What is a librarian?

I suspect that there are many answers to this question and they depend on the librarian’s professional ontology or a library user or non-user’s experiences and perceptions of librarians and libraries.

For many years, the word “information” featured in my description of the librarian that I am. I was never quite comfortable with this but it seemed acceptable to the profession and I couldn’t find an alternative. In the last few years I have found a description that is really meaningful for me.

The librarian that I am is a partner in knowledge development/creation and knowledge sharing. This is really important to my practice as it puts my clients and potential clients at the centre of my practice. And, that is important because it helps me ensure that I provide the kind of services that my clients want and need from me, and it helps me keep my mind open to new things that I might do to make my service relevant to people who have yet to use my services.

It also means that I don’t see my practice as a list of jobs to do. With workloads as overwhelming as they are, I think that this is a trap into which it is easy to fall. And, it puts the librarian at the centre of practice which is problematic for me.


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