgement of racism
within the profession are considered fundamental to the issues of diversity
and inclusion. Adding to these complexities, researchers of race relations
confess that it is far easier to demonstrate the existence of racism than
it is to recommend specific steps for its elimination (Banks 10). Regardless,
Kravitz, Lines, and Sykes point out that professional librairans must take
responsible measures to not only become aware of racism, but to initiate
appropriate action to counteract biases and stereotypes found in society.
(186) Good intentions aside, these steps are fully consistent with goals
to facilitate demographic transition in the changing years ahead. Leadership
of this nature coming from highly respected professionals could encourage
widespread emulation by today’s dominant culture. However, effective counteraction
of racist atttitudes within the smaller society of librarianship will require
additional effort and sensitivity.
The existing white domination of the profession will render
racism, a virtually imperceptible and culturally ingrained system of winks,
nods, and hushed tones, particularly difficult for supervisors and directors
to detect. In most settings, these same leaders will be products of a dominant
culture that has never required them to face issues form multiple perspectives.
For these reasons, both staff and management will be better served by professionally
prepared programs of cultural awareness and diversity. The literature of
librarianship contains numerous accounts of successfully implemented training
programs and reports of the results that have been experienced. This paper
does not seek to provide an in-depth analysis of the specific issues of
diversity training or a detailed examination of the required internal policy
and mission decisions, but rather to propose concrete steps that librarians
and their institutions may take to assist cultures on a possible collision
course. Although many issues overlap, it will be sufficient to point out
that proactive administrators can easily network with libraries who have
sponsored such training as well as with professional facilitators who actually
conduct these sessions.
With or without professional training, Hawley identifies
several steps that may be taken on an individual basis to improve racial
and ethnic relationships. (xv-xvu) The first of these is to promote among
coworkers the importance of positive race relations and their worthiness
as a goal. This involves not only personal advocacy, but the courage to
recognize and dispel myths and stereotypes. Such courage, however, will
be misplaced or inappropriate without factual knowledge of other cultures
and their values. This has been referred to as the ability to recognize
the existence of multiple perspectives and the ability to look out from
the center of all experiences to a larger, more worldly viewpoint that
recognizes that these centers exist simultaneously (Kravitz, Lines, and
Sykes 185). Cultural ignorance must be acknowledged as a crippling anachronism.
Hawley’s next point maintains there is nothing more effective
in improving race relations than providing the opportunity for people to
work together as equals. This is perhaps the one theme most often repeated
throughout the literature of diversity and inclusion. It serves to emphasize
the sheer importance and simplicity of cultures coming together. There
is no teacher quite so effective as firsthand experience. Often, the greatest
fears and misconceptions are products of simple ignorance. Unchecked, these
inaccuracies achieve near mythic proportions and promote the stereotypes
eventually accepted as facts. Nothing shatters stereotypes quite like the
process of familiarity – the simple act of getting to know one another
(Whitwell 57). Through such an unassuming process as increased human contact,
myths are easily exposed for what they are. However, Hawley cautions that
this will require patience during the learning process as few will possess
the knowledge and skills necessary for effective communication and behavior
in a multicultural environment.
In outlining the actions and techniques which will ultimately
assist in guiding a declining dominant culture into a new era, studies
suggest this is best accomplished by the promotion of cultural awareness
and diversity. Kruse reports:
Therefore, a collection based on diversity and inclusion
is considered essential for the promotion of familiarity among the general
public. As the dominant culture looks to respected leaders and institutions
for guidance and direction, the advocacy of diversity and inclusion will
serve to increase cultural awareness and will reflect the importance of
every voice and perspective. As people of color come to find their cultures
and their voices in the library, they will come to recognize the institution
as a place not only of knowledge, but support (Kravitz, Lines, and Sykes
188). Additionally, long held apprehensions will transform into a growing
respect as the literature of these cultures is included on the shelves.
Libraries and society will clearly benefit by the adoption of multicultural
People of color in this country know the dominant
culture as well as their own; they must in order to function
within it. However, white people typically are not raised
by their families and schools to be bicultural. This,
coupled with a lack of substantial direct experience
with books and other media by people of color, reinforces
a lack of firsthand knowledge. (33)
Despite these benefits, libraries have been sluggish in
the development of balanced collections. Such hesitance may signal a reluctance
on the part of some key staff members to change the way things have traditionally
been done. This is simple human nature from which even librarians are not
exempt. Another reason could be directly related to tight budgets and the
unwillingness to trim money from one program in favor of another. Or perhaps
delays are directly related to the indecision found inherent in unprepared
members of any staff. Regardless, just when selection skills are needed
most, many professional staff members will be poorly prepared for the task
of building a diverse collection. This should be viewed as a systemic failure
rather than an individual deficiency. Indeed, the very fact that librarians
seek to balance collections is indicative of their professionalism and
sense of responsibility.
