Monday, March 14, 2011

Barriers to Participation in Library Associations: a Quick and Dirty Literature Review

Susan Gilmont (Past Chair, OLA Support Staff Division), March, 2011

I tried to look at works on barriers to participation in professional associations for librarians and library workers. There is a dearth of literature on this subject. I did find some work on the broader topic of professional development, including professional development in libraries, in which library associations were mentioned. Some rewarding insights may be found in these writings.

I found two studies that addressed release time and travel support for committee meetings and other activities associated with library associations. A 2001 study of small colleges (125 respondents) showed that 63% of librarians received travel support for committee meetings of national associations while 14% of “non-professional staff” received similar support. 78% of librarians received support for committee meetings for regional associations, while 42% of “non-professional staff” received support (Gaskill and Morrill, 2001) A study of academic librarians in Oklahoma found important correlations between employer-provided funding and/or release time and meeting attendance, association membership, committee service, and other professional development activities. (Havener and Stolt, 1994)