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Subject: Libraries FAQ, v. 2.1, part 5/10

This article was archived around: 14 Mar 2000 16:35:08 GMT

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Libraries FAQ 2.1 http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1107 Anthony Wilson paw@iglou.com Libraries FAQ Section 4.0 Work 4.1 What distinguishes the work of shelvers, library assistants, library technicians and librarians? 4.2 Who decides the attitudes, policies and actions of libraries? 4.3 What do I do about mouse ball theft? 4.4 What's the latest word on book banning attempts in public libraries? 4.5 Where do librarians stand on the use of software filters to screen content on library Internet stations? 4.6 Where can I get information on job openings in library science? 4.7 What are information brokers? 4.8 What are some alternative careers for librarians? 4.9 Where can I find information on the outsourcing of library services? 4.1 What distinguishes the work of shelvers, library assistants, library technicians and librarians? The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://stats.bls.gov/ , maintains a database of job descriptions and career outlooks. This is a helpful place to start when researching career options: Library Assistants and Book Mobile Drivers http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos147.htm Library Technicians http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos113.htm Librarians http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos068.htm Also, the Library Support Staff Resource Center provides descriptions of the various roles played by library personnel, plus links to more information on work roles: http://rodent.lib.rochester.edu/ssp/overview/overview.htm The following is from the Libraries FAQ 1.2 by Steve Bergson: In 1927, "The Report of the Bureau of Public Personnel Administration submitted to the Committee on the Classification of Library Personnel of the American Library Association proposed 'a separation of clerical from non-clerical duties.'" [Baker, P. (1986) _What About the Workers?: Study of Non-professional Staff in Library Work_. London: Association of Library Assistants, pg.2]. Shelvers are the minimum wage teenagers (usually) who shelve the materials after they have been returned. Library assistants or technicians might do any of the following: shelving (in the absence of shelvers), circulation duties (check in, check out, supervision), derived cataloguing, programming, ordering, answering ready reference questions or materials processing. Librarians might do any of the following professional tasks: book selection, original cataloguing, making library policy, evaluating performance of others, answering more complex reference questions, ordealing with the complaints and concerns of patrons. Librarians may do nonprofessional tasks in the absence of technicians and shelvers. Library technicians and assistants may do professional tasks in the absence of professional staff. 4.2 Who decides the attitudes, policies and actions of libraries? For those in the thick of writing Internet access guidelines, there is a comprehensive policy site for public libraries compiled by Jeff Radford: http://www.ci.oswego.or.us/library/poli.htm From the Libraries FAQ v 1.2 by Steve Bergson: It depends on who you ask. Librarians will proudly tell you that, being professionals, they make independent judgments based on sound, ethical principles. They will flaunt the infamous Library Bill of Rights (adopted 1948; revised 1961, 1967 and 1980) to prove it. The sad truth is that librarians have often been caught between their professional principles and nonprofessional antagonists. One type of antagonist is the library board member/politician seeking to gain easy publicity or to win votes at the expense of the library, its staff or its patrons. The other type of antagonist is the narrow-minded patron who insists that his/her opinion (on policy, book selection, hiring, etc.) is decisive because it is his/her library (this particularly is a problem in tax-supported and public libraries). See, Family Friendly Libraries, http://www.fflibraries.org/ and the article: Schweinsburg, Jane D. "Family Friendly Libraries vs. the American Library Association" _Journal of Information Ethics_ Fall 1997: 75-87. 4.3 What do I do about mouse ball theft? Threads on mouse ball theft have appeared on a number of library discussion groups. Replacement mouse balls can be purchased from: Argonaut (800) 322-3328 Prefix (800) 264-2530 Synaptech (800) 617-7865 Different vendors may have different sizes, so check to make sure that you get the right ones. Prices seem to run $3-5 for replacement balls. Possible solutions (from a thread on web4lib): -Mitsumi 9-pin serial mice run about $8 (less in quantity.) -Glue mice closed with Crazy Glue. Mice cannot be cleaned, but balls are easily stolen and not so easily replaced. The library might still come out ahead. -Use touchpads. They're low in price and have no moving parts. Access to the trackball is only through the bottom and the trackball housing can be mounted to a desk with removeable screws.This would prevent, or at least deter, theft of the ball. 4.4 What's the latest word on book banning attempts in public libraries? According to the ALA, http://www.ala.org/bbooks/ , the top 10 most challenged books in 1997 were: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou It's Perfectly Normal, Robie Harris Goosebumps Series, R.L. Stine The Alice Series, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain The Giver, Lois Lowry A Day No Pigs Would Die, Robert Newton Peck Kaffir Boy, Mark Mathabane Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson For an informative look at the history of book banning, see Carnegie Mellon University's Banned Books On-line: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/People/spok/banned-books.html And for the Top 10 list of silly and illogical reasons to ban a book, see http://www.ala.org/editions/wlh/top10.html See also: The American Civil Liberties Union http://www.aclu.org/issues/freespeech/bbwind.html Yahoo - Banned Books http://www.yahoo.com/Arts/Humanities/Literature/Banned_Books/ 4.5 Where do librarians stand on the use of software filters to screen content on library Internet stations? Content filtering software - AKA cyberfilters, AKA censorware - are attempts to clean up the Internet for use in public libraries. The concern generally centers over objectionable or adult material that children may be exposed to. Foul language, sexually explicit graphics, and pages with violent or anarchical subject matter are usually targeted. Software filters use some combination of three strategies for limiting access to web sites: 1. Build and maintain a list of forbidden sites. Problem: while there are certain high profile adult sites that might be easily screened, it is impossible to keep up with the thousands of web sites that are being created every day. 2. Scan web pages for certain objectionable words or phrases. Problem: this system usually brushes with too broad a stroke; conventional bookstores, educational sites, and health organizations are often trashed along with the "Teen Smut" pages. 