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ERIC Number: EJ875892
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Apr
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0024-2519
The Portrayal of Librarians in Obituaries at the End of the Twentieth Century
Dilevko, Juris; Gottlieb, Lisa
Library Quarterly, v74 n2 p152-180 Apr 2004
Obituaries can reveal much about the way a profession is conceived and structured in the popular imagination. This article examines obituaries of librarians in the "New York Times" between 1977 and 2002 to determine how librarians were presented to the general public by a major newspaper. Although librarianship is a female-intensive profession, 63.4 percent of the obituaries chronicled the lives of male librarians. Although public and school librarians outnumber their academic counterparts, obituaries focused on academic librarians. Far from creating a stereotypical portrait of librarians as shy, dour, dowdy, and sheltered individuals, the emphasis on large-scale achievements in the obituaries produces an image of librarianship as a glamorous profession. Some librarians are presented as sleuths and detectives who amassed large collections. They contributed to the progress of scholarly research with extensive publications. Many others had connections to prominent people, making the most of these social networks in their work. Librarians were also players on the global stage, founding libraries abroad and developing international guidelines that led to institutional progress. Emphasis on large-scale accomplishment, however, tends to obscure the contributions of librarians who daily perform countless small and caring acts that, summed together, positively affect the lives of ordinary individuals.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A