If librarians are ultimately responsible for marketing librarians and library services, then the schools that prepare future librarians must offer the necessary training. Right? Well, not really. Carol Tenopir of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, School of Information Sciences, stated that library schools tend to emphasize the skills and knowledge that a librarian needs to do the job. “Schools do not focus on how to market to a constituency.”(1)
So not only do we not know how to tactfully advertise our services to our patrons, but our career is in further jeopardy when you add in the stereotypical view of a librarian–or as Margaret Slater (2) found, the way our patrons traditionally view us: with “passivity, incompetence, bureaucratic tendencies, unworldliness, and insufficient education or subject knowledge for the job.”
Perhaps we don’t like to think of “selling ourselves” out there in the marketplace, but it sure would be nice to have a library school course that would help to compete with all the other marketers out there. (And for those of you that are already teaching such courses, thanks!)
(1)Shamel, C. L. (2002). Building a Brand: Got Librarian? Searcher, 10(7). Retrieved February 25, 2009, from http://infotoday.com/searcher/jul02/shamel.htm.
(2) Slater, M. (1987). Careers and the occupational image. Journal of Information Science, 13(6), 335-342.