Magazine article Information Today

What's in a Name?

Magazine article Information Today

What's in a Name?

Article excerpt

I realize that a certain percentage of you all (you 'ens, if you are reading this column in Pittsburgh) will hit the delete key, flip the page, or throw the whole freakin'publication across the room as soon as you see the phrase, "Back when I went to library school ..." But hang in there with me for a bit; I resort to this particular cliche in order to make a point.

Generally speaking, there were three ways you could go vis-a-vis librarianship in the old days: academic, public, or special. Special meant business, law, or medical, and there was a separate, more educationally focused curriculum for school librarians (aka school library media specialists).

While some folks found a comfortable niche right out of library school and stayed with the same institution (or career track) for their entire working lives, many of us moved around. Some of us moved around a bit. That would describe me.

I've worked in public, academic, and special libraries. I even spent 1 year as a school library media specialist, which is the toughest job I've ever had (but forgive me, working with engineers can be quite similar to working with children ... "Where is that big red book I used last year?").

When I take a look at my meandering career path, I like to think that I have evolved along with the library profession in general. In these times, that's an absolute necessity. Today's newly minted library school grads face a radically different job market than I did. First of all, if you don't have good technical skills, you're at an immediate disadvantage.

By the way, this is not just true of librarianship. When I look at the interns and the young journalists at My Place of Work, virtually all of them have specialized skills beyond "I like to write, and I'm good at it." But this was enough back in the dark ages when I started my journalism career. Today's young journalists shoot and edit video, program web features, use mapping software, manipulate data with Excel and Access, and report via smartphones by taking and sending photos, and even tweet the breaking news, trials, and what-have-you. They are an impressive bunch; I am in awe of them.

The Brave New World

A few months ago, I started keeping track of job titles I spotted on library-oriented mailing lists, RSS feeds, and the like. For those of you who have been in the profession for a while and haven't been paying much attention to the Brave New World out there, here's the list:

* Adult services librarian

* Advanced writing librarian

* Assistant librarian for resources & access management

* At--risk youth services outreach & volunteer coordinator

* Campus librarian

* Clinical education librarian

* Clinical librarian

* Collection assessment and analysis librarian

* Data systems librarian

* Digital access librarian

* Digital asset specialist

* Digital repositories librarian

* Director of innovative technologies and library resource management

* Distance learning librarian

* Electronic resources librarian

* Emerging technologies librarian

* Film librarian

* Graduate research librarian

* Information access and user services librarian

* Information technology librarian

* Instructional services librarian

* International government documents librarian

* Legal history & rare books librarian

* Librarian for advanced research and engagement

* Manuscripts digitization project librarian

* Metadata librarian

* Multitype library services coordinator

* National security & U. …

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