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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE STATUS OF LIBRARY SERVICE to minority populations of the United States first requires an understanding of the long struggle to include people of color among the ranks of those providing library service. This issue of Library Trends presents an overview of the efforts of African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islander-Americans, Chinese Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans to develop services, identify important issues, foster leadership, and establish inclusive definitions of identity. Without these narratives, there would be insufficient philosophical, intellectual, or emotional bases on which to develop future programs and collections.(1)
In 1988, the American Library Association (ALA), Office for Library Personnel Resources (OLPR) under the leadership of its director, Margaret Myers, issued Librarians for the New Millennium (Moen & Heim, 1988). In that volume, the need for emphasis on the recruitment of minorities to the library and information science professions was a central theme. Efforts to secure ALA funding for the recruitment of minorities, including OLPR hearings held in 1987, are summarized and a 1988 invitational preconference on recruitment described. As background for the preconference, OLPR supported an analysis of students enrolled in U.S. programs of library and information science: the Library and Information Science Student Attitudes, Demographics and Aspirations Survey (LISSADA Survey) (Moen & Heim, 1988). The LISSADA Survey reported that enrolled students in 1988 were 90 percent white. Thus began a decade of studies, initiatives, and a profession-wide commitment to emphasize recruitment among people of color (Josey, 1999; McCook & Lippincott, 1997a; McCook & Lippincott, 1997b; McCook & Geist, 1993; McCook & Gonsalves, 1993). A decade later, the 1998 annual statistical report of the Association for Library and Information Science Education found 83 percent of enrolled students are white (Saye, 1999).
This improvement in minority …