Ten Reasons Why Professional Librarian is an Oxymoron


Ten Reasons Why ‘Professional Librarian’ is an Oxymoron
1. Librarians Have No Monopoly on the Activities They Claim
2. There are No Consequences For Failing to Adhere to Ethical Practices
3. Librarianship is Too Generalized to Claim Any Expertise


>>10. Nobody Can Name a ‘Great’ Librarian
Go to a typical university and ask the professors to name a great Doctor (‘Albert Schweitzer’), Architect (‘I. M. Pei’), or Lawyer (‘Johnny Cochrane’). No librarian stands out the same way that these great professionals do. No one outside the library field is going to come close to naming Ranganathan either.

How about Nancy Pearl? If you want to argue about Pearl as a librarian I would argue about Cochrane as a great attorney.

How about Melvil Dewey? - and he might not have been a "great" one but Casanova was a librarian

I love how, in an article with 10 fairly solid reasons why librarianship should not be a profession, the best people can come with is "Hey - but some people have heard of NANCY PEARL!" Nancy Pearl? Oh yeah sure - I totally want to put advice like 'quit reading if you aren't interested after 50 pages' right alongside the accomplishments of Florence Nightengale, Albert Schweitzer and Ghandi (lawyer). Geeze.

Hey Einstein, all I was trying to do was counter point 10. Why am I responsible for countering all the points? Thanks for being a dbag.

Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina), S. R. Ranganathan (India), Rubens Borba de Moraes (Brazil), Javier Lasso de la Vega (Spain): all of them were 10!
Murilo Cunha

Opening of ten point article:

Before you comment, yes, this is an unbalanced look at professionalism. Yes, I am trolling a little bit – but with a heart that wants to lead discussion on the topic of library professionalism. Please do write a post about why these ten reason are bullocks.

Yup - totally counter to number 10 is Nancy Pearl. And me being a db won't change how lame your 'counter' is. :P

>>10. Nobody Can Name a ‘Great’ Librarian
Go to a typical university and ask the professors to name a great Doctor (‘Albert Schweitzer’), Architect (‘I. M. Pei’), or Lawyer (‘Johnny Cochrane’). No librarian stands out the same way that these great professionals do. No one outside the library field is going to come close to naming Ranganathan either.

They may not know Ranganathan but they will know Melvil Dewey

Speaking of dbags...

I do not think any of these ten are even criteria for being a professional in any field.

Wikipedia-A professional is a member of a vocation founded upon specialised educational training.

Main criteria for professional include the following:
Academic qualifications - A teaching degree (University doctoral program)theological, medical, or law degree - i.e., university college/institute.
Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practicing professionally.[6]
Excellent manual/practical and literary skills in relation to profession.[7]
High quality work in (examples): creations, products, services, presentations, consultancy, primary/other research, administrative, marketing or other work endeavours.
A high standard of professional ethics, behaviour and work activities while carrying out one's profession (as an employee, self-employed person, career, enterprise, business, company, or partnership/associate/colleague, etc). The professional owes a higher duty to a client, often a privilege of confidentiality, as well as a duty not to abandon the client just because he or she may not be able to pay or remunerate the professional. Often the professional is required to put the interest of the client ahead of his own interests.
Reasonable work moral and motivation. Having interest and desire to do a job well as holding positive attitude towards the profession are important elements in attaining a high level of professionalism.
Participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs b : having a particular profession as a permanent career c : engaged in by persons receiving financial return[8]

A profession is a vocation founded upon specialised educational training, the purpose of which is to supply disinterested counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain.

We had this debate in Library School! We went over almost all of these points, except the last one, and debated it in class. What a great discussion it was!

Sandy Berman is a great Librarian. So is Nancy Pearl. Each in their own way.

There are professional specialties within Librarianship - law, medical, youth services, gov docs for a few. You can't ask a fantastic children's librarian to necessarily be a fantastic government documents librarian. That is like saying "Doctor" isn't a profession because it is too vague. Or Teacher because there is elementary, high school, math teachers, english teachers, and they aren't the same.

And do they mean Johnnie Cochran the lawyer when they say Johnny Cochrane? Or is there another famous lawyer by that name? I would have fact-checked that ... being a Librarian!

The same "can't name one" might be said of other "self-effacing" professionals like accountants or actuaries.
How about this challenge -- go through the occupational outlook handbook (http://www.bls.gov/oco/ ) and see how many of those you can name even one practitioner. Face it -- there are only a few "professions" that lend themselves to fame or notoriety.

Name me a famous:

real estate agent
land surveyor
social workers

the rest of the list might make some interesting points, but the "there are no famous librarians, therefore it is not a profession" argument is insipid.

Points for admitting he's trolling upfront, but here's the deal.

Last week, I just worked with a class of 20 education program grad students, fresh from a school law class who could not, in their own words, describe the word "copyright." Forget, "public domain" and "fair use." This is stuff educators use daily too, whether they know it or not.

Six months before that, I watched this same, very tech-savvy class struggle with searching ERIC and created a list of "relevant" web pages to their profession using, well, kind of crap, actually. The other eye-opener? I did this assignment, looking specifically for resources for one student who has a field I don't have as much background information in. It took me 15 minutes to create a professional webquest of resources for multicultural math. It took him two hours to find a hodgepodge of blogs, games, articles and some really good resources for *general* math.

Librarians Have No Monopoly on the Activities They Claim - Well, duh. That's not our job and in fact takes AWAY from the job we're supposed to have in passing along information. Given the right time, tools, and a modicum of reading skill almost everyone can perform up to moderate car maintenance and repair. A good mechanic is going to be able to do it faster, more effectively and with less stress on everyone's part. Part of what you pay for is that expertise and - dare I say it?! - professionalism. Math Guy is always going to be able to crunch numbers better than I can. So what? I can find tools to help him do his job more effectively, thus saving us all time. Discovering copyright basics involves a little time on the internet and a modicum of information savvy. So what? That looking up process takes time the teachers could be spending on students, professional development or just on having a life. It's easier and more efficient just to shoot me an e-mail or post me something in Facebook.

Librarianship is Too Generalized to Claim Any Expertise - No shit, and if we did, again, we would not be doing our jobs! Only librarians in specialty libraries can afford to become subject specialists. The rest of us live in multi-disciplinary land and need to adapt to whatever question the patron has about what they want. Information is a huge area. We can't afford to be niche.

I'm getting to the rest.

Blake, you are a dumbass. Please wake up your grandma and have her drive you to a therapist or perhaps your nearest liquor store. You have way too much time on your hands. Please resign your position and go work in a field that doesn't mind associating itself with dumbasses who seek ways to embarrass their colleagues. Jesus, way to promote the profession, you retard.

you do not understand hypertext links or how the internet works. you think Blake wrote this post??? that is hilarious!!!

I also think they replied to the wrong story.

apologies to Blake. i didn't bother reading the entire page, as the subject matter is preposterous and entirely regrettable. apparently, someone named Ryan Deschamps is the person to drown for having written this nonsense. of course, we all want bad librarians to go away and stop hindering progress in our field. but using this list of antiquated, elitist rhetorical tenets is definitely not the way get things done. it isn't equitable to try to turn a stupid librarian into a professional one. you merely need to replace the loser with a qualified and eager librarian.

again, apologies to Blake and his dear granny. although a ride to the liquor store really isn't such a poor suggestion, is it?

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