Josey cites the major reason for sluggish collection development
as a failure to involve people of color in organizations and decisions.
(10) While commitments to staff diversification and uniform treatment will
facilitate the establishment of an inclusive collection development policy,
most libraries do not have significant ethnic representation among professional
staff at this time. However, this involvement can be accomplished by networking
with individuals and organizations in the community. In this instance,
outreach should be viewed as an attempt to supplement an educational curriculum
that failed to incorporate multicultural awareness and issues of inclusion.
Supervisors should provide maximum support and be prepared to award such
professionalism through appropriate annotation of annual performance appraisals.
These are the very staff members management will most likely call on during
the years of increasing diversity and minority recruitment.
Although previously mentioned monetary constraints are certain
to force tough decisions, networking can be relatively cost free. Community
outreach should not be regarded as optional.
Results indicate time and again that in order to properly
plan for and attract ethnic populations, they must be included in the original
design (St. Lifer and Nelson 46). Such inclusion is in keeping with a standard
managerial practice that seeks to involve the very people affected by change
as a part of the change process. This participation promotes a feeling
of involvement and increases the likelihood of ultimate acceptance. Likewise,
such assistance facilitates the selection of materials and resources considered
culturally authentic. This will also serve as a legitimate demonstration
to emerging minorities, the future tax and political base, that libraries
are a vital, responsive voice in the community.
This is not idealistic prattle. A number of libraries
throughout the country have already implemented successful programs of
diversity and inclusion. Serving as models for the rest of the profession,
the accounts of these institutions are readily found in the journals and
periodicals of librarianship. Perhaps the greatest amount of attention
has been directed toward ALA efforts to fund the education of fifty minority
students per year. With a cost of $5000 per student per year, this three
year program which will eventually represent a total investment of 1.5
million dollars (Martinez 32). However, even this effort has not escaped
criticism for lack of inclusion from minority communities (St. Lifer and
Nelson 46). Further, with an estimated 115,000 libraries in the U.S. (Josey
10), the increase of professional librarians of color will be equivalent
to a mere drop in the bucket. Placed in this context, the program is easily
viewed as a quick fix that falls far short of the mark. Additionally, ALA
cannot consistently underwrite such initiatives. The money is simply not
there. Coming from the top down, worthy programs such as these will be
futile without a corresponding and coordinated effort from the ground up.
Again, the path comes back to inclusion.
By now it should come as no surprise that people of color
have not chosen the field of librarianship. Realistically, no one should
expect them to. They have not found themselves among the ranks of professional
staff and they have not found themselves included in the literature on
the shelves (Kravitz, Lines, and Sykes 185). Based on this historic exclusion,
the reports of minority misgivings of libraries can only be viewed as the
logical conclusion to policies of exclusion. The profession cannot hope
for significant success in the recruitment of people who, at best, distrust
the very institution which calls to them. Clearly, the answer lies in inclusion
- not an inclusion of expediency, but an inclusion that has been experienced
from the ground up and has been incorporated into an integral part of everyday
life. Managers seeking to correct these deficiencies, but fearful of employee
backlash, will draw encouragement from the results of a 1995 Time/CNN poll. This survey found that while most people oppose harsh quotas, 80%
believe affirmative action programs should be continued at some level.
As affirmative action applies only to those applicants considered job-qualified,
present members of staff would not be impacted. As for vacant or newly
created positions, a 1995 survey conducted by the Roper Center reveals
that 75% of the public does not find discriminatory the selection of a
candidate of color from a pool of equally qualified applicants (Pious 27-30).
Today's youth are pivotal to the inclusion of tomorrow.
