This is indeed a touchy subject but I do want to add my two cents...
If we look at the position that started this conversation, it is not an
entry-level position and education alone, whether LT or MLS, would not
(necessarily) enable you do this particular job effectively. In
addition to that, even though the job ad states, "Library Technician is
responsible for providing library services to all staff and affiliates
of the Pictou County Health Authority," my impression is that this is a
fairly small library that is not excessively busy. (I base that on the
fact that the person hired to do this job will also be doing (filing?)
clerical support for the clinic but feel free to correct me on that.)
As well, even though this position does not report to a librarian, they
are not completely autonomous. They will be reporting to the Director
of Quality Management and I'm sure this person will ensure that the
person hired will have the appropriate supervision and guidance.
I also happen to know the salary range and I doubt many librarians
would be willing to accept such a modest salary (ca. 30,000 at the high
end) when there are far more lucrative opportunities out there...
opportunities that, lets face it, do not usually present themselves to
For what it's worth, I have a library technician friend who does a very
similar job (small medical library with 2-3 satellite offices), with
very similar duties, under very similar circumstances (reports to a
manager) and the position does not surpass the scope of her LT training
and experience, in fact, it suits it very well.
As to librarian technicians "encroaching" on librarian jobs, I think
that has a lot more to do with the bottom line (don't you think?) than
an industry that undervalues the master's degree and the skills a person
acquires obtaining said degree. Lets face it, technicians can usually
do the day-to-day tasks as well as librarians but technicians do it for
a much lower salary so if, for instance, a workplace can hire two or
three cataloguing technicians or hire one cataloguing librarian for the
same amount of money, I'm betting they hire the techs.
By the way, I just have to point out that the "L" in ALA stands for
"Library" not "librarian" and if you read their code of ethics, it
applies to all library workers. The first paragraph states, "As members
of the American Library Association, we recognize the importance of
codifying and making known to the profession and to the general public
the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other
professionals providing information services, library trustees and
library staffs." It does not single out librarians as the only one who
ought to follow these ethical guidelines. And, as Anne stated, there is
no professional disciplinary action should a library worker, for
instance, not "uphold the principles of intellectual freedom."
Dubbing Centre Technician
N.S. Department of Education
Learning Resources & Technology
Halifax, NS B2K 4X8