The role of a librarian is continually evolving to meet social and technological needs. A modern librarian may deal with provision and maintenance of information in many formats, including: A librarian may also provide other information services, including: Appreciation for librarians is often included by authors and scholars in the acknowledgment sections of books.
History[ edit ] The ancient world[ edit ] The Sumerians were the first to train clerks to keep records of accounts. The extent of their specific duties is unknown. Ashurbanipal was the first individual in history to introduce librarianship as a profession.
Most notably, Callimachus created what is considered to be the first subject catalogue of the library holdings, called the pinakes. The pinakes contained scrolls arranged into ten subject classes; each class was then subdivided, listing authors alphabetically by titles.
Many of these aristocrats, such as Cicero , kept the contents of their private libraries to themselves, only boasting of the enormity of his collection.
Others, such as Lucullus , took on the role of lending librarian by sharing scrolls in their collection. While scholars were employed in librarian roles in the various emperors' libraries, there was no specific office or role that qualified an individual to be a librarian. For example, Pompeius Macer, the first librarian of Augustus' library, was a praetor , an office that combined both military and judicial duties. A later librarian of the same library was Gaius Julius Hyginus , a grammarian.
It is during this time that the first codex book as opposed to scroll enters popularity: Within the monasteries, the role of librarian was often filled by an overseer of the scriptorium where monks would copy out books cover to cover. A monk named Anastasias who took on the title of Bibliothecarius literally "librarian" following his successful translations of the Greek classicists.
Later in the period, individuals known as librarius began more formal cataloguing, inventory, and classification. At the same time royalty, nobles and jurists began to establish libraries of their own as status symbols. King Charles V of France began his own library, and he kept his collection as a bibliophile, an attribute that is closely connected to librarians of this time.
During this period, great private libraries were developed in Europe by figures such as Petrarch and Boccaccio. These libraries were sponsored by popes, royals, and nobility who sent agents throughout Western Europe to locate manuscripts in deteriorating monastic libraries. As a result, Renaissance libraries were filled with a wealth of texts. Librarians were needed to plan and organize libraries to meet public needs.
He also contributed to the idea of organization and administration of libraries which led to the development of library collections. It was also in part thanks to Naude that some libraries began to lend books outside of the precincts of the library.
He wrote two letters to Samuel Hartlib concerning the duties of a professional librarian, which were published in as "The Reformed Librarie-Keeper". He held that librarians should not only care for the books, but should also be well educated and accomplished to raise the standards of librarianship. Furthermore, he advocated that librarians deserve a living wage in order to use their energy to perform their duties to the fullest extent.
He is credited as including science texts in addition to conventional literature within library collections. He is credited as creating the first functional library of modern times.
With the approach of Bibliotheca Universalis, libraries changed; the content of libraries became less selective, to include literature of entertainment as well as academic value. At this time, libraries also became fully open to the public, with access no longer restricted to a small circle of readers. Out of this action came the implementation of the concept of modern library service: Positions and duties[ edit ] Specific duties vary depending on the size and type of library.
Olivia Crosby described librarians as "Information experts in the information age". Archivists can be specialized librarians who deal with archival materials, such as manuscripts, documents and records, though this varies from country to country, and there are other routes to the archival profession.
Collection development or acquisitions librarians monitor the selection of books and electronic resources. Librarians can then see those books when they arrive and decide if they will become part of the collection or not. All collections librarians also have a certain amount of funding to allow them to purchase books and materials that don't arrive via approval.
Electronic resources librarians manage the databases that libraries license from third-party vendors. School librarians work in school libraries and perform duties as teachers, information technology specialists, and advocates for literacy.
Instruction librarians teach information literacy skills in face-to-face classes or through the creation of online learning objects. They instruct library users on how to find, evaluate, and use information effectively. They are most common in academic libraries.
Both library media teachers LMTs and young adult public librarians order books and other materials that will interest their young adult patrons. They also must help YAs find relevant and authoritative Internet resources. Helping this age group to become lifelong learners and readers is a main objective of professionals in this library specialty. Outreach librarians are charged with providing library and information services for underrepresented groups, such as people with disabilities, low income neighborhoods, home bound adults and seniors, incarcerated and ex-offenders, and homeless and rural communities.
