You Know What Really Grinds My Gears….? (Courtesy of Peter Griffin from Family Guy)
For the past five years or so, between my library work experience and as I was pursuing my Master of Library Science, MLS, degree, I heard phrases such as the following:
In regards to being a librarian:
- “Wow, I would love to have a job where I could sit and read all day.”
- “All you do is check out books, right?”
- “Your job is so easy.”
- “Don’t you just sit at the desk and help people find books?”
- “What do you REALLY do?”
So on and so forth, you get the idea.
In regards to completing my MLS degree:
Me: “Yeah, I’m pretty busy with graduate school.”
Person: “Wow, that’s really impressive. What are you getting your degree in?”
Me: “Library Science.”
Person: “[insert snicker] You need a Master’s degree to work in a library?” OR “Oh [disregarding any importance of this type of Master’s degree]…”
So on and so forth, once again, you get the idea.
Here goes my rant and please forgive me if I sound a little harsh, but this is one of those topics that really “grinds my gears”:
I am so sick and tired of people saying librarians don’t do anything, that they don’t understand why librarians need a Master’s degree and/or don’t regard it as highly as some other types of Master ’s degrees and that slowly but surely librarians are not going to be necessary. I can handle people joking about how the typical librarian might look [insert grumpy old woman with hair in a bun] or act [“shhh-ing” everyone], but I hate feeling like I don’t do anything or that my job is worthwhile, because I do and it is. As a teen services public librarian I do the following and more:
Plan and present teen programs, connect teens with books [in various ways], encourage having a love and passion for reading, answer a wide range of questions at the reference desk [using books, electronic databases, ect.], assist patrons that are new to using computers, assist patrons with finding credible information, perform collection development to ensure teens have the best collection of books to choose from, plan the bi-annual reading clubs, perform school outreach, create attractive displays [book and other], perform collection development for adult non-fiction, write articles for the local newspapers, weed the various book collections to ensure anything not being checked out in a reasonable amount of time and/or not having current, up-to-date information is discarded, and so on.
So no, I don’t get to sit and read all day. I do not just check books in and out. I do not just help patrons find books. Yes, I do feel that having my Master’s degree, along with years of library work experience, is necessary. Sure, maybe the Master’s degree program needs to continue to evolve with the ever changing world we live in, but it is not unimportant.
Normally I don’t voice my opinion about this a whole lot, but articles such as THIS ONE , and some of the very negative comments in response to this article about how unnecessary real [school] librarians are just bothers me. Librarians are needed. I understand the industry, along with every other industry, is being impacted from the economy and everything else going on in this world. But please, don’t belittle someone about their job unless you have truly walked in their shoes. [Some public school teachers may see their school librarian not doing anything, but it doesn’t mean EVERY school librarian is like that.]
Ok, I think I’ve said enough. Thank you for listening.