Archive for November, 2013

Personal and Professional

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

If you can’t tell, I’ve linked this blog to my Goodreads account. Scroll down a bit – it should be buried in the footer somewhere. (That’s one drawback to this sort of design!)

Why Goodreads, rather than something more direct like Facebook or Twitter? I have personal accounts on both sites, after all – but to be quite honest, I’m not very comfortable sharing something that intensely personal with something that’s intended to be professional. While there’s nothing on there that I wouldn’t want my mother to see, in a sense, there’s definitely a distinction between personal and professional. So Goodreads was chosen for two purposes: it was something I could easily use for both personal and professional things, and as a future librarian, something to do with books always seems like a winner.

Now, I’ll admit that, should I want something more interactive than Goodreads, and something that offers more conversational opportunities, I would be better off creating secondary Facebook and Twitter accounts. After all, in this day and age, I’m sure people have multiple accounts on the same site for vastly different purposes. But the traffic stats for my page aren’t overwhelming, particularly for such a small blog. If the readership base I have grows, then I might consider having Twitter or Facebook, because the core aspect of both is having some sort of an audience to converse with. If I don’t have that audience, and am tweeting into the virtual ether, it feels a little pointless. Goodreads, on the other hand, is something that I could use and enjoy without necessarily needing an audience (though one would be nice!)

But if I can go back to my earlier point for a minute, that about the personal/professional distinction, it ties in to something fellow MLISer Mallory posted recently, about socially aware networking. There, she spoke about how often people feel pressured to be silent for fear of judgement or bullying. I think something similar is at play here, at least with me – I feel a very strong urge to not talk about my own personal hobbies or interests beyond those that seem ‘appropriate’ for a library student (ex: reading) when I’m speaking in a professional capacity. While there’s definitely some distinction to be made, I’m coming to realize that a little bit of that personal quirkiness doesn’t need to be hidden on a professional blog – Mallory’s own example makes that clear. So I feel Goodreads is a step in that direction, as it reveals my own personal reading preferences.

Knowing the speed at which I move, I expect this blog might have a Twitter by, oh, 2015 or thereabouts. It’s a step in the right direction!

Librarians in the media

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

From the Library: The Librarian Stereotype on the Big Screen

Writing about The Librarian brought up a lot of things to think about, and one thing that I wanted to talk about was the genderization of the profession: look at the librarians in the video there, and then look at what they were doing: two reference librarians, a man and a woman, are asked questions. The woman is asked about the dating of Chinese bronzes; the man is asked to compile a bibliography of radar. Later on, the embedded hospital librarian, who is a woman, is able to compile a bibliography for a doctor (taking care to use the most lengthy and difficult term possible, because medicine is obscure like that). Naturally, she has to add that, “the words were difficult to pronounce!” There’s even a segment with a manager and the librarians around him, and it’s important to note that the manager’s male, while the majority of his employees are female.

Mary with a husband, and Mary without a husband. See a difference?

Mary with a husband, and Mary without a husband. See a difference?

That then brought to mind other portrayals of librarians, notably Mary from It’s A Wonderful Life, who is shown in two different ways: one as a very feminine, social woman in the ‘main’ timeline where she’s married to her husband George; and one as a spinsterly, frumpish woman in the alternate universe where George wasn’t born. It seemed like a good place to start since It’s A Wonderful Life is a contemporary of “The Librarian,” and what with Christmas approaching faster than I’d like, It’s A Wonderful Life was on my mind. But then I did some brief searching, and then I found that someone else had discussed it more thoroughly than I ever could have, so I suggest you check it out.

Also, read the comments. This is probably the only time ever that I’ll suggest reading the comments, but there’s a lot of additional discussion going on there, and it’s worth a look.

“Not Your Parents’ Library”

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

“Not Your Parents’ Library”

This is back from August, but since it’s from St. Thomas, where I’m from, it was something that intrigued me: St. Thomas and Elgin County Libraries are offering new sorts of downloads. Now, a library offering digital downloads or access to databases — which is basically what Zinio is — is not new. London Public Library, for example, offers the exact same Zinio subscription. I’ve used it, I’ve looked at IndieFlix, done the whole bit. If anything, it’s a great way to look at magazines without needing to pay for them, even if reading on a computer screen is less than ideal.

No, what’s most striking about this is that there is an article devoted to this fact. Indeed, the closing quote is that this “isn’t your parents’ library,” which definitely says something about how libraries are still perceived. The fact that it needs to be spelled out in black and white only emphasizes this.

But for all that, I do think it’s offering a valuable service — while not all patrons will be able to, or want, to access stuff wirelessly, having it there can be a great convenience. Particularly in a place like St. Thomas, which doesn’t have the bus system that London does, making it more difficult for some patrons to get there. Certainly, it’s up with the times — now if only people didn’t need to be reminded of that fact.

‘Real’ Professions

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Image“These racks and shelves contain a lot of books,” the narrator says, “Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands—perhaps millions.”

So begins the 1947 short, “The Librarian,” one of a series created to showcase various professions and their role within the community. The opening scene is not surprising; why would it be? The public perception of libraries as a place to store books has been around for a long time, so for a vocational movie to emphasize that aspect, particularly in 1947, isn’t surprising. What should be more surprising is how, despite the changes within society since then, the public perception hasn’t changed much at all.

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