New position in librarianship: Infoculturist

A well-respected colleague recently requested help writing a job decription for a new librarian role: Publisher of Community.  I couldn’t help but think about content creation and user-generated content.  I have been creating content for my school library for 20 years, through producing a weekly edited news show called “EETV” for Ethridge Elementary TV.  The show has evolved from old VHS format to DVD and mp4 (among other file types). So, content creation has been a part of librarianship for decades.  However, user-generated content shared online has been growing like crazy since Youtube launched.

The core values of librarianship promote acquisition of the best content available and much of the user-generated content we find online today hardly qualifies as even watchable.

Our culture is becoming, we all know, a participatory one.  The library stacks are no longer perceived as top dog in information.  What Melvil Dewey called “man’s heroic deeds” in the literature of the 800 section has been pushed back behind Pinterest and Instagram.

I enjoyed the blogpost from Michael Stephens contemplating new roles for librarians. The online name I chose for myself, Valibrarian, is out-dated but (I hope) remains quaint.  We do need new titles that emphasize services we provide with better nomenclature!  One of my favorite metaphors for a library is that of a garden. One of Ranganathan’s 5 laws for library science stated that “a library is a growing organism”. I am remindeed of how the gardener plants and weeds.  So, I thought about the word horticulturist or agriculturist.

Here’s a nomination for a librarian job title:  infoculturist.  Whaddaya think?  Any more ideas?

Things are not the way they are suppose to be

My district library coordinator sent me a list (once again) of new technology tools, asking if I had tried them.  I will be presenting another staff development session on integrating tech tools into the library for back-to-school next fall.  Here’s the recent list:

When I replied to my boss that I had tried most of them, giving suggestions of other sites, I thought about how often teachers and librarians complain to me that they can’t keep up with changing technology!  I hear things like “we don’t have enough time” and my all time favorite “things are not the way they are suppose to be.”

My profession of librarianship is not the only field where “things are not the way they are suppose to be.”  Whether you work as an educator, nurse, politician, business owner, or practically any job I could name, there are those who complain.  I mean those who ALWAYS complain.  The world is not the way it’s suppose to be and maybe it never was.  When you stop to think about it…we are all going to die at some point.  So we plan our lives and live our days, knowing that is the end result.  How’s that for things the way things are suppose to be?  The old-timers used to remind us to “put on a happy face.” 

How does this relate to my list of new tech tools?  Well, I don’t think I need 14 nings, 3 facebook accounts, 12 online writing tools, 8 photo editors, 7 websites to update, 9 avatars, 5 virtual worlds, 26 presentation tools, 24 usernames to remember and so on.  Everyday, it seems, several new tech tools come my way.  I could look at it in dread, in fear, or simply gripe that things are not the way they should be!  But they are the way they are. 

So, my plan is to write a snappy song called Things are Not the Way they are Suppose to Be. I may ask my daughter to accompany me on the ukelele.  I’ll upload it to one of many social media sharing sites.  Maybe the chorus will end with

Things are not the way they are suppose to be

and that’s just fine with me.

Blended Librarianship

I notice much of my writing on this blog centers around technology and the impact changing technology is making on the library.  I stumbled upon a blog by a librarian in Singapore introducing me to the subject of a “blended librarian.”  I found information explaining blended librarians on a library wiki.   Librarians everywhere are learning at a rapid pace how to balance our own physical collection with the information available in electronic format.  We are an exploding community of learners.  I feel overwhelmed at how much I don’t know and excited by new concepts that I am learning each day.  I really want to figure out what is all about! As a librarian, organizing information is the foundation of our profession.  Electronic information has changed everything and words like tagging and technorati ( keep popping up faster than I can look up definitions.