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On the need for a certain return to the librarian origins

I believe we are scattering as a profession, and, for every step we make in this unbridled search of our Holly Grail that clarify us as a profession, as a collective or I don’t know what, we are losing something by the way. As we say in catalan “a cada rentada perdem un llençol”(every laundry we lose a bed sheet), which means as we move forward and reinvent ourself, I believe we aren’t able, we like or not, to keep what define us and what’s our nucleus. I explain.

Lately I’ve talked with some teachers from Facultad de Biblioteconomía y Documentación about the level of UB new promotion students. Conclusions expressed by a teacher can’t get worse: We have over promote and over encourage technological skills of the profession and the supposed new work field we can access. Otherwise, we have set aside what we could call traditional or classical skills of our profession. So, what we should understand about that kind of skills? That teacher got it very clear: Social and communicative skills, and also catalogue technical skills. About social and communicative skills, or about public attention there are surveys that highlight the need: “While at survey no one ask himself in depth about librarians training, but they included questions about specific aspects that arise during the interview: public attention an librarian roll as an information preceptor (…) In relation to the public attention, there’s a deep agreement about how important must be on the training of new librarians just like they perceived during the interviews” (Delmàs Ruiz; López Borrull, 2015). In fact, in that Survey we can observe that over 90%of the respondents consider that public attention must have un important weight on the future librarians training . On the other hand we also point to emotional intelligence (subject very close to communication and social skills) as one of the most important need skills for the not so far future librarians of 2020: “The direct dealing with people open to the public makes emotional intelligence more tan necessary between librarian staff. Emotional Intelligence makes reference to the ability to perceive, understand and control our self or the others emotions, promoting a personal emotional and intellectual. By this way we can use this information for guiding our way of thinking and our behavior.” (Marquina, 2016).

Let me get this straight: that is to say, Is it yet in the University we are losing things? For being modern and improve the profession we have to lose what define us and make us different. Are we training professionals able to set up an information management system, but they aren’t able to empathize with the users/customers, to deal with them correctly or to completely ignore how to catalogue a book in 10 parts? Is it that right? Please, if there is any teaching staff between readers of this humble article, correct me or bears this out. If this is right, Stop the train and let me get down.

Anyway, let’s focus in cataloguing. Personally, new promotions of librarians don’t know about Marc21 seems to me particularly serious. I firmly believe one of our main foundational aims is to offer excellent tools and par excellence tools to all our users; and the tool we have got, basic, essential, unique and irreplaceable in our catalogue. I have a deep feeling we have gradually underestimated catalogue. Yes, we have improve interface, change of system, added plugins and social strata … But it is enough looking at the quality of thousands of registers to realise we are far from being excellent. Is it that one our best presentation letter in the eyes of our users, researchers and students? Is that the way to generate confidence? To be frank, if I were a researcher I would claim in front of the bad information it’s given in certain registers. In fact, I firmly believe that catalogue of a library is our most powerful tool within the limits of information intermediation and prescription. And all that in an environment where “the value of the libraries won’t be make easy access to materials as selection, orientation, and to emphasise quality materials. In that sense, they predict the increasing of activities around reading in our libraries, and it’s mentioned the special way collective activities and read shared, as well as guidance measures and advisory reading services” (Cencerrado, 2014). In that sense, I don’t doubt neither value nor utility of all social tools used nowadays en libraries for developing intermediation and prescription activities: Without doubt, social networks have helped a lot in that sense. But I think that in a quiet way, and maybe hidden, we have underestimated catalogue, a good catalogue with excellent registers also as an essential tool for that goals.

Do we want to stop being the best about something is part of our gens from almost the birth of our profession? If so, go ahead. I don’t conceive librarian neither modernity nor postmodernity in that way. I support the return to the librarian roots, a return that promote what we can do very well and make us different. I support retrieve classical denomination and give them value, dignity and respect. I support retrieve something of that golden erudition and knowledge that libraries and librarians slowly have lost. And even at the risk I get labelled of “old-fashioned”, and according words of Evelio Martínez, “I refuse stop making attention at certain skills and competences. To label old fashion face to face attention question, culture knowledge and the world of the book or cataloguing and content analysis can make librarians that treasure that knowledge don’t take part of a public debate, for not getting the label of old-fashioned. And, without that debate, it’s difficult to improve those skills and competences that, why not, can provide something precious to the future of libraries and surviving of the profession” (Martínez, 2017).

The social, communities, technologies, new working holes… without doubt shouldn’t be our new totems we have to entrust our future.


Compra el meu últim llibre de ficció “Tots els noms del tren”

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Bibliotecari-documentalista. Pare de dues xiquetes meravelloses i que m'estimo amb bogeria. Fent feina de bibliotecari a la #BiblioEpiscopal. Vivint entre #Tortosa i #Barcelona. Els trens de la #R16 són el meu tercer espai. Curriculum | Llibres publicats | Tots els noms del tren

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