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Friday, August 27, 2010

The librarian's work.

Part 4 of the "Becoming a librarian series" - a personal advocacy to create awareness about the world of books, libraries, librarians, the librarianship profession and their enduring relevance.

"Mean Librarian". Please see image credits below.
So what do librarians do?

For the record, we do not read books. Who has the time to even read the entirety of a foreword or even a preface? Nor do we spend our time waiting behind the lending desk, waiting to pounce on you and demand fines should you dare to return your book beyond its due date. Arrange books on shelves? We can only wish we have as much time as we want to, to ensure that their arrangement is perfect and will not lead you astray in your search for your required reading. 

Yes, we do so much more. An enumeration of our daily tasks will make your head spin. If pondered, we might actually be superheroes in disguise...

So what do librarians do? Simply put, we manage.

We manage library materials and by that, we mean not just books but also multimedia, databases, websites, equipment, furniture, and etc.

We manage people. In the case of academic librarians, our clientele consists not just of students and faculty but also  fellow librarians, book dealers, various types of vendors, outside researchers, institution administrators, and various professionals who have anything to do with the  information that we acquire, organize, and has access to. We also manage junior staff, student assistants, and on-the-job-trainees.

We manage events, be it related to our library work or not, and in every capacity that we are assigned to.

We manage money and by that, we are not only referring to the book fund.

And of course, we manage information. We acquire it, organize it, and keep it, and we make sure that it is accessible to you whenever you may need it. We develop services that will help you maximize whatever available information there is.

What's in a day's work for us?

It actually depends on what is our job description at the library.  You see, in as much as there are various types of librarians, there are also various types of library work. They actually fall under two general categories: technical services which involves everything about information resources, and user services which is everything about information service. The Aquisition librarian, cataloger, indexer, archivist, and  IT librarian usually make up the technical group. The user services group on the other hand, are usually comprised of librarians in charged of the Circulation, Serials, and the Reference sections.

(... to be continued)
Next in the series: A day in the life of an Acquisitions librarian

kaigachi is a conjugation of the Japanese term "kigaicha" or crazy. It roughly translates as "crazy about something."

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious." - C.Jung

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