Monday, June 8, 2009

From LISNews Librarian And Information Science News

Librarians As Heroes

Most people who enter the library need assistance, and sometimes it's not just a matter of an easily answered question.

Will Van Sant of the Tampa Bay Times reminds us that the current economy has created additional duties for this new brand of librarian...librarian-cum-social worker. He calls them 'the heros of the recession'.

Van Sant says: "Take mild-mannered David Stoner. Trained to help adults discover the trial of Socrates and sixth graders track the Oregon Trail, he now spends half his time in the trenches of a battered economy. There his job is far more urgent: helping people who need jobs, food stamps or Medicaid.

"These days, it's really social work in some respects," said Stoner, who directs adult services for the Clearwater Public Library System. "And it's really satisfying to see how much you are helping.

Karen Prall has been a Clearwater library regular since September, when she lost her dental assistant job. She doesn't like going to WorkNet Pinellas, a nonprofit workforce development agency. She said staff there are overworked, disorganized and dismissive.

When she visited the library on a recent Friday afternoon, Stoner swiftly had Prall, who has limited computer experience, posting her resume to the Web.

"The library is really the only place you can go to get direct help immediately," said Prall, 39. "You ask them and they don't say, 'I'll be with you in 20 minutes.' They'll come over and help you right away."


Jacqueline Seewald said...

As a reader, writer and former librarian, I read with concern that cuts in library services are necessary because of the economic downturn (euphemism for depression). In reality, when the economy is as bad as it is now, if anything we need more library services. People come to libraries for help in finding new jobs, to borrow books they cannot afford to buy but what like to read, to use computers. Librarians provide invaluable services. They are also the best bargain around!

Jacqueline Seewald
THE INFERNO COLLECTION, Five Star/Gale hardcover, Wheeler large print 2007, 2009

KY Warrior Librarian said...

I agree totally Jacqueline. Maybe you caught the recent "Today" program about libraries lending a hand in tough times. I think I'm going to post it on this should be widely disseminated. I couldn't agree more with your last statement. Thanks for ringing in.

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