3. Voluntary ratings adopted by web sites and acknowledged by the browser, i.e. Platform for Internet Content (PIC) http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/PICS/ and Recreational Software Advisory Council (RSACi) http://www.rsac.org . Problems: (a) the ACLU has opposed voluntary ratings, citing government pressure on web sites to self-censor, http://www.aclu.org/news/n080797a.html ; (b) there not enough sites currently participating in the rating programs (300+?) to make them a useful tool for libraries. The major players in the filter business are: Cyber Patrol http://www.cyberpatrol.com/ CYBERsitter http://www.cyberpatrol.com/ Net Nanny http://www.netnanny.com/ SurfWatch http://www.surfwatch.com/ Library Channel http://www.vimpact.net/tlc.htm For a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the various filters, see Karen G. Schneider's The Internet Filter Assessment Project, http://www.bluehighways.com/tifap/ . "The Internet Filter Assessment Project began in April, 1997 as a volunteer project led by librarian Karen G. Schneider to assess Internet filters used to block sites and/or keywords. This project arose from a growing concern by many librarians over the use of Internet filters in library systems. Over 30 librarians and information specialists have volunteered in the assessment phase." Censorware.ěrg, http://censorware.org , is the home of The Censorware Project, "a group dedicated to exposing the phenomenon of censorware." Censorware.ěrg is definitely anti-"filtering products", but it is still a good source for news and information regarding filters in libraries. The pro-filter point of view can be found at David Burt's Filtering Facts, http://www.filteringfacts.org . "FF supports the voluntary use of filters by libraries. FF does not support legislative efforts to mandate that libraries install filters." The ALA has come out against the use of filtering software in libraries: Resolution on the Use of Filtering Software in Libraries http://www.ala.org/alaorg/oif/filt_res.html "RESOLVED, That the American Library Association affirms that the use of filtering software by libraries to block access to constitutionally protected speech violates the Library Bill of Rights. " ( NOTE: You'll find the electronic version of ALA Library Bill of Rights at http://www.ala.org/oitp/ebillrits.html) For more information on filters and the issues involved, I suggest the following online articles: Understand Software that Blocks Internet Sites by Lisa Champelli, The Internet Advocate A Web-based Resource Guide for Librarians and Educators Interested in Providing Youth Access to the Net http://www.monroe.lib.in.us/~lchampel/netadv4.html Looking at Filters, PC magazine http://www8.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/utility/filter/_open.htm#top Internet World, September, 1996 http://www.iw.com/1996/09/safe.html Internet Freedoms and Filters: Roles and Responsibilities of the Public Librarian on the World Wide Web by James LaRue http://www.csn.net/~jlarue/iff.html Filtering the First Amendment for Public Libraries: A Look at the Legal Landscape by Mary Minow http://www.best.com/~tstms/filte.html Filtering the Internet in American Public Libraries: Sliding Down the Slippery Slope by Jeannette Allis Bastian, http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue2_10/bastian/ 4.6 Where can I get information on job openings in library science? Ann E. Robinson's Library Job Hunting page has a extensive list of online job hunting sites, journals and career information: http://tigger.cc.uic.edu/~aerobin/libjob.html Also, the SLA and IFLA job listervs are good sources of job leads: SLAJOB listserv@iubvm.ucs.indiana.edu LIBJOBS listserv@infoserv.nlc-bnc.ca 4.7 What are information brokers? As Marilyn M. Levine puts it in "A Brief History of Information Brokering" , http://www.asis.org/Bulletin/Feb-95/levine.html , information brokering is "the business of buying and selling information as a commodity". Information brokers are independent information professionals who may provide such services as online and manual research, document delivery, database design, library support, consulting, writing and publishing. See: Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP) http://www.aiip.org/ There are several good articles on information brokering in the February/March 1995 issue of the ASIS Bulletin : http://www.asis.org/Bulletin/Feb-95/index.html If you think information brokering is for you, be sure to read: Rugge, Sue and Alfred Glossbrenner. The Information Broker's Handbook. McGraw/Hill, 2nd Ed. 1994. See also, the Yahoo category on Information Brokers: http://www.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Companies/ Information/Information_Brokers 4.8 What are some alternative careers for librarians? Librarians are experts in the retrieval, analysis, and re-packaging of information. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the skills acquired and developed by librarians are prized by the "outside" world. At the ALA's CyberLib page, http://www.ala.org/editions/cyberlib.net/5bbest01.html , Barbara Best-Nichols lists many of the career possibilities: Abstractor Analyst Broker Collection developer Consultant Database manager and more... NOTE: I'd like to include more information on alternative careers for LIS grads. If you know of any books, articles or online sources that maybe helpful to librarians or LIS students seeking different career paths please let me know (paw@iglou.com ). 4.9 Where can I find information on the outsourcing of library services? outsourcing, noun, the procuring of services from an outside provider in order to cut costs. Example: On March 31, 1995, the Chicago office of the law firm Baker & McKenzie fired its 10-person law library staff. While it had become common for law firms and other businesses to contract out specific library duties (cataloging, loose-leaf filing, etc.), at Baker & McKenzie all library services were outsourced. On March 17, 1997, Baker & McKenzie hired law librarian Barbara A. Schmid, as manager of library services. Baker & McKenzie insisted the hiring was not a retreat on library outsourcing. For information on library oursourcing, see these bibliographies: Library Outsourcing, from the Internet Library for Librarians, http://www.itcompany.com/inforetriever/adm_outs.htm Selected References On Contracting Out And Outsourcing Library Services, from the SLA, http://www.sla.org/membership/irc/contract.html