Profession: Librarian

Monday, July 01, 2013

Laroi Lawton, librarian and assistant professor at Bronx Community College and Queens College Graduate School of Library & Information Studies, talks about the job of librarian in the 21st century.

Librarians, how has your profession changed since you started working?  Do you have words of wisdom for library science students?  Call us at 212-433-9692.

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Laroi Lawton

Comments [8]

leo from chicago from Chicago

First, the Librarian Convention is taking place today -- it's been running since at least last Thursday and will be ending on Tuesday:

Second, working in an academic library (as I do) is kind of like working in a specialized library in the sense that our main customers are college students needing books and articles for research papers. Part of the process is helping the student find and recognize research content that will be helpful to them. It's a great job and one of the most rewarding things I do.

I started in the mid-nineties when much of the material was in 'indexes' which you looked up either on computer or in books. These indexes listed material in print journals which the student would have to see if (1) we owned and (2) where in the library they were shelved. Many of the newspapers were on microfilm. Some collections were on microfiche.

The big difference nowadays is that our listings are all internet-based (no more networked cdroms) and there are direct links to the content which is also available (for the most part) online. This is an extraordinary improvement in access to content.

Jul. 02 2013 01:29 AM
Lauren from Brooklyn

As a 21st century librarian, I connect people with the information they need to live their lives better. That information may be in a paper book, or an ebook, or on a website, or through a class or video. We have such a rich trove of information out there, that if you can navigate it to find what you need, you can have the whole world open up to you. Consider me your GPS.

Jul. 01 2013 04:27 PM
Irene from Maplewood NJ

Rich P from Long Island,

Your card should be next to your Nook, Kindle, iPad or other eReader. Download books, use your library's research databases from HOME and more!

Sorry, chances are no 8 track tapes to be found though........

Jul. 01 2013 01:35 PM
Joanne from Jamaica

The big picture: 21st century libraries are providing computer access for the huge percentage of the population that doesn't have it at home (or has it and doesn't know how to use it). They are providing necessary, ongoing education for adults, whether that means working toward an advanced degree or learning/improving their English. Libraries are after school enrichment. They are job training centers. They are senior socialization spaces. They are maker spaces and creative collaboratives. They are emergency responders.

And they still have the mission of guiding that 4th grader in creating a report on the Dutch settlers or helping Mom find a cookbook. That's an awful broad responsibility.

Jul. 01 2013 11:37 AM
francyne pelchar from Pelham Bay Park

The change I've noticed is that when I worked in a public library in North Carolina there were no porn filters on the public access computers. Working at the Reference Desk, I constantly fielded complaints from patrons who found themselves and sometimes their children next to someone viewing some very raw porn. Here in NYC, there's no such problem.

Jul. 01 2013 11:27 AM
Bonn from East Village

About a year ago, when I went to my local community library and hit the stacks, I noticed that HALF the books were gone. What happened? The librarian said since NO ONE reads, they took them away. But they put in some Chinese language books instead. I am an avid reader. I see many people taking out books - in English. It's a very well-used library. If I want a specific book, I can order it. But half the fun is roaming through the stacks and finding little gems. Also, as a former teacher, I found that plagiarism was on the rise because students think that copying from a website is research - without even bothering to paraphrase. Finally, the library used to be a place of sanctuary and learning. Now it is under attack - from so-called administrators and from unsavory characters. Many libraries have taken to hiring guards. Mine can only afford a part-time guard. I have witnessed many ugly, scary incidents. This can be confirmed by library admins.

Jul. 01 2013 11:09 AM
Rich P from Long Island

My library card is next to my 8-track player. Holy 20th century!

Jul. 01 2013 10:58 AM
Gordon from Union, New Jersey

I admit this a bit of shameless self-promotion, but I would like to share an article I wrote for Garden State Legacy magazine where I explored the vast changes for archivists as stewards of history brought on by the digital domain. This definitely touches on the challenges faced by librarians in general.

Jul. 01 2013 10:57 AM

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