This post by The Limnal Librarian is, simply put, a must for everyone to read and understand (even if you don’t agree).
I worked in a pharmacy as a technician for 8 years. There were great, and not so great, times to be had, and I learned a lot (especially about working with and for people). One of those lessons was that the person walking up to the counter didn’t know that I wasn’t a pharmacist and didn’t care that I wasn’t a pharmacist; they wanted their question answered rightly or their medication filled properly.
Libraries are the same. We are all librarians. Any other unifying name or term to define those of us who work there is an attempt at futility: people see us all as librarians. This is not to take anything away from the MLS degree; I have seen the power that a good library program gives to a person inclined to help others find and use information… nothing can replace that (only reduce it). There is a very good reason why the MLS should be required for library administrators, and that it should be a generous part of any well-sized library’s staffing.
We all, however, represent the same entity to the patron. Nobody, in any position, should hesitate to say “let me get someone who can help you with that particular question”. That someone might be the high school page who you know to be a fan of graphic novels; or the support staff who knits as a hobby, or the director who’s husband has the same medical condition (though the patron never need know if the director doesn’t want them to).
The linked essay should be read, understood, printed out, posted, and perhaps even left on the desks of those needing the reminder most.
Tapping into your staff’s knowledge doesn’t diminish anyone’s position; only ignoring it does.
found via LISNews
(added later) — it may be that part of the original post that this post was a response to (I don’t know, it was deleted) involved Dean Giustini being upset that Tim Spaulding of LibraryThing won a Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers award this year. If so, there is an added reason to strongly respond: we are a profession that is seeking it’s purpose in an era in which much of our traditional purpose may be shifting to the internet (i.e. instant reference and access to information resources). Anyone who can help to merge the two and provide a combined path forward is worthy of recognition; they needn’t be part of the traditional library family to do so.