Who would be a librarian now? You know what, I’ll have a go

Remy Cordonnier, librarian in the northern town of Saint-Omer, near Calais carefully shows an example of a valuable Shakespeare “First Folio”, a collection of some of his plays, dating from 1623.

About the only drawback is dismissiveness from my friends and family. A working-class male taking a degree to be a what? Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

 

“Who would want to become a librarian now?” asked an anonymous public servant on National Libraries Day, seeing before them a graveyard of dead libraries and old reference desks filled by volunteers. A valid question, and one to which I’ll reply: “You know what? I’ll have a go.”

I’m training to be a professional librarian, having just finished a lecture on “semantic web ontologies” and “linked data”, and sat dumbstruck in front of a “Dewey Decimal assembler” without a clue as to what I’m looking at. The course is challenging – it’s a three-year master’s degree that bites eye-watering chunks out of my wages. Why am I doing it to myself?

The fact is, I can’t not. It’s a sort of calling – like becoming a priest, only with warmer business premises. I can’t stand by and let public libraries sink. I won’t.

Forget all about reading as a pleasure, forget that children should have unlimited access to books, throw away arguments about libraries being lifelines for those less fortunate – they’re falling on deaf ears. You just have to look at the comments beneath pro-library articles to gather a general response: Kindles, the internet replacing information needs, and so on. And the one we wheel out about libraries being the centre of the community – there’ll be someone swatting that old classic aside with a “and yet the majority of the population doesn’t use them”. Read more…

 

Top Five Skills Required For Librarians Today & Tomorrow

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Because today’s librarians must be experts in dealing with both physical and digital information, we have identified the Top 5 skills every librarian must have, or develop, in order to succeed now and into the future. I will touch on all five today and explore them individually in the weeks to come.

1. Information Curation

Since the primary role of any type of library is information curation, the need for that skill set will never go away. However it will evolve as volume and variety of information expands. As content creation becomes available to all, information curation becomes a more critical skill. Librarians are becoming increasingly vital in the process of evaluating and editing what is most valuable, as well as categorizing and classifying it for easy retrieval and use.

2. In-Depth, High Value Research

The digital information environment operates mostly on a ‘Find It Yourself’ paradigm, a model that has threatened the very existence of librarians. Yet finding what they need and want can be a significant challenge for consumers and users of information. Most people lack good research skills and all of us are dealing with a velocity and volume of information that is difficult to manage. As the proverbial haystack gets bigger, finding the needle gets tougher, making librarians a valuable go-to resource. Read more…

Burn the Libraries and Free the Librarians from R. David Lankes

Burn the Libraries and Free the Librarians from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Yes, Virginia, it matters which library school you go to | Gavia Libraria

Yes, Virginia, it matters which library school you go to

The other day the Loon read a short article about applying to library jobs that scoffed at applicants who try to trade on the supposed prestige of their library school. Those library schools, they’re all the same; it doesn’t matter which one you went to, because no one you’re talking to will care.

Well. Yes. And also no. Read more…

 

A Little Enthusiasm Goes a Long Way | American Library Association

By Alexandra Janvey

In the two years since the onset of my career, I’ve learned that a little enthusiasm can go a long way. I owe my accomplishments largely to my immense enthusiasm for the librarian profession and my eagerness to be a part of its community. For as long as I can remember, I’ve known that an ordinary desk job would never be a good fit. Diagnosed as a child with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), school was a struggle, and my concentration wavered quickly. To succeed, I knew that I needed a profession that would impassion me, was challenging, and would keep me on my toes. It was not until my senior year of college that I discovered the growing field of librarianship. Immediately, I knew I had found the passion I had sought. Librarians’ days were never the same, and I could see no limit to the new things that I could learn. Passion for my work was important to me, but I never realized how far it would take me in my career. In many ways, my enthusiasm drove me to gather the experience, skills, and confidence that I needed to find my place in the job market. Read more…

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