Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No More Librarians

Dan Maas, my district’s CIO, has a new post titled Sunset for the Librarian:
So what's in a name? Well, everything. A name conjures an image, a shared understanding and it is from these understandings that we begin to do the work at hand. The term library is rooted in the latin word libri which means paper or books. The very terms library and librarian are obstacles to the future of this critical school service because the business is no longer based in the media of paper and the book. In fact, I don't even like the term media center because the emphasis is still on the containers of information...
He goes on to suggest some possible new names for the library and the librarian (Scholar Center and Scholar in Residence). I’m not sure he’s quite nailed the right name yet, but I do think it’s an interesting topic to think about. He goes on to ask:
So, if we were going to write a new job description for the Scholar in Residence at your school, what items would you include?
If you have some thoughts, head on over to his blog and leave a comment.


  1. In my district in Florida - Leon County - we have long since ended the use of the title librarian. That person is now called the Media Specialist, and she works in our media center.

    I appreciate the origin of the words library and librarian, but as a historian I'm still not sure how I feel about doing away with their use.

  2. In my district we are being asked to call ourselves library information specialists. I personally use the phrase Teacher Librarian, as it reminds ALL my patrons (students, teachers, parents, admin, community) that i am a teacher who happens to work in the school library. But I am growing to even dislike the term teacher b/c the connotation of the word teacher leads people to believe that the learning is done, and I believe we are all life long learners, far from being done with learning. So perhaps Learning Facilitator is better suited? I'm heading over to the other post to see what they have to say. Interesting topic Karl. PS (& off topic) you tweeted back in May about a "techstravaganza" at your school or somewhere in your district. I liked the idea and wrote a $1K mini grant to do something similar. Cha-ching! Funded. Thanks for sharing about it and giving me a great idea!

  3. I was browsing through your blogs and this one caught my eye. I am a college senior majoring in Secondary Education and I work in the campus library a couple times a week. I have often found myself speculating as to why people are so seldom in "the stacks". I guess it's true that so much of what once had to be looked up in books is now available online. It's a bit sad but I tend to agree, perhaps "librarian" is a bit of an outdated term although I don't know of a name that would suit this individual as well. I do like the title of Media Specialist that Stephen mentioned.

  4. I am a junior Intervention Specialist and Early Childhood Major in college. My college just became a University, and during the convocation ceremony we had many speakers address the importance of a name. So, I found this blog to be very interesting. I do feel that the term Librarian is becoming out of date, but it is hard to come up with a new appropriate title. I think Media Specialist could work. Many of the schools that I go to for field experience call their libraries Media Centers, so it would make since to call the librarians Media Specialists. I also think Informational Specialists is an appropriate name that could be used.