Posts tagged ‘Librarians’

Librarian 2.0- The new professional or the responsible one?

Reading the Librairan 2.0 Manifesto was both an inspiring and frustrating read. Inspiring because it iterates goals that make me love my profession. I love outreach, I love working online and I love sharing new web 2.0 finds with peers and patrons.

But frustating too because I was left wondering how we got to a point in our profession where some of the goals needed to be written. Take the following examples:

*I will not fear Google or related services, but rather will take advantage of these services to benefit users while also providing excellent library services that users need.
*I will let go of previous practices if there is a better way to do things now, even if these practices once seemed so great.
*I will recognize that the universe of information culture is changing fast and that libraries need to respond positively to these changes to provide resources and services that users need and want.

These are new goals for our profession!? We actually had to put in goals that state we need to be open to efficiency, convenience and we need to provide resources our patrons need and want? As public servants in information resources, it would almost seem as if these goals were a mandatory. And yet, I can also see why we needed to specify these goals; there are quite a few among our profession that need to be reminded.

But how did we get to this stage? Why do we have professional librarians who refuse to keep up with the professional and technological requirements? How did we reach a point where the patrons’ needs were less important than the traditional way of doing things?

All along, the job of a reference librarian has been to find the information patrons need. We are in the business of connecting people to the information they require… so why care about the format that information is found in?

Although traditionalists’ argue the Internet is 90% junk, it was originally built as a means to convey information and expedite the communication process between people. Even among the copious amounts of junk found on the web, legitimate information has rooted itself firmly in cyberspace as well. For some reason or another some in our profession dismissed this technology as non-important, despite the visibly growing applications and use among our patrons. And because of this lackadaisical and rejective approach we are left with professionals so far behind the curve that waiting for retirement is as an easier path than training.

And so I grow frustrated when I read the goals and responsibilities of the 2.0 Librarian, it should’ve been part of our profession all along.

July 12, 2007 at 1:19 pm 11 comments

The "New" Librarian in the New York Times and The Sun

A couple of articles to share today, both similar, on the “new” librarians… one is in The New York Times, A Hipper Crowd of Shushers, and the other is in The Sun, For New-Look Librarians Head to Brooklyn.

What do YOU think of these takes on “us”?

July 7, 2007 at 2:34 pm 6 comments

We ARE Change Agents!

Man, this is cool!

Helene Blowers got it at the ALA conference!

June 26, 2007 at 8:26 am 2 comments

What are the library students of today learning?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and starting to talk to some people about it. I am happy to have found out that Leslie Burger, current ALA President and Princeton (NJ) Public Library Director is also interested in this and is looking (I believe) into ways of assessing and addressing it…..

I just wonder what our current library students are learning and if they are learning about Web 2.0 technologies, customer service and the importance of these things to libraries. If we are spending time and effort to “catch-up” our current librarians, unless we are producing librarians who are “up” on these things, we will be fighting a losing battle.

I have been out of library school since 2003 (and that is even longer ago really than 4 years when you take into consideration how technology and the world changes even faster and faster as time goes by). None of these Web 2.0 things were being talked about then, but they really weren’t on the radar then. I had some wonderful professors. I am sure that there are some wonderful professors now who are teaching these things or who are open to them – maybe the library students are teaching them in some cases! – and I am not disparaging library schools or professors. I just don’t want us to focus all of our efforts on the current librarians only to find that the “new” ones also need such “catching-up.”

You might assume that all “new” librarians are “young” librarians. But this is certainly not the case, just as it isn’t the case that all “young” librarians and people know and embrace all of the Web 2.0 technologies and approaches or realize their necessity in the library world.

A colleague shared this (and he can identify himself, elaborate, or not, I have altered the quote a bit for privacy, and hope he doesn’t mind):

I did a talk for (a class) as recently as October 2006. By show of hands, maybe 2 out of 30 in the class had any idea what RSS is, or read any library blogs.

I found this upsetting (because) RSS IS an information literacy technology. Perhaps it is THE single best technology for allowing us to manage the flow, display, sharing, and consumption of information. As promoters of information literacy, librarians should be ALL OVER THIS.

You know, you could say that perhaps they are using RSS and don’t know it, like many “lay” people who are using it but if you ask them they have no idea that they are! Although I think the point is they should know… However, the part about not reading library blogs is just inexplicable!

