Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Librarians Are Amazing Folks

In honor of National Library Week, April 10 - April 16, I decided to do a little research on what makes up a librarian.  I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, way back when, librarians were scary folks.  They usually were old, but then when one is 8 or 9 what adult doesn’t seem old?  They were keepers of the books and knew the secret code of books called the Dewey Decimal System.  Talking in libraries then was a no-no and I seldom heard the librarians say anything more than “ssh”, “tsk, tsk” or “I’m going to call your mother!” 
They're no longer stern or scary. Libraries have changed over the years since I was a child and so have librarians.  While still keeper of the books their roles and their qualifications have grown and expanded just as libraries have.
So why does someone want to become a librarian?  I've always assumed that they must love books and love to read.  So do I.  But I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, not a librarian.  Becoming a librarian is serious stuff requiring a Master’s Degree in Library Science.  The MLS (Master of Library Science) is a 36-credit-hour program accredited by the American Library Association that introduces students to the roles and functions of libraries in contemporary society so that they can become familiar with key policy issues and technological trends and how these issues and trends affect libraries and information centers of all kinds.  Wow.  Now that’s what I call scary!
A librarian is taught to:
·         Assist and educate users of Libraries and Information Centers
·         Develop and Manage Library Collections
·         Organize and Represent Information Resources
·         Apply Management and Leadership Skills
·         Conduct and Analyze Research
·         Demonstrate Basic Technical Expertise
·         Approach Professional Issues with Understanding

But there is so more to being a librarian.  They have children’s reading programs to plan and coordinate; puppet shows to entertain and educate, special events and classes to arrange, books and magazines to select and prepare, staff and volunteers to schedule, outreach programs to manage, grants to write, budgets to manage, statistics to compile, and…. a desire to serve their community.
The list is never ending it seems and I can’t help from wondering if a librarian ever has the energy or time to read the books they love.  Regardless, they greet us with a hostess or host’s warm smile and graciousness whenever we enter their world of books and information.  Yep.  Librarians are amazing folks who love books and love to serve their community.  I'm so glad I got to know them.

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