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kayte
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(Originally posted on: 04-17-08 06:20:52 PM)
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...in the U.S.

So anyway because I just finished my degree (Master of Library and Information Studies FYI) and also because I'm procrastinating on packing, I thought I would take a stab at answering some questions, because people are always saying shit to me like:

Quote:

"It's surprising that you need so much education to work in a library"

”Does it really take two years to learn the Dewey Decimal System?”

”What do you learn in library school?”

”What do librarians even do?”



...and other variations on this theme.

Okay so first of all:

1. You don't. Anyone old enough to legally work can work in a library in some capacity. This much education is required to be a librarian. Not everyone who works in a library is a librarian.

2. More like 5 minutes.

3. Quite a bit.

4. Oh, you have no idea!

Despite two years of people asking me these questions and others like them, I've never really attempted to make a coherent statement about what it is that I learned in school or what librarians do, so now I'll give it a shot.

So, okay, maybe I'll start with what I learned in library school. First, in my program, you take 16 courses, some required, some elective. Second, my program is in the Faculty of Management. We share a building with the schools of Business Administration, Resource and Environmental Studies, Marine Affairs, and Public Administration. MBAs, politicians, and Captain Planets are all coming out of the same faculty as librarians, if that gives an indication as to what level we're on academically.

These are the courses I took:

Quote:

Applications for Information Management
Archives
Collections Management
Database Management Systems
Electronic Text Design
Government Information Resources
Information in Society
Information Literacy
Information Management Systems
Information Sources & Retrieval
Management Without Borders/Professional Competencies
Organizational Management & Strategy
Organization of Information
Practicum
Records Management
Research Methods
Services and Resources for Children
Services and Resources for Young Adults



Originally I was going to post what each class covered, but that got really long, so to summarize, I learned a lot about technical computer things, from building databases and structuring queries to creating and manipulating data to web design using XHTML, XML, XSL, and CSS.

I learned a lot about management, from budgeting and planning to dealing with people, to creating consortiums, getting money, writing proposals, etc.

I learned about people. What they want (and how to find out what they want), how they look for things, what they know, how they learn, and how to strike the balance between catering to them and telling them to fuck off.

I learned SO MUCH about information. Who has it, who wants it, how to get it, what to do with it when you have it. Protecting it, qualifying it, sharing it, organizing it, even creating it.

And well, libraries. The whole system, from discovering new material to evaluating it, to acquiring it to cataloguing and classifying it to make it available to the public. Providing programs and sessions, from conceiving them to delivering and then evaluating them. Marketing. Community outreach. So on and so forth.

That's what I learned in school, more or less. Plus I gave a LOT of presentations.

What do librarians do?

This is a question that is hard to answer. First of all, there are four basic types of libraries – public, academic, school, special – and what a librarian might do at any of these varies, because each is going to serve a different audience and serve a different purpose. For example, a public librarian is not going to fill the same role as a law firm's in-house librarian.

Second of all, size is a huge factor. Are you the only person working in a small rural library? You do everything. Are you one librarian in a system of dozens or even hundreds? You have a very specific role. Basically, what a librarian does depends entirely on what environment they work in, but here are the general things:

DEALING WITH CUSTOMERS: Answer questions, everything from where is the bathroom to strange and in-depth research questions that are probably somebody's homework. Assuage concerns when people are bitching that the Harry Potter series is oh-so-horrible and should be burned, won't somebody think of the children? Librarians have the management role, so when people "want to speak with the manager" it is to the librarians that they speak.

DEALING WITH OTHER LIBRARY WORKERS: Librarians are at the top of the workplace food-chain, so they're involved in supervising, scheduling, performance evaluations, mentoring, coaching sessions, hiring and firing, etc.

DEALING WITH BOOKS/OTHER MATERIALS: Finding them. Evaluating them. Buying them. Cataloguing & classifying them. Getting rid of them when the time comes. Making sure the collection is up-to-date and relevant to the audience.

DEALING WITH THE LIBRARY: Creating budgets. Staffing (see above). Marketing. Community outreach. Keeping statistics. Continually justifying existence of library.

REFERENCE: Interview patrons to understand what they are looking for and then be able to use print and electronic resources to find that information. Reference services are provided both online and in person.

PROGRAMMING: Getting people to the library, and providing services they need; everything from reading books to babies to showing undergrads how to search for articles for their papers to teaching seniors how to use the Internet. Targeting audiences, learning what they want or need to know, and delivering it to them.

CREATING GUIDES: Making tools to help people use library resources, including research guides (for example, lists of key databases to check out when you want info for you English paper) and digital resource guides (instructions on how to use those databases), and reader’s advisory lists ("so you liked this book? Maybe you’d also like this other one!"). Making these guides available both in print and online.

Things That Librarians Generally Do Not Do
(But again, it depends on the environment – in a small library, they just might):

Check books in and out. Shelve books.



So that's about it. Maybe someday Spiff will come back and also provide insight. In the meantime, remember that:

a. Not everyone who works in a library is a librarian
b. There is much more to running a library than simply keeping books on the shelves, and
c. Ask yourself, why is it surprising that librarians have so much education, when people expect them to know everything?



