Research Agenda — History of Women in Librarianship

Documenting the pioneering contributions of individual women to the field of librarianship is one of the most popular research topics in women’s studies librarianship right now, as evidenced by the two entire issues of Libraries & the Cultural Record (2009 and 2010) devoted to this topic.

  • How have the contributions of individual women served to shape both national and international librarianship in crucial ways?

Similarly, the history of women as a group within the field of librarianship and the prejudice and pay discrimination they encountered, as well as the opportunities they were afforded for freedom and autonomy continues to generate much research. McDowell (2009) studies “historical explanations for the feminization of the field,” and Kerslake (2007) looks at the “impact of gender on the development of the profession.”

  • How did the field of librarianship get to be feminized and what was the impact on the profession of the large numbers of women in it (both individually and as a group)?