Friday, April 19, 2013

In Vino Veritas

I love librarianship!

There. I said it. I love librarianship, and I love being an academic librarian. I feel at home in this profession. I am part of the librarianship family--a slightly dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless. And I'm the super sloppy double-dare, fall down drunk uncle whose heart-felt, honest, rambling speeches embarrass everyone at the family picnics.

 in vino veritas

In wine, there is truth.

A few weeks ago, I commented that I couldn't honestly advise a young Black college male engineering major to enter this profession. Why should someone pursue an advanced college degree in librarianship to possibly earn less money and respect than he would have as an engineer? To better facilitate the information needs of disenfranchised ethnic and cultural groups? To serve the underserved? To represent the underrepresented?

Why should a young talented Black man enter a largely white and female profession? Because librarianship needs his brains, just like the NBA and the NFL needed his brawn. I think young, talented Black men can revolutionize this profession, just like they did professional sports. I think young Black men can bring a certain spirit and fire into a profession often perceived to be anal retentive and passive-aggressive. 

A few weeks ago, a colleague worried about the state of librarianship. He wondered if the profession will exist in the next 20 years. I think the recruitment and retention of young talented Black men can prevent this potential disappearance.

in vino veritas

And the truth is I was wrong for advising that hypothetical young Black college male engineering major not to enter librarianship. I would advise that young Black man to enter librarianship, work hard, snap up one of those relatively lucrative, often hard to fill STEM librarianship positions, and advance through the ranks to hire even more talented young Black men.

But can this be done? As one  (relatively) young Black man proved with a brilliant career that recently culminated in the presidency of the United States, si se puede.

Yes, it can.

EDIT: This blog has received fantastic support and many page views. Thank you so much. I especially thank Michele Fenton. If you have a chance please visit her blog about African American librarians at


  1. Interesting blog! Keep posting. I am also a black academic Librarian. Please check out my new blog!

    1. Thanks for the compliment. I try to post every Friday.