|Posted by Tiffany Newton on December 16, 2013 at 11:00 PM|
Over the weekend, my grandpa found an ad for a receptionist opening at an electric company in the local newspaper. He called me and told me about it and said, "This is the perfect job for you!" Maybe it's just my family, but it seems like the older generations don't fully grasp the concept of libraries and librarians. Many of them keep mentioning things like: "I don't know why you need as Master degree to be a librarian" or "Why can't you just work at <random place> doing <secretary or similar work>? I've tried to explain to them that first, I don't want to be a secretary, and second, even if I did apply, they probably wouldn't see me as a real and interested candidate because many of them only require a high school diploma (if that!). They would see me as "overqualified" and that I would leave as soon as a better job opens up because I'd be unhappy doing these simplier tasks, and that I wouldn't be stimulated or challenged enough.
Photo from the University of Wisconsin www2.uwrf.edu/arc/uwrfphotos.php
Libraries aren't what they were 50 years ago. Even then, I think they were underestimated. Librarians are not secretaries or receptionists. They do so much more than greet customers and answer phones. Sorry grandpa, but I aspire to do more than this.
Putting it very simply, Librarians:
- Greet and help patrons
- Know the community's needs
- Provide information, programs and events to meet those needs
- Plan and organize these events,
- Balance the budget
- Teach patrons how to do things like use keywords, boolean operators, use computers, attach photos to emails, etc.
- Promote libraries, literacy, and life-long learning
- Provide technology and internet support
- Partner with local schools, businesses and organizations
- Manage and train library staff
- Create attractive displays
- Catalog and organize the books in a way that is easy for patrons to find them later
- Preserve and conserve information in all formats from old, rare books to digital information
- Deal with unruly patrons and those with complaints