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What do you say when… September 29, 2006

Posted by heyheypaula in Library Stuff.

Do people ever seem amazed that there could be a postgraduate degree in Library Science?  Do they ask you if it’s learning Dewey (hey, they don’t know how complicated Dewey can actually be)?  In the non-library world, I am often asked what types of classes I take, and what I could possibly be studying, because people can have a limited view on what a librarian does.  Thanks to E from 7312 for this great answer: “Advanced Shushing.”



1. lcwk86 - September 30, 2006

LOL! Advanced shushing! Yes, patrons, family and friends are very surprised that it involves any kind of training. Until they are looking for some information and I help them. Then they see the advantages of knowing how to look. Some also enjoy learning how to look for themselves, while others appreciate the help and acquire a different view of librarianship.

2. DrumPhil - October 2, 2006

When I get this question, I like to preempt the typical follow-up question, “Isn’t it all on the Internet?” by responding that the Internet has brought huge change everywhere, including libraryland, and that people need more help than ever wading through information overload (paper and cyber) to find their answers.

3. heyheypaula - October 2, 2006

DrumPhil, that’s a great, great thought. Like lcwk86 noted, people think that it’s all out there and that they can find it, but the truth is, what happens when they need a government document, or something that isn’t just “out there” for free, and can only be found through the library-subscribed databases? What if it is information that needs some organization or interpretation, or when people want to learn new research skills? Or what about slogging through all the mis-information out there. I think we are finally collectively learning that Internet != absolute truth, since anyone can everyone can post on the Internet. Seems like people who use the library most understand the career the most.

4. JbF - October 4, 2006

It’s hard to explain when job descriptions for “Librarians” do not require the MLS and to many people if you work in the physical building of a Library you are a librarian. Okay with that off my chest….I explain that there are many behind the scences library needs and a special skill set that needs to be learned to be an effective Librarian. Special skills such as reference interviews, cataloging, researching, filtering through the internet, etc. Then I usually finish with unknown places that have libraries, Children’s Hospital, the Art Museum, the Zoo. It amazes people that there are more than just school and public libraries. Atleast my family and friends seem to understand b/c I’ll get calls for interent searching help or to find a book.

5. heyheypaula - October 4, 2006

Talking about places around town that have special libraries is a great way to go. I find that when I tell people I’m a librarian, at a company, it really wrecks their whole concept of librarianship. When I tell them what I do on a given day, they start to see that it’s a job that takes a great variety of skills and flexibility.

6. sezed - October 11, 2006

I think the term Librarian has become so stereotypical most people don’t think much of the profession. Perhaps a new term would help but I think overall we as a profession need to be more active in promoting awareness, and the value that the profession provides the community. After all teachers have managed to finagle their way into a sacrosanct arena where the general opinion is that they don’t get paid enough for the vast contribution they make to society. Librarians shouldn’t be that different, especially since we serve a greater portion of the public for a significant lower amount of money.

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