Articles

The Professional

In librarians on January 15, 2006 by ultimatelibrarian

Who is a professional? Are librarians professionals? Is Léon a professional?

Personally, I haven’t decided whether librarians are or not, and I mostly don’t care. But wouldn’t you rather be a considered a professional then the reverse? Most people here at the iSchool seem to feel that librarians are not professionals because 1) they don’t have a standard core of knowledge and 2) because we don’t have a governing body. Huh.

Do other people outside of the field consider librarians to be professionals? I guess probably not in the sense that a doctor or a lawyer is a professional. But, hopefully, most librarians (and information specialists/scientists/superheros) act professionally, and maybe that’s what’s important anyway.

This is just came up again in my information ethics class. I think it’s been discussed in the bibliosphere before, although I can’t seem to find any posts about it, but I kind of wonder what other people on the “outside” think. Unfortunately, I don’t have any readers that I’m aware of, so this question will probably just be put to my friends sometime when I’ve drunk enough wine to have intelligent conversation. 🙂

but perhaps librarians (I keep wanting to write “we”, but I’m trying not to be clique-y) do have a core of knowledge. After all, there is a OKCupid test! (I’m aspiring, how ’bout you?)

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One Response to “The Professional”

  1. I’ve worked in libraries for 15 years as a non-librarian but with a professional degree and certifications. I have worked shoulder to shoulder with librarians. They call themselves professionals and tell me that I am not allowed to call myself a professional. At best, I am considered a “paraprofessional”. All of this despite the fact that I went through a difficult certification process and have to pay yearly to keep up my license…… I am not into status or anything like that but I do get a little miffed when a group of people who actually don’t have any certifications, standards boards or licensing requirements go around calling themselves professionals while they, at the same time, tell people who have to adhere to the aforementioned that they are not professionals. I think that their treatment of people from other “professions” is very immature and unprofessional. I think that librarians would do a lot better in terms of making themselves look more professional in the eyes of the rest of the working world if they got off their high horses on this issue. I suspect that it is mostly low self-esteem driving this. But, it does not make it right. And, I think that I have been a good sport in putting up with it all these years. And for those librarians reading this….. if you ever talked to any of the library associates and asked them what they honestly think (especially the lawyers, nurses and teachers among them), I think that you’d get a real shock.

    With regard to whether or not librarians are professionals…… Well, they are professionals in the same way that mechanics, hairdressers or pipe fitters are. Are they professionals like doctors, lawyers, or judges? Not even close. Too tell the truth, I rely more on my mechanic and the guy who fixed my furnace to be competent and professional much more than I ever would a librarian. After all, my car or furnace could blow up! If the librarian gives me the wrong information……. well, aren’t we all supposed to be responsible for looking at the information for ourselves and make our own judgement in that regard?

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