Re: media librarianship

Frank Landrum (
Tue, 22 Feb 2000 12:51:38 -0800 (PST)

At 11:58 AM 2/21/00 -0800, you wrote:
>In preparation for my chapter in the new edition of Gary's book, I would
>like to ask the media librarians out there to take a few minutes and send me
>a reply to the questions below. Responses sent directly to me will be kept
>confidential. If you want to share your thoughts with the list that's fine
>too. I'm trying to get an idea about how you feel about library education
>for media librarians and where you see our specialty heading in the future.
>I guess I'm defining "media" as traditional a/v type formats as well as
>newer ones, but with a slant towards video.
>1. Do you think "library school" (MLS program) prepared you for your career
>as a media librarian? Why? Please indicate in which type of library you are
>currently working.
>2. What skills or qualities do you think will be most important for media
>librarians in the future?
>3. Will media librarians as a specialty field continue well into the future
>or do you see our role changing as new technologies and formats emerge?
>Thanks in advance for your time and energy.
>Lori Widzinski
>Head, Computing and Multimedia Services
>Health Sciences Library
>University at Buffalo
>Hi Lori,
>1. One of the things I complained about during my undergraduate and
graduate studies was the amount of theory and lack of practical approaches
to what I ran into when I was I hired as a real world school "librarian".
On retrospect, I can see that what was learned at Villanova Graduate School
and Millersville State was the ability to work with whatever media with a
strong understanding of evaluation of any type of media, organize
information of any type of media, and to foresee that the format of how we
provide information is secondary to the quality and pertinence of the
information that we provide. So, I think I was prepared for all types of
libraries and media.
In my present position, I manage a "film and video" library of 18,000
titles and a professional print library of about 7,000 titles. We are a
regional center that serves 16 school districts and a few other k-12 users.
2. The skill to adapt to new technologies, new needs, and the desire to
continue to learn. I have been in the library field since 1962-minus a
couple of years when Uncle Sam needed my help- and to look back and see the
simple, direct ways that were so comfortable then, and to look and see the
online, the digital manner in which we deliver today shows such tremendous
change. And, unlike a few of my contemporaries, I do not long for the old
days, but see that we are so much more valuable now, and the rewards of
helping patrons locate what they need are great.

3. We have the background, but if we are to survive we had better be ready
and willing to take on the roles of the new technologies. If delivery of
actual items (media) to schools ceases to be a physical delivery, we still
need the media librarian to serve in the role of technology and to be the
one who identifies and provides the delivery through digital streaming or
whatever is going to come forth. The need will be there and if we don't
grab it, someone else will. Media librarians will still need to be
educated about selection, evaluation, organization, information seeking
strategies, and the fulfilling of patron needs.

Thanks for this mental exercise. Hope there is something there that is
Frank Landrum
Lane ESD
Eugene, Oregon