IntroductionValues of the field
Prepared and reported by:
Joanne C. Constantino
The Values of librarianship
Values are essential to the success and future of librarianship: they highlight what is "important and worthy in the long run," and help to define our profession. In a literature review on professional values in LIS, Lee Finks argues that these values fall into four categories:
Professional valuesare inherent in librarianship and include recognizing the importance of service and stewardship; maintaining philosophical values that reflect wisdom, truth, and neutrality; preserving democratic values; and being passionate about reading and books.General valuesare "commonly shared by normal, healthy people, whatever their field." Librarians' work, social, and satisfaction values express a commitment to lifelong learning, the importance of tolerance and cooperation, and the need to feel accepted.Personal valuesspecifically belong to library workers and include humanistic, idealistic, conservative, and aesthetic values.Rival valuesthreaten the mission of libraries with bureaucratic, anti-intellectual, and nihilistic ideas. Librarians must have faith in the profession's ability to do good.
Defining professional values
In 1999, the ALA formed a task force to "to clarify the core values (credo) of the profession". This task force believed "that without common values, we are not a profession," and proposed the following definition of common goals for our field:Connection of people to ideasAssurance of free and open access to recorded knowledge, information and creative worksCommitment to literacy and learningRespect for the individuality and the diversity of all peoplesFreedom for all people to form, to hold, and to express their own beliefsPreservation of the human recordExcellence in professional service to our communitiesFormation of partnerships to advance these values
Despite the work of this task force, the ALA did not adopt a Core Value Statement until June 2004. This statement represented a compromise between the task force and its critics, and took its 11 core values from ALA policies that were already in effect. While the task force's document positioned these values in relation to our profession (for example, our profession must provide "assurance" that access to recorded knowledge is free and open), the official ALA policy simply lists the values.
The ALA's wording also leaves its list open to other values as well, and lists these asexamplesof core values:
Access - All information resources that are provided directly or indirectly by the library, regardless of technology, format, or methods of delivery, should be readily, equally, and equitably accessible to all library users.Confidentiality/privacy - Protecting user privacy and confidentiality is necessary for intellectual freedom and fundamental to the ethics and practice of librarianship.Democracy - A democracy presupposes an informed citizenry. The First Amendment mandates the right of all persons to free expression, and the corollary right to receive the constitutionally protected expression of others. The publicly supported library provides free and equal access to information for all people of the community the library serves.Diversity - We value our nation's diversity and strive to reflect that diversity by providing a full spectrum of resources and services to the communities we serve.Education and lifelong learning - ALA promotes the creation, maintenance, and enhancement of a learning society, encouraging its members to work with educators, government officials, and organizations in coalitions to initiate and support comprehensive efforts to ensure that school, public, academic, and special libraries in every community cooperate to provide lifelong learning services to all.
Intellectual freedom - We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.Preservation - ALA reaffirms the following fundamental values of libraries in the context of discussing outsourcing and privatization of library services. These values include that libraries are an essential public good and are fundamental institutions in democratic societies. The Public good - The Association supports the preservation of information published in all media and formats. The association affirms that the preservation of information resources is central to libraries and librarianship.Professionalism - The American Library Association supports the provision of library services by professionally qualified personnel who have been educated in graduate programs within institutions of higher education. It is of vital importance that there be professional education available to meet the social needs and goals of library services.Service - We provide the highest level of service to all library users ...We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.Social responsibility- ALA recognizes its broad social responsibilities. The broad social responsibilities of the American Library Association are defined in terms of the contribution that librarianship can make in ameliorating or solving the critical problems of society; support for efforts to help inform and educate the people of the United States on these problems and to encourage them to examine the many views on and the facts regarding each problem; and the willingness of ALA to take a position on current critical issues with the relationship to libraries and library service set forth in the position statement.
PHILOSOPHY OF LIBRARIANSHIP
Why is the Librarian having no philosophy?
The experts created varied reasons why this particular profession doesnt have its own philosophy:
Allegedly, the librarians are very much occupied in their works that deprive them to devote ample time in analyzing himself and his profession.The heavy responsibility he encounters in his work reduces his time in deep thinking or in philosophical meditation about the significance of his work.The librarian seems to be solute in the simplicity of practical outlook: his devotion to duty and the quest for solution or enhancement to every technical work is seemingly enough for his intellectual satisfaction.
ADVANTAGES OF HAVING A PHILOSOPHY
To give systematic organization of the general concept.To be able to examine the complex nature of librarianship.To know vividly the meaning of our goals.To solve practical problems.To become articulate in valuable future issues.
