My Blog Roll

« Case-based Management | Main | Back Again »

29 October 2007


Eric Schnell

It is not a very flattering picture of the state of the profession if individuals like yourself even jokingly discuss giving up because it easier to switch then to fight.


I absolutely agree with you - it is not a flattering picture. And it's not meant as a joke. It's also not about the easy way out. I'm definitely a fighter, and when I make a decision, I will stick with it until there is just too much cold hard evidence to the contrary to keep plodding in the same direction. And there have been enough indicators in the last few years to make me analyze where we are, and wonder if maybe I was wrong. And maybe the state of the profession really isn't a flattering picture. No solid decisions yet - but I've reopened the question. Thanks for your comment.


A colleague at the UCSF Library who works with our nursing students recently gave me a great insight: Nurses and librarians have a lot in common. Both are "practical professions" that get the job done every day--making the patient feel better, helping somebody find information when they are in a rush.

It's about helping people day to day, not necessarily being strategic and thinking about the future.

"Who cares about the latest report about the future of the Internet? That's for people with fancy degrees and too much time on their hands. This person right in front of me needs help, right now."

Perhaps many people drawn to librarianship feel like this. If so, strategizing and "big picturing" about the future is hard to do. That doesn't mean that it's not important, just that you have to be prepared for lots of false starts and resistance if you want to travel this road.

It's a lonely road sometimes, but perhaps keeping this in mind will help: People aren't resisting just to be obstinate--but because they honestly don't see how the big picture work will help them be more helpful. The challenge (which I haven't figured out either) is to convince your colleagues to see this.

T Scott

Some of it is a matter, I suppose, of how you quantify "very little movement" or "a lot of resistance". I'm currently on a sort of conference tour -- AAHSL meeting in DC last week, then to Charleston Conference, and I'm staying on for the SCMLA meeting which starts tomorrow. At each of these I've hung out with people who are excited about the changes that are happening and are eager to move forward. Are they the majority of librarians? Probably not, but that's no different than any other profession. I remember being told once (and I don't remember the source of it or whether it's actually been experimentally validated, although it does seem to be true in my experience) that if you want to change an organization, you really only need twenty percent of the group to be on board. Most of the others will eventually follow along, and while the active resisters can be a pain, they really can't stop you. In the twenty-five years that I've been a librarian, I've seen a tremendous amount of change in the profession and I'm still pretty optimistic that overall things are moving and moving in the right direction. Are they moving fast enough to suit everybody? Of course not. The key is to find the people and the places that are most compatibly with your own way of looking at things and align yourself closely with them.


It's interesting, because I specifically went to a library school that offered courses in health sciences librarianship, scitech librarianship, and medical informatics--and the latter two courses weren't through the Center for Biomedical Informatics, either. I came into librarianship four years ago because of the possibilities in not only information retrieval, but because I looked at the structures of so many "expert systems" that were seriously lacking a cohesive organizationaal structure.

Am I computer geek with advanced programming skills? Not at all. Was I premed in college, and dropped out of medical school? Nowhere near; I have an English and Creative Writing degree from a liberal arts college.

I weasled my way into biomedical research at a top tier medical center because I gave them a reason to believe that an information professional--or more accurately, someone training to become one--can be an asset to the research team. I'm not terribly bright, and I'm actually not a very good librarian, honestly. But because of great mentorship and everything I learned in library school, I have managed to find myself in competitive intelligence, legal research, biomedical research, and will be starting a biomedical informatics program next Fall.

So although I do agree with you, I don't think we can "big picture" the state/future of librarianship, solely by looking through a lense d'habitude; although our lives are built around our daily routines, we sometimes forget that our microcosms, work environments, and listservs are but a small part of the whole--regardless of where we work and live. I just got my MLIS last December, and I've already managed to uncover--either through attending conferences, or getting to know my peers--numerous gems in this profession who seem to be implementing technology into their practice in ways that were previously unimaginable to me.

Yes, I do get discouraged every now and then when someone dismisses my thoughts/questions/comments as sophomoric and too idealistic. I do get discouraged when colleagues bemoan the lack of respect they feel at their institutions. I'm also not thrilled with the fact that I'm not very popular in my area because I REFUSE to be quiet or accept a position of subservience because I'm not an MD, or "just a librarian."

As for me, I like to go with Goethe:
"Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it."


theodora-self, theodora-self, please take care of self self.


Good day - Compared Translations of the meaning of the Quran (6470 pages)

"What is Islam's presence in the United States?"

It is almost impossible to generalize about American Muslims: converts, immigrants, factory workers, doctors; all are making their own contribution to America's future. This complex community is unified by a common faith, under-pinned by a countrywide network of a thousand mosques.

Muslims were early arrivals in North America. By the eighteenth century there were many thousands of them, working as slaves on plantations. These early communities, cut off from their heritage and families, inevitably lost their Islamic identity as time went by. Today many Afro-American Muslims play an important role in the Islamic community.

The nineteenth century, however, saw the beginnings of an influx of Arab Muslims, most of whom settled in the major industrial centers where they worshiped in hired rooms. The early twentieth century witnessed the arrival of several hundred thousand Muslims from Eastern Europe: the first Albanian mosque was opened in Maine in 1915; others soon followed, and a group of Polish Muslims opened a mosque in Brooklyn in 1928.

In 1947 the Washington Islamic Center was founded during the term of President Truman, and several nationwide organizations were set up in the fifties. The same period saw the establishment of other communities whose lives were in many ways modeled after Islam. More recently, numerous members of these groups have entered the fold of Muslim orthodoxy. Today there are about five million Muslims in America.

Question 27 "How does Islam guarantee human rights ?"

Freedom of conscience is laid down by the Quran itself: 'There is no compulsion in religion'. (2.256)

The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether a person is Muslim or not.

Racism is incomprehensible to Muslims, for the Quran speaks of human equality in the following terms:

'O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God 's sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware'. (49.13)

For more details - click her

The comments to this entry are closed.