A librarian is a profession by itself where the librarian is trained in library and information science or it is the organization and management of information services or materials for those with information needs. In addition to the traditional role of the librarian as a public servant, maintaining catalogues and collections of books, there is a fast increasing demand across all kinds of organizations for professionals with the skills to organize and retrieve information. Librarians and Information Specialists provide support to students, academics, professionals and the public in learning and research environments across many sectors, from educational establishments to law firms, and government departments to charities. This has made the librarianship attain the status of a separate discipline in the universe of knowledge. Librarians are constantly learning and updating their qualifications, particularly in the area of information technology.
Technology has had a huge impact, with new ways of storing and accessing information such as DVDs and the Internet radically changing the librarian's role. In recent years, many librarians have moved into web content and management and have helped organizations and companies devise new strategies for storing and accessing information. There are different kinds of libraries depending upon the individuals to which it is catering. Various kinds of libraries are public, reference, children's libraries and those attached to offices and institutions of both private and public. These could include a mobile lending library. There are also specialist libraries attached to the research and academic institutions that cater to specific readers in specific subjects such as medicine, engineering, art, music, or types of books such as Braille or collections for children.
A large part of a librarian's job involves aiding students, researchers, lecturers, managers or just ordinary members of the public in their research, particularly if you work in an academic library. This can involve advising people of a document's whereabouts, liaising with other libraries to find rare books, interpreting questions and preparing reading lists. Some libraries house special collections focusing on one subject or author - so librarians there would become experts in the subject.
The hierarchy of a librarian begins as a library attendant and followed by library assistant, junior librarian, assistant librarian, deputy librarian, and librarian. One may reach up to the level of Director and head an information centre.
Main duties involve accession, shelf arrangements, levying of fines, maintenance and binding of books and other materials, location of missing books, and related technical work.
They are responsible for accessioning, classification, cataloguing, ordering books, as well as handling computer data.
Selects and acquires books and material, takes care of reference services and computer programming.
Oversees administration, supervision, and computer programming.
Is overall in charge of technical, administrative, and financial matters. Responsibilities include delegation of duties, library supervision and management, personnel administration, budgeting, classification and cataloguing, and recommendation of new acquisitions.
However the trained personnel in this field can find employment opportunities in areas like:
• Public/Government libraries
• Universities and other academic institutions
• News agencies and organizations
• Private organizations and special libraries
• Foreign embassies
• Photo/film libraries
• Information centers/documentation centers
• Companies and organizations with large information handling requirements
• Museums and galleries, which have reading rooms and research facilities
• Some library technicians are self-employed as researchers, consultants, cataloguers etc. on short term contracts.
Margaret Beckman achieved many "firsts" during her library career. She is the first woman and first Canadian to receive an honorary professorship from the University of Essen and the first Canadian to receive the American Association of College and Research Libraries' Academic Librarian of the Year Award.
Born in Connecticut in 1926, she became a Canadian citizen at age 21. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from the University of Western Ontario, and a Bachelor of Library Science from the University of Toronto, she worked at various libraries in Southwestern Ontario prior to joining the University of Guelph as Systems Librarian in 1966. She became Deputy Librarian, then Chief Librarian in 1971. In this capacity, she was very active in the early implementation of automated library systems in academic libraries across Ontario.
Margaret Beckman is perhaps best known for her contributions to library management and library planning. She lectured and acted as a consultant to library planners in academic, government and public libraries throughout Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Sweden. She also helped to design the McLauglin Library at the University of Guelph in the 1960s and has been employed as a library planning consultant since retiring from her academic position in 1984.
More recently, she represented Canada at a number of UNESCO Library Buildings' Conferences and taught at the School of Library and Information Science, University of Western Ontario with her business partner, Stephen Langmead. She has served as President of the Advisory Board on Scientific and Technological Information for the National Research Council of Canada, Chair for two years of the Waterloo Public Library Board and Chair of the Ontario Council of University Libraries and the Canadian Association of College and University Libraries. She holds honorary doctorates from Laurentian University and the University of Western Ontario. In 1975, International Women's Year, Margaret Beckman was recognized as one of 25 outstanding women in Ontario.
Reading was a pastime and passion for Sheila Egoff since she discovered the public library in her hometown of Galt, Ontario at age 8. Her love of books lead to a lifelong career devoted to the promotion of children's literature and librarianship. Sheila Egoff was educated at the University of Toronto, receiving a Diploma in Librarianship in 1939 and returning for a Bachelor of Arts in 1947. She completed her formal education with a Diploma in Librarianship from University College, London in 1948. She worked at the Galt Public Library for four years as children's librarian before moving to Toronto to begin studies for her Bachelor of Arts. While studying, she also worked at the Toronto Public Library, and went on to become the first curator of the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books. She was also employed by the Canadian Library Association as editor of Canadian Library and Canadian Index. In 1962 she began to teach courses in children's literature and librarianship at the newly established School of Librarianship at the University Of British Columbia (UBC).
Sound scholarship underlines her many publications, including The Republic of Childhood. First published in 1967, it is the benchmark by which the study of Canadian children's literature is measured. In addition to her books, she has published in professional journals in Canada and abroad. Following her retirement in 1983, she prepared a bibliographic catalogue of early and rare children's books in the Special Collections Division at UBC and was able to focus on writing and speaking engagements. Sheila Egoff received many awards and accolades. Upon her retirement, a conference on children's literature was held in her honour. In 1994, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, a fitting tribute to her work as an educator and author in the field of children's librarianship. Throughout her career, Sheila Egoff's enthusiasm and expertise has captivated and challenged many young children (and their parents), many aspiring children's librarians, and many "would-be" children's authors. Shiela Egoff died on May 22, 2005
Born in Montreal, Elizabeth Dafoe was educated at the University of Manitoba, the Library School of the New York Public Library (now the Library School of Columbia University) and the Graduate School of the University of Chicago. She joined the library staff of the University of Manitoba in 1925 and 12 years later, in 1937, she was appointed Chief Librarian, a post which she held until her death. She was a member of the Canadian Library Council Inc., of the Canadian Library Association and chaired the Association's conference in 1955. In addition, she served as a member of the National Library Advisory Board, the Manitoba Library Board and as a founding member of the Manitoba Library Association.
In recognition of her vision and accomplishments in the areas of collection development, cataloguing standards and resource sharing, a new library, built in 1953 at the University of Manitoba, was renamed in her honour. Her tireless message of the need for a "national library" and her outspoken ideas helped to define the mandate of the Library and Archives Canada, a mandate that has not changed significantly since its inception in 1953.
Her commitment to quality librarianship, considering it nothing less than essential, continues to benefit many university institutions and library associations and their clients throughout Canada.
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