Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Re: Graduate student cat question

Posting to Autocat

On 21/06/2011 18:24, Janet Hill wrote:
<snip>
Perhaps we shouldn't be tricked into talking about "professional" catalogers, but should remember that we are talking about librarians who catalog. That is, the term "librarian" is applied to those who have earned the right to call themselves librarians through completion of the accepted professional degree. The term "professional librarian" is redundant, because if one does not have the appropriate professional credential, one is not -- by definition -- a librarian. Other individuals who work in libraries, but who do not have the accepted minimum academic credentials are not librarians even though they may perform their work in "a professional manner."
</snip>
Also, concerning Janet Hill:
On 21/06/2011 20:20, Janet Hill wrote:
<snip>
 I am using the standards of the profession in the United States, as articulated in ALA policy.
</snip>

Although I personally agree with all of these considerations, unfortunately (or not, depending on each person's opinion) there are lots of professional librarians without the librarian degree. They certainly wear the title of "Librarian" and are equal in status to those with the degree, if indeed, not "more equal" than everyone else. I  mentioned Jeff Trzeciak's talk earlier (here's a link to the Annoyed Librarian's blog http://blog.libraryjournal.com/annoyedlibrarian/2011/04/18/academic-insecurity/) where he mentioned that he will probably not be hiring any more librarians into the library.

It appears as if the library degree is being devalued, and one of the reasons *may* be that libraries themselves are much less willing to do the post-degree training that they were willing to do earlier. Therefore, people come out of library school educated much as they have been, but libraries want more today. Then, they somehow assume that a person with a PhD in any subject is better trained (somehow) and in any case, there are a lot of unemployed PhDs floating around. I don't know what the solution is, but it's one reason why I think certification may be part of the solution--and long overdue anyway. (This reminds me of Ernest Richardson at Princeton who wrote somewhere that you need a PhD to classify a book! When I read this, I thought: a PhD in what? By the way, the classifier was Henry Van Hoesen, later head librarian of Brown University, who had his PhD in classics, I believe)

I do not compare librarianship to being a custodian, but I do compare it with being a mechanic. The possibility of comparing my skills with those of a master mechanic, or a master electrician, etc. is--I think--nothing to be ashamed of and in fact, quite a compliment. That is not easy, but this betrays my proletarian background.

It would seem that working in a small library is simpler and easier than a large library, but I can honestly state that is incorrect. You have to be able to do everything, while in the large library, you have the "luxury" to specialize.

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