I posted about it on another blog and got an interesting reply from a library student:

LibraryNation said…
I’m in library school right now and I’d have to say that there’s a division of thirds in regards to the level of skill we future librarians have: a third of us are really up to
date on technology, web 2.0, and the like; a third don’t know a lot about these
things, but really want to learn more and take all sorts of tutorials and short courses from our IT lab (staffed by fellow students) to expand their knowledge/understanding/use of these technologies. The last third don’t have much interest in learning about these technologies, or perhaps don’t even know that this is something they should be teaching themselves… something that’s vital. Kind of like marketing 😉
… And maybe you’re right about needing to educate our professors. I think they also fall into the three categories: those in the know, those who want to be in the know, and those who think it’s relevant/unimportant or are unenlightened.

Let’s make sure we take an even broader view – look at the even bigger picture – and make sure that the librarians of tomorrow coming out of library school will truly be librarians of tomorrow and not librarians of yesterday!

(Maybe things aren’t as bad as I fear – can anyone help me out here?!)

UPDATE 05/29/07:
I received this message from Leslie Burger –

I’ve just appointed an ALA presidential task force on library education to
take a look at what is being taught in library schools, consider core
curriculum, and how the LIS curriculum needs to match what we need in the
marketplace. ALA Past President Carla Hayden is chairing the TF which
reports back to the ALA Executive Board with the recommendations at the 2008
Annual Conference.

May 27, 2007 at 11:29 am 22 comments

Teen Librarians: Who we are and what we are not

As a Young Adult Librarian, I have made the professional decision to immerse myself in young adult culture; the books they read, the music they listen to, the resources they use for information. I have also taken on the responsibility to provide programming opportunities for the teen community to participate in, if they choose to do so. In other words, teen resources are my specialty.

But I am not the babysitter for every teen that enters the library.

And I am not the only person capable of handling teens’ questions.

I am not disciplinarian for all teens.

Nor are my job responsibilities significantly different from any other librarian.

I am not their babysitter- Teens that come into the library are my specialty, not my responsibility. Just because a teen enters the building, it does not mean they can only be in the Teen Section. Teens have the same rights as all other patrons, they are allowed to go in any other part of the library.

I am not the only person to handle a teens’ question- Listen to the needs of the patron first and then figure out if my expertise is needed. If they know the name of book they are looking for, help them. If they want to find out where the copier is, show them. But, if the teens wants book recommendations, programming information, research help… I’m your person. Remember, I don’t send every old person your way.

I am not the teens disciplinarian- If teenagers are acting up in the library, this is not my fault. Furthermore, don’t send me the rambunctious teen and tell me to “deal with them.” In doing so, you have negated your own authority in the teens’ eyes.

My job responsibilities aren’t significantly different- If you don’t expect the rest of your staff to work multiple nights, then it shouldn’t be expected of your YA Librarian. If your typical Reference or Children’s Librarian does two programs a week, don’t expect the YA Librarian to have programming everyday, or every moment that teens are present. If you don’t expect your other programs to have 100% attendence from members of the library community, don’t expect every teen to show up for every program.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of good Teen Librarians who leave the position because of they discover the job expectations are disproportoinate to other positions in the libarary.

Consider families, consider the lives outside of job and please consider the wear and tear you put on your Teen Librarian when you send them patrons you personally would rather not deal with.
We are programmers, we are selectors, we are outreach and we are staff members dedicated to maintaining the enthusiasm and interest of the library’s future adults, future taxpayers, and advocates.

We do not need a thank you for this… we just ask for your consideration.

May 21, 2007 at 7:42 am 10 comments

Why Librarians and Libraries are Important

Here we go, someone who get it! As many times as I have heard my friends ask me why I chose a “dying profession,” I have never worried about my job security. Personally, my reason for this was because of the old saying:

If people, in general, thought rationally there would never be a need for librarians. Since history has proven this not to be the case, librarians’ job will always be secure.

My friend sent me this article on the Library profession which gives 33 Reasons Why Librarians and Libraries are Important. Yes, many of the reasons are arguments against the Internet. For the rationale thinkers out there, who are picky about who and where they get their information from, this is not really a surprise but for the other 46% of Americans who consider Wikipedia a reliable source of information, it might give them something to think about and, who knows… perhaps even get a library card.

February 1, 2007 at 8:03 pm

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