The degree, being a professional, some options... stop whining

May 07 2017 Published by under librarians

Notable library school lecturer and bird, Gavia Libraria has had it with this whole whiny business of fussing that the library school people attended 5, 10, 15, 20, 30... years ago didn't offer x or y or z.

If you know anything about our field, or any other profession, you know that the degree is very much a beginning. It gets you the foundation, the jargon, and a method for acquiring more. It is not, nor could it ever be the end. That's just crazy.

Now, there are no doubt library school classes that are better than others.  Also ones that are more relevant than others for the thing you need to do today. I am one of the few who actually believes in "core" classes because there are some standard things you should be able to at least look up how to do if you all the sudden become a solo librarian. Like a reference interview. Searching a library catalog, a research database, and the web. Cataloging a book. Unjamming a stapler, a copier, and a toilet 🙂

The other piece of her argument is that libraries often think grass is greener and want to hire someone in with the needed skills instead of developing staff to meet new needs. This is pretty crap if you're the existing staff who is running as fast as she can to move into a new position.

So you're now out of school, what next? Are you in your professional associations? Are you engaging online? Are you attending training given by the vendors - free online! Are you reading? Are you thinking critically?

I, for one, went to an awesome library school that gave me an excellent foundation. I also work very hard to learn all the time.

Here's an example: I am forever trying to learn Python and R and bibliometrics. I can do some things but I'm very slow. My boss didn't tell me to learn. I'm not mad at my library school for not teaching me. I don't even know if either one really existed when I was undergrad (we used Mathematica and Pascal but I'm old).

So here I diverge greatly from some of my librarian colleagues who really hate code academies and MOOCs. I think they are awesome for people like me. I've done a couple Google ones. Some R ones and some Python ones. I abandoned two on machine learning.  The R ones from JHSPH were fine but the one that was really good was the intro to programming with Python from MIT on EdX. It was by far the best platform and the best instruction.  I'm messing with a Michigan one on data science now and it is not as good at all.

Anyway, pull up your big girl pants and get to work learning. While you're at it, work with your leadership on where you see things going and how to best meet the need. If you're in some level of management, work with your librarians to make sure they are moving ahead and advocate for them to upper management.

Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together. Keep your stick on the ice. Good luck with the staplers.

One response so far

  • potnia theron says:

    Oh this applies far beyond Library School. Except the people who need it, won't see themselves in it.