Tag Archives: job market

Who gets to call themselves a librarian?

5 Feb

I was noticing the other day that I have this annoying habit of telling people I’m a librarian when they ask me what I do, even though I’m not currently working as one. And then I have to launch into a long-winded explanation (Well, I recently got my library degree, but I haven’t found a professional job yet…). This made me think: I have my MLIS, but am I a librarian? What determines librarian-hood? The degree, or the job?

With the job market how it is right now, there are many of us MLIS-holders who are still looking for employment, are employed in part-time and/or on-call or support staff positions in libraries, or employed outside of the library profession. Do we get to call ourselves librarians, or is that right reserved for those with the job title?

It may be self-serving, but I really feel that being a librarian is more than just a vocation. It is a way of looking at the world and information that does not turn off just because you may be doing something else for a living (or still looking for work). Maybe it’s because during my period of unemployment after graduation, I worked so hard to stay involved in the profession in whatever way I could, that it became part of my identity and I started really thinking of myself as A Librarian. I’m not ready to give up my dream just yet, even though I haven’t found that first professional position.

What do you think? Is a librarian something you are, or something you do? Those of you who aren’t currently working as professional librarians – do you call yourselves librarians?


Libraries are about more than books, but so are librarians

17 Sep

UPDATE: A member of the Trinity community has clarified the situation there in the comments. It seems the library staff members who are being asked to leave are not librarians. The article itself was unclear, so I do appreciate being set straight!

I just read a troubling news story from the San Antonio News-Express, via ALA JobList on Facebook. Called “New chapter for libraries”, the article identifies a trend in academic libraries toward downsizing staff (at least in the San Antonio area). Apparently Trinity University is offering buyout packages to several of its library employees to leave, and several other area institutions are letting positions go unfilled when staff leave or retire. Trinity’s president, Dennis Ahlburg, links the reduction in staff to a reduced need for librarians with the increase in availability of digitized resources.

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