Why do we need professional librarians?
Becoming a professional librarian requires commitment, hard work, and passion. To qualify, librarians must complete training which is accredited by a professional body. For many librarians, this training takes the form of a BA or Masters degree; other qualify through extensive experience and a commitment to on-the-job training.
Librarians never stop learning! Most librarians commit to further professional development and accreditation after qualification, through schemes such as Chartership. Many librarians also obtain qualifications in other areas, to support their work; for instance, it is becoming increasingly common for librarians to hold a teaching qualification, as well as their librarian qualification. Read Liz’s guest blog post for more information about what librarians do.
Why does this matter?
Part of being a professional is the commitment to continuing professional development (CPD), and the adherence to a set of ethics, or code of professional conduct. This applies to librarians just as it applies to doctors, lawyers, and accountants.
Librarians stand for free and equal access to information for all. This means a number of things:
- Librarians will not discriminate in the provision of access to material
- Librarians will not disclose what you ask, read, or borrow
- Librarians will work to fight censorship, bias, and false reporting
- Librarians will always work to provide you with the best possible information resources to suit your needs
- Librarians will work to provide high-quality collections tailored to the needs of a community
- Librarians work for the larger public good
Members of the UK’s professional body, CILIP (the Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals) adhere to these ethical principles and code of professional conduct. In the US, the ALA code of ethics applies. Want to know more about librarian ethics around the world? See this page from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.
More information on librarians and data protection can be found here (from Surrey Libraries).
While we believe that libraries need professional staff to run them, we do recognise the contribution of others in providing the service. Read Gareth’s story to find out more about the valuable work of library assistants.