According to Foskett one of the advantages of having philosophy is to acknowledge librarianship as a profession.Philosophy serves as guideline to the goals and objectives of librarianship.According to J. P. Danton some points that comprises the advantages that can be used by the professionals prompted by the establishment of a philosophy these can be stated briefly as:
The acquisition of a specific and known stand for the library for the social order and if there is not distant, of a new social order, the foundation and recognition of the library as an important, creative and an educating force to improve civilization.The acceptance of library science is gradually taking place. The acceptance according to the needs of time and current immediate needs.The giving of technical meaning and mechanical strategies the progress of library science certainly contributes to the achievement of orderly scientific structure for practical methods.Another advantage that can be gained from professional philosophy is the certainty of a directed work brought by knowledge or understanding of a goal.The goodness affected by knowledge and the ways of separating or identifying the myriad responsibilities and work of the varied types of library employees.We can rely on the birth of the unified professional spirit - this means the reorganization or acceptance of a definite stand of the organization united within the profession.
Five laws of S.R. (Shiyali Ramamrita) Ranganathan
Books are for useEvery book its readerEvery reader his bookSave the time of the readerThe library is a growing organism
Michael Gorman respectfully adjusted Ranganathan's laws to better fit the future needs and practices of libraries. Gorman's revised laws are:
Libraries serve humanity- They should serve the individual, community and society to a higher quality. When making decisions, librarians should consider how the change will better serve humanity.Respect all forms by which knowledge is communicated- If there is a new means of communication of knowledge, and it is a better carrier, utilize it.
Use technology intelligently to enhance service- Technology needs to be integrated so that it is used intelligently in a cost-effective and beneficial way.Protect free access to knowledge- The library is central to freedom. It needs to preserve all records so none are lost, and should be transmitted to all.Honor the past and create the future- Libraries need to combine the past and future in a rational manner. Not clinging to the past but looking forward for the better.
Rich Gauses Philosophy of Librarianship
Know your CollectionDo more than just focus on your assigned subject area; learn something about the whole library.Know its strengths.Know its weaknesses.Know its hidden treasures.The practice of librarianship is neither abstract concepts nor Boolean operators.Some fresh librarians never seem to go near the print resources and some experienced librarians still shy away from newfangled electronic resources.Dont fall into either trap.Blow the dust off the old tomes, power up the microform reader, or pull the really skinny books off the shelf to see how much can be hidden inside 20-60 pages.Explore circulating books, journals, audiovisual items, maps, special collections, file cabinets, and other nooks and crannies.Look at new resources that are acquired with an eye towards what they add to the current mix.Browse through the reshelving bins to get a sense of what your patrons are actually using.It is not possible for anyone to know every detail about every resource in any medium-sized or larger library.But one of the major values of havinglibrariansin the library is the guidance brought to the research process.
Know your Colleagues
Again, no single person can know everything, but a team of librarians can almost always resolve the most baffling of questions.Get to know the backgrounds and interests of your colleagues.What are their specialties?What flavors do they add to the soup?If you have to turn a question over to a specialist colleague, follow up later to learn what they used.The librarian with the brand new degree has probably had greater opportunity to read about the latest trends in the field.New colleagues can provide a fresh eye to critically analyze the way things have always been done.Be conversant with the processes of other specialties.Talk with these colleagues so that you understand the broader ramifications of seemingly small decisions. Acknowledge the vital roles played by the other individuals working in the library:computer technicians, programmers, clerks, shelvers, administrators, custodians, student assistants, library technical assistants, etc.
Know your Profession
Explore the history of language, writing, books, libraries, computers, and everything else that relates to storing and transferring information.Think about how Ranganathan's Five Laws of Library Science apply in the modern library setting.Internalize the ideals of intellectual freedom and confidentiality.Spend time pondering issues such as literacy, censorship, copyright, equity of access and privacy.Recognize how the social and political climates of your institution or community may influence decisions.Examine your principles and develop skills to educate others. Avoid isolating yourself within your specialty.Make a point of learning about other types and sizes of libraries: public, academic, school, prison, corporate, law, medical, etc. Network with a wide variety of individuals from all walks of life.
Share your Knowledge
The point of learning everything is to share it with others.Don't bottle it up inside and don't be miserly when sharing it.There is no danger of making yourself dispensable.There will always be new learners and new things for you yourself to learn.Teach others who express an interest in learning how to find information on their own, and avoid overwhelming the person who just wants a few facts. Create finding aids, conduct training sessions, or write articles and books.Engage in discussions face-to-face and through electronic means.Do more than just attend conferences and workshops -- be an active participant and take on responsibilities within your professional associations.Get involved in your local community outside the library.Contribute to the profession in whatever ways suit you.The aggregate value of thousands of librarians all over the world comes when they each know their local collections well and then share that knowledge.
The joys of librarianshipcome from the endless opportunitiesto learn new things and to teach others.Be passionate about whatever you do.
Thank you for listening!