Take a minute to watch The Librarian 1947 Vocational Guidance Films. It may not showcase the cinematic sensibilites you’re used to, but it will provide context for this post. (If you can’t, picture a black and white film complete with an old school narrator trying to sell you on a career in librarianship.)
Anyone else thinking of the old saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same”? Hairstyles and fashion aside, a shocking amount of that discussion translates directly to today. Librarians work with people to serve community members of all kinds, breaking the myth of a mousey shut-in that just likes books. People seek information and it’s a librarian’s role to provide access as well as being a liason between catalogue and client. Upper education or special training is required and there is even a bookmobile at 1:26! I do like the focus on new technologies and various types of information being made available. Yes, they may be presenting microfilms and phonographs, but these were advance for 1947. In fact, having a promotional film is pretty good too.
“Basically, the task of the individual librarian remains the same: bringing books and people together.” (2:42)
Of course, there are differences from 1947 to today. The video devotes one category of librarianship the school librarian, now a rare find in the public education system. The “extension librarians” mentioned seem to be a precursor to our current embedded librarians. Similarly, the library adminsitrator is now a familiar position. Perhaps most noticeable is the absense of computers. It’s odd to see a library full of people reading – no laptops or coffee cups – and this is a change I’m happy to see. Why? It shows that librarians are working to stay current and relevant, creating libraries for the needs of the community. The new Halifax Central Library is a great example of public libraries reimagined. Designed to be a community space, there are even music studios to a community known for it’s love of the arts.
As a final note, I must admit The Librarian 1947 Vocational Guidance Films hits a nerve. It’s coming time to pick the next round of MLIS courses and I still don’t know what it actually means to be a “Librarian”. Since my previous post, L is for Library, I’ve asked professors, colleagues, friends, and family – every answer is different. On the one hand, this allows for opportunities and flexibility. On the other hand, how can all of these perspectives come together to form a meaningful, active body of professionals “forming the kind of world in which you want to live” (9:30)? I think (and hope) there are a lot of changes still coming to the field of librarianship.
Now, the fact that you’ve read this far is a pretty good indication of your committed to librarianship… or procrastion…. possibly both. Regardless, you deserve a reward, so here’s a quiz to find out What Kind of Librarian Are You? Turns out I’m a Teen Librarian! While I do enjoy new technology and being a ninja could never hurt my success, I’m confused about how being “incredibly good-looking” is at all relevant to assisting young readers. Anyway, what kind of librarian are you? Post your results with your comments below!
Photo by Kit in flickr.