a day in the life of a library/librarian

http://www.flickr.com/photos/librarianbyday/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I didn’t work in a library today, so I didn’t think I’d be good for the Day in the Life project that many librarians were doing today. However, I did enjoy reading people’s tweets and now I’m going back and checking out some blog posts and Flickr photos.

remaindered links and a short report

where you put your library fines and how the librarian gets them out

People have been sending me some great links which I’ve been consolidating for a “best of inbox” post here today. This is a rainy Vermont weekend coming up which means indoor projects and I’m waiting for the kitchen floor to dry.

The above image is from the Royalton Library up the road from here. I went there on Wednesday after recording the MetaFilter podcast. The librarian had a patron who had gotten a “free” computer (actually two) and needed help setting it up. I went over with Ubuntu CDs and a cheery frame of mind. That outlook soured somewhat when I learned more about the computers. They were given to this family by the VT Department of Children and Families. They were, I think, donated to them. Neither one worked right — one had no operating system (and a possibly broken CD drive) and one froze intermittently. DCF had given these computers to this family, this family already needing a bit of help, as a way of helping them out. All they wound up doing was giving them a project, a somewhat futile project. The mom and daughter were good natured about it, but I felt totally on the spot — if I fixed the computers, the family would have a computer. I took them home to mess with and I’ll probably just replace them with a working computer from my attic. What a pickle.

On to the links I’ve assembled.

That’s the short list for now, I have a few that are begging for more explication which I’ll be getting to shortly.

jobs for librarians

I’ve been fascinated to see how the jobs for librarians have been changing, just over the time I’ve been a librarian. Check out this job for a Head Librarian in a facility that they are predicting will be “bookless” before too long. Information architect for the Veterans Health Administration (posted at MetaFilter jobs, whee!) doesn’t look too librarian-ish, but then you look and see that it’s all about metadata, 508 compliance (accessibility) and controlled vocabularies. It’s been a while since I was actively looking for work, but even scanning LISJobs now is a different experience than it was when the site started. Interesting times to be us.

Our Work and How We Do It

Rural Library Director's jobs

I went to teach a class in Internet Safety at the Ainsworth Public Library in Williamstown. While I was there, the librarian showed me her chart of all the jobs she does. She sometimes has to go back and forth with her Board of Trustees because they think certain things are her job that aren’t, or they don’t want her to do certain things that really should be part of her job. This is her outline. Every separate color is a different set of responsibilities. You may have to blow it up sort of largeish to read it. This librarian works about 20 hours a week.

what do people do all day?

Most librarians I know can pinpoint a time where they learned that most librarians have much more to do than just sit behind a reference desk and/or buy books. This can be problematized by media renditions of librarians that highlight these parts of the job at the expense of others, or news reports that view every person working in a library as a librarian. These are hard issues to resolve, especially when you don’t want to widen the rift between professionals and paraprofessionals in the field, and espcially where in many libraries people wear many hats. In any case, since I’m now working with libraries, but not as a librarian, I thought I’d let people know what it is that I’m doing all day lately. My official title is Community Technology Mentor, but really I’m just the Computer Lady and one who works a lot with libraries and librarians.

what’s the deal with library school enrollment vs. actual JOBS?

Michael McGrorty turns his attention to one of my favorite library topics: the myth of the impending librarian shortage. Worth reading all the way through the comments.

A common complaint among current and former students is that they entered library school with the expectation that jobs would be not merely available, but plentiful.  This information did not rise into the consciousness of thousands of people independently, but came for the most part from the schools themselves, and if not, was certainly not contradicted by them.  Now, when the market is shrunken, the members of that loose cartel continue to accept students and produce graduates at a pace which ignores the reality of the market—because there has never been a penalty for encouraging the dreams of library students, and because, after all, that is their business.