Library Science

Different responsibility of the Librarian

A librarian does three main kinds of work: selecting materials for the library, organizing them so that they will be easy to find and use and helping people get materials or information they need. To select materials, a librarian finds out what the library’s users and potential users need. Rarely, if ever, can a library afford to buy all materials needed. So the librarian must be an expert not only on what materials are available but on which are more dependable, more useful to the library than others. To make room for new materials, the librarian regularly reviews the library collection, removing materials no longer useful. A good collection offers many points of view on any given subject. An important part of the librarian’s job is to resist pressure from special groups who want to get rid of-or add-materials because of the point of view

1. The Librarian as a Generalist: If it were not arranged, if it did not have a catalog, a library would be attract less jungle of information. That is where the organizer of materials comes in. This librarian examines every new book, record, film, or other item to determine what it is about. After the librarian decides what the subject is and how the item is related to other materials in the library, the item is catalogued, or described. Most libraries use card catalogues, but some modern libraries use a book catalog made and printed by computer.

Helping people get materials or information they need is circulation and reference work. The librarian in charge of circulation supervises the use of all materials. In many large libraries, this librarian works behind the scenes in a private office. Clerks usually issue library cards, lend and receive materials, keep records of materials borrowed, collect fines for materials that are overdue, and even help people find materials they want. The way in which each such job is done is determined by the librarian in charge. Much circulation work is automated in libraries today-there are computerized systems to keep a record of materials lent and returned, for instance.Librarian Responsibility

Nobody knows all the answers. The librarian in reference pursues a deeper wisdom-to understand all the questions. To learn what exactly the questioner is trying to find out, a reference librarian must be an expert interviewer. The whole point of reference work is personal assistance, either finding the answer or guiding a person to it. The same question may call for different types of help-for people of different ages and backgrounds, for example. Much reference work can be done by phone.

2. TheLibrarian as a Specialist: The three main kinds of library work are part of every librarian’s education. But, as in other professions, many librarians become specialists. An acquisitions librarian specializes in locating and ordering materials, a cataloger in organizing materials, a reference librarian in helping people get information. In many school and public libraries, there are media specialists and readers’ advisers. A media specialist is an expert on the use of all materials, both print and non-print. A readers’ adviser helps choose materials or prepares a special reading list for a particular person. Readers’ advisers in hospital and prison libraries practice bibliotherapy, helping treat the sick, the disturbed, the downhearted with books and other materials.

Public librarians may specialize by age group of user. A children’s librarian must know about such things as child behavior, what children study in school, non-print materials and their uses, the teaching of reading, children’s literature, and how to tell a story. Guiding children in their reading is an important part of the work. So are selecting materials, holding story hours, working with parents and Parent-Teacher Associations, visiting nearby classrooms, teaching the use of the library, and planning such special projects as Book Week.

A young adult librarian works with roughly the teenage group. Such a librarian must know what young adults are like, what they study in school, what they read and listen to and look at in their free time. It is especially important for a librarian working with this age group to be outgoing, unflappable, imaginative, and socially aware.

The young adult librarian selects materials, keeping up with ever-changing teenage interests; acts as a readers’ adviser; visits schools to talk about books and other materials; and explains how to use a library. An important part of work with young adults is planning programmes for them.

Many academic and research librarians are subject or language specialists. Such librarians usually have special training in music, or African materials, or Spanish and Portuguese literature, or the sciences, etc. Subject specialists are found also in government libraries-archivists specializing in historical papers, librarians specializing in law.

There are many subject specialists in special libraries. The special librarian makes searches for information-helping an engineer gather materials for a report, preparing a reading list on water pollution for a steel company executive. Because engineers, doctors, and other specialists do not have time to read everything published in their field, the special librarian may review and summarize new articles and reports. Such summaries, or abstracts, keep busy people up to date and help them decide what to read for more information

Another part of special library work is having important articles and reports translated. Information searches are made more and more with the help of computers. Some translation, too, is done by machine, but there are serious problems involved. Because special librarians often make much use of other libraries, they must know not only their own but other library collections in their subjects. Special librarians often have advanced training in the field of concentration of their library. They should also have a background in library technology, automation being common in special libraries.

Many librarians do not specialize. They are generalists, working with a variety of groups and subjects. Included among generalists are most school librarians. School librarians work closely with teachers in helping students get the reading habit, learn study skills, and understand how to use a library. Besides an understanding of children or young adults, school librarians need a background in print and non-print materials. In many places also, a school librarian must be qualified as a teacher. This is especially important as the school library becomes more and more a learning laboratory, an extension of the classroom.

3. The Librarian as an Information Scientist: A librarian is a mover of ideas, of information from one mind to another. So it is not enough to know library science. A librarian must understand the bigger picture called information science, of which library science is only a part. To teach the use of a library, a librarian must understand how people think when they attack look-it-up problems. That is part of information science. To index a vertical file a librarian must understand how language works. That, too, is part of information science.Librarian

A librarian often has to know something about computers to work with them. In addition, he or she may need some mathematics to use computer language. Both mathematics and computer technology are part of information science. To run a library, the librarian must learn techniques for analyzing and improving a system. Information science includes systems management, too. Many librarians who work in automated libraries are called information scientists. But the term is not used by all such librarians. Basically, every librarian must be an information scientist.

4. The Librarian as a Person: The libraries of the world have room enough- and work enough-for many types of people. There are reference jobs for the I-want-to-work-with-people type; jobs with the under privileged for the I-want-to-improve-the-world type; jobs as cataloguers and bibliographers for the I-want-to-do-research type. There are jobs for close-to-home and away-from-home types, for small-library and large-library types, for specialists and generalists, book addicts and non-book addicts, teacher types, leader types. While librarians do not run to one type, though, they do have some things in common; some of which include:

  • A librarian serves the people of a community-a college, a school, a plastics company-either directly or indirectly.
  • A librarian is a matchmaker, bringing people and knowledge together.
  • A librarian is sometimes the uninvited. Not everyone who needs help asks for it so a librarian must be able to take the initiative.
  • A librarian is a voracious reader. Ideas comes in many kinds of packages, most of them books, and a librarian has to be broadly knowledgeable.
  • A librarian is curious. He or she has not only an appetite for knowledge but an open mind that does not fear new ideas.
  • A librarian has a sense of order. Everybody who works in a library has to know where things are and how to find them, quickly.

Reference: (This article is collected from available materials on web.)

  • ISSA, A. O. (2009). FUNDAMENTALS OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE. Abdul wahab O. Issalorin Publisher,.


Declaration: Articles shared in this blog are collected from different sources available on the internet to help students of Library and Information Science. Sources are mentioned in the reference section of the article. If you have any objections about the content of this blog, feel free to contact the site admin at

One Comment

  1. Thank you very much. My lecture just gave me assignment to discuss functions of special librarian. This just gave me pointers on how to start tackling my assignment.

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