A librarian is a professional who helps people find access, and those seeking information overall. They work in various settings, such as academic, public, or corporate libraries, and manage different types of resources, such as books, journals, databases, or digital archives. They also teach people how to evaluate the quality and credibility of information, and how to use it ethically and effectively. A librarian is a vital partner in the creation and dissemination of knowledge in this day and age. And a highly respected position that has been around for countless years.
I had the lovely opportunity to chat via phone with a Librarian located in New England. She requested an “assumed name” to keep her identity anonymous. She didn’t want to be hassled by individuals who might not share her very candid views in this interview. So, for the sake of the article and in respect to her wishes, she shall be known/referred to throughout this interview as “Nina.”
Nina, lives with her husband, and their two cats and their 2 dogs in a Cape Cod style home she tells me, that is facing the ocean. She is a Christian, as is her husband. The views and opinions in this article are solely Nina’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect that of this publication. Here now I present the unadulterated interview of “Nina” in full mode.
It is my hope that you will enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed writing it and participating in it. “Nina” is a sheer delight, vividly and unquestionably brilliant and inspiring, with a valuable sense of humor.
Let’s get started –
CD: Thank you for taking time to speak with me and offer insight into the role the Librarian plays today in 2024. On behalf of TBL/Faith news, and myself – thank you for presenting me with this opportunity.
Nina: Of course, I’m excited to be a part of your article.
CD: Nina, with the world as it stands and technology so far advanced since the inception of the role of a Librarian, do you feel that this job is still a critical aspect and a viable career in this century?
Nina: Oh yes! In fact, I believe that in 2023 librarians continued to be in high demand. However, their roles have changed and evolved to an entirely new aspect. For example, just in terms of digital content alone, that has now expanded the duties and roles of the librarian. The role has reached new heights in terms of responsibilities, that far surpass those of former years.
CD: Digital and media is obviously a pivotal role in information now. Is your role part of teaching people how to use that digital info?
Nina: Exactly. People, mostly older individuals-are in need of help with navigating the computers and searching for digital content. So, I have to be super savvy and kind of a geek in this area as well as an all-around bibliophile.
CD: Wow! That’s so interesting, and of course makes so much sense. Would you say that your expertise is in information organization- along with digital content- while keeping academic files, and the general management of the library and operating functions about sum up your myriad of responsibilities?
Nina: Yes, but not quite. It’s not that black and white. It’s not that simple, nor is it that complex. (Laughter) I know that sounded ambiguous. Let’s just say it’s a hodgepodge of activities and duties that I find simply fascinating and utterly consuming at once.
CD: Can you please expand on that a little more?
Nina: Be happy to. You see, digitalization has fundamentally changed the librarian’s role. It is more abstract, and yet more clearly defined. Again, allow me to elaborate. In the past, librarians mostly handled physical collections of books, magazines and filed according to the Dewey system. Which now is an option for most newly erected libraries. But now we have a job as almost a curator of sorts, and a huge portion of that lies in digital resources. Now of course there is the everyday aspects of physical brick and mortar books, the storing of books, and making sure the inventory is up to date. I have assistants and workers that help in these areas, but essentially, I oversee it all. God Bless my employees, I’d be nothing without their expertise and diligence.
CD: I’m sure they appreciate you knowing they are valued. Do you personally take care of the digital documents. For example- digitalizing historical documents. And are you responsible for finding them, and keeping them accurately available?
Nina: Yes, and yes. I am responsible for digitalizing and for sorting the records accordingly. I also educate the public on digital literacy and offer seminars to promote skills in keeping online protection for their personal data and such. Again, I have my assistant librarian and workers that help me on the day-to-day operations of the library.
CD: I have to ask this question – how about a good old-fashioned book? Classics offered by Jane Austen, and Shakespeare. The Great Gatsby, Little Women, etc. Are they available in the libraries? And do people still read them?
Nina: Yes, and No. Most of the younger generation are of a different thread so to speak. At least the ones who enter my library. Most have no interest in the classics, unless it’s a school project. Which honestly, they’re not that popular any longer. However, it still is a requirement with some teachers, albeit not as prevalent as in the past.
