I have been wondering about what the role of the librarian is?
This is actually a hard question, some people might answer that they don’t think its changed, the role remains the same. I would argue that those people have libraries that have not adapted and changed with the world we live in.
Some might argue that their is no longer a role for the librarian. I would again disagree, I believe the role is so much more now.
So where do I stand? Librarianship as we know it has changed . It has changed as the mediums of information distribution of changed. It has changed as the speed of information growth has increased, it has changed as the access to online media has become increasingly ubiquitous. Therefore the role of the librarian has to change.
The Librarian is still the curator, but they have three key roles or features of their craft. They are the:
- Media Expert
So what do I mean by each of these different roles.
The Many roles of the librarian
Curator – Maintaining the real and virtual space, the mediums and materials,the processes and standards that underpin the library as a center of learning and information. Critical to this role is the:
Media Expert, they have expertise in many different forms of Media, both the traditional book style format and the varied digital media
- Written Media – Book “style” media
- paper based – books, journals, magazines etc
- electronic – ebooks
- access – they know where to access these resources, whether this is by ordering from the national library or such institutions
- order/purchase/archive/disposal – they can manage the lifecycle of the resources from discovery to acquisition to disposal
- Retrieve and distribute – they are able to distribute these resources
- review/validate – they are considered and critical about the veracity and validity of the resources
- organise – they can organise in what ever required form or process the materials
- Other Media
- Audio visual – video, film, television, radio, podcast, vodcast, online media (youtube, clickview, teachertube etc)
- internet based – webstes, encyclopedia etc
- Video conferencing- accessing primary sources
- schedule and record – where applicable they can schedule and appropriate record and archive materials
- Retrieve and distribute
Ethicist – The Librarians second key role is that of the ethicist. They understand the complexities of ownership, attribution, copyright, fair use, creative commons and intellectual property. They support and assist in the development of suitable ethical practice, acting as role models, guides and facilitators
- Information fluency leader (see http://fluency21.com)
- asking good questions
- acquire suitable resources – online and off line, primary and secondary sources
- analyse – validity, accuracy, reliability
- apply – apply to learning experience/opportunity
- assess – debrief, assessing process and accuracy
- understand copyright law, intellectual property, ownershipand attribution
- apply ethical principles appropriately
- understand fair use, and apply this
- Creative Commons
Scholar – The librarian also has a scholarship role. Understanding adn supporting inquiry, promoting and teaching process working with curriculum leaders, teachers, students and parents to support learning. Applying their diverse skills to maximise the learning opportunities
- Understand the inquiry process – embedding this into everyday practice and process
- Deep understanding of and assisting in the development of information fluency
- Linking to curriculum areas
- planning for units of learning
- order suitable resources at suitable levels in suitable mediums
- support the learning process
- asking good questions
- acquiring suitable resources
- analysing validity
- applying it to learning
- supporting the development of units of learning
- Understanding of current stock, physical and electronic – able to apply to clients learning requirements, age, interest
- Understanding of search engines, databases etc. able to apply understanding in age appropriate modes
This isn’t a role that is limited to the physical confines of teh library. That is an artifical limitation that is, I believe, self imposed. It is a role that touch all aspects of teaching and learning.
IS this a complete list? IS it a job description? No, but its my thoughts on a starting place for what a librarian is…
What have I missed? How many people would say they are already doing all of this and more?