Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Librarianship as a vocation

I think of librarianship (please note: not library science, librarianship implies more craft than science) as more than just a way to make money and occupy my time. It is a vocation, as in calling.
I saw an interesting example of this a while ago. Someone mentioned that love bugs were the product of a failed genetic experiment at the University of Florida. In a room full of intelligent, engaged people I and the only other librarian in the room immediately glanced at each other. We recognize a possible urban legend when we hear one. Later a quick Google search showed that this was indeed an urban legend, or perhaps "tongue in cheek lore," and I shared that with those involved. I know, very geeky of me, but I hate to spread urban legends.

This element of the vocation of librarianship -- critically appraising information, having the skills to act upon such a critical appraisal, and then communicating more accurate information to others -- should be part of a good liberal education. I think every Rollins' student should be able to critically engage with information in this way, hopefully in far more serious situations (work, politics, scholarship, consumption, etc.) than a coffee break discussion of love bugs.

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