Part of the reason why the University of Michigan kept a library school while its “peer” institutions (U of Chicago and Columbia) were closing theirs had to do with how Michigan saw its mission. Instead of training rank-and-file librarians, Michigan claimed (and, in coded language, still claims) to teach the future library directors. This means that library students here have traditionally been male, and that the library school didn’t suffer from the student drain that others did when more professions opened to women.
Librarianship is an inherently gendered profession, and this “gendering” manifests itself in different ways. Here’s a study from the American Libraries Association from the late ’90s that discusses the representation (and pay! don’t forget pay!) problem among library directors.
In short, while only 32 percent of academic librarians are male, 43 percent of academic library directors are male. Twenty-one percent of public librarians are male, but 35 percent of public library directors are male.
Here’s my favorite part. Women directors of academic libraries make $58,202 to men’s $62,961 and women directors of public libraries make $64,549 to men’s $75,383.
That’s correct, folks, a more than $10,000 difference for the same job.