A study conducted in 1993 found that 60 percent of the people entering
public libraries during a typical week were children and young adults (Late
Bulletins). Theirs will be an inheritance of cultural alienation or acceptance
of diversity. Advocating multicultural education for students, Banks states:
Children are still gathering the information that will shape
their opinions for a lifetime. While the extent of family influence cannot
be denied, the best opportunity to provide a positive influence on racial
and ethnic attitudes is during the early years of development. As children
grow older and move into higher grades, it becomes increasingly difficult
to influence their attitudes (Banks 95-96). Therefore, librarians must
stand firmly united in the advocacy of diverse and inclusive literature
for public and elementary school libraries. There can be only one outcome:
children of color will form higher and healthier opinions of themselves
at an early age. Similarly, children of all cultures will be exposed to
the existence of multiple perspectives and the concept that all people
have voices and worth. There is no reasonable method available to estimate
the potential benefits. One possible conclusion is that as collections
are developed and balanced, children of color will develop an increased
respect for libraries. This creates an environment not unlike that of white
children and libraries.
Students must develop multicultural literacy and cross-cultural competency if they are to become knowledgeable, reflective, and caring citizens in the twenty-first century. To acquire
the for effective citizenship in a multicultural society,
students must be helped to view U.S. history and culture
from new and different perspectives, must acquire new
knowledge about U.S. society, and must be helped to understand
skills needed knowledge as a social construction. Knowledge
is neither neutral nor static; it is culturally based,
perspectivistic, dynamic, and changing. (13)
Perhaps ALA has the cart before the horse. Massive funding
provided for one period in time will have little influence in the long
run. Cries for increased minority recruitment in library schools will fall
on deaf ears if there is no interest. Library schools can reap these diverse
harvests only if the seeds are planted in time. Libraries and professional
organizations, too long enrapt and enamored with the financing and acquisition
of emerging technologies, must make similar commitments of time, effort,
and money to address the needs of emerging minorities. Directors must openly
advocate diversity and inclusion in all aspects of librarianship and tenaciously
lobby for budget hikes. Front-line staff must support these directors,
network with their communities, and offer their services as mentors wherever
and whenever required. The ALA and related organizations must work hand-in-hand
with library schools to place the subject of multiculturalism within the
core of required courses. It will require a true team effort to provide
the education and resources necessary to make libraries look like America.
As professional librarianship evolves in response to a society
in transformation, it will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively
manage internal change. Whether it be in response to diverse staffing, race
relations, or inclusive collections, truly committed professionals will find
the answers they seek. Viewed as a microcosm, the issues faced by libraries
and librarians are no different from those found in other institutions and in
society as a whole. Through the slow process of critical self-examination, reevaluation
and change, the profession will ultimately possess the vision and leadership
necessary to effect change on a wider scale. Today’s children will be society’s
leaders in the year 2050. It is reasonable to assume that they will lead as
they have been led. True change will require many long years of determined effort
by many strong people of determined wills. It cannot happen overnight, but it
can begin. Possessing a wealth of skills, resources and information, librarians
and their institutions can lay the foundation upon which all may build. Libraries
can change the world – one patron at a time.
Alire, Camila A. "Ethnic Populations: A Model for Statewide
Service." American Libraries 28.10(1997): 38-40.
A librarian's report on a Colorado plan to increase public,
academic, and school library
use in minority communities.
Banks, James A. Educating Citizens in a Multicultural
Societv. Multicultural Education Ser. New York: Teachers College Press,
A study of the manner in which knowledge is constructed by
social scientists and influence on students and teachers. Included is a
discussion of the effective education of teachers and scholars to facilitate
the conceptualization, design, and implementation of projects and programs
that promote citizenship in a free society.
Curry, Deborah A. "Your Worries Ain't Like Mine: African
American Librarians and the Pervasiveness of Racism, Prejudice and Discrimination
in Academe." Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Academic Libraries: Multicultural
Issues. Ed. Deborah A. Curry et al. New York: Haworth Press, 1994.299-311.
A collection of essays wherein the authors are encouraged
to define and elaborate ondiversity and multiculturalism and offer perspectives
on how well libraries and librarians are dealing with the issues surrounding
Friedman, Dorian and Kenan Pollack. "Ahead: A Very Different
Nation." US News and World Report. 23 Mar. 1996:16.
A brief examination of U.S. demographics and census projections
up to the year 2050.
Hawley, Willis D. Introduction. "Our Unfinished Task." Toward
a Common Destiny: Improving Race and Ethnic Relations in America. Ed.
Willis D. Hawley and Anthony W. Jackson. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995.
A collection of essays summarizing what is known about the
sources of racial and ethnic prejudice in America and identifying methods
in which individuals and organizations can act to reduce intolerance and
"Image." American Libraries 27.2 (1996):15.
