Do you need to be in a library to be a librarian? Do you need to be surrounded by books and databases to be a librarian?
I had 2 librarian experiences today – both very different.
First, I had a homework assignment that required me to answer some reference type questions. Part of the rules was that I had to use one of three paper resources (Britannica, World Book, World Almanac). So I went out to the reading room at the library and found 2 of the three resources to answer my questions. The problem is that the library I work at and the ones nearest my house do not have the World Book so I can’t complete the assignment. In the real library world – I’d be able to move on to another resource to find the answer – but forcing us to use a specific reference material is not realistic. The other part was to use an online biography database and then a paper version to find the number of female actresses born in 1936 – neither resource was helpful – normally I’d move on to another database or book, but I’m stuck using the resources required for the assignment.
How does that make me a librarian? Wouldn’t making me find the right resources on my own make me more a librarian??
After work I was on bus waiting for it to leave. I have 4 people ask me questions – all of which I was able to answer with the resources of my choice (my knowledge, a bus schedule, and my watch). I felt more like a librarian when everyone came to me for answers than I did sitting behind the reference desk with those paper resources. I know it’s not the same – and that anyone could have answered the questions I did – but why did they choose me to ask? Did I look knowledgeable? Was I just the first person to look up? Who knows.
I just thought it was an interesting comparison – and something worth writing about and sharing with you all.