# 1 - I'm not quite sure how many parts there will be to this series. More than 2 but less than 10, I think. Thanks for those who've left comments in the earlier posts. Your responses gave me more ideas for additional posts to this series.
# 2 - I use the term "librarian" in a general sense, but am mostly referring to Public Service Librarians, 'cos that's my background.
# 3 - I don't know all there is about "becoming a librarian". I'm sharing my thoughts, hoping you'd share yours too, regardless of whether you're a librarian or not.
Question: How does one become a librarian?
Response: You want a philosophical answer to this one? (I'm answering a question with yet another question... it's an occupational hazard).
Even today, I have problems trying to give a clear and simple answer to this question. One could interpret the question in at least three ways:
- "How does one get hired as a librarian"
- "How does one develop the necessary skills to be able to do what a librarian does"
- "How does one get recognised as a librarian"
#1 - Getting hired
Some people are hired with a general first-degree (i.e. any discipline) while some are only hired if they have library qualifications. Obviously, different libraries (in Singapore or otherwise) have different hiring policies, and even for the same organisation, the policies change depending on the circumstances.
Some people obtain a library degree (first degree or Masters) before seeking employment in a library, while some people decide to take up academic qualifications after they've worked for a few years.
To my knowledge, whatever the hiring policy, it's fairly consistent that a Masters Degree is generally considered as the professional qualification (please correct me if I'm wrong here).
#2 - Being able to carry out the duties as a Librarian
"You don't really need academic qualifications to be able to carry out the duties of a librarian".
It's a logical statement. If given enough training and practice, and with the right aptitude and attitude for the job, anyone can carry out the duties of a librarian (or any other job in the world) without paper qualifications.
In that same vein, I'm also saying that possessing library qualifications does not necessarily mean you can carry out the duties assigned. Librarianship is way more than just a piece of paper.
OK, you might now be asking, "Do I need to get library qualifications then?". You'd better check what the HR department people say, but my take is that you do them. It's why hospitals hire nurses and doctors with qualifications rather than accept those without. Those qualifications show that you possess some basic skills and/ or understanding of what you'd be asked to do, which saves the organisation time.
#3 - How does one get recognised as a Librarian?
I'll quote what BeAReader commented in Part 2:
The people using our library had a satisfying experience and gained access to the information they sought. As Librarians we made that happen - that is what we do.I think as a Librarian, the recognition comes when our customers acknowledge that they've received good service and obtained the information and/ or material they wanted.
It doesn't matter if customers know what academic qualifications the librarian's got, or the specific tasks librarians do, or how much work goes into getting that book on the shelf or programme in the library.
The crux is their acknowledgement; their awareness and recognition that there are Librarians who made it happen, as opposed to "people who work in the library".
Then Librarians become of us.
(Part 4, next).