This is the third time that my name has come up with a subsequent comment about who I am, what I should do, how I forget and whatnot.
Some of these comments (like the one below) could be interpreted (by me) as unfounded, presumptuous and unfair.
In the interest of fairness, can we establish that this is a discussion about "professionalism" and not one about how particular individuals think and act about it? I don't mind that people disagree with what I say, but everytime my name comes up as saying or thinking or doing something that I do not, I begin to feel attacked and that's not fair because its not the way that I believe I have conducted myself. And I'm saying this to establish an informal agreement -- not to whine.
I know very much about the library tech program, and as I have said before, have a high degree of appreciation for it. I also have 10 years of experience working as a non "professional" librarian, so I know where the whole professional status thing comes from. I also understand the blurriness of whether librarianship is actually a profession -- including the disciplinary action process. However, there are some accountability structures that do ensure quality protection -- the first of these is school accreditation. Whether this process is enough to establish "professionalism" is a subject for another line of debates.
Regarding the issue of librarians not accepting the pay scale -- I have the following things to say about it:
1) If employers respected library work they way I think they should -- pay would not be so much a problem. Like nursing, elementary school teaching and early childhood education, librarianship is notoriously underappreciated in terms of salary. To the eyes of many, librarians are supposed to be librarians because they enjoy shelving books, not because they actually want to be renumerated for it.
2) Putting pressure on employers is (admittedly) a way in which professional librarians expect to increase their status and pay by expanding the labour market (thus causing an increase in labour demand, raising wages). Putting para-professionals in this position undermines the market as such. Alternately, professionals "laying claim" to certain positions undermines the labour market for para-professionals. (In the end, I suppose you could say this issue has less to do with discrimination, appreciation and professionalism and more to do with competing self-interests.)
3) As I have explained before, (professional) librarians have their own selfs to blame for rural employers going to para-professionals for library management. Rural libraries (especially in the APs) simply can't get the professionals to stick around for the pay that they can offer.
Anyway, as I have said before, I'm expressing my opinion because I'm interested in hearing what people say about it -- so keep the rebuttals coming!
Ryan. . .
> Date: Mon Jul 19 12:58:49 ADT 2004
> From: "Stephen Murray" <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Professionalism
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Thank you Anne. I'm sure every Library Technician on the list thanks you.
> I think many people like Ryan Deschamps forget (or never knew in the
> first place) that library technicians go through an exhaustive 2 year
> program as well as the "professionals".
> Ryan Deschamps wrote:
> > Further, a library tech could inadvertently be doing something against ALA standards and not be reprimanded because an employer is not likely to understand the standards themselves.
> I think it is safe to assume a "professional" is just as likely to make
> a mistake as is a "non-professional".
> I find this discussion very disturbing. We (Library Techs) have all
> worked for "professionals" (like Ryan) who belittle and demean our value
> to the library community. I hope this attitude changes during the course
> of your final year in study or you will end up like the other
> "professionals (with the same attitude)" who spend most of their time
> interviewing people because they won't stay in their employ.
> Stephen Murray, a non-professional
> Anne Chesnutt wrote:
> > During library school and since, I have been concerned about this ongoing
> > debate on professional v. non-professional library workers. I agree that
> > the MLIS is a professional degree, however our profession does not have a
> > formalized disciplinary process. This is where the comparison to the
> > legal
> > and medical professions fall apart. "Professional librarians" are not
> > subjected to disciplinary actions when they do not adhere to the code of
> > ethics, and I doubt that many employers are aware of our professional
> > standards.
> > The point is well made that library technicians are often discredited or
> > overlooked and I think that this is detrimental to us all. I have
> > noticed
> > during my own 14-year library career that the associations far too often
> > fail to take into account the perspective and interests of techs.
> > Look at
> > the wording of many notices for ongoing education sessions or library
> > social
> > activities; at email messages about issues common to techs and to
> > librarians. If you pay attention, the bias becomes quite obvious. I am
> > often guilty of this myself, although I try to keep the broad spectrum of
> > the library world in mind.
> > Anne Chesnutt
> > Judges' Librarian
> > 1815 Upper Water St.
> > Halifax, NS B3J 1S7
> > (902)424-2078
> > (902)424-0646 fax
> > [log in to unmask]
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> Stephen C. Murray, [log in to unmask]
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