“Are [these books] your friends?”

This is the Librarian episode of Your Life Work, a series of vocational films for young people. This one was filmed in 1946:

Aside from some mildly embarrassing sexism, I’m amazed at how little hilarity I could find in this. The media are different, but the job hasn’t changed much in 65 years. The funniest bit is the part at the end about job security. *sigh*

I found this part particularly interesting, after a few examples of people calling to ask the librarian to “compile a bibliography for a project on radar” and the like:

The reference librarians locate various materials through their familiarity with the contents of the library, a very important money- and time-saving service to the public.

Replace “contents of the library” with “resources available” to take into account databases, websites, Google Scholar, etc., and it sure as hell still is. “Information overload” is a major modern concern. But people don’t turn to librarians to deal with it; they turn to the writers of probably obnoxious books like this one. I think people tend to have the attitude that information filtering isn’t our job, that we will snarkily respond “Let me Google that for you.” We have done some poor marketing, y’all.

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2 Responses to “Are [these books] your friends?”

  1. Beth says:

    I don’t consider a reference trip to the library complete until you ask a librarian what you have missed. When my son needed stuff on an Native American report, asking opened up completely unknown databases available through his library card, which gave him access to original documents he never would have seen otherwise.

    Go librarians!

  2. Arun says:

    yup (on the poor marketing.)

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