Document 5: First Newsletter of the SRRT Task Force on Women in Librarianship, August 1970, Series 49/45/10, Box 1, Folder Status of Women in Libraries, Task Force on Women Newsletter (1970, 1972-4), American Library Association Archives, University of Illinois Library, 6 pp.


   The first newsletter of the Task Force presented compelling reasons for establishing a Task Force on Women within the Social Responsibilities Roundtable. While the purpose of the Task Force was stated to collect and disseminate information on equal hiring and promotional activities within the "library field," the Task Force clearly had broader aims. It could be seen as one vehicle to educate and inform librarians about the oppression of women within society, especially in the workplace. The resolution cited on page one of the newsletter framed female librarians' concerns within a broader context, while page three of the newsletter encouraged local political participation by urging librarians to find out what their state legislature was doing about equal employment and what was the state library association's position on "the issue of discrimination against women." At this point, the Task Force was gathering information to support the case of discrimination against women in librarianship.

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Number 1

August, 1970

    The SRRT Task Force on the Status of Women in Librarianship was established this summer at the ALA convention in Detroit. It is one of several new task forces within the Social Responsibilities Round Table. Our purpose is to collect and disseminate information relating to equal opportunity and responsibility for women, particularly with respect to hiring and promotional practices within the library field.

    At the first meeting of the Task Force, chaired by Ellen Gay Detlefsen, Anita Schiller gave a background briefing on the history of discrimination against women in librarianship. The participants discussed and unanimously passed the following resolution:


WHEREAS, equal opportunity for women is a growing social concern in American society, and
WHEREAS, within librarianship where women represent the majority, the issue is particularly relevant; and
WHEREAS, statistics show that women librarians typically earn lower salaries than men and are underrepresented in top-level positions in libraries, and
WHEREAS, the underutilization of this talent and education wastes needed professional resources and assaults our sense of human dignity;
THEREFORE, be it resolved that the American Library Association take steps to equalize salaries and opportunities for employment and promotions.

    The resolution was admitted to the agenda of the ALA Membership Meeting, but was not discussed before the meeting adjourned. It will be resubmitted at the midwinter meeting in Los Angeles, and if no action is taken there, again next summer at Dallas.

    Two national coordinators and several regional coordinators volunteered to keep track of Task Force business: our names and addresses are on page 3-4 This newsletter, edited by Linda Robson, will publicize developments throughout the country. Kay Cagsell is the action coordinator for local groups.

    Exactly 500 signatures were gathered at the Detroit convention in support of ALA investigation and action on the status of women librarians -- 362 ALA members, 138 non-members. (Our thanks to Junior Members Round Table's allowing us to share their booth in the exhibits area.) How many signatures

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can we collect before the January meeting? 5000 seems an attainable goal if we will work on it in our own libraries and state associations. A copy of the petition is on the last page of this newsletter. Signers do not have to be professional librarians, just concerned with library problems.

    Meanwhile at Detroit, the LAD/PAS Subcommittee on Sexual Discrimination had its report accepted and has since implemented many of their proposals. Letters have been sent to all journals calling for an end to sexism in job advertising. ALA has been asked to add a "non-discrimination by sex" clause to its other rules for awarding scholarships through the new scholarships office. Hearing times for the subcommittee have been reserved at Dallas. This commitee needs information and will work closely with the Task Force. If you have an issue or case which you need help with or would like to have investigated, contact the chairwoman Pauline Iacomo, the Library, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402.

    What kind of information is the Task Force looking for? Is there really discimination against women librarians, or do we just imagine it? For example,


    Men are about twice as likely as women to be chief librarians.

    --- In a study of 26 cities serving a population of 500,000 or more there were only 3 women directors of public libraries.

    --- Only 4 of the 74 largest college and university libraries have women directors.

    --- 12% of women librarians are chief librarians, but 22% of the men are.


    Men librarians earn about $1,500 more per year than women, even when the educational qualifications are the same.

    --- 27% of the men librarians and 11% of the women earn $10,000-$13,999

    --- 10% of the men librarians and 1% of the women earn $14,000 or more.

    --- Men who are not chief librarians tend to earn more than women who are.


    Men are usually placed in the highest positions in library schools.

    --- Of the 43 graduate library schools accredited by the ALA in 1969, only 9 were headed by women. (Two of these were women's colleges.)

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    Men have dominated the presidency of the ALA.

    --- only 16 of the 85 presidents of the ALA have been women, although women constitute 75% of the membership.

    --- Since 1950 a women has been elected president about once every three years. Mrs. Helen Bradshaw is the newly elected president of ALA. Following precedent, her probable successors--the first and second vice-presidents --were elected from an exclusively male field of candidates.

    --- In the latest ALA elections, 81 people were nominated to fill 36 positions. Of those nominated, 27 (33.3%) were women. Women were subsequently elected to 13 (36%) of the positions.

    --- In 1970 47% of the voting members of Council were women.

