Using Your Librarian Powers for Good

Tips for Aspiring Librarian Superheroes

Jessamyn West



Quick, name a famous librarian....

[yes batgal was a librarian, weird huh?]


Survey says...

[yes batgal was a librarian, weird huh?ben franklin is not best known for being a librarian] It's sort of like playing "Who is Jewish?" or "Who is gay?"

What happens when you play this game with someone who is not a librarian ....?

Do you ever find yourself saying "No, really, it's not like that..." ?


Some that I thought of

  • Melvil Dewey [crazy]
  • S.R. Ranganathan [who?]
  • Nancy Pearl [coming soon]
  • Laura Bush [ahem]
  • that guy from LoC with the porn collection [who?]
Others that I can think of particular to my world are Sandy Berman, Walt Crawford, Karen Schneider, Mitch Freedman and James Billington, maybe. A few more with online presences are listed here. Most of column 2 is populated with people who do interesting things despite being a librarian...

So, if I want to "make something of myself" and still be a librarian?

[with apologies to the new jersey library association] Should I just put up a page about my bellydancing exploits and be done with it?

Can I do any of this and still hold down a full-time job?


My awareness of things librarian - the swift ascension

[does this tv show even show in the US?] [next]

My awareness of things librarian - the downward spiral

[please visit the nicepeople at] [next]

What's an ambitious gal [or guy] to do?

[this movie freaking ROCKS!] [next]

10 Years of ALA Placement Center Stats

Year midw
seekers annual
1995 421 484 472 1105
1996 384 405 435 896
1997 360 436 525 577
1998 416 283 874 545
1999 615 334 997 489
2000 669 202 1004 481
2001 813 260 703 463
2002 318 214 278 368
2003 196 293 142 317
2004 129 197 ******

What worked for me

[ah yes, the wonderful homophobic scouts!] [next]

Don't dwell on it


The real not-so-secret Google vs the Librarians issue

[you may or may not dig what she does, but she is a librarian superhero]
  1. Google is everywhere
  2. You -- most of you -- are in your libraries [Columbia]
  3. Google is a server farm
  4. You are people
  5. You are a network of information professionals even if you don't exploit that network
  6. Google is a bunch of programmers and ad salesmen in a few major cities who know how to work it
  7. Some must stay while others must roam - find your niche. The profession needs people to stay in the buildings and people to move between the buildings.
[image source]

Thank you!




This presentation was created in HTML using CSS. There was no PowerPoint involved in this presentation except as a nagging bad example.

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