Do we have a librarian in the house?

A couple years ago, I wrote about infiltrating a tech conference. I did it again today, this time attending my college’s IT conference. I was a bit nervous about it, since everyone else in the room was classed as an IT professional while my job is in the library group (but not in the library – go figure).

Partway through his opening remarks, our university CIO was addressing a problem and said, “We need a librarian in the room. You wouldn’t believe how badly we need librarians right now.” (Little did he know there was a librarian sitting right in the middle of the room!)

This is just one anecdote, but it’s not the first time I’ve heard an IT professional say they need a librarian to work with them. It reinforced my belief that “the L-word” has a lot of value and meaning and was very timely considering the proposed SLA name change (which I wrote about yesterday).

Later, I mentioned the SLA name debate to one of our system administrators who also happens to have a library degree. He said he didn’t like the idea of dropping the L-word from the name, and that he specifically wanted library training to complement his IT training.

What is a knowledge professional?

SLA may be changing its name, depending on the outcome of a vote currently underway. The proposed new name is Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals.

Since the proposed announcement, Twitter and other outlets have been buzzing with reactions and discussion.

In the midst of all this, I was catching up on some back reading and read an article about the One Book, One Community in Library Journal. I happened to notice that the author works for “a firm specializing in strategic communications for knowledge organizations” – and thought, I have no idea what that means. It just sounds like a bunch of buzzwords mixed together to me. Now why would I want to belong to an association whose name sounds like a bunch of buzzwords to me?

Anne Barker has posted her “lengthy thoughts” at her blog. Like me, she was in favor of the proposed name change in 2003 but doesn’t like the current proposed name. While I don’t agree with her on everything, I think she makes a lot of good points. (As of her last post, Anne had not yet decided which way she would vote. Kendra Levine, Dan Cherubin, and David Shumaker, three librarians with very different experiences, wrote thoughtful posts explaining their “no” votes.)

I don’t have a traditional library job. My working job title, which I did not choose, is “Information Core Director.” When people ask what that means, I explain that I am a librarian. It means something to people, and explains the kind of work I do.

I’m not against a name change, but I’m holding out for one that feels right to me.