Librarian chic

A friend of a friend of mine asked:

Please tell me what life is like for a research librarian. I’m IT support for several different libraries. I work closely with the librarians on a daily basis. Many of them are my age or older and not at all worried about age discrimination as they cross into their 60s and b beyond. The say that this type of problem is just not that important for librarians. I cannot say the same for the IT business. They tell me that it is a very good industry to?look at if I’m thinking about changing careers as I get older. Can you give me some idea of what your level of job satisfaction is? Thank you in advance.

Librarians have been told for years that they will become extinct as more and more information is made available on the Internet. We have not found this to be so. For one thing, someone has to be the gatekeeper as to what is good and what is crap. For another, there will always be specialized databases that you’ll need someone to access and search.

I think there is a librarian ethos of cooperation with each other. I don’t think it’s sexist to say that it may be a more collegial business at least in part because it tends to be a female-dominated business.

When I was in grad school in public administration in 1979-80, it was very competitive, with students actually hiding resources from each other. In library school in 1990-92, students were more helpful to each other.

There can also be a teaching component. We’re trying to get our folks to use blogs, to use Twitter and other newer technologies. This means WE need to know what that stuff and Facebook and other services mean, whether they make sense for us and for our customers, who are business advisors and by extension, the small businesses they serve. Occasionally the learning curve, plus doing what we’re hired to do (reference) is hard to fit in, but we usually manage.

If you have the sense of curiosity necessary to be a good librarian, you’ll do well. If you want something stagnant, probably not so much.
“Librarians are the secret masters of the universe. They control the knowledge. Don’t piss them off.”

– Spider Robinson, science fiction author, from The Callahan Touch

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