Since hearing of the SLA’s decision to attempt a name change, I’ve been thinking about the value of the word “library” in defining what we† do. This is important because the SLA appears to be leaning towards abandoning the word, something which I think would be a major mistake (and not a “Oh, what a shame” kind of mistake, but more like a “Damn, where have all our jobs gone!?!” kind of mistake).
Along those lines, Michael Steeleworthy has written a post “Librarian” is not a dirty word that makes an important point:
To deny ourselves of the use of “librarian” is to rob ourselves of our culture’s understanding and respect for the role we play in society. Libraries and Librarians are often the lynchpins of communities and the storehouses of a local culture’s social history. Removing Librar* from our profession in favor of the clinical “information science” is to destroy the link that we have to the people we serve. Let us not forget that.
This is an important facet of the value of the term “library,” although not the only reason to keep the term. I hope to find some time shortly to expand on my thinking here. In the meantime, head over the Michael’s blog and read the rest of his ideas on this issue.
†Although I have my MLIS and teach at a library school, I have never formally worked as a librarian. Project manager, web developer, knowledge manager, yes, but never a librarian. Still, I naturally identify with the profession and so consider myself part of the “we”.