Friday, April 04, 2008

Is Librarianship a Profession?

Well, Dorothea Salo has some pungent thoughts on that topic - suggesting that, if it is, it's not about what we do, it's about how we set up our boundaries and who we keep out. Provocative reading. So is Rachel Singer Gordon in "Whole Lot of Quacking Going on."

The nub of the issue is the divide between people who work in libraries who don't have the graduate degree and those who do - and how power relationships, respect, and reward for the work a person actually does play into it.

Personally, I work at a library where the day-to-day management of things is done by non-degreed folks who regard their work as a serious career. Librarians teach in classes and at the reference desk, develop the collection to match the curriculum, work on making it as accessible as possible through well-designed portals, and do research. A lot of decisions are made by everyone in the library, a few are made by those without graduate degrees in librarianship, a few are made by the library faculty, and a lot are made by mixed groups tackling a problem. It's not a matter of who's important or who deserves respect, but where it makes the most sense for decisions to be made.

Somehow, the why I teach meme says more about why I'm a librarian than "are we a profession?" debates.

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