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Someone recently posted this link on Twitter: 7 Things Librarians Are Tired of Hearing. I found it amusing. Sadly it would be more amusing if it wasn’t true.
I won’t put them all here, but just a few comments regarding my top three from the list. Please see the linked post for the rest.
1) “Do people still even go to the library now that there’s Google?”
Yes. People do. Not only that, a lot of people do.Google is a tool like any other and, yes, as librarians we use it too. It remains a tool, and in spite of all Google’s algorithms to assure “the best quality control” the search results still produce a multitude of erroneous sources. It’s keyword searching, and while keyword searching has its place when you’re browsing for information because you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for the side-effect is a lot of unwanted material to sift through. That’s where Google can never replace a reference librarian, and a reference librarian can assist you with information literacy.
2) “So, are you like, a volunteer?” Usually followed up with “What? You need to have a Master’s degree to be a librarian?!!”
Yes, in order to be a librarian you have to have a Master’s Degree. We are the original information managers. You’re just going to have to grapple with that concept on your own.
5) “That must be great to just be able to read all day.”
To me that statement indicates you have absolutely no knowledge to what a librarian does. Apparently the vision is that I’m sitting in the back corner of a library reading John Grisham all day. I understand. It’s a stereotype, and stereotypes are a result of a lack of knowledge based on unfounded or unquantified assumption. I could easily say that a systems administrator “plays computer games all day” or that a car mechanic “plays with cars all day.” I know that not to be true. It is wrong for a car mechanic to assume that a system administrator “plays with computers all day” as it is for a librarian to think a car mechanic “plays with cars” or an SA and car mechanic to think a librarian “reads all day.” It is ambiguously false. The truth is to be a professional in anything means there is a lot more detail involved in the occupation than someone from “outside the profession” can ever imagine. I think we should just all respect what we don’t know.
The linked post failed to give honorable mention to one of the most common questions asked at the reference desk. I was told in Library School that it would be amongst the most common questions asked, and although it wasn’t as frequent as my professors lead me to believe it certainly did happen on occasion; I’m sure that some librarian manning a reference desk somewhere is tired of hearing:
“Excuse me, can you direct me to the restroom?”