Adventures of An Aspiring Librarian

Frequently Asked Questions, or Yes, You DO Need a Degree for That

on February 27, 2013

When I tell someone that I am studying Library and Information Science, I always get a few quizzical questions about my choice of career. I’ve listed a couple frequently asked questions below, along with answers that will (hopefully) clear up some misconceptions about library science (and libraries!). But first, I found this photo online…I think it sums it up quite well:

Image

On to the actual questions:

1. You need a Masters degree to shelve books?

I’m studying Library and Information Science. Which means that yes, at some point in my career, I will probably shelve some books. But there is so much more to the degree (and the field) than that.

When they are not taking classes like “Cardigan wearing, shushing, and cats 101″ (kidding!) librarians are information scientists. I sometimes like to call the field: “IT with people skills”. We help connect people to the information they need (whether digital data or a physical book) when they need it the most. In graduate school, we librarians are trained to decimate and analyze information, retrieve data, and organize said information in a clear and readable manner. These versatile skills (among many others) are applicable in libraries and in other work environments as well. As such, certified librarians are not just bound to the reference/circulation desk when looking for potential job opportunities.

2. But aren’t libraries dying out now that we have Google and e-books?

No! Yes, some answers may be easier for someone to find now that Google exists, but Google isn’t the end all, be all. Not everything is on Google, and what is on there may or may not be accurate or up to date. We still need librarians to help find and examine the information for quality assurance and accuracy! As far as e-books go, not every book is able to be or will be digitized for an e-reader. No one has the time or money to digitize every book in the world.

Librarians and libraries are still very much a viable part of their communities and of today’s society. Their roles may be shifting and changing with the times, but they are still necessary. As librarians, we can give a child his or her first book. We can teach senior citizens to continue to learn as technology grows and changes around them. We can comb the depths of the web to find a diagnoses that matches that exact medical symptom. We can conserve a nation’s history by learning to adjust the temperature of a room to best preserve the Declaration of Independence. We can record and archive the memories of war veterans so generations can hear their accounts for years to come. Best of all, we  can encourage people to pursue their passions while connecting them with the information they need to do so.

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