I just did something that I haven’t had to do in 5 years … update my title. I have taken on a new role in my organization – facilitating process improvement projects in addition to overseeing knowledge management. There is something that is missing from my title that has been there for a long time – the word Library. I have self identified as a law librarian since joining a law firm library team as a fresh graduate from a library technician program. Whether my actual title was Library Technician or some other derivation, that comforting word has underpinned my work life identity for over 20 years.
It is an odd week to release the law librarian moniker. I will soon head off to Winnipeg for the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries conference. Several months ago I agreed to participate in a panel session titled “Should We Still Be Called Librarians”. The session description offers a hint at the discussion:
This question has been in the air for a long time. The position of Law Librarian has evolved so much over the years that one must ask if the title truly represents the work we do. We still work with books but it has become a small part of our day-to-day reality. In any given day a “librarian”, may do training sessions, media and legislative alerts, legal research, competitive intelligence or business development. We also publish documents and manage websites and intranets.
Does the title “librarian” still reflect these realities? If not, should we call ourselves information or knowledge specialists? To discuss this matter, we have assembled a wide range of professionals both within and outside of the law library, to provide fresh viewpoints.
I did not expect to be introduced as the Director of Knowledge Management and Process Improvement for this session. I promise to blog next week about the outcome of the discussion. I am looking forward to the wisdom of the other panelists: Allan Fineblit, Sonia Poulin, Ron Greasley and Melanie Hodges Neufield.