RE: media librarianship

Tatar, Becky (
Mon, 21 Feb 2000 17:15:35 -0800 (PST)

Dear Lori, and fellow list members. Sorry this is soooo long.

1. I don't really think so. I received my degree from Domincan
University in 1990, taking 5 years, 1 class a semester. I don't really
remember seeing any media classes unless they were connected with the school
media curriculum. I did have a media class at Illinois State as part of my
BS in Ed., but it was more how to run the machines, how to make stuff, -
classroom oriented tasks. I started my degree after working at the Aurora
PL for 5 years. From the start of my time in Adult Services, I was
responsible for ordering all sound recordings, since my supervisor hated
that task. I assisted in selection of framed prints and sculpture, also.
Otherwise, we really didn't have a vast selection of media in ASD.
Children's also had filmstrips, books with cassettes. We had no slides,
except for the slides taken of our framed print collection, both of which we
loaned out. We have since eliminated our 16mm film collection also. Now
we have cds, cts, books on ct, books on cd., cd-roms, and videos. Our
framed print and sculpture collections are static, and are slated for the
chopping block, due to space problems. We haven't added DVDs, since we have
basically had no requests, which may or may not mean anything. All the
knowledge I have of media has come from experience, and reading the
professional literature, and participating in this listserv.

2. I think flexibility in thinking is going to be more and more
important. When people ask for information on a particular topic, we are
going to be required more and more to think nonbook. Not that books won't
be necessary. However, with the many ways that information and
entertainment is being offered now, we are going to have to be aware of all
these options. Most patrons won't be interested in all the options
available, but they should still be aware the options are there. I also
think that being able to stay abreast of what is out there will be
important. The ability to share information is going to be more vital.
There are real problems with tax sources and money. Librarians are going to
have to know who has what, or who knows what in order to provide patrons
with what they need. This will be especially important for people who will
not have access to information except for their library. Media specialists
will also have to keep up with the new technology, becoming knowledgeable
enough so they can make sound collection and financial decisions about
adding new technology formats to the collection.

3. I wish that media could be a specialty, however, except possibly for
large libraries such as are in big cities, or in college/university
settings, I don't think that is going to happen. While someone may end up
being responsible for selection, there won't necessarily be a separate
department, with its own staff, etc. I see this now at our library. Even
though we have excellent cataloging for our media - good subject headings,
all songs on sound recordings searchable, etc., people still ask me about
what is available. Part of this can be solved with training in searching,
and knowing what is in the collection. With training and good knowledge of
the collection, reference can do a more thorough job in assisting the
patron. When a patron requests information, they can be asked if they have
a format preference, and the differences in what each media format has can
be explained.

Also, I think knowledge of, reviews of, and accessiblity to media in
languages other than English is increasingly important. Here in Aurora, the
largest group of nonEnglish speakers is Hispanic. However, I know that
other places have large populations of people from many other countries. We
will need to increase our ability to provide these patrons with materials in
their own languages. This means we need to be able to easily purchase these
materials, and they need to be reviewed in standard sources. I feel that I
do my patrons a disservice when I order Spanish language movies just by
checking titles on a list that sound good, with no reviews, no plot summary,
or any information but title, star, length, genre and rating.

So, Lori, hope this helps! Good luck!

Becky Tatar
Unit Head, Periodicals/Audiovisual
Aurora Public Library
1 E. Benton Street
Aurora, IL 60505
Phone: 630/264-4100
FAX: 630/896-3209