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How moms can solve the Library Bubble: Sustainability of librarianship through family-friendly
management policies
Cassandra Watt, 2014
Women in Libraries
• 85% of librarians are women, but women make up
only 52% of library directors
• Wage gap is worse for librarians than other, similar
Motherhood and the Library Bubble
The Library Bubble is more apparent in
women than in men
Simmons GSLIS Alum 2012
Female librarians tend to leave the profession in their early
30s and rejoin in their late 30s or early 40s
Women starting their career later and retiring later than
their male counterparts contribute to a sustainability crisis
in the LIS profession
Registered Nurses
Info Systems
Customer Service Admin Assistants
Income as % of Men's
• Over 55% of Librarians are over 50
• Only 17% under 40
• Library Bubble Challenges: Sustainability of
profession? Advancement and placement for
younger workers?
Academic and Public Libraries tend to
lack family friendly management policies
Women, Work, & Motherhood
• Family-friendly management policies help women
stay working and to advance in their careers
• Some policies are: Daycare friendly shifts, flextime,
ability to work from home, pump rooms, and paid
maternity leave
• Many librarian positions require nights, early mornings,
weekends, and on-call hours, and part-time positions are
scarce because they tend to be filled by senior librarians
• Family benefits available to librarians do not tend to be as
generous as benefits available in other, similar professions,
such as tenure track academics
• Surveys sent to Library Directors
• Identify current management practices are,
and see which libraries are hiring and
retaining younger female workers
• Case Studies on current libraries
• Identify best management practices for
libraries to better serve libraries, female
librarians ,and librarians acting as primary
Female librarians with
children face challenges
balancing family and
career obligations
• Women are much more likely than
men to be primary caregivers of
small children
• Female librarians with young
children tend to have a greater need
for family-friendly policies than their
male counterparts
Library Bubble
Research in Progress
Key Questions
•Are some libraries doing a
better job than others at
hiring and retaining young
female librarians?
•Can best practices be
developed and
Literature Cited
• Connell, Ruth S. "Maternity and Paternity Policies Available
to Academic Librarians." College and Research Libraries
74.3 (2013): 262-71. Web.
• Graves, Stephanie J., Jian Anna Xiong, and Ji-Hye Park.
“Parenthood, Professorship, and Librarianship: Are They
Mutually Exclusive?” Journal Of Academic Librarianship
34.3 (2008): 202-210. Web.
• Sweeper, D. and Steven A. Smith.”Assessing the Impact of
Gender and Race on Earnings in the Library Science Labor
Market.” College and Research Libraries 71.2 (2010): 171183. Web
• Tordella, Stephen J., and Thomas E. Godfrey. "The Recent
History and Future Supply of Librarians: Implications for
Retirement by 2015." Research and Statistics Resources,
Office of Research and Statistics. Ed. Denise M. Davis.
American Library Association, June 2009. Web.
• U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
"Databases, Tables & Calculators by Subject." U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014).
• Zemon, M., and A. H. Bahr. "Career And/or Children: Do
Female Academic Librarians Pay a Price for Motherhood?"
College and Research Libraries 66.5 (2005): 394-405. Web.
A special thank you to Prof. Mary Wilkins Jordan of
Simmons GSLIS and to my hard-working research
assistant “Pete.”

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