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How to Become a 21st Century Librarian

How to Become a 21st Century Librarian

Library Journal recently published an article, How to Become a 21st Century Librarian, by Meredith Schwartz which is a revised version of an article they released on June 1, 2005 titled, How to Become a Librarian, by Rachel Singer Gordon. The article covers considerations like choosing the right school, choosing your concentration/career path, paying for school and making the most of library school and emphasizes the importance of technology for today's librarian. As someone who graduated with my MSLS degree last May, I think it's thorough, insightful and useful for anyone considering entering the field of librarianship. I agree with the author that talking with current librarians to find out what they really do with their days and getting experience in the field either prior to enrolling in school or during your graduate degree is essential.

To all my fellow HASTAC library folks out there:

1. What advice would you give someone entering the field of library sciences? 

2. What is something you wish you knew before you entered your program?

3. What do you believe is the role of libraries and librarians in our society today?

Here's an excerpt from How to Become a 21st Century Librarian, with a link to the full article below.

Before deciding librarianship is right for you, make sure you understand what today’s librarians do all day. If you want quiet and lots of time to read, think again. Today’s libraries are full of collegial, and sometimes even downright noisy, collaboration, creation, and community activities, and are as much about technology as print on paper.

Modern librarians need to be comfortable and conversant with technology, be willing and able to speak in public, and possess people skills and a commitment to lifelong learning, as the profession and the expertise necessary for success are constantly changing. (For example, this article, one of LJ’s most perennially popular, has been revised three times and changed significantly in less than a decade.)

A good place to start is at the source: talk to working librarians in different types of libraries to find out why they entered the profession, whether their initial perceptions match the reality of library work, and what they do—and enjoy doing—in their jobs. Our impulse to share information extends to sharing information on the profession itself. Another great resource is the book So You Want to Be A Librarian. Recently “unglued” by ebook startup which uses crowdfunding to apply Creative Commons licenses to existing works, the ebook is available to download for free.

Because technology is so interwoven with librarianship, some of the most interesting conversations occur online. Following the email lists, blogs, and social media feeds where librarians interact with each other is a good place to start. A few blogs to consider are listed in the sidebar at right.

Read the rest of the article here.


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