SILS researchers address critical workforce issues

February 7, 2011


"Workforce Issues in Library and Information Science, Part 2" is the theme of the Summer/Fall 2010 issue of Library Trends, a well-known scholarly journal in the field.

This special double issue is edited by Drs. Joanne Gard Marshall, alumni distinguished professor, School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Susan Rathbun-Grubb, Ph.D. and 2009 alumna; Deborah Barreau, associate professor at SILS; and Jennifer Craft Morgan, Ph.D., research scientist at the North Carolina Institute on Aging. 

Editors Marshall, Rathbun-Grubb, Barreau and Morgan have put together an impressive collection of peer reviewed articles that provides a continuation of the Fall 2009 workforce themed issue of Library Trends. Together, the three theme issues contain 32 articles, 10 of which are based on data from the Workforce Issues in Library and Information  Studies (WILIS) conducted at UNC at Chapel Hill with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The Library Trends articles are international in scope and cover a wide range of workforce-related issues such as careers, diversity, library workforce projections, salaries, unions, support staff and training gaps. Many of the articles are authored and co-authored by the following SILS faculty students and alumni, as well as faculty from the North Carolina Institute on Aging:   

  • Rachel Applegate, professor of library and information science, Indiana University
  • Deborah Barreau, associate professor at SILS
  • Jenifer Grady, director of the American Library Association - Allied Professional Association: the Organization for the Advancement of Library Employees
  • Elizabeth Leonard, associate dean of Library Services, Western Carolina University
  • Joanne Gard Marshall, alumni distinguished professor at SILS
  • Victor W. Marshall, professor of sociology, UNC at Chapel Hill
  • Barbara Moran, Louis Round Wilson Distinguished Professor at SILS
  • Chad Morgan, instructor in library and information sciences, North Carolina Central University and SILS doctoral student  
  • Jennifer Craft Morgan, research scientist and associate director for research at the University of North Carolina Institute on Aging
  • Irene Owens, dean and professor, School of Library and Information Sciences, North Carolina Central University 
  • Ericka Patillo, SILS doctoral student  
  • Susan Rathbun-Grubb, assistant professor of library and information science, University of South Carolina
  • Paul Solomon, associate professor of library and information science, University of South Carolina
  • Cheryl A. Thompson, project manager at the University of North Carolina Institute on Aging

To view the article titles, authors and each article, visit the Library Trends site.

Much like its Fall 2009 predecessor, this particular issue of Library Trends is devoted to examining workforce issues related to librarianship and is based in part on the landmark "Workforce Issues in Library and Information Science (WILIS)" studies conducted by Marshall and her colleagues at SILS and at the UNC Institute on Aging

In the issue’s introduction, the editors discuss at length the historical gap in our understanding of library workforce issues.  "Most studies have been limited in size and scope and have produced snapshots from narrow or focused angles rather than comprehensive and wide-angle pictures of the changes that are occurring in the library workforce over time," the editors explain. "Since librarianship is not a licensed profession requiring annual registration and submission of job information, we have not historically had a strong body of workforce data to draw upon for educational and workforce planning."

Attempting to bridge this critical gap in understanding, the editors enthusiastically included a wide variety of scholarly articles that specifically address the complex workforce situation.  "We were impressed by the range and quality of the submissions in this issue," they emphasize.  "Our hope is that it will inspire future researchers and provide evidence for informed educational and workforce planning at all levels." Marshall added, "We are especially excited about the most recent funding that IMLS has provided to archive the WILIS data so that it can continue to be used by researchers, employers, practicing librarians and even potential recruits to the profession. we hope that this latest project will also provide guidance to other researchers in the field who want to make their own data more widely accessible."

For more information about the WILIS projects go to the WILIS projects site.  

WILIS project team









Authors involved in the Library Trends issue include from left to right, Joanne Marshall, SILS alumni distinguished professor; Marshica Stanley, research assistant; Cheryl Thompson, project manager; Susan Rathbun Grubb, assistant professor, University of South Carolina; Jennifer Craft Morgan; Ericka Patillo, doctoral student at SILS; Deborah Barreau, SILS associate professor; and Susan Rathburn Grubb.