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One New Thing
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
One New Thing: Thoughts on librarian training.

I skimmed through some posts from the NexGen list yesterday (I would read them properly, but wow people, there’s a lot of posting on this list!). Some people were discussing how more specialised undergraduate degrees (biological sciences was one I think) is a definite advantage in getting a librarian position. (I would imagine this is because more librarians seem to come from humanities-type backgrounds – at least they do in my experience, I hope that’s not a rogue generalisation!)

Anyway, I was wondering to what extent it would be useful for a new librarian with no background in the area they were working to actually go and study in that discipline: a science librarian to go and study science, a law librarian to do some law study, etc. I imagine there would be a point where the time, cost and effort of study would far outweigh the benefits and opportunities for career development, so doing a whole degree is probably taking the idea too far. But I can see that an understanding of how the subject is approached, and what resources are used and how, could be really valuable.

(One of my undergrad majors was in French – I still remember every one of the too-few times someone has come to my counter for help in looking up books with French titles!)

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