Friday, March 14, 2014

So You Want My (Library) Job - from the Art of Manliness

     I've been a reader of the AoM blog for several years now, and have also acquired several books from the site for our collection. So here they repay the favor (in a manner of speaking) with an entry in their "So You Want My Job" series. Nate Pedersen is a librarian at a public library in Bend, Oregon, and gives his view on getting into the library field, which historically has been a female-dominated profession. 

 This is not Nate Pederson. This is James Billington, former Librarian of Congress.
 I'd put the photo of Pederson from AoM up here, but there's that copyright thing.
I like his response to one of the questions: 

 What is the best part of your job?

"The fact that every single day I go home from work having made someone’s life just a little bit better. That can be as simple as finding a good book to read or as complex as helping someone finally land a job after hovering at the edge of homelessness."

     As an academic librarian, I don't get to help people recover from unemployment and homelessness, but I do get to help students get un-stuck when their research process grinds to a halt, or when they can't find a resource they remember hearing about, but they don't know what it was called.  That's a good feeling. It was among the reasons why I decided to get involved with the Roaming Librarian initiative - bringing our skills to bear right where the students are.
     I'm responsible for placing orders to replace books that have been lost from our collection (and boy does that happen a lot); and while the process is tedious, it is a satisfying feeling to know that books which our patrons want are getting back on the shelf to be used. Directly or indirectly, every day I make research possible - the research that turns our students into educated degree-holders ready to go out into the world and make a difference. 
     I agree with his thoughts about the library continuing to be a vital part of a community (public or academic) and successfully navigating the ever-changing world of information technology. Heavens, in my working life we've gone from databases on CD-ROM (remember those?) to multi- or unlimited user access databases online with decades of journal backfiles; and all of these can be accessed with a 1 pound tablet computer, as opposed to the desktop dinosaurs that were the best thing going when I was in library school. Despite the popularity of e-books, and their seemingly ever-increasing accessibility, print books aren't fading away.  But whatever form the book takes; an old library director used to call that the 'can', while the information was the 'tomatoes'; librarians will be able to connect people with the knowledge they seek.

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