Finally, just so you know:

1. Librarians are not all old. 70% of my classmates were under 30, which is especially impressive given that many of them had multiple degrees and/or had spent extensive time working abroad.

2. Librarians like theme parties and dancing.

3. Librarians can be very, very loud.



I don't know what direction to take this thread, you can talk about libraries/librarians or dispel the misconceptions of your own profession or something.
This reply was last edited on 08-12-08 09:29:49 PM by kayte.
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Reply 1 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-17-08 06:30:41 PM)
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Very informative thread.
http://xkcd.com/280/
"I used the internet to get laid once. That is not a shining moment of pride for me. The worst thing? She evidently gave me chlamydia, which I evidently got cleared up."
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Reply 2 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-17-08 08:17:20 PM)
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I like libraries. They're pretty swell.
this is my music i hope you like it
this is music i listen to these are movies i like these are books i like
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Reply 3 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-17-08 08:31:52 PM)
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Im just kidding, i like books.
I think therefore i am not... Stupid.
"sometimes you gotta grab life by the haunches and *obscure face* Hump it into submission!"
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I don't really even like hearing about it or reading about it

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Reply 4 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-17-08 10:24:09 PM)
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I think seventhlight is getting a little Paint-happy.

I haven't been in the campus library since last semester. Hopefully I won't have to for the rest of the year because I hate our library. It has no personality at all.
i am raising my eyebrow


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Reply 5 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 04:25:55 AM)
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Ok, i'd rather have a job/major in reading books, then just hang around them...

But, have you read any good book lately?
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Reply 6 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 08:54:04 AM)
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I have a question.


Have you had sex in the library stacks yet?
Tackle 'em all. Let the referee sort it out later.
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juvenile

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Reply 7 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 09:48:53 AM)
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Quoted from Ampitheatre:
I think seventhlight is getting a little Paint-happy.

I haven't been in the campus library since last semester. Hopefully I won't have to for the rest of the year because I hate our library. It has no personality at all.


Yeah, I did get a little paint happy. I don't know what came over me? Library panda? I don't know. I blame it on my insomnia
I think therefore i am not... Stupid.
"sometimes you gotta grab life by the haunches and *obscure face* Hump it into submission!"
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Reply 8 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 10:01:08 AM)
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Quote:
(Master of Library and Information Studies FYI)


useless
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Reply 9 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 10:14:57 AM)
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I worked in a library once, though behind the desk checking out books and filling out request papers for the librarian. It was okay, but not my thing I don't think; too much insecurity with its prolonged existence and too much reliance on second-hand technology.
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Reply 10 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 10:58:55 AM)
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Quoted from vissario:
Quote:
(Master of Library and Information Studies FYI)


useless


Subjective.....you are just stuck in the capitalist notion of having a high earning degree
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Reply 11 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 11:07:43 AM)
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Quoted from Surt:
Quoted from vissario:
Quote:
(Master of Library and Information Studies FYI)


useless


Subjective.....you are just stuck in the capitalist notion of having a high earning degree


what is the purpose, then, of earning a degree surt?
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Reply 12 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 11:16:37 AM)
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I WANT something, and i NEED something, and combining those two factors is excellent.

I WANT to work with literature, i NEED to make money to sustain myself, thus i take a degree that combines those two things, because i luckily have an opportunity to do so.
Tough, Unique, Bad, Bodacious, and Sassy.
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Reply 13 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 11:19:56 AM)
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Quoted from Surt:
I WANT something, and i NEED something, and combining those two factors is excellent.

I WANT to work with literature, i NEED to make money to sustain myself, thus i take a degree that combines those two things, because i luckily have an opportunity to do so.


you didn't answer the question; if the goal of a degree is not to make money, why would there be so many tests and regulations governing who can be accredited with one? becasue its fun and bodacious?
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Reply 14 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 11:22:00 AM)
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The end result is knowledge and learning, not money.
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Reply 15 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 11:24:01 AM)
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Quoted from Surt:
The end result is knowledge and learning, not money.


okay, so ..

Quote:
why would there be so many tests and regulations governing who can be accredited with one?
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Reply 16 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 11:26:52 AM)
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Because you want to make sure civil engineers don't build bridges out of balsa wood.
"I used the internet to get laid once. That is not a shining moment of pride for me. The worst thing? She evidently gave me chlamydia, which I evidently got cleared up."
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Reply 17 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 11:31:11 AM)
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Quoted from vissario:
Quoted from Surt:
The end result is knowledge and learning, not money.


okay, so ..

Quote:
why would there be so many tests and regulations governing who can be accredited with one?



To make sure that it is correctly learned, that the stairs to reach the attic
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kayte
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Reply 18 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-18-08 01:25:14 PM)
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Quoted from Amphy:

I haven't been in the campus library since last semester. Hopefully I won't have to for the rest of the year because I hate our library. It has no personality at all.


The main library on my campus is also a dungeon. Ah, 70s architects! Thank you for your vision of a concrete paradise. Now please take it away!

Quoted from Surt:
Ok, i'd rather have a job/major in reading books, then just hang around them...

But, have you read any good book lately?


