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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Librarianship on Cross Roads again and again

 27th Oct 2o15

It was indeed a good evening to listen to Dr.Paul LeClerc at Nehru Centre Mumbai on 27th Oct 2015 on “Digitization, Openness, and the Remaking of the New York Public Library”. Dedication and whole heartedness was amply visible in his words on the work he did at New York Public Library, the 4th Largest Public Library System in the World.  What impressed me was his ideas on the Philosophy and Vision of the Library ie Democratising Reading Material by way of easy access to one and all globally in addition to serving the local city needs.  The lecture session and the Panel discussion was moderated by Ravina Aggarwal, Director of Columbia Global Centres – South Asia.

A Panel discussion was held after the lecture session. Panellists were : Vispi Balaporia (Asiatic Library), Arati Desai (Librarian, Nehru Centre) and Ahalya Naidu (Trilogy).  Panellists shared their experiences on the vision of Libraries and digitisation.  When the floor was open for questions and discussions, one of the participants highlighted the marginalised and side-lined position of Library of Mumbai University and its Librarians.  An unheard of situation where in the basic working comfo0rts of librarians were withdrawn.  A lot of panic was apparent in her words.  This could be happening in several other places / institutions as well.

The point is, ‘Librarianship is on Cross Roads many a time before it becomes a Full Fledged Profession.  What could be the Reasons :

1.       Books, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom are not exclusive concerns of Librarianship and Librarians.
2.       The practice has a short history.
3.       The Central Theme of the Intellectual Content of the profession does not seem to be unique, by other academicians and public in general.  Philosophy of the profession needs a thorough addressing.
4.       No Uniformity in Perks and Privileges across Institutions and continents.
5.       People have not yet recognised the Science behind the Practice of Librarianship.
6.       Librarians have continued to be meek, harmless and complacent.
7.       Librarians have not reached the level o indispensability.
8.       The process of Recruitment into the Education and Jobs does not seem to be professional and methodical. In most of the cases LIS does not happen to be first choice of the entrants.
9.       Profession has not succeeded in attracting voluntary advocates and well wishers.
10.   LIS has largely remained at its tools and techniques level.
11.   Advocacy and Leadership studies are not addressed adequately in LIS Literature.
12.   Autonomy and Self Governance are lacking in the Profession.
13.   Librarianship has not made its presence felt by the Common Man and the Last Man in

It is time we become more service minded and assertive.  It is time to emphasize on both Theory and Practice and maintain a congenial balance.  It is time to strengthen our Research and Knowledge base in addition to the efforts towards Library Advocacy.  Let us at least now on, focus on the studies that narrate and address The Process of Emergence of Professions in Society.  Let us be familiar with the Literature on ‘Sociology of Work, Occupations, Careers and Professions”.