    (Sources: Anita Schiller's articles in Library Journal, March 15, 1969 and American Libraries, April 1970; 1970 ALA election returns)

    In later issues of the newsletter we will report on national studies of academic libraries and library schools. We have no hard facts as yet on public and school librarians, nor is there much information about academic libraries at the local or regional level. We need your help in getting these data. Individual cases will not be cited in this newsletter, but will be referred to the LAD/PAS subcommittee.

    We want to report on progress, as well as problems. What, if anything, is your state legislature doing about your chances for equal employment? What is your state library association's position on the issue of discrimination against women? Does your head librarian even know it's an issue?

    Please contact your regional coordinator or the editor if you have any contributions, comments or complaints. (Or if I have completely garbled your name and address!) If you want to add your name to the mailing list, sign the petition on page 6.


    Sheila Conneen
Harvard University Library
Cambridge, Mass. 02138


    Judy Watts
Assistant Director
Hampshire College Library
Amherst, Mass. 01002


    Susan Geschwinder
St. Mary's University Library
5932 Ingils St.
Halifax, N.S.


    Ruth Beasley
Regional Campus Libraries
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana 47401


    Linda Robson
Undergraduate Library
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514

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    *Kay Cassell
New Jersey State Library
185 W. State Street
Trenton, N.J. 08625


    Marion Figlio
West Oak Lane Branch
Free Library of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pa. 19126


    Beth Rebman
Meyer Memorial Library
Stanford University
Stanford, Cal. 94308


    Carol Turner
Meyer Memorial Library
Stanford University
Stanford, Cal. 94308

    * Some librarians may want to form local action groups to work on equal rights and related problems. Contact action coordinator Kay Cassell if you are interested.


    The Task Force report, A matter of simple justice, was released by the White House this June. It recommends, 1) that the Congress pass the equal rights amendment to the Constitution, 2) that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Equal Employment Opportunity) be amended to extend coverage to state and local government employees and to teachers, and 3) that the equal pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act be amended to cover executive, administrative and professional employees. The Task Force made -- and declined to make -- many other recommendations; the whole report is well worth reading. We will report on what is happening to these recommendations in future issues.

    On releasing the report, the Administration announced it would set new guidelines implementing Executive Order 11246 which prohibits discrimination by government contractors. The order was amended to include sex discrimination in October, 1968, but had heretofore not been enforced. This month the Labor Department announced the guidelines were ready.


"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress and the several States shall have power . . . to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. . . .

S J Res 61 91:1

    In every Congress since 1923 a Constitutional amendment has been introduced which would guarantee women equal protection under the law. Twice, in 1950 and 1953, it was passed by the Senate, but with crippling riders to the effect that the amendment could not affect any current or future law regarding women's benefits or exemptions.

    On the House side, the bill had languished in the Judiciary Committee for 46 years. This year Rep. Edith Green (Mich.) spearheaded a move to bypass the committee and bring the matter to the floor for a vote. On August 10 the House passed the amendment 346 to 15. It now goes back to the Senate,

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where passage seems likely. The greatest opposition will come in the state legislatures, 3/4ths of which must approve the amendment if it is to become law.

    The main significance to us of this amendment is that, once passed, the United States or the state would have to prove that a given law is not discriminatory, now the aggrieved individual has to prove that it is. So far, the United States Supreme Court has not ruled on the constitutionality of any law or practice which discriminates on the basis of sex.


    Fifty years ago, with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, women won the right to vote. How will your library publicize our anniversary? For example: Prince George's County Memorial Library, Hyattsville, Md., has produced a brochure celebrating "Maryland women you might want to know more about." Harvard and the Universities of Indiana and North Carolina will display material on the history of women's suffrage and the women's rights movement today.

    Whatever you decide to do, let your regional coordinators know so we can report on it in the next newsletter. Send a copy of programs or leaflets if you have any.


    U.S. President's Task Force on Women's Rights and Responsibilities.

    A matter of simple justice. Washington, Govt. Printing Office, 1970. Available from Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D.C. 20402. 30 $.30

    Flexner, Eleanor

    Century of struggle; the women's rights movement in the United States. Harvard University Press, 1959. Broad history of women's changing role in American society from the early 1800's to 1920. Mainly on the suffrage movement.

    Kraditor, Aileen S.

    The ideas of the woman suffrage movement, 1890-1920. Columbia Univ. Press, 1965. Why suffrage? This book examines the rationale of the movement by listening to its leading spokeswomen. Up from the pedestal, by the same author (Quadrangle, 1968) is a collection of speeches and writings on both sides of the suffrage issue by such people as Carrie Chapman Catt, Susan B. Anthony and Grover Cleveland (He was against it.)

    U.S. Women's Bureau

    The Women's Bureau is also celebrating its 50th birthday. Most of its publications are available free from the Bureau, Dept, of Labor, Washington D.C. 20210. Sample titles:

    Trends in educational attainment of women. 1969.

    Laws on sex discrimination in employment. 1970.

    Working mothers and the need for child care services. 1968.

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    The purpose of this petition is to show support for ALA investigation of and action on the status of women librarians.

    I favor this petition:

Name Library Address ALA member?

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