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Not a Librarian

Dec - 15 - 2005
Nicole C. Engard

I’ve been a bit quiet the last couple days, this isn’t because I’m not keeping up with library news it’s because I’m finding things a little out of my league. As I mention in my tag line I am a Library Web Manager – not a Librarian – and sometimes I feel out of my element when reading about library tools, services, associations – when they aren’t related directly to my area of expertice – the web.

So what am I doing about it? Well, I have paperwork sitting at home with information about a masters degree in library science – the question remains where do I find the time and money to take this step … and do I really want to go back to school at this point in the game?

Anyway, just a personal note from me. Hopefully I’ll have something news related to post soon …

5 Responses so far.

  1. Chris says:

    Nicole,

    I started in the same boat about 6 years ago. 4 years ago I became the webmaster at LCLS (www.lcls.org). One thing I did was really try to learn what libraries do and are. Any project I did (keep in mind, LCLS is one of Illinois multi-type consortia), I made sure I understood the ends that the project would accomplish and how it would help our libraries and possibly their patrons.

    The biggest trick to being really successful is to become a translator, or a liason of sorts. Help your librarians figure out how the technology will work for them and do what they want it to. The librarians are your users and I’m a big big believer that when designing web applications, you must understand your users. Because they are the ones that will be using your application and it may impact the way they do their job.

    Understanding librarians isn’t hard. Just immerse yourself in their world, soon enough they will embrace as one of their own, with or without the MLS.

    I will be going for my MLS, because having it will enable me to move further in the ladder where I am at. However, I do not think its necessary for everyone who works at a library to have an MLS (sorry to those that will freak out at that statement).

    You are a web developer. That is your specialty. To help the librarians, you need to meet in the middle, you need to translate what you can do for them into what they want.

    I’d call that the secret formula.

    Shameless plug:
    check out my blogs: http://cdeweese.blogspot.com and http://labs.lcls.org/

  2. Nicole says:

    Actually, I am very good at helping the librarians here – at least they say I am – and I have learned a lot, but sometimes when I start reading other librarian blogs I find myself getting lost in jargon that we don’t use – or that I don’t hear on a regular basis.

    I think you’re right, I don’t need the MLS – but I think I want it. I hear all the time that I’m a librarian at heart (very organized), but wouldn’t it be great if I was a “Librarian”? Just wondering …

    PS. I actually subscribe to your blog already :)

  3. Rose says:

    Go back to school! You’ll love it, you’ll hate it, but you won’t regret it. In addition to getting the imporntant bit of alphabet soup after your name, I’ve found that going to school forces me to actually learn about things that I’ve always meant to (and despite being a “life-long learner”) wouldn’t really do myself without the structure of a class. I went to library school, worked as a librarian, then went back to school again in informatics. Being forced to learn a lot of technical stuff was great, it’s also great to be in an arena where you can talk theory and big picture and what if and isn’t it neat, without actually having to have “a project proposal with relevant constraints on my desk tomorrow”

  4. elfie says:

    Wow. I say go for it if you want it. I know, you don’t know how you’ll manage it, but if you really want it, then you should do it. :)

  5. [...] Back in December I posted about not being a librarian – but after reading through the comments and doing a little research I have decided that getting my MLS is a step I want to take. So I’ve started the application process and the hunt for money. For those of you who have recently gone through this process, feel free to share any resources you may have to make this easier for me • • • [...]


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