Librarian – definition please

I entered into an interesting conversation with Greg Schwartz because of a sentence in my “About” page. I describe myself as not being a librarian by some people’s definition. What I mean is that I don’t have a MLS. However, if we go by the definition from Merriam-Webster dictionary (a specialist in the care or management of a library) then some might consider what I’ve done for the last 25 years makes me a librarian.

One could argue that a piece of paper does not a librarian make. I don’t mean that a degree lacks value but maybe it should have a statue of limitations. Does a degree from 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years ago still have the same value today? Has our industry not grown and changed by leaps in bounds lately? How could something you learned 20 years ago in college even begin to apply to today’s library? Doesn’t real life experience on the job teach you so much more than any class room?

Keep in mind that I am a trainer. I love to teach. I love seeing someone have an “ah-ha!” moment. I am a life long learner myself. I firmly believe the day I stop learning from life, work, people, the universe is the day I die. I’m not trying to devalue any educator anywhere. I’m not saying that college or any kind of formal training doesn’t have it’s place but I’d just like to see real life experience get the same level of respect.

If real life experience of 25 years in customer service/circulation services, in Interlibrary Loan, in Automation and now with Information Technology counts for anything….maybe Greg is right, I am a Librarian.

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2 Responses to Librarian – definition please

  1. Greg says:

    I just think the piece of paper should be seen for what it is: a hoop. Any freshly-minted “librarian” who thinks they are better equipped to manage a library than you are is likely kidding themselves.

  2. Woeful says:

    If you’ve been doing MLS’ tasks for 25 years then you’re a librarian.

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