So, why do some librarians seem to value their job, qualifications etc so little?
I think with some it is a genuine desire to be equal and fair handed. Remove barriers. No more professional/paraprofessional.
That said, what message does that send? It is a message often given without any well thought out alternative for training and development. When it comes from non-librarians it is about saving money, whatever the cover; from librarians it’s a little less clear but the impact can be the same. Librarianship isn’t anything to worry about.
If librarianship isn’t anything to worry about, why should libraries be? Ah, Pete, aren’t libraries just about books and access to them?
No. They are about people gathering those books, making them accessible, sharing their knowledge of them etc. They are about adding value to a collection of books ( and, as the Act says, other resources.) And librarianship should be about that. What that means for library education is another post; but there is still a need for a structured program of training and reflection leading to a recgonised qualification.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with hierarchies either…
In public library terms saving money is all very well, and efficiency is important. But there will come a time when the savings become damaging and you aren’t left with a public library but a bookshop manquee; and based on a poor bookshop model at that.
There needs to be a balance between books and people, the resources and the services that go with them. Current plans for Hillingdon, which could well influence other councils, are based on a simplistic money saving get more books in model, with a side order of Starbucks to go. The councillors will get to pose outside their shiny new libraries, and are already celebrating triumph. But what of the people of Hillingdon- will we hear from them? And the library staff?
Edit Early indicators were that the project had been well received and that usage figures in the first of the remodelled libraries had increased. Staff and the local MP held a vigil to highlight the staff issues, but little was made of it. /Edit