CD: As a child, I loved going to library. I’d get lost for hours in books and sit in a huge, overstuffed chair and delight in a land of make believe and adventure. I even loved the smell of the pages of the books! (Both of us laugh) I don’t even like downloading books to read. I still pick up real books to read through. I want to feel it in my hand. Especially my Bible. Does anyone say that to you these days?
Nina: (Laughing) Indeed you delight me! You are a rare bird my sweet lady. Especially wanting to hold the Bible in your hand! God Bless you for that. But to answer your question – No, very rarely do I get the enthusiasm for an actual book. Now, if the newest digital book comes out, watch out! No, most of the people coming in these days are for classes pertaining to digitalization, learning computers, etc. Or doing work on the computers, printing out historical topics, etc.
CD: It sounds like your role is particularly crucial in educational and research institutions where access to diverse digital resources is essential for learning and innovation. Am I correct to assume this based on what you’ve been saying?
Nina: Correct! Absolutely correct! You got it. You want a job? (Laughter)
CD: (Laughter) Thank you for the offer. Geographically it’d be impossible. (Laughter again) How about in response to environmental concerns? Are most librarians increasingly focused on sustainability?
Nina: Correct! You are absolutely correct again! Very important aspect today. Librarians are also leading the way in sustainable community initiatives, as you so wisely stated. Which include but not limited to, recycling programs and hosting educational events on environmental issues. This new focus positions librarians as key players in promoting sustainability within their communities. This role is particularly crucial in educational and research institutions where access to diverse digital resources is essential for learning and innovation.
CD: What do you think of the banning of certain books? And the promoting of other questionable books that many mothers are fighting to stop across the country?
Nina: (Deep sigh into the phone) Oh Brother! Well…
CD: Should you wish to—
Nina: No, that’s okay. I’ll have a go at it and try to keep my tongue as polite as can be. (Both of us laugh) Anyhow. I think the promoting of certain books in today’s woke culture is destroying literacy and the basis for knowledge as we have known it, prior to this craze.
I feel it’s a very sad commentary and there is a prolific lack of discipline and moral compass in our world today. Culture and people coming from other countries has been what America’s about all along. Nothing wrong with that, it is what our beautiful country is all about. Immigration is the cornerstone of who we are.
However, what is going on with our young children today, is far different. It is a huge declaration of lewdness and obscenity that threatens to end childhood innocence as we know it. The books that are circulating for children are almost pornographic in nature. I blushed when I read some of the descriptive passages in these so-called books.
But as a woman of faith, I trust God will bring this to an end. And I feel that this isn’t quite the end times yet. I feel that there will be a turnaround at some point, just when we think it’s too late. God will take control, as He is always in charge. I better stop there! (Laughing loudly into phone) See, I knew I would go on and on. If my husband was here on this line, you’d need about two thousand pages minimum to quote him! (laughter)
CD: We might just get him next time! Anyhow-thank you so much! I appreciate your candor so very much, as I’m sure our readers will as well.
Nina: As good a time as I am having, I’m afraid I have to get going. I have a presentation on the digital nuances of promoting children’s literature online while they are in class. There we go! Book are getting obsolete even in classrooms. Oh well, so glad I’m not a youngster in these times. I kind of feel sorry for them all today. They don’t know what they’re missing. And that to me is so sad. But you know what the biggest thing that is missing today?
CD: I know what you are going to say…please do.
Nina: Yes, I will say it emphatically and loudly proclaim it! God! That is what is missing from our schools, our libraries, our courthouses, our congress, our life overall! God! I pray for the darkness to be gone and the Light to come.
CD: Amen! Thank you so much, again it was my pleasure to speak with you Nina. God Bless you.
Nina: It was fun talking with you. Tell your boss you’re a great interviewer and so kind and sweet. I truly enjoyed you immensely. You made this so easy.
CD: Yikes! He’ll think I paid you to say that!
Nina: (Laughing) Not at all, seriously. It was a really fun time expressing myself and talking about my job. Thank you so much and God bless you and your family.
CD: You’re so very welcome. It was truly my pleasure Nina. God bless you and yours.
Psalm 34:17 -The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.