About disposable librarians

A recent post on the AASL Blog made me cheer and worry at the same time.

Blogtator describes a problem that has been facing our profession for some time–the disposable librarian.

Blogtator writes:

Occasionally, other professionals quietly refer to negative impact of Disposable Librarians with the Walt Kelly quote, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” These are the people who are more about collections and things than education or people. They are the people who would not dream of writing a lesson plan or teaching a lesson; who would never bend a circulation policy: who focus on collections instead of students; and think of teachers as troublesome annoyances that will interfere with library operations if permitted…after all they are the librarian, not a teacher.

This post is about waking up the “yeah, but. . .” folks. We meet them far too often.

I hope it begins courageous conversations that absolutely need to happen. I hope graduate school classes will discuss it and that students considering old model practice will reconsider their choice of career.

I hope it helps administrators understand who may need to be awakened and who may need to be let go.  I hope it helps administrators understand WHO NOT TO HIRE.

This is an amazing time of change and growth for teacher-librarians. It is a time for librarians to lead or get out of the way.

More on the “yeah, but” folks:


McLeod, Hugh. The GapingVoid http://www.gapingvoid.com/greatideas11112.jpg (Creative Commons)

6 thoughts on “About disposable librarians

  1. I am currently in my 4th quarter on my way to receiving my MLIS through Drexel University, and I can assure you that we are being taught the importance of acting as a teacher/instructor in the world of libraries. In fact, a course I took last quarter was entitled “The Instructional Role of the Information Professional”, and we were shown how important it is to know the needs of those you are working with, and ways to go about interacting and collaborating with those individuals. I have been a teacher for the last 4 years, and I have seen the examples you have discussed: librarians who are such sticklers for rules and regulations that they have lost sight of the fact that they are there to be teachers. What is the point of providing a house of infinite information if we are not teaching our patrons how to use it?

  2. I am also a graduate student at Drexel and am in Brionica’s class this quarter! I have been a library media specialist for 2 years and was an English teacher for 20 years before that. I have found that some teachers, particularly the more veteran teachers are not as willing for me to act as teacher-librarian. They sometimes resist my attempts to help them design lessons or to teach lessons for them or with them. The newer and younger teachers seem more receptive to my role as teacher and librarian. Any suggestions for getting teachers to be more receptive to the librarian in this role?

  3. Ann,

    I think that is a constant struggle. I see teachers(having been one myself) as CEO’s for the classroom. Some of them want the total control they are used to when they are in the classroom.

    Some are more collaborative. I think Joyce’s advice to water the flowers, not the rocks applies well here.

    Joyce, thanks for sharing the post. I also hear from people often about “their librarian” and wishing they could be more collaborative.

    I tell people(somewhat jokingly) that you can sort librarians into two groups, those who want everyone in the library, and those who want to keep everyone out so that it can stay orderly! Also, the same control issue as I mentioned above, I suppose.

    Thanks for the illuminating connections.

  4. “We have met the enemy and she is us.” These are the people who are more about hardware, flashy sites and peripherals than inspired communication between writers, artists and scientists (aka – content), teacher and student. They are the people who would not dream of saying “no” to a boring web conference or teaching a lesson without a Powerpoint; who would never bend on a budget, even when it takes away from other resources such as novels and poetry books (both not free on the web): who miss the irony and rudeness of sitting in a meeting where every face is glued to a screen, who focus on avatars instead of students; and think of teachers as troublesome and old-fashioned if they only check their e-mail once a day, or teach poetry without podcasting it into cyber-nowhere and who balk at hard-to-read online textbooks…after all they are part of a new 2.0 religion, not part of an ages-old profession.

  5. Pingback: Musings of a Wannabe Genius » Blog Archive » Great Ideas

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