The Core Values Of Librarianship Essay

The Core Values Of Librarianship Essay

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If you’re reading this, it should come as no surprise that librarianship is a help field. Like many other help professions, we assist people on a regular basis, even if our particular job is more behind the scenes and allow little public facing time. Librarianship is a help profession, from helping people find materials they want to helping answer questions they have—as well as those they might not know they have—helping people is just what we do. However, if you were to ask librarians what makes us into the magical and mythical creatures that we are, most would probably agree that it’s because at the core of our proverbial wands. The core of librarianship isn’t unicorn hair, dragon heartstring, or a phoenix feather—it’s our values. The ALA core values are what differentiates us from other help professions. The core values of librarianship have been around for many years; they have been debated, analyzed, and agreed upon by many members of the librarian profession—they are the foundation upon which our profession rests.
First of all, I would like to say that I don’t think that there is anything determinedly wrong with our values; they are good enough the way they are currently written. But, do we—being the magical and mythical creatures that we are—really want to settle for good enough? While I do think that, ultimately, we could benefit from a complete restructuring of our values, that is not the purpose of this piece. No, for this little piece of commentary I want to turn your attention to one value in particular: preservation. Now, before you decide to send the angry mobs after me, I’m not implying that I think preservation is unimportant, or that we shouldn’t be doing it—I just question whether it should be one of our values ...


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...ping provide access to the bigger picture that many patrons would be unable to see elsewhere. By adding materials that might be challenged, librarians are opening up the floor to conversations that might never have happened otherwise.
This value can be incredibly beneficial for all librarians. If librarians are acquiring materials that are outside of their comfort zone this allows for a more diverse collection that will likely better represent multiple viewpoints. Controversial materials are often materials that contain diverse content—knowing this, librarians might be more likely to allow self-censorship when weighing the risk/benefit analysis of adding these materials to their collections. By making self-permittance a value librarians can rest assured that the ALA stands behind their decisions to add materials from all viewpoints and sides to their collections.

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