Monday, April 15, 2013

National Library Week 2013

A few years ago I participated in a career day in a public elementary school. Guests representing a variety of professions were invited to give a 15 minute presentation to classroom audiences of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. We guest speakers, of course, wanted to be inspiring but not too serious (boring). How does one explain what a librarian does in a way that seems interesting compared to a nurse, police officer, fire fighter, lawyer, or doctor? (I suspect I was only invited because my husband teaches at that school.) There aren’t a lot of TV shows or movies about librarians. We don’t dress alike so you can’t really tell who is and who isn’t – not even when you see us in a library.

The funny thing is that many adults wonder what librarians do – or they assume they know and wonder why someone would want to do that. (Of course, there are those who have a pretty accurate idea of what we do and still wonder why.)
    Common assumptions about librarians:
  • We like to read
  • We are quiet
  • We are introverted
  • We can’t handle a lot of stress
  • We’re definitely not “people” people
  • We’re worried about keeping our jobs
  • We are a dying breed
  • We love cats.
But think about that. Who would pay shy people to sit around and read? My niece is currently studying Library and Information Science at San Jose State University (totally online). My sister-in-law is interested in following up her Art History degree with a Masters in Library and Information Science at UCLA. (These are the only Library Science programs in California.) Why now when there won’t be any libraries left to employ them by the end of the year? (As some may think.)

This week, as we celebrate National Library Week, the Darling Librarians of Hope International University will answer the question, "Why be a librarian?" for ourselves. We will go in reverse chronological order of when we earned our professional degrees.

Tomorrow you will read about our newest librarian, Lindsey Sinnott, who earned a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Drexel University in 2010. I will answer this question on Wednesday, Terri Bogan, Reference and Instruction Librarian will be next and Dr. Rodney Vliet will bring the seasoned perspective on Friday.

By the way, I think I rocked the presentation to elementary students. Hopefully, our posts this week will be just as interesting to our blog audience.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Robin Hartman is Director of Library Services at Hope International University. She is curious about how the organization and communication of information shapes society and is committed to equipping students to impact the world for Christ.

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