A librarian is a professional that works in a library. Although librarians are traditionally associated with collections of books, they are experts in the organization and retrieval of information in any format.
Librarians can be found be found in many areas. Public libraries, public schools and university libraries are the most common employers. Librarians can also be found at businesses, government departments, hospitals, law firms, museums, and other large organizations where academic research is performed or that store large quantities of information.
- Gramophone records and compact discs
- Photographs and videotapes
- Newspapers, magazines and scientific journals
- Computer databases
- Referrals to other community organizations and government offices.
- Suggesting appropriate books for children of different reading levels, and recommending novels for recreational reading.
It is usual for a librarian to have a one- or two-year master's degree in library science or information science (called an MLS, MIS, MLIS or MILS) from an accredited university. Library technicians (also called assistant librarians or library assistants) may perform duties such as searching for items in the library catalog or basic cataloging, but lack the Master's degree.
The specific duties vary depending on the size and type of library and number of employees, but most librarians spend most of their time working in one of the following areas of a library:
See: List of librarians
- Public service librarians work at the reference desk. Some specialize in serving adults or children. (In larger libraries they may specialize in teen services, the periodicals or another special collection.)
- Technical service librarians work "behind the scenes" ordering library materials and database subscriptions, computers and other equipment, and supervise the cataloguing and physical processing of new books.
- Experienced librarians may be promoted to administrative positions such as the library director, or the director of a group of libraries. Similar to the president of any other business, they are concerned with the long-term planning of the library as a business, and its relationship with its parent organization (the city or county for a public library, or the college for an academic library).
In the US, Saint Jerome is most often considered the patron saint of librarians and translators.
In Western Europe, Saint Lawrence is most often considered the patron saint of librarians.
Among some Orthodox Christians, Saint Catherine of Alexandria is most often considered the saint (patroness) of librarians.
Librarians in fiction
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Job Title Generator for Careers in Library and Information Science
The Job Title Generator will predict your future job title in the world of library and information science professionals.
Biblia's Warrior Librarian Weekly
Satirical electronic journal featuring original library humor.
Stupid Duhrector Tricks
Questionable decisions of library directors.
Conan the Librarian
Conan inhabits the mythical Information Age, where he is a typical reference librarian. His world nevertheless bears some strange similarities to our own. From the Minnesota Association of Law Libraries.
Tom the Dancing Bug
Ruben Bolling's Tom the Dancing Bug considers the possibilities of the public library. From Salon.com.
Dave's Guide to the Library
Secrets, bad ideas, funny books, and jokes.
I am the Very Model of Computerized Librarian
Gilbert and Sullivan parody, lyrics by Diane M. Oâ€™Keefe, MSLS, and Janet T. Oâ€™Keefe, MLS.
Commentary on libraries and librarians including why one should fall to his knees and worship librarians.
The Lipstick Librarian
She's bold, she's sassy, she's helpful.
Library Life: A Column of Eclectic Rantings
Celebrities as librarians. Help yourself.
Research into the information literacy skills of Peeps. Includes detailed documentation and pictures on this special population of Easter candy.
Daily comic strip set in a public library.
The Library Workplace Folklore Web Page
Which is more revealing: the fact that staff tell their boss they just love the new computer system or the fact that they've posted 15 cartoons and a parody poem lampooning it in the staff lounge?
The Lighter Side of Librarianship
Links to a variety of entertaining library- or book-related resources, including the Book Game, Wordplay, library records, and others.
IFLA collection of library humour. Includes such categories as Library Laws (with apologies to Murphy), Lightbulb Jokes, and Perfect Excuses.
Hypatia's Humorous Library Tales
Such categories as Strange Items Found in Books, Weird Patrons, and Creepy Crawlies.
Original comedy pieces, including "Top Ten Job Ad Mistakes" and "Nancy Drew in Library School."
Great Moments in the History of Technical Services
From 4362 B.C. to 1920.
Library Books 4U
Stories and quotes about libraries.
The Laughing Librarian
Huge collection of links, Zen koans, bookmarks and signs, sig file quotes.
All About Deselection (a.k.a. Weeding) for Libraries
Librarian's Lao-Tzu: The Book of the Library and Its Ways
Lao Tzu, the reputed author of the work, was a librarian. This is the first attempt by a fellow librarian to translate the Tao te Ching.
An annotated bibliography of cartoons dealing with aspects of librarianship.
Humorous stories and cartoons about libraries, librarians, and related topics.
The Driving Insane
This blog provides a glimpse into the alternate, semi-psychotic universe of the local public library (with some forays into the outside world.)