Essay about Are Librarians Professionals?

Essay about Are Librarians Professionals?

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Dewey declared librarians should consider themselves professionals (Swigger 314). Librarians, despite this, suffer from status anxiety about the professional state of librarianship. Trait theory, the traditional sociological tool utilized to evaluate the professional status of occupations, has traditionally deemed librarianship to be lacking the attributes that required for professional status, and therefore not a profession, only a semi-profession (Abbot 431). Trait theorists have criticized librarianship for a lack of theoretical knowledge and authoritative service orientation (Nelson 2030). Past librarians have adopted traits of higher professions in the anxious hopes of achieving status (Harris 16). Contemporary librarians have rejected this mimicking of attributes, as it has not advanced the professional value of librarianship, suggesting the style of professionalism advanced by trait theory, is not one that librarians should emulate. Opposed to the core values of librarianship, this style of professionalism has distracted librarians from meaningful work and poses harm to library services, as its authoritative service orientation conflicts with the orientation of libraries (Page 103). Contemporary sociologists and librarians have abandoned trait theory for being outdated in its evaluation of professional status and due to shortcomings inherent in the theory (Birdsall 146). With an anxious focus on status, contemporary librarians argue that librarianship desires public acknowledgment of the value of library work (Page 120). Sociological theory does not determine which occupations enjoy professional status, the public does (Nelson 2031). The path to professional status then, as Birdsall asserts, lies in rejecting tra...


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...ians argue that in its search for professionalism, librarianship desires recognition of the value of the occupation (Page 120). Sociological theory does not determine which occupations enjoy professional status, public perception does (Birdsall 146). Thus the path to increased status lies in building relationships with library users and allowing for greater patron participation in library policy. Contemporary librarians have rejected traditional trait theory approaches to professionalism, eagerly adopted by status anxious librarians in the past, for being opposed to the core values of librarianship and for being outmoded; they suggest instead the path to higher professional status lies in developing stronger relationships with library users and in improving services so librarianship will be valued.



Works Cited

Abbott
Birdsall
Harris
Nelson
Page
Swigger

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