Well I read One Hundred Years of Solitude a few months ago and that was good, and more recently I read The Birth of Venus which I really enjoyed but is maybe more of a girl book. Now I am reading The Library at Night which is good but you kind of need to be in the right frame of mind for it (but, books about libraries for people who like libraries!), and next I am going to read As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Stay in Denial, which I can't yet say is good but I'm looking forward to it.

Everything I have out from the library right now is non-fiction.

Quoted from Mr Excitable:

Have you had sex in the library stacks yet?



No :/

Quoted from Sunny:
I worked in a library once, though behind the desk checking out books and filling out request papers for the librarian. It was okay, but not my thing I don't think; too much insecurity with its prolonged existence and too much reliance on second-hand technology.


Yeah, you had a shitty job, but I agree with your assessment about insecurity and reliance on old-technology. A lot of librarians are really obsessed with continually justifying their existence (the librarians as well as the libraries themselves) and it all gets a bit tedious. Also some of them try desperately to stay at the forefront of pop culture and whatnot but generally they miss the boat and everything's a year or three behind what everyone else is doing. Like, some are still learning how to make wikis and blogs and stuff, and others think that Second Life is going to be the hot new frontier for reference librarians. Apparently not realizing that Second Life is SO OVER.

I think this will change since the new crop of librarians are millennial and internet-native, instead of people who have had to acclimate to the "new technology" (computers lol so new and exciting!) and can't really keep up.

Quoted from vissario:

Quoted from kayte:

Master of Library and Information Studies FYI)


useless



Aw. Since this got quoted I'll respond to it.

1. Surt's right, that's entirely subjective.

2. It's hardly useless, since it's a professional requirement. You need the degree to do the job.

3. Don't hate me just because I'm more educated than you, wanker.

Quoted from Surt:

I WANT something, and i NEED something, and combining those two factors is excellent.

I WANT to work with literature, i NEED to make money to sustain myself, thus i take a degree that combines those two things, because i luckily have an opportunity to do so.



Yeah pretty much. i'm a serial-killer :)
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Reply 19 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-21-08 11:56:58 AM)
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Quoted from surt:
To make sure that it is correctly learned, that the stairs to reach the attic


To do this...

Quoted from kayte:
You need the degree to do the job.


comeone surt, try one more time to show me a degree which isn't connected to BLING BLING NIGGA!

Quoted from kayte:
It's hardly useless, since it's a professional requirement.


Based on this argument, if I got a degree to pour paint, subjectively, my degree would be just as useful? Lol, relativism does one's mediocrity good.
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Reply 20 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-21-08 12:56:17 PM)
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I don't think anyone is arguing that one of the main reasons of going to school/getting a degree is to get a job. What you're missing is that Surt was saying that aside from providing you an opening into the job market, in earning a degree you should be learning something that you truly enjoy.

So for Kayte, in her library studies, she learns a lot about literature and whatever other crazy librarian shit she has to learn. This probably interests her.

To you, in earning your degree, it's ONLY about how much money you will make once you graduate. You made that quite clear in a thread before.

So yes, you get a degree to help you get your job, but the thing here is that non-consumerists choose their degree based on what they enjoy in life.

EDIT: To actually add some substance to this thread:
Kayte, were there any courses that talked a lot about how the internet is (negatively?) affecting libraries? It seems as though, as far as basic research goes, most people would go to the internet before the library. Obviously more serious and professional research would require articles published in books/magazines, but even then, you can access them online.
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Reply 21 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-21-08 01:01:55 PM)
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Universities were not founded on making money, they were founded on furthering one's and society's own knowledge and understanding of humanity and the "universe" as known at a given time. learn u some stuff ok??
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Reply 22 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-21-08 01:13:17 PM)
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Quote:
Universities were not founded on making money, they were founded on furthering one's and society's own knowledge and understanding of humanity and the "universe" as known at a given time.


Actually, they were founded largely to provide an avenue for the rich to educate their children to run society after their death. It wasn't about money, it was about money and power. Huuuuge fucking difference, sunny, am I right?

Quoted from wheezy:
So yes, you get a degree to help you get your job


Discussion complete, then. Just because you can justify it because you "like" it doesn't make it any less an attempt at conforming to consumer society.
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Reply 23 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-21-08 01:20:16 PM)
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Quoted from vissario:
Quote:
Universities were not founded on making money, they were founded on furthering one's and society's own knowledge and understanding of humanity and the "universe" as known at a given time.


Actually, they were founded largely to provide an avenue for the rich to educate their children to run society after their death. It wasn't about money, it was about money and power. Huuuuge fucking difference, sunny, am I right?


Yeah... No. That's not right at all, vis. Sorry.
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Reply 24 of 37 (Originally posted on: 04-21-08 01:22:56 PM)
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Quote:
Discussion complete, then. Just because you can justify it because you "like" it doesn't make it any less an attempt at conforming to consumer society.


The point was not whether or not you go to college to get a job. The point was that you say Kayte's field of study was useless, because it's not a very high earning field, which is the only thing that matters to you.

The discussion was complete before this thread was made. YOUR only reason for going to college is to make money. Other people also care about learning interesting things.
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