Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Working Girl




A Peek Into My Profession:

How would you explain the role of librarianship today? 
Being a librarian is so much more than what people think. It's such an antiquated term that people forget it's still an important job. The organization and management of information and data has never been more significant than now. In just the last two years the amount of data that has been created surpasses the entire previous history of the human race. Who do you think catalogues, stores and organizes all that information?  So, whether you're a librarian for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Lincoln Center, Google or the the head librarian of some small town public library in Maine, being a librarian today is one of the most demanding jobs!!

The Modern Librarian
  I wish I had the luxury to read all day but sadly I don't; your assumption of a frumpy old maid reading and shushing people out the door, is super old! The job is constantly evolving and whoever told you libraries are going away, they are wrong!!! Libraries (and librarians) have always adapted to changing times - we house books (and other material), we collaborate with city and other community organizations, we offer programs and cool classes, we're pretty much willing to do whatever we can to help our patrons.

What do you do all day?
 I usually divide my day into two hour increments. I'll spend two (sometimes three) hours researching material and working on collection management/development (what do we have versus what needs to be in our system). I could seriously work all day on just this one task but there's so much that needs to get done in my work day. Program Development - from story times to writing workshops, book clubs, coding classes, trivia nights, makerspaces, tutors, toast masters, and etiquette courses. You name it, we can make a program out of it! Being a community leader and being the voice of the people coming into our establishment. I'm a strong believer in listening - what do people want to see in a library and finding a way to give it to them, that's my motto. Social Media! My coworkers and I are constantly coming up with clever ways to showcase what we have and do on all the platforms. Constantly educating myself whether through webinars or trying to find time to make a conferences.

So if you're not working with books, what are you doing?
Getting out into the community and asking what people want. We're a library, everything we offer has to be free. I've seen everything from ballroom dance classes, to language courses, gaming competitions, cooking classes and small theater production to so much more. Thank god there's libraries right?!We help people with job searches, technology questions, college level research, homeschoolers, although difficult - try to form relationships with school librarians and schools so we can work together. There's so much more but this is a shortened list of some of the things we do...

Do You Need A Degree?
Absolutely!!! Even a hundred years ago, if you wanted the title of being a librarian you had to have a masters degree. Until the 80s, many universities had MLS programs (Masters in Library Science) and then the degree changed to Masters in Library and Information Science. With technology, our job has changed immensely. We're technically called information specialists but I want to know which librarian prefers that term! Unfortunately many colleges had done away with the program but they are still out there and they are tough and competitive, from USC to Simmons and San Jose State there are still a number of great schools that offer the degree.