10/1/13

Labels Run Amok or A Librarian by Any Other Name Would not Read as Sweetly...

There has been a lot of discussion in Law Library Land lately about the use of the term "Librarian" to describe the staff that curates and researches in a private law library. The discussion, which has taken place in both blogs (Here is an excellent post) and on AALL listservs, has been lively and interesting. 

As a brand, the term is unparallelled in its universal recognition.  However, the connotations associated with the term may not be of a dynamic and forward-thinking professional. Just try telling someone you're a librarian at a social function and watch their eyes immediately glaze over from boredom. 

As proud as I am of being a Librarian (note the capitalized first letter of the word), I am at heart pragmatic when it comes to my career and have no problem with labels like Research Specialist, Research Analyst, Information Manager, Technical Services Specialist, Director of Information Services or Lord Emperor of Research (cue the Darth Vader music).   My self-worth isn't tied to a label. I'm sure that the Librarians of Ancient Babylon were not called Librarians.   Labels and professions evolve over time and, just as in Darwinian evolution,  those who can adapt will succeed and those who can't will be left behind.  In the end, I will do what I need to in order to succeed. How successful I am is shown by being the go-to person people turn to when they need assistance.  A label doesn't affect that one way or another. 

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1 comments:

George Peckham-Rooney said...

As a librarian in a non-traditional librarian job I wrestle with this issue. I think it is important to build awareness that librarians work beyond the library (and even books) so I have tried to rebrand the term by saying I am a Librarian and then explaining a bit about the role. (Though sometimes I do go the informational profession route.)

 

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