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Reading and Audience Development Officers

January 14, 2009

I really enjoy being a librarian. I like teaching and doing reference work, playing with new online tools to see how I could apply them in the library and working with my colleagues. But sometimes I just sit back and scratch my head, because I just don’t get some of the things people do thinking it will better the library. 

Take this example about Edinburgh rebranding the librarians as Audience Development Officers. Okay, I am so missing why this is a good move. Yes, I understand that librarians do a lot more than people think we do and are reaching out to the community, in person and online, in multiple new ways, but audience development officers? To me this either sounds like the librarians are going to now be liaisons with the branch of the police force that deals with teenagers or they will become the opening act, like at a rock concert, and try to get the crowd moshing before the real show starts.

Branding good; audience development officers bad. I just don’t get why everyone keeps apologizing for being a librarian all the time. Librarians rock. Period. We don’t need a name change, but we might need some better marketing. What do you think?

In much better news, (because you knew I couldn’t bear to have a post without good news), people are apparently reading more fiction. That is a good thing. At this point, I don’t care if it is just a statistical blip or not, it is good news! But the gains are small and there is much room for improvement. So let’s get more people reading even if this article says there is nothing we can do to get more people reading.

If nothing else, read the two above articles to see just how different two takes on the same data can be. Very interesting, definitely a talking about about statistics, reading and librarians. And, just an aside, 100 books read in a year is a good number of books; that’s almost two a week. I think now I’m going to have to try to keep track of every book I read for a year and see how many I read. All I know is, it’s not as many as I want to read.

Final thoughts for this Wednesday: if you are a librarian, be proud of being a librarian and keep working to keep libraries relevant to your community. For everyone, keep reading. Reading is not an antisocial activity (I mean, way to put a negative spin on reading, right?); reading is a thoughtful activity that can be shared via reading to each other or afterwards by sharing how a book expanded your mind.

Have a great rest of your day!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy permalink
    January 14, 2009 6:40 pm

    I am proud to be a librarian and especially proud of my small library in Carlisle, Ma. This month, my library and many readers in Carlisle committed to a community read of The Post American World by Fareed Zakaria. This effort just emphasizes that the library is a meeting place offering FREE programming reflective of the book that includes international food and music, and community wide discussion. The wakilibrarian turned me onto my first great nonficiton read in years in graduate school and this particular community read just reminds me of that happy time.

    • dwakimoto permalink*
      January 15, 2009 9:41 am

      Thanks Nancy! You are fabulous and awesome; keep up the awesomeness as a librarian.

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