Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Apostles of Culture Part 4 (chapters 11, 12, & 13)

In this final section of Apostles of Culture, Garrison demonstrates how societal beliefs and attitudes amplified the feminization of libraries in its early years of growth and how the history of women in libraries have impacted, and in some ways hindered, the occupation’s attempts at professionalization. She elaborates further by comparing a parallel history of the early years of the social work profession.

In Garrison’s discussion of the professionalization of library work, she focuses systematically on the impact the development of library work as a feminized profession. In this chapter, Garrison points out many aspects of the librarian profession that fall short of standard professional occupations.

Using a modern assessment of the characteristics of professionalization Garrison gives us(service orientation, knowledge base, and degree of autonomy), do you foresee librarians being recognized as professionals in the near future, if ever? Why or why not? Furthermore, had “Apostles of Culture” been written today, what would and wouldn’t be different about Garrison’s analysis of the library profession in its struggle with the question of professionalization?

1 comment:

Kristin said...

One of the questions I have about this section is whether or not some of the effects Garrison attributed to "the feminization of librarianship" could have come from other sources. For example, did wages stay low because the profession was dominated by women or could there have been other factors involved? Public libraries are supported by taxes; and as Garrison pointed out in an earlier chapter, librarians suffered from the "public's derogatory stereotype" of "librarians as former teachers who had failed in discipline, sickly preachers who could not hold a congregation, lawyers who never won a case, or women who could not find a husband" (16). If the public really thought of librarians as failures, wouldn't that make them more reluctant to have their tax dollars going towards higher wages as opposed to the purchase of new materials? While one could argue the public's negative image of the librarian could have been aided by the large percentage of women within the profession, I think it's important not to ignore these other possibilities.