For this Thing, I’m meant to be blogging or thinking about my Library Route/Root, or the path that brought me to librarianship, back in the Good Old Days. However, I was involved in the discussions that kicked off the creation of the wiki, and have blogged both my library route, and my root previously, so if anyone was particularly excited to find out, they can have a look at those – there’s been no major changes since I wrote them.
I haven’t however had a look at many of the other entries since the wiki was established in 2009, so I went over to poke about in some of the newer entries. From reading a good few of those, it seems that librarian career paths can mostly be summed up as:
- I didn’t ever consciously think of libraries as a career, but ended up in them by accident, and it was a happy accident.
- I started off as/qualified in something else, but I realised eventually that libraries were for me.
- I always knew I wanted to be a librarian.
It seems that “I always wanted to be a librarian” posts are hugely outnumbered by the “I never knew it was a career, but now I’m in it, I love it” ones. Perhaps the always-wanted posts are so few because of the problems the profession has with negative and outdated stereotypes – I can’t imagine that if you asked a kid “do you want to be a librarian?” that they’d say “yes: where so I sign up?!?!”. Mainly because “librarian” to kids are the Frumpy Stereotype (well, for the younger ones anyway – give them a few years, then they’ll move onto the Repressed Sex Beast stereotype), and that’s a long established one. It’s not really something that’s likely to change soon (unless anyone has developed mind bleach for an entire population), but it would be nice if librarian/researcher/information retrieval specialist was a bit more of a visible careers option. I’m not involved in the academic sector, so I’m not sure how the Careers Service ties in, but how well informed are careers advisors on the information profession?
Hopefully, a bit better than my one in the early 1990s, who cheerfully advised me not to go into working in libraries (despite it being an equal first on my careers choices, tied with science, and…erm…landscape gardening or something similar in close second!), as “it’ll all be done by computers in the future”.
Well done, careers advisor. I AM that computer who’s doing it in the future: I’m a librarian.