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Author Topic: All about librarians
TMBWITW,PB

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Icon 5 posted May 30, 2006 11:41      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I got started reading a webcomic about people who work in a library (Unshelved if you're curious which one) and I got to thinking. I know that librarians need an advanced(?) degree, but I don't really know why. I'm sure it's just because of my unfamiliarity with the requirements of the job.

As far as I know librarians are required to
  • Choose which books are stocked
  • Organize the books on the shelves
  • Maintain records of who has which book checked out, when they are due, etc.
  • Collect fines
  • And, of course, have a general knowledge of where things are and what will be needed for different types of research

I know that is a difficult job, I'm not saying it's easy, but I just don't really see how you can learn that at Librarian school apart from maybe the Dewey Decimal system. Can anyone fill me in on what I'm missing?

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ooby
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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2006 12:03      Profile for ooby     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It takes a Master's Degree to keep the card catalog updated.

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Mac D
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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2006 13:01      Profile for Mac D     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A long long time ago I dated a girl that was going to school for this ..... I never ask why a degree was needed. She was a double major. She was also going for Music composition and played 3 instruments .... Not to mention she was the pastors daughter (And yes it's true what they say about the pastors daughter)

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N9IWP
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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2006 13:52      Profile for N9IWP     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Does anyone still use a card catalog?
I worked in library software for a while (most of our customers were school librarians).
Librarians generally get a MLS (Master of Library Science) degree. Note that smaller libraries only have one librarian, the rest are library aids
Here is the ALA FAQ which covers some stuff:
http://www.ala.org/ala/accreditation/lisdirb/lisdirectory.htm

Brian

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2006 03:34      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I know that is a difficult job, I'm not saying it's easy, but I just don't really see how you can learn that at Librarian school apart from maybe the Dewey Decimal system. Can anyone fill me in on what I'm missing?
There is also the library of congress system too. (FWIW, that classification is growing at the University libraries here.)

It is very useful to be able to say: "I need a book on the relationship between existential philosophy and Heisenbergs uncertainty principle" and have a librarian understand what you are talking about. I would have thought that a degree simply demonstrates a certain academic ability, regardless of subject.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2006 06:12      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm pretty sure it's just something to up the prestige of the job, work the pay scale, and in general, protect the job market.

And yes, that is the general opinion of the librarians I'm friends with. [Smile] I rather love libraries, and know a few people going to library school at the moment. One of them is getting his degree paid for by his library, because they want to promote him, but can't without the MLS. Someday if I ever get bored of this industry, it's probably what I'll do.

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Doco

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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2006 06:32      Profile for Doco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I know a little about this.... My mother is the librarian at a K-12 school near where I grew up. She got her masters while I was in high-school. I think her minor for her undergrad was library science.

I don't think it is *needed* but I know that having the degree made it much more likely she could get a librarian job. If you are looking to hire a librarian and of the 10 resumes you have 3 have a masters in library science - which 3 are likely to get the interview and which are likely to see the trash bin?

Being a school district employee and covered by teachers union contract also made having the advanced degree attractive because it gave her a boost in pay.

Material selection is a big part of being a good librarian. The material has to be appropriate to the users of the library, attractive so they use it, what they want, and hopefully useful and informative. Lots of review reading. Of course with libraries over the last 20+ years that has morphed from being mostly books and magazines to now much of it being other media types such as CDs, DVDs, books on tape, computer software, etc. This becomes more of a "people" issue than just the purchasing and cataloging of material. Throw in a dash of retail type stuff for drawing people in and making the library a good place to use the material there. You see displays of the latest "stuff" at a library just like you do at your local retail store.

For my mom in particular there is teaching library skills to the elementary kids, and being able to help the high-schoolers.

There is also the "management" side of things - from dealing with other employees if you are the head librarian, to dealing with budgets of everything from capital expenses (buildings, shelving, etc) to electricity costs to the cost of books and media.

So - I don't think it is *necessary* - but it doesn't hurt and is one of those jobs where it has become expected.

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Tirthas the Geek
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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2006 07:57      Profile for Tirthas the Geek     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There is a parallel "profession" that is loosely described as Information Architect (Boxes and Arrows dot com) that draws from Library Science, web architecture, database designer/programmer, etc. To my knowledge, Information Architecture is not something one can get a degree in, but is likely to be something that many larger businesses/organizations would need to develop systems for organizing data--so who knows...maybe there will be a MSIA someday.

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2006 08:38      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Library Sciences Department here has a few degree programs... There are specialities in the feild. One is akin to an IT degree and the other with a focous on research techniques.

That said, a general librairian doesn't need a degree to know the dewy decimal system or to do ordinary tasks. But, other types of librarians are called in to research certian topics. Take a look at Google Knowlge Base and "ready reference" type services...

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eDJ
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Icon 3 posted June 07, 2006 15:46      Profile for eDJ     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The people with the advanced degrees will receive higher pay. They can move within many types of special libraries ie medical librarian, law librarian, or corporate specializations for research. The link to the ALA web site that Brian
posted is a good place to investigate. The MLS degree is the ground floor degree for any professional librarian starting his or her career. Many Librarian positions require the MLS
degree as requisite for application.

The bachelors degree in Library science will place one in a public or school library most likely. Often while working on the MLS degree. The PhD in library science will position one as an administrator of a facility or a director of regional system.

Special Libraries Association

Most libraries today purchase their cataloging from vendors and rarely do original cataloging.
Those employed in cataloging and acquisitions today will deal with the vendors and if they can't find an LC number they will create some original classification within the parameter of the union list. Acquisitions librarians will utilize book selection tools and place orders thru certain vendors or jobbers. Still they will prefer MLS if they can get it.

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ooby
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Icon 1 posted June 08, 2006 09:27      Profile for ooby     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Conan never had a Master's Degree.

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"haven't you ever wondered if there's more to life than being really, really, rediculously good looking?"

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Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted June 08, 2006 10:25      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ooby:
Conan never had a Master's Degree.

Sure he did. A Master's of the Universe...

Oh, wait. I guess that was the other guy in a loin-cloth with a big sword. [Wink]

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maybe.logic
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Icon 1 posted June 09, 2006 12:31      Profile for maybe.logic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here in England, you can take several different types of "book keeping" course/degrees, not entirely sure as to what that entails, but have seen the courses being advertised in uni applications I looked at, there not short either, or cheap!, so I pursume they are fairly looked after in the librarian world.
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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted June 09, 2006 12:44      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ummm, bookkeeping typically refers to accounting... to balancing the books... ensuring the finances of a company are healthy.

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Grummash

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Icon 1 posted June 09, 2006 12:48      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My eldest sister is a Librarian. The area of study she enjoyed the most doing her degree was Phys-Bib.
That is.. Physical Bibliography.. where you study the history and technique of making books. Printing, binding, paper making etc. It always sounded cool to me. [Smile]

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maybe.logic
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Icon 1 posted June 12, 2006 13:47      Profile for maybe.logic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
Ummm, bookkeeping typically refers to accounting... to balancing the books... ensuring the finances of a company are healthy.

It is an module in the degree [blush]
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