Your librarian questions answered

May 02, 2013
Not long ago, we asked people to submit questions that they have always wanted to ask a librarian but never had the chance to. I want to thank everyone for all of their tweets! Today I get to answer some of the questions posed to me. How did you know you wanted to be a librarian? When I was studying for my undergraduate degree in history, I became interested in how information was organized to be found again. After many conversations with the subject librarian at my university, I decided that I wanted to go to graduate school for library science instead of history. What’s the hardest part about being a librarian? The hardest part for me is trying to overcome the stereotypes of what everyone believes a librarian does. My job is very technical and requires a great deal more knowledge of IT than most people believe. Do you still use the Dewey Decimal System in the digital age? In the Scholastic library, yes I do. The Dewey Decimal Classification System is at its core a way to arrange books on a shelf according to subject. This allows for an easily searchable collection. While the Dewey Decimal System is the most famous of all the classification systems it is not the only one. It is certainly not without its flaws – I will leave it at that otherwise the answer to this question will get a great deal longer – but it is one that is in most use today, particularly in public libraries. Academic libraries use the Library of Congress classification system. There are other classification systems used in specialist libraries that were developed with the needs of their collection in mind. The Dewey Decimal Classification System is used to classify and shelve physical books and is separate from any digital organization in use today. Have all librarians gone for their Master’s degree? Generally people with the job title of Librarian do have a Master’s degree. This is not a hard and fast rule, however, and there are many wonderful people in the profession who do not have a Master’s in Library or Information Science. That said, if you are contemplating a career in libraries, a Master’s degree is preferable. What is the one thing about your job that you wish that you could tell everyone? It is both harder than you would think and more fun than you imagine it to be. If you weren’t a librarian, what would you want to do for a living? Some days in my wildest dreams, I would own a food truck selling homemade soup. But realistically, I would be a history professor specializing in the social history of the 1960’s which was my original plan. Any words of wisdom for aspiring librarians? Become a librarian because you love and find fulfillment in it. As anyone will tell you this is not a profession in which you will become fabulously wealthy but I can’t imagine doing anything else I want to thank everyone who submitted a question. If there is anything else that you would like to ask, feel free to leave a comment.