Survey on Library Professional Perceptions

Jenny Emanuel, Electronic Services Librarian at University of Central Missouri, posted an invitation to complete a survey on how library professionals think of themselves to several mailing lists. As part of the ALA Emerging Leaders 2007 program, she is part of a team look for options on rebranding the librarian profession in the digital world. This looks like it will have interesting results; if you consider yourself a “library professional” take the survey yourself: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=371423757475.

Out of all of the questions, number 10 struck me as the heart of the matter:

10. How strongly do you agree with the following statements?

  • Librarians excel in customer service.
  • Librarians are on the cutting edge of the publishing industry.
  • Librarians are experts at designing databases and special computer resources.
  • Librarians assist people in learning new technologies.
  • Librarians wear cardigans and glasses.
  • Librarians are experts at exploiting the Internet.
  • Librarians are on the cutting edge of technology tools (i.e. blogs, wikis, podcasts).
  • Librarians are highly educated professionals.
  • Librarians need to do a better job of marketing themselves.
  • Librarians need a new image for the digital age.

I did have philosophical differences with question #13:

13. Please fill in the blanks in the sentence:

Only a librarian can deliver _____ to _____.

I couldn’t get past the mental image of librarian-as-gatekeeper. I could answer the question “only a library can deliver…” — but that is an entirely different question.

Believe it or not, I also had a problem answering question #2:

Would you describe yourself as a librarian?

I think I used to be a librarian — primarily at a time before I had a library degree. Now I think I’m a ‘library technologist’ — working on the application of technology in the library arena. Since working in a consortial office puts me at some distance from actual users, I’m not sure I can claim the title ‘librarian’ any more.

Interesting questions, no? Then go take the survey yourself. The results will be presented in a poster session at ALA Annual on Friday, June 23.