Friday, September 3, 2010

What it takes to be a librarian in the 21st century

If you want to watch a video to find out about librarians in the 21st century then follow the link below.

Emily Rushing -- Pirates v. Ninjas; Librarianship in the 21st Century

So, what specific skills do you think librarians in the 21st century have? Information finding skills? Cataloguing skills? Yes, these are important but I bet many people would not think about customer service skills to help library patrons or the computer skills needed to navigate databases, catalogues and websites. Librarians need to be able to embrace change. Patron populations are changing all the time and so is the technology that fuels this digital age. Librarians need to keep changing with the times in order to be able to best serve their patrons and been able to maintain an up-to-date library and library collections.

“The library is not just a place to get stuff, it is a place to make and share stuff” - Joyce Kasman Valenza

Skills in technology are vital. Librarians need to be able to feel comfortable using computers and internet based programs. Catalogues, databases, search engines, email, blogs and websites are all used to maintain the library catalogue, help find information and interact with patron online. Online resources are needed and librarians are often the first person patrons talk to. Being able to troubleshoot technological problems is important as a repair man can’t always be called due to money or time issues. It is often easier for librarians to try and fix it themselves so knowing basics about computers, printers and photocopy machines is often necessary.

"Fortunately, a small segment of our population, librarians, has been dealing with the problem of information organization since 2000 B.C. Who better to turn to in our time of need than people with thousands of years of accumulated expertise and experience?" –Eugene Eric Kim

Being able to keep up with the changing world of librarianship is useful. Information is always changing. New ways to find information and use it are happening all the time. It is the responsibility of every librarian to keep up with new programs for the library computers or catalogue and what books are popular so they are ready to help when someone comes into the library and asks questions. It is all about being prepared.

“To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one” — Anonymous, Chinese saying

It takes a good librarian to keep up to date with what is popular and what can help patrons. The library website is often used a lot to look at the catalogue. The website can be more than that if librarians have the initiative to use blogs, slide shows, email and events link on the website to keep patrons interested and up-to-date on what’s happening in the library. In this way they keep patrons aware of what is happening and it may be even draw them back to the library after a long absence.

“A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life” — Henry Ward Beecher

Librarians being trained today are being taught a variety of tools – how/ where to find resources, how to use / manipulate catalogues, customer service / reference questioning and technology usage. Many librarians and library technicians are expected to have some sort of formal qualification so they will already know the information that will help them in the many roles of their job. An example is Swinburne University of Technology.


I didn’t see any books about librarians in the 21st century so I mainly focused my search for information on the internet only to find there were a limited number of useful sites to use. That is why my post is shorter this week. I did enjoy using a few different mediums this week for my blog. While I have used websites and a YouTube video before, I liked that I incorporated a wiki and a blog into my blog this week. I was going to also talk about whether libraries were still quiet and peaceful places to go visit but decided to just talk about ‘librarians in the 21st century’ as it is more closely related to my overall topic than libraries being quiet and peaceful.



Diploma of Library/Information Services 2010, Swinburne University of Technology, viewed 3 September 2010,

Kneale, Ruth. A 2002, You don’t look like a librarian, viewed 3 September 2010,

Quotations about libraries and librarians 2006, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutes, viewed 3 September 2010,


Farkas, Meredith 2006, ‘Skills for the 21st century librarian’, Information want to be free, 17 July, viewed 3 September 2010,


‘You know you’re a 2st century librarian if...’ 2010, Wikispaces, viewed 3 September 2010,'re+a+21st+century+librarian+if+.+.+.


IgniteDallas 2010, Emily Rushing – pirates v. Ninjas; librarianship in the 21st century, 6 July, viewed 3 September 2010,

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