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Librarians in the U.S. from 1880-2009

Librarians in the U.S. from 1880-2009

An analysis using 120 years of census data
By Sydney Beveridge, Susan Weber and Andrew A. Beveridge, Social Explorer

“The U.S. Census first collected data on librarians in 1880, a year after the founding of the American Library Association. They only counted 636 librarians nationwide. Indeed, one respondent reported on his census form that he was the “Librarian of Congress.” The U.S. Census, which became organized as a permanent Bureau in 1902, can be used to track the growth of the library profession. The number of librarians grew over the next hundred years, peaking at 307,273 in 1990. Then, the profession began to shrink, and as of 2009, it had dropped by nearly a third to 212,742. The data enable us to measure the growth, the gender split in this profession known to be mostly female, and to explore other divides in income and education, as they changed over time.”

A feminine cohort . . .

Wow, hard to get married in the 1920’s . . .

An older profession . . .

It’s a fascinating report. My ony comment is that the opportunity for people with library education and experience has expanded far beyond libraries in the late 20th century. That might explain some of the ‘drop’.


Posted on: July 25, 2011, 9:07 am Category: Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. I’m very visual, so this is fascinating and informative to me. I agree that as those who hold LIS and related degrees expand beyond the “librarian” realm, the numbers will continue to drop.

    I wonder if the small marriage rate in 1920 had to do with so many men killed in WWI.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nikki Stinson said

    I follow you on my RSS feed, your web site is such a great read! My onl complaint is that in this article, you misspelled educations at teh end as “eductaions “. Love the article! I look forward to more as an aspiring librarian!

  3. Thanks. Fixed it.