Sunday, April 09, 2006

Library Corps

Now there is an idea. Let’s forget about the younger generation that has finally figured out what they want to do with their lives and decided to go to library school. Let’s forget that they need to find their niche in the field – whether they want to be in public, school, academic or any other kind of library. Let’s forget their talent and bring in people who want to retire. That will certainly boost the economy and boost confidence in those currently in school.

Leslie Burger, the ALA President-elect is worried that the retiring librarians will take away a wealth of knowledge and experience with them. I do understand her concern but that is the way things work in any field. Also, somehow this doesn’t sound like trying to keep the wealth of knowledge, but more like trying to get free workers for libraries. Those librarians who want to continue to work will volunteer themselves. So instead of working on a proposal for trying to get them back, how about recruiting fresh graduates and getting them trained on the job while the older librarians are still working. Wouldn’t that be a better idea? New and old knowledge combined with experience will only enhance librarians’ capabilities and the libraries’ performance levels.

This problem only makes me want to go to the root of the problem. I feel library schools should recruit more carefully and stop churning so many librarians every year. They should screen the students who enter – for their interest and their knowledge in this field. Library schools need to encourage more practicum experience – how about a requirement of working in at least 3 different libraries (for practicum) that the student might be interested in. I am only speaking from my experience here and I would have liked to explore more possibilities and gotten more training from my library school. I know school cannot teach us everything, but it certainly do more than it did for me.