A couple weeks ago, a patron came up to the Information Desk solely to tell me that there are fifteen farmers for every one male librarian. This weird tidbit wasn’t shocking to me, for, while guybrarians aren’t exactly unicorns, we’re fairly rare. I have no trouble believing we’re vastly outnumbered by farmers; in fact, I’d expect the farmer to male librarian ratio to be even larger than what this patron reported. I made a note of the factoid and set it aside, thinking maybe it could come in handy as a conversation starter at a library conference or as an answer at a random trivia event.
Yesterday, I decided to investigate to see if this ratio is real or rubbish. I took to the U.S. Census Bureau website and pulled up their detailed occupation stats for 2013. According to their data, there are 499,775 “farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers” in the U.S., and only 19,727 male librarians, which translates to a ratio of 25.33 to 1. My suspicions of the ratio being larger were confirmed, though it’s a bit inflated due to the inclusion of ranchers and “other agricultural managers.” While we may never know the true number, the fact remains that far more men (and a few women) are going farmer than are ordering and cataloging the Farmer’s Almanac.
Does this tell us anything meaningful? Probably not, other than that if you need a huge group of people to assemble as an army to aid you in the inevitable zombie apocalypse, call the farmers, not the library guys. You’d probably want to do that anyway, ratios be darned.