Articles

Is ‘professional librarian’ an oxymoron?

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 by Hanna

Following on from discussions about CILIP’s role there is a really interesting post on David Rothman’s blog where he cites Ryan Deschamps arguing that this is why indeed ‘professional librarian’ is oxymoronic:

Deschamps’ 10 Reasons are:
1. Librarians Have No Monopoly on the Activities They Claim
2. There are No Consequences For Failing to Adhere to Ethical Practices
3. Librarianship is Too Generalized to Claim Any Expertise
4. ’Librarian’ Assumes a Place of Work, Rather than the Work Itself
5. Peer Review in Librarianship Does Not Work Because There is No Competitive Process to Go With It
6. Values Are Not Enough
7. The Primary Motivation for Professionalization is the Monopoly of Labor
8. Accredited Library Schools Do Not Adequately Prepare Students for Library Work
9. Competing Professions Are Offering Different Paradigms to Achieve the Same Goals
10. Nobody Can Name a ‘Great’ Librarian

Any takers? I like #2 which is something I argued about in my Masters thesis which was that it’s not like there’s any way to be removed from professional practice like doctors or lawyers if you were incompetent and perhaps my main frustration with CILIP is that they seem quite happy to bumble along nicely and don’t think there’s any case to answer with the question ‘is it possible/desirable to bolster our professionalism?’  Should we not just agree that we don’t have a monopoly on the work we do (#1) because to to deny this and think we can define ourselves in a weird tribute to postmodernist claptrap[CILIP’s body of knowledge document] is nonsense (and possibly detrimental to our profession). Perhaps I do have a different take on information and knowledge work and would like to broaden its appeal and not bolt it down to things like employers  asking for a qualification built on the assumption that we are unique and definable when surely they should be asking for skills, experience and vision?

Advertisements

4 Responses to “Is ‘professional librarian’ an oxymoron?”

  1. I have tried to read the BPK several times but cannot seem to maintain concentration throughout the (brief) document. I can recognise things people do but the language is indeed a barrier.

  2. […] This came from Ryan Deschamps via David Rothman and eventually the Health Informationist. […]

  3. I think that as far as a form of Government – State is in place, we will always have a ‘librarian’ function, no matter the professional associations role or the oxymoron distinction. I may understand some points but I see a lack of historical – political perspective in this approach.

    • I think that as far as a form of Government – State is in place, we will always have a ‘librarian’ function, no matter the professional associations role or the oxymoron distinction. I may understand some points but I see a lack of historical – political perspective in your approach.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: