A librarian is more than a collection of letters

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 12, 2018

By Jim T. Whalen

Rowan Public Library

Acronyms are everywhere. ASAP, FBI, FEDX, NRA, CBS, NBC, ABC, TNT, GMAIL, all the two letters for states — TN, AK, AS, AL, etc. The list goes forever.

Go to a hospital and find CNA, LPN, RN, PA, CLNC, CPAN, CCBS. IHOP is famous for its acronym. I know a 9-year-old who thought IHOP and International House of Pancakes were two different restaurants. It was not that long ago we discovered some email acronyms — LOL, OMG — but texting has eclipsed that by millions with IMU, AAMOF, IDK, IMO, WRT, OT, IIRC and many I can’t use here.

When did McDonald’s become so difficult that the term Mickey Ds started? A long series of names has evolved into short cute names: AT&T, GEICO, ING, HR Block. Like many people, I don’t know the original name, just the acronym. It is much easier to say GEICO than Government Employees Insurance Co.  Remember the Super Bowl commercials for ING? The full name is International Netherlands Group. Again, the acronym is much easier to remember.

Do librarians have acronyms? Well the library can be Lib, LIB, Libr. You may as well just spell the entire name. Librarians are not known for their acronyms. We blend in so well many people think everyone here is a librarian. No not everyone is, but the service can be so good you can’t distinguish between roles.

What is a librarian? A librarian is someone who has obtained an undergraduate degree, completed a master’s degree in library science approved by ALA — American Library Association. Courses include library management, cataloging and classification, information sources and services, principles of database information retrieval, collection management and many, many more.

While some librarians hold degrees in general library or information science, others pursue specialty degrees in concentrations of a particular field. There are concentrations in academic, public, music, legal, history (archives), special collections, library administration and management, and again many others.

Specialization may be required for some positions. For example, school librarians in many states are required to earn a master’s degree in education or library science with a specialty in library media.

With many colleges offering online courses, you can work full time and earn a master’s in library science. There are volunteer opportunities in libraries where you can try out the profession before committing to a degree. You don’t need experience in a library to attend a graduate school, just an undergraduate degree, and a desire to help others find what they are searching for. This is a very generic statement, but give people what they seek and you will have a happy patron.

(Note: For curious readers who are not up on the latest acronyms, IMU, AAMOF, IDK, IMO, WRT, OT, IIRC mean I miss you, as a matter of fact, I don’t know, in my opinion, with reference to, off topic — or on topic or on target or on tour — and if I recall correctly.)

Adult Summer Reading finale: Headquarters, 6:30 p.m. Monday. Adults and families are invited to participate in a rollicking game of “Name That Tune.” Music represented will span several genres, including Disney tunes, ’60s rock ’n’ roll, and contemporary favorites. At this final Adult Summer Reading event, the grand prizes in the adult categories will also be awarded. Questions? Call 704-216-8248.

Great American Read testimonials: East, noon-2 p.m. Aug 18. Record a testimonial detailing which book should be considered “America’s Favorite.” Testimonials will be shared on social media, submitted to PBS and could be selected to air on PBS this fall. For more details, contact Abby at 704-216-8248 or at Abigail.Hardison@rowancountync.gov. Also 5-7 p.m. Aug. 28, East branch.

Photowalk: Aug. 20, 6:30 p.m. Join us for a walk around downtown Salisbury as we view and photograph the 2018 Salisbury Sculpture Show. Bring your digital camera/phone to take photos. Questions? Contact Paul at Paul.Birkhead@rowancountync.gov or 704-216-7737. The photowalk will last about 90 minutes.

Book Bites Book Club: South, 6 p.m. Aug. 28. This month’s selection is “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott. Refreshments will be served, and new members are welcome. Questions? Contact Paulette at Paulette.Stiles@rowancountync.gov.

Displays: Headquarters, Communities in Schools; East, a celebration of African culture by James Rhea; South, artwork by Miranda Foster.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.