Just sharing an interesting infographic by MastersInEducation.org!
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Do you agree with this? Do you think we are worth more? What was your favorite statistic? I really liked the image of reference questions being stretched from New York to Alaska. That’s a lot of questions!
I often wonder how people truly perceive the role of a Librarian in society. Do they view us as valuable? Do we make ourselves appear valuable?
Sometimes I think we do a great job of proving our worth. Take the Radical Reference Librarians for example, a group of volunteer librarians who provide “professional research support, education and access to information” in situations like presidential elections, conferences and book fairs. They work in a collaborative virtual setting and arm themselves with the skills to provide free, unbiased information in settings where the facts matter.
Other times, I think we can make a really bad name for ourselves, and propel some of those negative stereotypes. For example, this sign just really bothers me:
I mean COME ON! It’s 2011. Sure cell phones can be annoying sometimes when the ringer is turned up to max volume in the middle of a program or storytime, but cell phones can also be really valuable tools in the library. Especially if they are used for learning and interaction. It’s fine to have rules and guidelines, but “forbidding” things just makes us seem mean and unapproachable and in turn, not as valuable.
How different would your service model look if you answered each reference question in such a way that would prove your value? How much more would you give to the patron in terms of help and assistance if your value was in question and your job was on the line every time you helped someone? It’s definitely something to strive for when we work with our public so that librarians aren’t just “there,” but are an important part of an informed society that is desperately and infinitely needed.