Posted tagged ‘librarians’

Ageism

September 1, 2009

The other day an article on ageism in the library profession made the rounds on Twitter, and generated quite a bit of conversation.  Long story short, there is a lot of ageism in the profession.

As the converstaion went on a few trends became apparent:

Employers are resistant to hiring young librarians for fear that they will not remain for long.

Young librarians are often given unreasonably high expectations, leading to inevitable burn out.

Newer librarians often feel belittled by their more experienced peers.

Personally I think that while I have experienced some of all of these issues, I’ve generally been pretty fortunate.  I do however have my own observation on how the generation gap affects librarians based on my library.  I find that the difference between generations manifests primarily as conflicting approaches to librarianship.  The experienced librarians think in terms of the library’s patrons, the younger librarians think about those not being served.  And I guess I’m not alone, based on a recent post from frequent commenter Wolfhowl on the need to advertise libraries to those who aren’t already using them (such a novel concept isn’t it?).

I know quite a few colleagues that have entirely given up on attracting new patrons to the library.  They won’t think of it in those terms, instead they’ll talk about how there are so few teens in the place, or how many of our regulars have begun to die out.  On the other hand it seems to be the young librarians who come in and immediately want to find ways to make the library relevant to a younger audience (thus ensuring a steady stream of library n00bs).

So, I know budgets are tight right now, but if there are any jobs out there, please get over your hang ups and seriously consider a recent graduate.

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Loving What You Do

August 21, 2009

In keeping with my theme this week of rhetorical diatribes, how important is a librarian to have a well rounded knowledge of the culture around them.  That’s a long winded way of asking must a ya librarian read Twilight?

I don’t think anyone would argue that a librarian must be able to relate to their patrons, but just how much does that require?  A colleague mentioned to me recently that they were looking forward to being able to read an adult novel over a vacation.  Let’s think about this comment for a moment.  A librarian is never going to be part of the target audience for any childrens or YA book in our collections, and while many adults can enjoy those books anyway (I’m certainly one of them), you can’t expect that from everyone.

So, how much exposure is necessary?  And is it bad if watching/reading/playing like a child or a teen becomes work?  Particularly as that’s work that must be done off the clock.  Or, is it possible to get by on the How to Talk about books you haven’t read approach?

#Malibtweetup

August 18, 2009

So what happens when 6 librarians who only know one another from the internets get together?  And will it make a good premise for a reality TV show?  Those were the questions answered at Monday night’s first ever Mass librarian tweetup.  

So, what do librarians talk about over drinks?  The answer turned out to be tv (particulary reality shows and Dr. Who), what books people had on them (as well as how many), Germany, decorative bedding options, Jasper Fforde, Netflix, the awesomeness of the sadly absent @helgagrace, Wuthering Heights, #unimerpandas, cataloging, beer, careers, enormous piles of nachos, romance novels, and most other subjects.

All in all, one of the best conversations I’ve had in ages.  And I love that people are already talking about doing this again.  Next time perhaps with name tags, although it was fun playing spot the librarians (look for confused looking people trying to recognize each other by their profile avatars).

Beards

August 13, 2009

I stumbled into an annoying little project yesterday concerning ghost/co-writers.  Now, one of the ramifications of our budget cuts is that I am now responsible for cataloging adult fiction (which I love doing by the way, but I still dearly want my co-worker back).  

I’m flying through our latest order yesterday when I come across a copy of “Sidney Sheldon’s Mistress of the Game” (that’s the title, it’s not actually written by Sheldon).  Problem time.  Our Tom Clancy books that are like this are cataloged under Clancy’s name, but the Eric Van Lustbader written Robert Ludlum novels are under Lustbader (with one copy erroneously under Van).  After much discussion it turned that everyone thought everyone else knew how we were supposed to handle these, and it was time for a new project.

So now we’re cataloging these as, for example, Fiction Ludlum/Lustbader.  But we’re only doing this for the books in which the author that patrons are more likely to look for (Ludlum) is not actually given credit for being an author.  Thus the Womens’ Murder Club books will still be cataloged as standard James Patterson books, and likewise the posthumous V.C. Andrews ones.  It’s a slightly annoying compromise, but I think it’ll work for us.

Now I just have to spend this morning tracking down 10 billions fake Tom Clancy novels.  ::grumble::

The Future of Meetings

August 11, 2009

Today I went out east for the first MLA tech services section meeting of the term.  It was a fairly productive meeting, despite being at a slight stand still due to the recession.  Mostly it’s becoming evident that barely any libraries in the state have a professional development budget at the moment.  So, we’re looking at an immediate future of scaled back conferences, online meetings, and a possible workshop on how to run online workshops (we were sort of joking that we should bring in a speaker and have them teach from behind a curtain for that one).

Something is definitely being lost by making these movies.  I know of at least one co-worker who admits to not getting much out of online lessons, and I know she’s hardly alone.  But we’re gradually reaching the point where traditional learners are going to be left in the dust, and I’m not sure there’s anything that can be done to avert that.

Now in slightly cheerier news, I just have to share that thanks to a friend I’ve got a random Twitter appearance over on Macworld.  The Tweet in question, is of course from a conversation about killing zombies (although of late they have given way to to unicorns and pandas).

The Day Twitter Died

August 6, 2009

As has been reported everywhere today, Twitter was hit by a DDoS attack, which crippled the service for a few hours this morning and drastically slowed it down throughout the day.  What was really amazing to me was how much I have aparently come to rely on it throughout the day.  

Over the course of the last few weeks an enormous network of Tweeting librarians has developed via #followalibrarian.  Besides the incredible networking opportunity this has provided (Massachusetts library Tweetup on August 17th), this network has become an invaluable tool for me in my job.  To paraphrase one of my favorite obscure X-Men characters, librarians know stuff.  Yesterday for example, I had a question about a random book I needed to catalog in Urdu.  Turns out I knew three people on Twitter who had the answer I sought.  That one just floored me.

Working without that contact with my peers today was actually a bit rough after having grown so accustomed to it.  Hopefully tomorrow everything will be better.

Against My Wishes

August 5, 2009

I was recently asked if I’d be interested in sitting down with our circ and childrens librarians to discuss the possibility of building a video game collection at my library.  The answer was yes of course, so I’m greatly looking forward to that discussion.

However, as much as I might love the idea of us having such a collection, I’m having a very hard time building up a good case for why we should have one at this moment.  That really hurts to admit, but I can’t argue with the budget.  Our collection development budget was recently gutted and we’ve lost hours to our YA department.  We also desperately need to upgrade our public computers.  So as much as it pains me I would much rather have those things before allocating money towards a games collection.

And beyond that there’s the logistics issues.  In order to support such a collection, we need more consoles, even if just for the purposes of testing discs to make sure they work.  We have a Wii for our Rock Band/DDR events, but that’s it (maybe I could bring discs home to try out on my xbox if necessary).  I think getting a game collection would also finally push us to the point of needing a disc repair machine, which would cost a few grand.  We seem to be the only library without one now a days, but I’ve run the numbers a few times and its never been cost effective for us to have one previously.

Maybe I’m just being pessimistic, but I don’t think this is the time.  Thoughts?