As any 21st century librarian can relate, the library field is changing. The roles that librarians play in their workplaces are evolving in response to digital culture, organizational structure and industry demands. Sometimes this means their job description no longer includes the word “librarian,” but that doesn’t make them any less of a library professional.
Three people who have traveled the path of non-traditional librarianship related their experiences at this year’s first Atlanta Emerging Librarians event “A Librarian by Any Other Name” on April 19. All three had quite different stories to tell. Their common thread was that, often out of necessity, they adapted their skills to meet the needs of their organization. Indeed, this is what librarianship has always been about.
Ernie Evangelista, currently Resource & Access Manager at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, came into librarianship by way of the retail industry. Playing on the Shakespearean title of the event, Mr. Evangelista told a “tale of two librarians,” describing the career paths of two librarians that differ significantly but involve the same basic principles of librarianship – primarily, the organization and use of information. The information gathered and kept by the organization may be of a different nature and the methods new, but librarianship is still librarianship.
Despite having an MS in Information Studies, Emily Almond, IT Director at the Georgia Public Library
Service, has never had a job with “librarian” in the title. She likened herself to a pinball in a pinball machine, bouncing from job to job as positions she held were eliminated or changed. Throughout her career she has had to acquire new skills and get accustomed to evolving work environments and responsibilities. Ultimately, she came to the realization that by adapting, she was no longer a pinball being jostled around but rather she was the one controlling the game.
Elizabeth Keathley has worked in the digital asset management field for many years and is currently the owner of Atlanta Metadata Authority. She shared the findings of a survey of digital asset management professionals, including their earnings, their weekly work schedules, and their educational backgrounds. Through this presentation, she revealed some realities of her niche and profiled what it would take to become an ideal candidate for a position in her field. One intriguing trend: younger digital asset management professionals tend to be the ones who hold MLS degrees. You can view the presentation at: http://atlantametadata.com/useful-links/.
If any of these stories intrigue you, we encourage you to check out the next Atlanta Emerging Librarians event, which will feature local speakers on the topic of emerging technologies in libraries. This will be an excellent opportunity to prepare your career for the ongoing digital revolution and understand how technology is impacting the library field. Details coming soon!