Being Seen: Gender Identity and Performance as a Professional Resource in Library Work

Tatiana Bryant, Hilary Bussell, Rebecca Halpern


While much of the literature on gender in librarianship approaches this issue at an organizational level, this qualitative study investigates how individuals working in libraries perceive their gender identities as a resource for their professional goals and how this intersects with other social identities including race and sexuality. Using a constructivist grounded theory approach to analyze in-depth interviews with 29 librarians from a variety of backgrounds, we develop four overarching themes: Visibility and Connection to Library Users, Credibility and Presumed Competence, Lack of Awareness and Hyperawareness, and Being Your Authentic Self and Concealing Yourself.

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Copyright Tatiana Bryant, Hilary Bussell, Rebecca Halpern

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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