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CODE4LIB  February 2023

CODE4LIB February 2023

Subject:

Re: Systems - to librarian or not to librarian?

From:

Patricia Farnan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 20 Feb 2023 01:28:29 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (1 lines)

Very good points. In my case, becoming a systems librarian wasn't my original plan - I didn't even know that systems librarians existed when I got my first job after graduation (this was back in 2007 though). When I got to know the sort of work my predecessor did, I was intrigued. When I was bored with my own role, my predecessor gave me things to do more in her area, which helped me gain systems knowledge. When she left the institution, I was a natural person to take over because of the head start I had. But once I was in the job, I had to learn other things that others took for granted (for e.g. I had no idea what they meant when they said "run an SQL", but I soon found out). With systems I feel you definitely learn by doing.

Patricia Farnan | Application Administrator, Discovery Services
University Library | St Teresa’s Library
The University of Notre Dame Australia

Telephone: +61 8 9433 0707 | Email: [log in to unmask]

I acknowledge the Whadjuk Noongar people, the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which I live and work (Walyalup), and pay my respects to their elders past and present.

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of P.L. Stiles
Sent: Saturday, 18 February 2023 1:21 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Systems - to librarian or not to librarian?

Well said. Most librarians have the requisite intelligence to learn the technical aspects, and it is frustrating for librarians who do most everything else, such as web work, data management, and data organization to not be considered for systems librarian positions when more could be accomplished by having them partner with IT department for systems training and to problem solve. After all, most legacy systems librarians that built it did not have IT degrees, they knew the data and utilized database and MARC record knowledge to start and built it out as needed. Also, it is not something that can be taught until you are working with the system in play.

Librarians deserve the opportunity to become system librarians, especially when candidates are in short supply.

-----------------------------------------From: "Diane Hillmann"
To: [log in to unmask]
Cc:
Sent: Friday February 17 2023 10:07:38AM
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Systems - to librarian or not to librarian?

I don't think it should be an either/or. I was a systems librarian way before such beasts were defined, much less recruited. I was trained as a bibliographic searcher supporting bibliographers ordering books (no longer do those folks exist, really) and transitioned to a cataloger some years later), so I always knew bib data really well. I started my technical learning, in charge of loading tapes into a NOTIS system and then supervising authorities work. I think some kind of library certification (maybe MLS or equivalent) plus experience in cataloging or acquisitions (or whatever they're called these days) should be sufficient. It's about the data, folks--the technical stuff is much easier to find in the wild and can effectively be teamed with a librarian that knows the data.

Diane Hillmann
Librarian (retired, but still sentient)

On Fri, Feb 17, 2023 at 9:41 AM Lynda Howell wrote:

> Our experience has been that Librarian payscales and expectations are > completely different from IT payscales/expectations. We had to convert a > position to a librarian position and drop a lot of the technical > requirements in order to get applicants willing to take the job.
>
> Lynda.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Code for Libraries On Behalf Of Martin, > Will > Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2023 6:25 PM > To: [log in to unmask] > Subject: [CODE4LIB] Systems - to librarian or not to librarian?
>
> All,
>
> We're considering taking our Systems Librarian position and removing the > requirement for a library degree, making it a technician position instead.
> The job's primary focus is in working with Alma configuration and > troubleshooting the perennial off-campus access issues. The hope is that > removing the library degree requirement will make recruiting easier. In > past we've had difficulty getting candidates who had both the library > degree and the requisite technical proficiency.
>
> I am curious to hear from other universities: do you require your systems > person to hold a library degree? Why or why not? If you do require one, > do you find you have to do extensive technical training with new hires? If > you don't, do you wind up having to train people on library-related stuff?
> Either way, how has your approach worked out?
>
> Will Martin
>
> Head of Digital Initiatives, Systems and Services > Chester Fritz Library > University of North Dakota > he/his/him > > 701.777.4638 >

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