Learning Blog 11a: Redefining Libraries?

I usually focus on public libraries,or librarianship in general for these postings. When I started this post, I was going to take a break and discuss some ideas inspired by Aimee’s presentation on corporate librarianship. Since I know virtually nothing about the field, I found it an interesting look into an aspect of librarianship I cam completely ignorant of. But while I started musing about how radiacally different corporate and public  librarianship are, I started to question, “what makes a librarian?”

Obviously there are many skill overlaps between many differenet kinds of librarians. But as much as our technical skills overlap, the also differ greatly. (Aimme’s great presentation made it clear how liitle I know about corporate technology  or structure). So perhaps it’s our shared code of ethics and values Is this what makes us librarians then? Because the people staffing “The People’s Library” in Occupy Wal l Street would probably share many of those values: committment to the right to information being just one. The librarians in Cuba would be included then as well, although many within the profession seem to disagree. While it perhaps takes more than simply checking books in and out to be considered a librarian, sometimes I wonder. To the larger community, what these people do is probably consdered librianship too, no matter what the ALA or “librarians” think. (http://on.wsj.com/pyDbEK, http://streetbooks.org/). I tend to agree that at times the community confuses books with library service, but than again books have been our brand for a long time.

The mass amateurization of a profession? That’s what we started off the semester writing about. While I could take these above (and many more examples) as a trend towards this amateurization, I don’t think that’s the whole story. I also think it’s the story of how even though we have many new ways of communicating, collaborating, and our expanding our “brand”; it hasn’t been enough. People want to work with us even more. They’re in the midst of redefining  their communities: perhaps now  it’s up to us whether or not we want to join them.


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