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Overlooked: How the New York Times Covers Librarians’ Obituaries

JSTOR – [See the article referenced, available to read free online: The Portrayal of Librarians in Obituaries at the End of the Twentieth Century]: “Historically, the New York Times’s pages have been male-dominated, and its obituary section is no different. On International Women’s Day, the paper set out to supplement the record by running obituaries for overlooked women like Charlotte Brontë and Ida B. Wells—and the project will continue in an attempt to amend the record. Back in 2004, Information Studies scholars Juris Dilevko and Lisa Gottlieb wanted to know if those oversights included librarians. They analyzed the New York Times obit section between 1977 and 2002 in an attempt to understand how the obituary section portrayed American librarians. Calling the Times’ obituaries “a genre into themselves,” they wondered how editors decided whom to memorialize and whom to leave behind. Given the paper’s  commitment to repute as opposed to celebrity, what might the coverage reveal about librarianship? The team studied 123 obituaries about people who were librarians by training and who had spent the majority of their professional lives working in a library or archive…”

“…Nearly sixty-four percent of the obituaries were about men. Librarianship is a heavily woman-dominated field, with women holding over eighty-five percent of all librarian positions in the U.S. and sixty-four percent of all academic librarian positions…” [h/t Barclay Walsh]

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