Friday, August 04, 2006

Librarian, Becoming a

Contrary to what some naive and enthusiastic recent library school graduates might think, one does not actually become a librarian until one gets a job as a librarian. When you graduate from library school, you are not a librarian with a job as a custodian. You are a custodian with a library degree.

Bona fied librarians should take it upon themselves to rub this painful realization in the face of any recent library school graduates on their library's staff... right after offering congratulations on their achievement.

20 comments:

MissCurledEarCat said...

Actually as I have been a librtarian for over 40 years, I don't encourage anyone to become a low paying librarian today. If they do, I don't say "I told you so" I tell them to be firm in refusing to do clerical stuff. Of course this drives their boss crazy.

Librarian Girl said...

"One doesn't become a librarian until one gets a job as a librarian." Ummm...and sometimes not even then.

Anonymous said...

awh... this one is mean. :(

usually more funny but this time...

Anonymous said...

What about the opposite? I had a job as a librarian before I had a library degree. So, what did I become when I actually got the degree? Hmmm...something to ponder.

Gus and Fer said...

In hock to The Man on a librarian's salary...?

Oh, and elevated to an admirable status in your profession, of course. There's nothing better.

Deborah said...

This is just not true. You become a librarian when you become a librarian, and that time might be different for different people. There isn't some bar you have to pass. Some librarians have never attended library school. Some have never worked in a library. I've seen far too many of these artificial distinctions: you need an MLS; you need to have been working in the field with the title "librarian"; you need to have been on a reference desk for three years. I've seen people who've run reference and circulation for years told "you aren't a librarian" because their titles are "library assistant" -- the library's way of saving money by calling the position non-professional. We don't do the field any good by this sort of mindless ranking.

Anonymous said...

I present to you, polite librarian, my hands. Which you shall beat with a wooden ruler. How dare I enter this exalted conversation? I am but a lowly clerk! In a middle school! Imagine!

I will fling myself off the circulation desk and back to the dark dusty shelves of National Geographics saved by countless librarians before even you (!) for posterity.

Or... I can crouch at the portal, and question those who dare... those who think they have a library card... RUN! it's the PATRONS! And they want to come IN! gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Deborah said...

And now I feel really stupid, because rereading, I can tell us that post was tongue-in-cheek or not. So if it was, I'm embarrassed, and I apologize for taking the bait.

Anonymous said...

That's "bona-fide."

Anonymous said...

I get it. Sometimes the comments left by our bretheren just add to the blog post...amusing me all the more.

Anonymous said...

Glad you apologized, Deborah, because I was about to go on a CERTIFIED MLS-DEGREED LIBRARIAN RANT about whiny non-degreed "library assistants" who didn't shell out tons of money to be CUSTODIANS. And turn bona-fidely INSANE and BITCHY.

Anonymous said...

I find it absolutely interesting all the people without degrees who are employed in librarian jobs claim the degree doesn't matter. Sorry, it does. It may be overly theoretical, but that's why they teach it at university and not in a trade school.

Anonymous said...

YES! YES! YES!

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what title I might now assume, as a recent library school graduate considering her future career possibilities I can certainly say that I am neither naive nor enthusiastic!

Anonymous said...

Pity.

Char said...

If you have a librarian position but you don't have an MLS, then you're not a real librarian. You're a "liberrian" and you should always defer to the real librarians you come into contact with.

"Liberrians" should do all the clerical work while librarians go to meetings, take 2 hour lunches and take naps in the darkest recesses of the library.

Anonymous said...

Hey!

Norma said...

This discussion reminds me of my cardiologist's medical assistant who calls herself a "nurse," even in her letters giving me instructions. My daughter (a medical practice manager) says she hires MA's and although things may be different now, it takes about 2 months of schooling at a technical school. An RN, the only person I call nurse, has college and nurses' training at an accredited medical college. We need both, but let's not get confused about experience and training by misnomers.

There's no crime or disrespect in being a library technical assistant or a circulation supervisor, but the librarian is the person with an MLS. If you're trying to do the librarian's job (I used to tell my assistants, and even the student employees), who will do yours?

DMW005 said...

I agree with Deborah. Sometimes individuals gain a job before they have the qualifications for the position. For example, should a person not be labeled a teacher if they are in the classroom under emergency certification and currently attending an alternative certification program? They are in fact a teacher and that goes the same for a person working in the library. People tend to put too much emphasis on the title and not the work being done. I was labeled a Library Clerk I but I did the job of a Librarian without the salary. I think the higher ups worry about the job title to control the pay. Wouldn't that be great if the job duties went hand in hand???

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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