Who chooses librarianship – the results

It’s been interesting to see the discussion that a simple theory started on twitter. On Wednesday morning I posted this survey:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DZK6V78

24 hours later I had over 100 replies. I realise this is a small sample and doesn’t prove anything.

My theory: People who grew up as single children (or with a 5+ year gap to the nearest sibling) and/or were ‘sickly’ and/or ‘overly-pampered’ children (any or all of these) are more likely to choose librarianship as a subject at university.

The results (quick overview):

80 out of 100 studied librarianship at postgraduate level.

  • 57 of these didn’t tick any other boxes.
  • 8 had siblings that were at least 5 years older or younger (10%).
  • 7 of them were only children (8.75%).
  • 2 of them were ‘sickly’ children (2.5%).
  • 2 of them were ‘sickly’, pampered only children (2.5%).
  • 1 of them was a ‘sickly’ only child (1.25%).
  • 1 of them was a ‘sickly’, pampered child (1.25%).
  • 1 of them was a pampered child with siblings that were at least 5 years older or younger (1.25%).

14 out of 100 studied librarianship at undergraduate level.

  • 10 of these didn’t tick any other boxes.
  • 2 of them were only children (14%).
  • 1 of them was a ‘sickly’ child.
  • 1 of them was a ‘sickly’, pampered child with siblings that were at least 5 years older or younger.

For the people who have only ticked that they studied librarianship (undergrad or postgrad) I must assume that they don’t fall into any of the categories of ‘sickly’, only or big-gap-from-nearest-sibling child, or pampered child.

Others have ticked that they were only children, ‘sickly’ children or pampered but didn’t indicate if they studied librarianship, so I will disregard these replies.

It was interesting to see that other topics were suggested during the discussion(s), for example:

  • Are there more LGBT-ers in librarianship than in other professions?
  • Looking at common character traits of librarians.
  • When did people study librarianship? First career or as a career change? Can also look at reasons and motivations.
  • Do most people work in a library before starting their librarianship studies?
  • Do people in the UK actually *choose* librarianship, or do most just study for a LIS Masters degree because they have to? (And is it worth it? And is it needed?)
  • Are middle children more likely to become librarians? What about being career-hungry?
  • Are youngest siblings most likely to become librarians?
  • Why were we attracted to the profession?
  • How self-aware are librarians?
  • Who is brave enough to admit to being overly pampered?

(If you are a LIS student you are welcome to any of these!)

My next little research topic might have to look at the same question but mainly for undergrads. That was a useful possible amendment that was pointed out.

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3 Responses to Who chooses librarianship – the results

  1. Your survey did not allow for those in the profession who did not study librarianship or a closely-related subject. One can, or at least could, get into the profession by learning on the job.

    • Carolin says:

      Yes, but that is a different research angle that would have muddied my theory.
      Of course I am aware that there are many others in the profession who have not studied librarianship and are exceptional librarians. A different discussion altogether! 🙂

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