All libraries are the same. In some ways, yes. All libraries have books. All libraries have patrons. All libraries have staff members. And that’s about it. There are different types of libraries/media centers, just as there a different types of stores or doctor’s specialties. Hopefully, this post will help clear this one up.
People who work in libraries are always called librarians. Nope. There are librarians, research librarians, media specialists, clerks, paraprofessionals, staff members, and volunteers, to name a few. The terms librarian and media specialist are very similar. Those who work in public libraries are generally called librarians. High schools bounce between librarian and media specialist. Basically, at my school, I am a media specialist because, on top of the library services, I perform a great deal of technology-related instruction and services. There are also academic librarians (colleges and universities), research librarians (research labs and companies, such as the Centers for Disease Control), special librarians (specific content like the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library).
There is not really any training needed to be a librarian. Actually, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. A master’s degree, or higher, is required to be a librarian/media specialist. Every different type of librarian specialty has its own educational coursework.
Librarians basically just check out books to people. Yes, I do check books out to people, but I do so much more. I help students with research and references. I even proofread their papers, including a large number of them after they head off to college. Gotta love e-mail, even when it drives you crazy. I purchase the books for my media center and no, I don’t just go to a book dealer site and start clicking random books. There is a method to my madness, and you can read about that in my post Cute Cover! I’ll take it! I help teachers with lesson plans, even sometimes math plans, and trust me, that is a stretch! I am not a math girl! I spend a great deal of time looking for resources that are helpful to students and teachers, professional development information for teachers. Oh, and e-mail. I read A TON of e-mails! I generally deal with about 180 and 210 e-mails a day. Some days I am still working on those until 10:00 or 11:00 at night. (So sorry to those of you who get my late night answers. I’m a night-owl at heart.)
Librarians like to keep the library quiet at all times. Those people will “Shush!” you in a heartbeat! Yeah, not all of us. Actually, I have been “shushed” a few times myself, and I am the media specialist! I am a loud person by nature. I like to laugh, sometimes when things don’t go as planned, I make very weird, very loud screeching noises. I have been known to yell across the library to tell a student that the book he/she wanted has just been returned (with a loud “Yippee!” at the end. Are coffee shops quiet? Do people work in those? Yep. So if my media center is a little louder than most, pretend you are in a coffee shop! 🙂
Librarians are boring old women who only like to read. Do I really look old? Wait, don’t answer that! I do have gray hair, but I have had that since I was sixteen years old, and besides, you can only tell that it is gray when I need to re-color it! I have a few wrinkles, but other than that, I am pretty young. I do not have a big gray bun on the nape of my neck. I wear contacts (and sometimes glasses) but that is not due to age! And boring? I am nowhere near boring! Loud, sarcastic and hopefully funny, yes. Boring? NO!
No one needs librarians anymore because you can find anything on Google. Yes, because everything you find on the internet is true, right? Check out this post from The Daily Banter: This website tricked dumb people with fake news, and is making money doing it. No, there is no religion based on Beyoncé. Need another example? Have you heard that Coca-Cola is recalling millions of bottles of Coke with the name Michael on the label? Not true! Of course, if you want to save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus from becoming extinct, check out this website. And if you want to know what is going on in the world of science meets technology meets medicine, go to RYT Hospital’s website. Very interesting things happening here!
Media specialists don’t really know what teachers do. The majority of media specialist have education degrees and have taught for years before finding out how wonderful it is to be a media specialist. I spent seventeen wonderful years as a classroom teacher. Been there. Done that. Loved i.! Love this even more.
It must be nice to get paid to read all day. I would certainly think so! But I have no idea, you’d have to ask someone who gets paid to read all day!When someone finds a job that lets you read all day, please, please, please let me know. I will be the first to apply!
Being a librarian/media specialist must be really boring. Absolutely not! Interesting? Yes. Trying at times? Yes. Fun? Yes. Rewarding? Yes. Having a student tell you “I don’t read.” and then finding a book they love and having them come back to check out different books again and again. That is rewarding! Helping a student research a topic and helping them realize that search engines really don’t have all the answers…that is rewarding. Having former students contact you from college and ask you to help them with a research paper or to tell you they appreciate how you helped them…oh, so rewarding! Collaborating a teacher to help make a boring topic a lesson that students enjoy learning…Awesome! Never doing the same tasks two days in a row? Phenomenal! Boring? NO WAY!