Fuzzy Wuzzy Was

Meredith Farkas posted a link to the Library 2.0 Meme Map on Web4Lib that got me thinking about the subject again. Specifically, that I’ve seen a lot of objections to the “fuzziness” of Library 2.0 as a term, but we seem perfectly willing to accept similar fuzziness in other aspects of our profession.

Take the word “librarian” itself. We hold onto that self-definition, regardless of whether our work includes telling stories, overseeing large-scale digitization projects, answering reference questions, or managing repository projects. My most recent career as a reference librarian at a public library, for instance, doesn’t necessarily help me wrap my head around the day-to-day work of colleagues engaged in projects we didn’t even have names for when I went to library school.

So, if we’re willing to expand our professional horizons and definitions to encompass people doing such different, yet somehow related, work, why can’t we similarly accept the varied foci of people exploring the different, yet somehow related aspects of Library 2.0? Is it simply because it’s new?

And yes, some will define “librarian” as simply someone who holds an MLS, but I think this is an oversimplification, given both the diversity of fields in which we work and the number of people who do the work and call themselves/have the title of librarian, without having earned the degree. Not to mention the fact that we lack standardization in library education and schools, so we come out with the same degree, having learned very different things.


  1. Kyle J.:

    I was just curious if you think that a librarian can actually be called a librarian if they do not have their MLS. You mention that it is done, but do you agree with that?

  2. Rachel:

    Kyle: The short answer is, yes. The longer answer may be posted when I have more time and energy, but boils down to: if you do the work, and do it well, you deserve the title — and, some of the best librarians I’ve known have lacked the degree.

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