Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln



Scout Calvert

Date of this Version

Winter 1-2013


Journal of Education for Library and lnformation Science 54 (Winter):1 (January 2013), pp. 3–14.


Copyright © 2012 Association for Library and Information Science Education


Library and information science is a technologically intensive profession with a high percentage of women, unlike computer science and other male-dominated fields. On the occasion of the 2011 Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) conference, this essay analyzes the theme “Competitiveness and Innovation” through a review of social psychology and science and technology studies literature. Both theme concepts have ramifications for library and information science (LIS) education. Librarianship and teaching are both professions that resist commodification because they rely on embodied labor and personal interaction. Competition, as a management or learning style, may not promote meaningful innovation in LIS education and instead risks creating a climate that is hostile to its chief demographic. The feminization of LIS can be seen as a strength insofar as it promotes the relative parity in numbers of men and women full-time faculty. LIS education should build on this strength in its innovation practices, enabling friendly encounters between technologies, and men and women alike.