In academic libraries, outreach librarians might focus on high school students, transfer students, first-generation college students, and minorities. Public service librarians work with the public, frequently at the reference desk of lending libraries. Some specialize in serving adults or children. Children's librarians provide appropriate material for children at all age levels, include pre-readers, conduct specialized programs and work with the children and often their parents to help foster interest and competence in the young reader.
Reference or research librarians help people doing research to find the information they need, through a structured conversation called a reference interview. The help may take the form of research on a specific question, providing direction on the use of databases and other electronic information resources; obtaining specialized materials from other sources; or providing access to and care of delicate or expensive materials. These services are sometimes provided by other library staff that have been given a certain amount of special training; some have criticized this trend.
Technical service librarians work "behind the scenes" ordering library materials and database subscriptions, computers and other equipment, and supervise the cataloging and physical processing of new materials.
A Youth Services librarian, or children's librarian, is in charge of serving young patrons from infancy all the way to young adulthood. Their duties vary, from planning summer reading programs to weekly story hour programs.
They are multitaskers, as the children's section of a library may act as its own separate library within the same building. Children's librarians must be knowledgeable of popular books for school-aged children and other library items, such as e-books and audiobooks. They are charged with the task of creating a safe and fun learning environment outside of school and the home. A young adult or YA librarian specifically serves patrons who are between 12 and 18 years old.
Young adults are those patrons that look to library services to give them direction and guidance toward recreation, education, and emancipation. YA librarians who work in public libraries are expected to have a master's degree in Library and Information Science MLIS , relevant work experience, or a related credential. In smaller or specialized libraries, librarians typically perform a wide range of the different duties. Representative examples of librarian responsibilities: Researching topics of interest for their constituencies.
Referring patrons to other community organizations and government offices. Suggesting appropriate books "readers' advisory" for children of different reading levels, and recommending novels for recreational reading. Reviewing books and journal databases Facilitating and promoting reading clubs. Developing programs for library users of all ages and backgrounds. Managing access to electronic information resources.
Assessing library services and collections in order to best meet library users' needs. Building collections to respond to changing community needs or demands Writing grants to gain funding for expanded program or collections Digitizing collections for online access Publishing articles in library science journals Answering incoming reference questions via telephone, postal mail, email, fax, and chat Making and enforcing computer appointments on the public access Internet computers. Some librarians will start and operate their own business.
They often call themselves information brokers , research specialists, knowledge management , competitive intelligence , or independent information professionals. Below are the basic differences between the types of libraries.
Public library[ edit ] Public libraries are created through legislation within the jurisdiction they serve. Accordingly, they are given certain benefits, such as taxpayer funding, but must adhere to service standards and meet a wide group of client needs.
They are usually overseen by a board of directors or library commission from the community. Mission statements, service and collection policies are the fundamental administrative features of public libraries. Occasionally, private lending libraries serve the public in the manner of public libraries. In the United States, public librarians and public libraries are represented by the Public Library Association. Libraries bridge traditional divisions between technical and public services positions by adopting new technologies such as mobile library services and reconfigure organizations depending on the local situation.
In the United States, the professional association for academic libraries and librarians is the Association of College and Research Libraries.
Many different types, sizes, and collections are found in academic libraries and some academic librarians are specialists in these collections and archives.
A university librarian , or chief librarian, is responsible for the library within the college structure, and may also be called the Dean of Libraries or Director of Libraries. Some post-secondary institutions treat librarians as faculty, and they may be called professor or other academic ranks, which may or may not increase their salary and benefits. Some universities make similar demands of academic librarians for research and professional service as are required of faculty. Academic librarians administer various levels of service and privilege to faculty, students, alumni, and the public.
School library[ edit ] A school library exclusively serve the needs of a public or private school. The primary purpose is to support the students, teachers, and curriculum of the school or school district.
In addition to library administration, certificated teacher-librarians instruct individual students, groups and classes, and faculty in effective research methods, often referred to as information literacy skills. Often, teacher-librarians are qualified teachers who take academic courses for school library certification or earn a master's degree in Library Science. Special library[ edit ] Special libraries can be describe as libraries designed to perform some specific function to a particular set of people or an organization i.
They can be highly specialized, serving a discrete user group with a restricted collection area. In an increasingly global and virtual workplace, many special librarians may not even work in a library at all but instead manage and facilitate the use of electronic collections. Funding for special libraries varies widely.