A report of the high public esteem enjoyed by libraries. Extracted
from Virtual America, a 1994 publication published by the Barna Research
Group of Glendale, California.
Josey, E. J. "The State of Diversity." Racial and Ethnic
Diversity in Academic Libraries: Multicultural Issues. Ed. Deborah A.
Curry et al. New York: Haworth Press, 1994. 5-11.
A collection of essays wherein the authors are encouraged
to define and elaborate on diversity and multiculturalism and offer perspectives
on how well libraries and librarians are dealing with the issues surrounding
Kravitz, Rhonda Rios, Adella Lines, and Vivian Sykes. "Serving
the Emerging Majority: Documenting Their Voices." Library Administration
and Management 5.4 (1991): 184-188.
An analysis of changing demographics in California and the
library’s need to respond to racism. Examines the library’s role as leader
and advocate to guide society toward increased cultural competence.
Kruse, Ginny Moore. "No Single Season: Multicultural Literature
for All Children." Wilson Library Bulletin 66.6 (1992): 30+.
Advice for librarians regarding the selection and recommendation
of authentic multicultural resources for children.
"Late Bulletins." Library Journal 15 Nov. 1995:11.
Contains six one-paragraph news items including a report concerning
the use of public libraries by children and young adults.
Martin, Rebecca R. Libraries and the Changing Face of
Academia: Responses to Growing Multicultural Populations. Metuchen,
NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1994.
Analysis of the ongoing change within higher education. Includes
case studies of three institutions, a discussion of the responsiveness and
adaptation of academic libraries, and an examination of the necessity for
Martinez, Elizabeth. "Diversity: The 21st Century
Spectrum." American Libraries 28:3 (1997): 32.
Explanation of the conditions which lead to the ALA initiative
that provides scholarships to 50 minority students per year. Concludes with
a universal call for those in the profession to provide support and assistance
to this program and its graduates.
Nance-Mitchell, Veronica. "A Multicultural Library: Strategies
for the Twenty-First Century." College and Research Libraries 57.5
An analysis of the increasingly diverse nature of the U.S.
population and the demands that must be met. A specific call for academe
to commit to affirmative action programs that are designed to recruit and
retain library students of color.
Pious, S. "Ten Myths About Affirmative Action." Journal
of Social Issues 52.4 (1996): 25-31.
Analysis of ten common myths of affirmative action programs.
Includes survey results and statistics which are used to expose inaccurate
claims or assumption. This is one essay in an issue that is devoted to affirmative
St. Lifer, Evan, and Corinne Nelson. "Unequal Opportunities:
Race Does Matter." Library Journal 1 Nov. 1997: 42-46.
First hand accounts of the experiences of librarians of color.
Includes survey results regarding the awareness of racism in libraries and
perceived career opportunities.
United States. Bureau of the Census. Population Projections
of the United States by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1995
to 2050. Washington: GPO, 1996.
Highlights of population size and growth from the period 1995
to 2050. Contains an abundance of data regarding age, sex, and race distribution
throughout the U.S.
Whitwell, Stuart C. A. "Intimate World, Intimate Workplace." American Libraries 27.2 (1996): 56-59.
A report on how the Association of Research Libraries and
ALA are strengthening their commitment to diversity.
Message from the Editor…
This has been an eventful year for the Alumni Association. Early
in the 1998-99 year, the Association’s President, Stewart Brower, left Oklahoma
to take a job in St. Louis. President-Elect Vicki Sullivan had to suddenly take
over as President, so she will serve two years as President! Also, early during
the year last year, the Association suffered a severe money crunch due to an
increase in postage and mailing expenses and a decrease in membership. The Executive
Board was forced to make some serious decisions. The decision was made to make
Tracings accessible on the web rather than mail copies out to
everyone. Since this is a transitional period, two issues have been combined
in this one. We appreciate your patience as the Association goes through these
changes. But remember, no matter how "transitional" we are, we always want to
know what’s going on with you! We always need news! If you have any news for
Tracings, please send it or e-mail it to the Library School.
Hopefully, you’ll also want to join the Association if you are not already a
OU SLIS INFORMATION
For information about the programs or enrollment, contact:
The University of Oklahoma School of Library and Information
401 West Brooks, Room 120
Norman, OK 73019-0528
Phone: (405) 325-3921
FAX: (405) 325-7648
Web Site: http://www.ou.edu/cas/slis/
Return to the Tracings Homepage