Re: [Videolib] What is a librarian?

ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
Sat, 14 Jul 2007 12:10:04 -0700 (PDT)

OK...here's my take.

Almost none of us in the biz started out as video librarians (Meghann and
Michael's survey confirms this...at least with the sample taken): we
entered the profession thru back doors or by default and grew into the
gig. I personally banged around in various special libraries and academic
libraries for close to 10 years before inheriting my current job (which
was nothing like the job I have currently). What I think I brought to my
job is a passion for the moving image, a fair amount of knowledge about
film history and aesthetics (a minor in film history from UCLA), an
understanding of what goes into quality public service, an MLS-bred
understanding of bibliographic taxonomies (cataloging stuff), and an
almost hysterical joy at finding myself so lucky as to be in this kind of
job (I had been an acquisitions librarian for those ten previous years).

I always been of a mind that the MLIS is pretty useless in the
overall...very little of what learns in those programs has any long-term
relevance. What the MLIS program does provide (or at least it provided
me) with a sense of professionalism broadly writ, a basic knowledge of how
places called libraries go about their business, and a good sense of what
it means to serve a clientele effectively(whether you're out front or
behind the scenes). I think the MLIS gives one entry into a
fraternity/sorority of like-minded professionals...an affinity group of
peers... In certain circumstances, the degree can provide a bit of cache
when dealing with other professionals (like faculty).

Can the stuff media librarians do be done by others (like, God forbid)
staff in instructional tech units on campus? yeah, sure...probably.
Would the service and vision and engagement with content and with the
larger information universe be as effective or substantial. No way.

As far as media librarians getting into administrative positions...some of
my best friends are ex-video librarian administrators with more on their
minds than media.

Gary

> So, Gary, we are on the same page. What I don't want is the age-old MLS
> vs. non-degreed librarian discussion we've been having ad nauseum since I
> graduated in 1971. I AM interested in what goes into making a true video
> librarian. Since there seem to be very few courses in graduate library
> science programs that address this, I suspect most come to it from a
> specialization point of view. LIke government documents librarians.
>
> When my husband graduated from Simmons, twenty years after I gained my
> degree, there was a course aimed at studying "images" and their
> collection.
>
> My own understanding and interest comes from an undergraduate course I
> had in Introduction to Film and from auditing some graduate courses at
> Iowa in media studies (we watched a lot of "meaningful" television).
>
> If I were hiring a video librarian, I would be more interested in their
> specific background and experience than with the actual M.L.S. (or some
> variation of that). At my institution, however, our librarians are
> faculty and we require an ALA accredited master's degree. It opens up a
> huge can of worms (picture those in David Lynch's version of Dune).
>
> Christine Godin
> ghandman@library.berkeley.edu wrote:
> beg to differ, Christine
>
> I think this list is exactly the place to debate the issue apropos to
> video/media librarianship
>
> gary
>
>
>> I think this is a valid question and open to debate. I don't think this
>> list is the place unless one wants to debate the desired
>> experience/education/qualifications for a VIDEO or MEDIA librarian.
>>
>> Just my $.02
>> Christine Godin, M.L.S., M.A. (theatre) in Dec. 2007
>> College library director and primary selector for media
>> Northwest Vista College
>> San Antonio, TX
>>
>> deg farrelly wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>> Gary Handman wrote:
>>>
>>> Oh, by the way, at the risk of being labelled reactionary and
>>> backward-looking, in regard to your statement: Most (87%) video
>>> librarians
>>> hold a Masters in Library or Information Science. A handful hold only
>>> an
>>> Associates or Bachelors (3%),
>>>
>>> in my neck of the academic woods, there's no such thing as a librarian
>>> without an MLS. In light of my statement above re the instability of
>>> the
>>> professional specialization, I'm wondering if this is such a musty
>>> notion,
>>> after all. I think we need all the creds we can bring with us.
>>
>>
>> A post to the Collection Development listserv just inquired about
>> questions
>> to ask library technician applicants, who will have responsibility for
>> selecting and deselecting materials.
>>
>> (This was for a public library, and not related to media)
>>
>> I have to ask... What is the need for librarians, if such key essential
>> functions of librarianship are being done by technical staff.
>>
>>
>> VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of
>> issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic
>> control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in
>> libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve
>> as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel
>> of
>> communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video
>> producers and distributors.
>>
>>
>>
>> ---------------------------------
>> Fussy? Opinionated? Impossible to please? Perfect. Join Yahoo!'s user
>> panel and lay it on us.
>
>
> Gary Handman
> Director
> Media Resources Center
> Moffitt Library
> UC Berkeley
>
> 510-643-8566
> ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
> http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC
>
> "In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life
> presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles."
> --Guy Debord
>
>
> VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of
> issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic
> control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in
> libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve
> as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of
> communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video
> producers and distributors.
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------
> Boardwalk for $500? In 2007? Ha!
> Play Monopoly Here and Now (it's updated for today's economy) at Yahoo!
> Games.

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley

510-643-8566
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life
presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles."
--Guy Debord

VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and distributors.