Saturday, December 30, 2006

New job descriptions for libraries

When people ask me "what do you work as?", I can easily say "Reference Librarian and Philosophy Subject librarian". The other bit of my job, which is looking at emerging technologies and how we can use them in our library, doesn't have an official label or job title.

Back in June, when thinking about what Librarian 2.0 jobs would look like for Australian libraries, I said:

I suspect Librarian 2.0 positions will be created as people in existing positions redefine their jobs and add a bit here, drop a few responsibilities there.
I'm really excited by a trend in the US, one that I hope will hit here. Entire postitions are being created for librarians to do tasks that didn't even exist 2 or 3 years ago. I'm encouraged by the Emergent Technology Librarian at East Michigan University Library and the ten (yes, ten!!) new positions being funded at the Albany Library at the State University of New York.

1. EMERGENT TECHNOLOGIES LIBRARIAN at the East Michigan Univeristy Library

I chuckled when the ad posted on Web4Lib said they were looking for an applicant with "mad skillz". Made me feel about 100 years old and terribly unhip.

Position Description:

The Eastern Michigan University Library seeks a proactive, creative, service-oriented individual to play a key role on its Information Services Team. The Emergent Technologies Librarian will serve as an explorer of and advocate for the use of emergent technologies to support online learning and enhance the effectiveness of library information and instructional services . The Emergent Technologies librarian will coordinate virtual/chat reference initiatives and provide scheduled reference assistance (face-to-face, email, telephone, virtual/chat).


    • Explore, evaluate, and encourage the deployment of emergent technologies to engage library users and staff in new ways

      Provide training and support for other librarians on emergent technologies

      Explore and develop opportunities to integrate library resources and services into course management, online learning, and other campus software initiatives

      Collaborate with other librarians to develop online learning initiatives

      Coordinate, assess, and work with other librarians to evolve virtual/chat reference initiatives

      Provide scheduled reference desk and virtual/chat reference service, including some evening and weekend hours

2.Ten new postions at SUNY

Laura Cohen's library has just received "huge, anonymous donation to fund ten new positions for as long as we want them". (Yes, Virginia, there is a Library Santa Claus). They've set aside one position to use later. With the other positions, they are dreaming big, and realise that there is overlap between the positions:
  1. Social Networking Support Librarian
  2. Collaborative Publishing Librarian
  3. Multimedia Publishing Librarian
  4. Coordinator of Student Participation
  5. Programming Risk Taker
  6. OPAC Transformation Librarian
  7. Testbed Technologist
  8. Remote User Librarian..

and the one that really caught my fancy.... After 38 years, I finally know what I want to do when I grow up!!
9. Exploration and Training Librarian:

Does what all librarians should do but wlll get to do it full time: read, experiment, play, develop skills, listen to conference and training broadcasts, imagine and ruminate. Will develop a seminar program to present colleagues with the results of these efforts. Will assist colleagues in determining new ways of doing things based on these explorations. Will recommend readings, Web sites, podcasts, RSS feeds, etc., to assist in staff education. Establishes a culture of fun-loving, beta-craving, humorous attitude toward change.

TODAY'S HIPPIE CARD: Let go of the past

UPDATE: A couple of hours after I wrote this, into my aggregator popped an article from Michael Stephens on ALA Techsource that nicely summarises the last year of Librarian2.0 job descriptions in the US. Desperately seeking the adaptive librarian: on the 2.0 job description (part 3).


Anonymous said...

I'm reading your blog on the future of Library positions over here in yesterday Dec 29, 06 NA

I'd love to have any of those librarian 2.0 jobs, instead of being mr rogers to a primary school, where they want me to do technology also and i'm stuck with a few out of date machines.

KEEP up the good work!

Kathryn Greenhill said...

Thanks anon.

Well, you're closer in time and place to where it's happening. :) Unless the Library Santa Claus visits Western Australia, I think these exclusively new tech types of positions are at least 3 years away for me.

And...if you're taking on user centred changes and reading/using blogs, I reckon you're already a Librarian 2.0. Your school just doesn't know the asset they have yet.

Peta said...

John Smith, Etienne Wenger and Nancy White have been discussing "technology stewards". Their definition reminds me of what I'm expected to do in my role as systems librarian, but it also resonates with some of these interesting positions you have described. My community just happens to be a group of library folk.