You want to become a librarian? Really?

As I was surfing the net I came across a really good blog by Bobbi Newman (click here) who responds to an email she received through Facebook.

The message she received was :

“I follow you on twitter and really enjoy all the information that you share. I’m a 41 year wife, mother of one and student. I’m working on my undergraduate degree with plans to get an MLS degree when I’m finished.

If you have time, please send me some advice.

What I want to ask you is this: am I crazy to want to work in a library? Everyone I tell (not library people) are so discouraging and seem to think libraries are going to die out and become a thing of the past. I’ve heard that a love of books is the worst possible reason to want to work in a library, but in addition to loving books, I love technology and I love people.”

As an MLIS student these are questions I come across when I tell people that I’m a graduate student studying to become a librarian. Comments such as, “Librarians need a degree? I thought they just wore glasses and sit behind a desk” or “Is that what you really want to do?” Coming from a community that values the medicine, engineering and law fields, telling people that I want to become a librarian is quite hard.

Bobbi gives advice to a potential librarian. Check it out if at times you feel lost and confused as well and need some advice!

“Love for books and love for people”

The core of the information presented in this video is relevant but the profession has been changing endlessly. This video puts emphasis on five types of roles that are played by librarians: the cataloguers, reference librarians, and circulation librarians, librarians who serve young children and school librarians. It seems like the function of these librarians have remained the same throughout these years. However, the tools from which they work have changed and to me a lot of which are unrecognizable. There has been an evolution from card catalog to online catalog and from paper-assisted checkout to technology based self-check outs. However, with cataloguing even though the medium from which cataloguing has changed the classification scheme both DDC and LCC are still present nowadays.

With the emergence of the industrial age came the growth of new technological developments at exponential rates. Technology will and has been playing an important role in the main function of libraries that is, to serve the information needs of people. Nowadays, since the needs of people demand the incorporation of technology using technology betters this service because that is where technology has been headed. Thus, being adaptive and willing to learn is a key characteristic as a librarian in this society. As more information is available online, if librarians become resistant to change, their profession may just freeze.

Also, despite the contentious nature of the environment, the primary function of librarians has not changed. ‘A love for books and love for people’ is what is described as needed for one to become a successful librarian. I’m glad that ‘the love for people’ was mentioned since most of the time people just assume all librarians love books and that’s the end of that. Personally, I like books but I enjoy and love working with people and helping in resolving their issues. That is why I wanted to become a librarian.

In the video, the professional librarian is required to have a Bachelors of Science in library science and must have attended library school. Small libraries librarians are not required to be library school graduates they must have had some training. Further the amount of jobs present today compared to after World War II has drastically changed and is evident in the video. The speaker comments saying, “When you investigate the field carefully you will find a need for thousands of trained librarians.” However, in the 21st century there are fewer workers needed to accomplish a given task. In the YouTube video the room was full of people just cataloging material and now there is less workers needed in a given space. Because all you need now are a few people and some computers to get the work done.

Nonetheless, I’m not at all worried that librarians will soon be replaced by technology. The need for librarians will still exist and I’m hopeful that they will continue to play an important role in future libraries and information organizations.