Wednesday 27 August 2014

10 Misconceptions about Libraries

Courtesy of a few articles floating in cyberspace I have put together 10 of the most common misconceptions about libraries/librarians:

Misconception No. 1: Librarians read or shelve books all day.
Reality: Librarians work with finding, reviewing, evaluating and applying information to solve particular problems; this includes activities that focus on organizing it or working with people to find and use it.

Misconception No.2: Libraries are quiet spaces--all the time, everywhere
Reality: While there are many libraries that offer quiet areas for their patrons to study, read, and contemplate, the era of strict shushing by librarians is pretty much over.

Misconception No. 3: A Library is an exclusive club and no one is welcome
Reality: Public libraries in particular are very welcoming, yes even to people you may not like or find distasteful.

Misconception No.4: All Libraries are Public Libraries
Reality: There are a wide variety of Libraries and combinations thereof. I, work in an academic and special library, it is a library for a college that teaches in specialised subject areas.

Misconception No. 5: All Librarians work in Libraries.
Reality: People with a Masters in Library Science work anywhere where information is needed, although their job title may not include the word librarian.
My husband (who works for a large online store) remarked how useful it would be to have a librarian sort out all of there information needs, that way he could get on with the actual programming instead of tearing his hair out trying to figure out how the information should be organised. It is a tough job people!

Misconception No. 6: You don’t need libraries or librarians, since everything is available for free online.
Reality: Every publication (book, magazine, journal etc.) is not available digitally although most of what you find through a Google search is available for free, there is also a wealth of knowledge that isn't.Check out Chicago Tribute's article Google can't compete with a skilled librarian steeped in information technology

Misconception No. 7: Libraries are about books--and that's it
Reality: Libraries offer so much more than books. Libraries are all about connecting people with information, even when that information lies in the expertise of an artist/maker/craftsperson rather than a book.

Misconception No. 8: Libraries are boring
Reality: Behind many of these other misconceptions, there lurks a single, pervasive complaint: "Libraries are just so... boring." On this, we couldn't disagree more! Libraries are subversive; we champion banned books and challenging ideas. Libraries are vibrant; we bring members of the community together. Above all, libraries are a gateway to information, where YOU can connect to YOUR interests. For example in New Scientist; Books out, 3D printers in for reinvented US libraries

Misconception No. 9: Librarians are all bespectacled, cardigan wearing, hair in a bun, older caucasian women.
Reality: Librarians can be any nationality, race, age or gender. You can’t always tell who is a librarian by what they look like. As for dressing in wool and layers it is practical and smart, as is keeping your hair out of your face when you might have to crawl under a desk to fuss with a computer. Sixty-four percent of Americans wear eyeglasses, that number jumps to 90% after age 49. We’re not absurdly myopic from all that reading, we’re normal.

Misconception No. 10: Libraries are a thing of the past
Reality: Just because Libraries preserve the past does not mean it is a thing of the past. Apart from wisdom being derived from learning from the past, Libraries are becoming spaces for innovation and creativity. See Misconception No. 8.

- Gabby

The Top 10 Misconceptions about Libraries and Librarians From The Charger Bulletin
7 Big Myths About Libraries From Huffington Post 

How not to write about libraries – some guidelines for reporters From

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