The good news is I was invited to the Career Fair at a local school.
The bad news is I was invited to a Career Fair at a local school.
Good because it was great to be the face of the library. And I went with a colleague, A, and we had a great time with the teens. I ran into one teen who was at the Harry and the Potters concert; and there were others from TAB. And there was the chance to talk about libraries and being a librarian. Because while there are non-librarian jobs at the library, the main focus of my presence at the Career Fair was about librarianship.
The bad news? The kids had a scavenger hunt; and many came to our table for the answer to the clue, no formal school training needed.
I don't want to do a librarian v. non-librarian post; I will say that library assistants and other non-librarian library workers are valuable, contribute a lot, and should have respect.
But I have a problem with the library being viewed as a place where no formal school training [is] needed. Because it's wrong; because these teens will become taxpayers and voters who don't understand why the budget for library salaries is so high; and because it undervalues something that is valuable to me, my MLS degree. (Tho to be fair? When I was a lawyer, I did have someone ask me if I had to go to college for that.) Why are people so shocked to learn that being a librarian requires a masters degree?
Libraries, and librarians, need to let people know that yes, we do have formal school training. And to let them know about the MLS, and why it brings value to the library.
How do we go about that? I'll be honest; I'm not sure. But one place I'll be looking to for answers is Nancy Dowd's new blog, The "M" Word: a blog designed to bring the wonderful world of marketing to librarians. (Nancy has a blog and a myspace; and I used to work with her. She's very cool and smart.)
For those interested, here is the rest of the Scavenger Hunt. A and I had fun deciding how these could be applied to librarians. What are your thoughts?
Works Outdoors Yes! Outdoor story times; participating in local fairs and parades for outreach
Uses an X Ray Machine No, we don't use one, tho there are many types of machines to be found at work
Takes photographs of others Yes! Anytime we have a cool program, out comes the camera
Handles money A and I were going to say "no" until a student reminded us about fines. And then I realized, duh, budgets!
Has an assistant at work Yes, if we're lucky there are people at work who can assist us with things, even if they aren't technically an assistant.
Requires a doctorate degree Nope; tho there are people at work who have them (I have a JD)
Can make their own working hours Not really, because of things like desk coverage and building coverage; tho with those constraints in mind, we do schedule and go on outreach events
Works with cars We certainly drive cars from place to place to do our work. And we have Chiltons online!
Fixes things We fix books; and do minor computer fixes; and people who have problems? Who need help looking things ups? Getting information? Well, we fix that!
Another question was other jobs that could prepare me for this are? We said anything, including customer service; teaching; being a lawyer; working in a book store; working with computers; being a hotel manager; waitress; be a student assistant.