Thursday, April 26, 2007

This Will Make You Feel Good

A friend just sent me copies of a few pages out of Annie Lamott's book Grace (Eventually). She said one page in particular was "for me." But it's for everyone who thinks about being a librarian.

She described being involved in a protest on behalf of the Salinas Public Library, threatened with closure for lack of funds. Supporters held an emergency "read-in."
We were there to celebrate some of the rare intelligence capabilities that our country can actually be proud of - those of librarians. I see them as healers and magicians. Librarians can tease out of inarticulate individuals enough information about what they are after to lead them on the path of connection. They are trail guides through the forest of shelves and aisles - you turn a person loose who has limited skills and he'll be walloped by the branches. But librarians match up readers with the right books: "Hey is this one too complicated? Then why don't you give this one a try?"
As an academic librarian, I don't get to recommend books too often. But I did identify with the idea of listening to inarticulate needs and making paths of connection. And anyway - it just made me feel good inside.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Thinking about Academic Librarianship

There's a new post at ACRLog about a presentation given at a recent national conference on why students choose academic librarianship as a career path - and why they hesitate.

If you're interested in academic libraries, though, you might also want to browse through the blogs from this conference. I found them fascinating, and they point out a lot of the cutting-edge things happening in college and university libraries. Or, if you only have six minutes to spare, check out the video version.

Monday, April 09, 2007

If Someone Asks "Why Library School?"...

You may be embarking on one of the seven great careers of 2007. According to Kiplinger's:

Librarian. Forget about the image of librarian as mousy bookworm. Today's librarian is a high-tech information sleuth, a master of mining cool databases (well beyond Google) to unearth the desired nuggets. Plus you'll probably have regular hours and good job security. See the American Library Association's Web site or The Librarian's Career Guidebook, by Priscilla Shontz, and Straight from the Stacks: A First-Hand Guide to Careers in Library and Information Science, Laura Townsend Kane.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Libraries and the Homeless

This article by Chip Ward is painful to read. He talks about the homeless people he dealt with at the Salt Lake City public library - and about the issue generally. But it's the stories of individuals and the complexity of dealing with them that really gets you.

I wasn't sure I should post this here. I don't want to discourage anyone from a career in libraries. But this is one of the realities at a lot of libraries, and an issue none of us should ignore.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Finding is Better than Searching

It's become something of an aphorism - librarians like to search, everyone else likes to find. This jaunty little YouTube clip shows the flight of a harried student trying to find Time Magazine in a library - turn the sound on to get the full effect.

It certainly shows how frustrating it can be to accomplish a task that may seem straightforward to librarians but involves too many steps. If we want to be better than Google we'd better find ways to make simple things simple.