Librarianship: Exposed!

It’s going to be time for me to start studying (cramming) for my Foundations of Librarianship and Information Science course soon and it made me want to write a post about the things I’ve learned so far.  There were so many aspects of librarianship and the library as an institution that I never knew and I feel that if people knew them, it would present the library in a new and refreshing light.

First, there are a lot of laws and values within librarianship.  The most basic and well-known of them being:

Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science

1. Books are for use

2. Every reader his or her book

3. Every book its reader

4. Save the time of the user

5. The library is a growing organism

So these are the foundation for what librarians do.  The 2nd and 3rd are a little confusing by themselves, but essentially they mean that it is our duty to get the books readers want to them and to acquire books because there will be a reader for them and the larger picture of it is tolerance.  It is not our job to judge what people want to read or censor them nor is it to censor the books themselves because it is our duty to get that book to its reader.

This was one big part that surprised me and made me appreciate the field more; librarians are supposed to be tolerant.  Tolerance has always been my personal philosophy so it just further convinced me that I am in the right field.

Next up are Gorman’s revamped five laws called the:

New Laws of Librarianship

1. Libraries serve humanity

2. Respect all forms by which knowledge is communicated

3. Use technology intelligently to enhance service

4. Protect free access to knowledge

5. Honor the past and create the future

In these economic times, libraries are at the bottom of the food chain and I feel it’s because the general public see libraries as a place for books.  And especially now with ebooks, when you cut that part out, the equation says there’s no need for libraries.  I think these laws are a good way to introduce the real library to patrons and because of that, I used them when I created a t-shirt for my graduate program.  The orders just came in and I emailed them to the company, so we should have them in about a week.  I am excited to educate the public on what libraries are really about, without having to do a ton of work! 🙂

The last thing I will include are the:

Seven Values of Library and Information Science

1. Service

2. Reading and the book are important

3. Respect for truth and the search for truth

4. Tolerance

5. The public good

6. Justice

7. Aesthetic

So in summation, the library isn’t just a place to use the computer or the place where books are stored and librarians aren’t women who check your book out to you.  The library is an institution that fights “the man” on your behalf and protects your privacy (the library doesn’t give out information on the books you check out).  The library is a place for knowledge and facilitates your acquisition of knowledge.  The library is an institution whose message is free and equal access for EVERYONE.  The library is a community center and a school.  Librarians are teachers.  Librarians make it their mission to be able to find any information you need.  Librarians are constantly on top of new trends and technology.  Librarians fight “the man” on your behalf and they protect your privacy.

Now…don’t you want to be a librarian?

Just an aside: I’m typing this post to the lovely sounds of The Local Natives and there’s a lyric in the song “Airplanes” that goes:

I did not know you as well
as my father knew you
every question you took the
time to sit and look it up in the

Librarianship is everywhere! I love it!


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