[Videolib] Dear John letter

James Scholtz (jimscholtz@sdln.net)
Thu, 11 Dec 2003 12:54:13 -0500

My response to John's question concerning training for an AV librarianship
position. Maybe it's my mood today, so some of you may disregard this
e-mail. But what the heck is up with you guys? I've been an AV Librarian
for some 23 years and loved every second of it. Nowhere in the library
field can librarians find the work diversity that occurs in AV - whether it
be in an academic, public, special or system library. I know because I've
worked in ALL of these institutions. You also get an opportunity to create
your own job to a greater degree and keep up with technology. there is
something new everyday!! The people you meet - other AV librarians,
product/video distributors and producers are fantastic, multi-faceted
people. You have to be on the cutting edge of technology knowledge, know
about copyright laws/public performance, how to write policies/procedures,
write grants, do public programming, video production techniques and future
technology - formats, computer knowledge, plus know about film history and
have a great reader's/viewers advisory sense (both books and film!). You
also have to know about the idiosyncrasies of cataloging and OPAC systems
as well as booking systems. A virtual pleathora of knowledge to whet your
palette. Now, everyone is under-appreciated in libraries and, to a certain
extent, AV librarians/AV dept. are a thing of the past - integrated into a
broader spectrum of customer service depts. That doesn't mean that the
knowledge an AV librarian possess is any less valuable. Personally, as
I've grown into my library director role, I've found that my experiences as
an AV librarian have prepared my well. I'm much more open-minded and can
trouble-shoot with greater ease than my non-AV peers. I've got a greater
sense of financial situations - can handle budgets much better (AV budgets
have always been low). I've been able to adapt to situations much better
as well. that said, I should say this to John. I think that formal AV
education is great, but the things one learns on the job - reading books
about AV librarianship, reading reviews, actually looking at lots of
videos/films, reading books about film/viewers advisory techniques/as well
as learning the films themselves (and being able to conduct a reader's
advisory interview) and (lastly) LOVING AV librarianship are the qualities
that will make you a better AV librarian (or librarian for that
matter). I've often said that an AV librarian is a gestalt librarian. In
the 1970's "Kung Fu" series, Cain was asked by a student what technique or
school of kung fu he taught. Cain replied "I teach them all." - Pretty
prophetic for a television show and appropriate for AV librarians. Boy
what a soapbox - "I'm throgh playin' now.. Jim S. (if you don't know who
I am - look me up in your card catalog or in Booklist!)

James C. Scholtz, Director
Yankton Community Library
515 Walnut St.
Yankton, SD 57078
605-668-5276
jimscholtz@sdln.net

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