media librarianship -Reply

Tue, 22 Feb 2000 13:51:51 -0800 (PST)

Lori, here are my answers and opinions. First, I work as a Librarian II
in charge of all media at a public library. I am also the branch
librarian and work my desk shifts in the Popular Library Area, fiction
and media, at the main library. I graduated from Univ of Iowa in 12/92,
started working in Duluth in 4/93 and was promoted to my current
position about 2 years ago.

1. I did not have any training in media in my M.L.S. program. It was
briefly mentioned in my Public Library class and in cataloging (how to
catalog it) but that was it. My training in selection and collection
development did help but I found out about reference tools from the
librarian who previously held this position. I still am finding out
about the reference tools that are available to me - for example, I just
found out about this listserve a few months ago!

2. I believe media librarians need to be flexible, realistic and
persistent. We would like to have reviews for everything we purchase
but reviews for media are hard to find and so you often have to rely on
your coworkers or commercial sources for information. I often ask the
library staff about different musical groups that are new to me or about
foreign films. As a public library, you only have so much money and
lots of ways to spend it plus many different ways to purchase materials.

We currently have vhs tapes and are in the
process of discarding our 16 mm films. We not longer have phonograph
records, only cassettes and cd's. We have framed prints that circulate
and audio books on cassette. We are considering purchasing audio books
on cd also but my budget has not increased so any purchase on cd
decreased the number on cassette. We have had a few requests for dvd
but not enough to consider adding it as a format. I am thinking of
doing a survey of the audio book patrons to see how strong the demand is
for audio books on cd.

3. I think the position of media librarian will be always be a
specialty, especially because of the changes in format that are coming.
Someone in the library has to be responsible to keep up with the
literature in this area. No one can be familiar with all the reference
tools, both in print and online, that are available in every area and so
the person who does the ordering in that area will be the library expert
and have both patrons and coworkers asking for help.

Just my thoughts in this area.

Renee Zurn
Duluth Public Library
520 W. Superior St.
Duluth MN 55802