I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it was over a year ago. Under Tracie Hall’s skillful directorship, the ALA Office for Diversity has really been turning out some quality content in their newsletter Versed. I picked up the latest issue at ALA and read it on the plane on the way home. I particularly enjoyed the interviews with past ALA president Betty Turock, East Cleveland Public Library director Greg Reese and the conversation about how to grapple with racism, sexism and the future of the profession.
I wrote my dissertation on job satisfaction of Black librarians in some urban systems of the Midwest, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic states. I did a lot of interviewing. Salary was not a factor in why people were happy or unhappy. It wasn’t even mentioned. What gave people the greatest job satisfaction was being able to help people and doing the work of a librarian. A third major reason was one I was totally unprepared for — a feeling by Black librarians that they were doing the work of God. They felt a calling. It was really striking. The major reason for workplace dissatisfaction was working in a hostile workplace and being subjected to discrimination by library directors, staff, and patrons.