I have multiple reasons for attending the Summit ranging from personal growth in the area of leadership, support from library administration to attend the Summit, general and genuine interest in diversity in the workplace (actually everywhere!) wanting to help others, and visiting Austin!
I am new to the field of librarianship and to l + t + g. I may have a different story than many here, or maybe not. I am a white female who has worked in higher education IT for 14 years at two different academic institutions in the Midwest. The last two and a half years have been spent in an academic library IT setting after receiving my MLS degree. I do not have a degree in IT and my training has been both formal and informal. I am currently not in a leadership role.
I have been fortunate to see fairly equitable ratios of male to female colleagues within these IT settings, with my current library IT job seeing the most equity in gender breakdown. I have also been fortunate in that I have had several male supervisors and colleagues who have helped connect me with the right people on campus, see me as an equal, and have seen and recognized my potential. I do realize this is not necessarily the norm and it also does not address the lack in leadership roles or salary differences for women in IT within library environments and otherwise. I’d like to help change that in whatever small way I can!
Because the IT field tends to be male-dominated and the field of librarianship female-dominated, I am very interested in how we can meld the two more evenly. The readings people have suggested have been really helpful and I’d love more suggestions from others. I am hoping to work with like-minded individuals at the Summit and bring back some easy take-away items that would be simple to implement upon returning. I’m also hoping that by hearing more stories and experiences about this from others, that I might be able to share some things that have been helpful throughout my career and help develop some plans moving forward.
Some items to consider
Although the points below aren’t being addressed in this post, they represent some ideas about which I was thinking as I was writing the above. Others may use these points as a guide to thinking about the issues of leadership, technology and gender.
- While I have had many, many successful interactions with IT people, IT people can sometimes have a different way of communicating. Not bad, just different. Learn to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Don’t be defensive.
- Can this trend be mapped to certain locations across the U.S. (i.e. – are some areas of the country better at doing this? Small private institutions vs. large public? What can we learn from them? Etc.?).
- Does it depend on centralized or decentralized IT at your campus? How can bridges be made in a decentralized environment or otherwise?
- Mentoring others.
- Start the discussions at your institution.
- Do your homework – one of the ways I have gained respect for myself is by making sure “I have left no stone uncovered” before asking for help. Being thorough in trying to find solutions to a problem before asking.
- Continually read up on technology-related happenings.
- How are we defining technology-related jobs in libraries?
- Looking to research to prove successful models?