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