v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

"10 positions I would like to see"

I was recently browsing through Library 2.0: An academic's perspective and I saw this entry titled:
10 positions I would like to see.

I've been looking at library journals, blogs, and other sources to deduce What constitutes a librarian. I am currently in the process of gathering research on the subject for a paper that I plan on writing. Anyway - I ran across this aforementioned blog post and wanted to respond to it before my paper comes out. The objectionable points are jobs that are "librarian" jobs, but clearly do not need to be nor should they be strictly 'librarian' jobs.

Questionable Position #1: Social Networking Support Librarian.
Description: Assists students with their research on third-party social
networking tools, including use of IM and chat rooms. Promotes library resources and services on these
networks. Mounts library podcasts, videos, photos, presentations and other documents on social networks.
Works with reference librarians and bibliographers to set up collections of topical bookmarks on social
bookmarking sites. Tracks developments in social tools, and promotes and recommends their use to
faculty, students and colleagues. Provides training on the use of these tools. //

I'm sorry to break it to you, but you do not need a librarian for this position. Qualified candidates need only have a background in one of the following in order to be successful in this position: information technology, instructional design, computer science, media production, or other background in such area. An MLIS (master in library science) gives you no skills for this job given that you work with bibliographers and reference librarians to produce such materials!

Questionable Position #2: Collaborative Publishing Librarian.
Description: Coordinates blogging, wiki and RSS publishing for the library.
Coordinates the effort to develop a library Web site based on wikis, blogs and regular Web pages to create
a community-based Web presence. Initiates user-participatory folksonomies in the library's online spaces.
Assists with the university's efforts to implement an institutional repository that includes features of social
networking tools such as comments, tags, RSS feeds and social bookmarking. Incorporates local and
remote RSS feeds into the library's Web presence, including e-journal TOC alerts. Must be an expert in
designing interfaces optimized for mobile computing. //

Again...why do you think you need a librarian for this? The individual you are describing already has a name! This individual is called a Web Developer!
What will an MLIS bring to the table that an accomplished web developer does not have?

Questionable Position #3: Multimedia Publishing Librarian.
Description: Creates podcasts, videos, Webinars, Flash and other multimedia presentations to support teaching, research, and use of library services. Creates multimedia tutorials to
assist students in using the library and its resources. Assists instruction librarians in using these technologies to create interactive, customizable training materials, with the goal of phasing out in-person credit courses and moving the instruction program online. Establishes a library presence on iTunes U. Establishes an in-house multimedia publishing center to support students' creation of their own presentations and their publication; also serves as a resource center for downloading library and other educational multimedia from library and third party sites. Must be an expert in instructional design. //

Yet again...what does an MLIS bring to the table? The person you are looking for is an an instructional designer, or someone who's got the knowledge of an instructional designer.

Questionable Position #4: OPAC Transformation Librarian.
Description: Coordinates the effort to create a next generation catalog. Conducts research on next generation options. Works individually and within relevant consortia to propose
enhancements to the library's ILS vendor. Explores and helps to implement third-party solutions to enhance the catalog, as well as create in-house ehnahcements [sic]. Works closely with the Programming Risk- Taker [see blog post] and Testbed Technologist [see blog post]. Must have expertise in user search behavior, Web site usability, the search engine scene, information retrieval, Web 2.0 interfaces, and mobile computing interface design. //

Here again, I fail to see what an MLIS brings to the table. The job description posted here really describes someone with a background in: Computer Science, Web Development, Database Technologies, Information Technology.

Questionable Position #5: Digitization Librarian.
Description: Identifies and selects materials of local value for digitization. Applies for digitization grants. Oversees in-house and outsourced digitization projects. Works with Web programming staff to make digitized materials available on the Web site, institutional repository, third-party sites, etc. to achieve open accessibility. Plans for the time when most scholarly materials will be digitized by dot-coms and other publishing entities, and digitization of local materials becomes a prominent part of an academic library's contribution to cultural history. //

Here, an MLIS brings some value, but quite honestly - a non-MLIS candidate can do this job and not be a librarian. Historians with a technical background, Archivists with a technical background, and to a large extent MBAs can be successful in this job. Individuals that have never stepped in a library science class a day in their lives.

Questionable Position #6: Remote User Librarian.
Description: Ensures that library services are optimized to meet the needs of remote users. Enhances current services to meet remote users' evolving expectations. Provides technical and other types of support for these users using IM, e-mail, phone, social software tools, virtual worlds, etc. Creates online FAQs, videos, podcasts and other types of presentations to assist remote users. Trains and supports colleagues in serving users remotely, both in library spaces and on third-party sites. Also works with colleagues to move services, library documents, and research, training and support materials online. Plans for the eventual near-ubiquity of anytime, anywhere use of the library and increasingly diminished on-site use. //

I laughed my head off when I read this one. Quite honestly, WHAT does and MLIS provide that is useful for this job? What you describe here is someone with knowledge of instructional design, computer science, information technology, and media production and troubleshooting experience.

Questionable Position #7: Exploration & Training Librarian.
Description: Does what all librarians should do but will 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. //

I don't know what universe the author comes from, but the librarians I know don't do this - we have to kick and drag them into the new millennium (don't get me wrong, they are nice people). Of course, the librarians that I have had contact might not be the shinning example of what a librarian does and does not do. In a nutshell the job is to get paid to be a beta tester and find new an innovative new services that will enhance a certain business or industry (in this case the library) - oh wait! There is already a job like this one! It's called an Innovation Manager! This Job is not new, and it does not require a librarian! The MLIS brings some understanding of what a library does to the table however you don't need an MLIS - Anyone who's worked at a library for a year knows what a library does and how it operates.

The author of the original post lists 10 new positions they would like to see.
7 of these are "librarian" jobs - or so they say, however none of them really require an MLIS - thus they should not be librarian positions! - Go figure :-)
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