September 20, 2007

I am a librarian…

Posted in Opinion at 10:06 am by Alexia

and proud of it.  What do I do?  I work in a hospital library helping doctors, nurses, students and hospital associates find information they need to do their jobs.  I perform literature searches.  I find information from books and journals, both in the traditional print format and from electronic formats on the Internet.  I assess the electronic resources we use for validity and cost effectiveness.  I manage the library’s electronic presence.  What tools do I use?  Many different tools, including the Internet, email, networked office software and the old fashioned pen and paper.

There is a meme going around called “I Work on the Web“.  The idea is to post pictures of yourself and describe how you work on the web.  In response, the Annoyed Librarian wrote a post on “I work in the library“.  Though the tone of the post made me feel a tad uncomfortable, especially the picture of the monkey working on a computer with the caption “So here’s you “working on the web”:”, I don’t disagree with the general idea.

The web is a tool, not a place.  Librarians have done their jobs long before the Internet and the World Wide Web were developed and will continue to do so long after new technology comes along to replace the Internet.  There has always been and always will be people who are cautious when integrating new technologies into their jobs and there are others who embrace new technology wholeheartedly.  As long as both camps are committed to the basic tenants of librarianship – the gathering and dissemination of information – neither side is “better” than the other.  There will come a time when to old technologies will be completely gone but until then there is a place for everyone, as long as both sides of the camp agree to respect each others opinions and views.

So, here I am… take it or leave it.  I am a medical librarian.  I work in a library in a hospital.  I use the best tools available for any given situation to do my job.  I am willing to learn new technologies but am also willing to use old methods if it serves the situation better.  I am a librarian… and proud of it.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into the IWOW meme.  I guess I think that many librarians worry too much about stereotypes and automatically think that unless you “work on the web” you are perpetuating our negative stereotype.  I also think other librarians fight new technologies kicking and screaming and refuse to see the value in anything new.  In the end it how you do your job using the best tools for the best situation is what matters most.