The Practice of Librarianship: Communicating, Teaching, and Organizing Aren't What Draw People to Librarianship, but Librarians Can't Be Successful without These Skills

By Hales, Stuart | Information Outlook, September-October 2016 | Go to article overview

The Practice of Librarianship: Communicating, Teaching, and Organizing Aren't What Draw People to Librarianship, but Librarians Can't Be Successful without These Skills


Hales, Stuart, Information Outlook


When people talk about librarianship, they often use words like books, magazines, science project, and borrow. When professors talk about librarianship, they use words like visualizationization, retrieval, preservation, curation, and digitization.

What about librarians themselves? They're more likely to talk about the everyday practice of librarianship, so they use words like teach, communicate, connect, plan, manage, organize, find, share, and copyright.

This issue of Information Outlook offers several perspectives on the practice of librarianship. From Rajesh Singh teaching his LIS students at St. John's University to create strategic plans for information organizations to Hal Kirkwood experimenting with concept maps to help engineering students select the optimal database for their research to David stern reviewing remote service technologies that can help librarians collaborate with each other and their clients, this issue of Information Outlook explores the roles that SLA members fill each day and the challenges they face in performing their normal duties.

Catherine Lavallee-Welch, in her interview in this issue, sums up the practice of librarianship for many SLA members.

"In higher education, we have to deal a lot with budget cuts and the ever-rising prices of resources," she says. "That's where prioritizing and strategizing are important. Of course, when you are an administrator, a director, you have to deal with a certain amount of office politics. You have to make sure that you communicate the value of your unit to the rest of the organization and that you can advocate properly for resources."

Jaye Lapachet, in her discussion of the Competencies for information Professionals and specifically the competency that addresses the organization of data, information, and knowledge assets, offers another common take on the practice of librarianship. …

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