Your Life Work, The Librarian – Video Response

Hello all,

So, a few weeks back I was shown this video in one of my classes. It is part of the “Your Life Work Series” and it is called “The Librarian”. Created in 1947, this video discusses the responsibilities of librarians. The video begins by asking a series of questions. It shows shelving filled with books, and the video asks “Are they your friends? Have you a real love of books and learning?” I internally replied with “Yes!” (As some might find it concerning to see a girl in the library, talking to a YouTube video….) The video continues, “Now, do you like people and do people like you? My answers were “Yes and ….. I hope so?” Well according to the video, if I have “these two important qualifications, love for books and love for people” that I might want to think about “the vocation of a librarian.”

After taking a sigh of relief that I had made the right career choice, I carried on with the video. While some of the content was slightly dated, in terms of cultural and social conventions, I was pleasantly surprised that the work of a librarian has been consistent and endured. The video accurately describes the role of the librarian regardless of the type of library the librarian is tasked with “bringing books and people together. I would change this statement slightly and say that the librarian is tasked with bringing information and people together. There are so many different mediums that information can be presented in. The growth of technology has allowed for libraries to present information through books, e-books, web journal articles, or even through unconventional and interactive technologies found in the growing concept of Makerspaces.

The video then goes on to describe the 5 main types of librarians. 1) Catalog Librarians, 2) Reference Librarians, 3) Circulation Librarians, 4) Children’s Librarian, and 5) School Librarian. These jobs are still found within libraries today, and there are many cases when these roles overlap. There are also jobs described as “Special competence jobs”. These include roles like the Library Administrator, Subject specialists, Extension/Mobile Librarians, and Adult Education Librarians. I would completely agree with the video when they mention that these “Special Competence Jobs” require higher levels of education and training.

One of my favourite parts was the demonstration of the cataloguing system, a boy was looking for a book about television “that tells the whole story”. However, he didn’t know the author or the title. The only thing he could remember was the fact that the book was blue. This reminded me of a funny, yet accurate picture I found a while back.

Blue Book

One thing that I found disappointing about this video, is that to be honest, they did not make librarianship seem fun and dynamic, but rather scholarly and important. While librarianship is scholarly and dynamic, there is so much more to it than that. There are book clubs, reading programs, guest speakers, workshops, classes, exhibits and more. The library is more than a place to read and study, and a librarian does more than file books and assist with research.

Well I hope you watch the video and let me know what you think. What was your favorite part? What parts do you agree with, disagree with?

Thanks, and talk to you later !


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