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RE: What's in a name?

I think that very often the name changes are part of marketing strategies
aimed at overcoming those tired stereotypes, that, for whatever reasons,
continue to be associated with the profession. And as we all know,
marketing has become an increasingly important part of library survival.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"-well that depends on who you ask.
According to some, it is apparently fairly broken. If name changes help
administrations and patrons better comprehend the totality of services
that librarians and libraries have always excelled at providing, then I
don't see the harm. If they help promote the expertise of librarians and
keep them and their libraries off the chopping block, I say call them
whatever you want!

My experience generally has been that quite often there is a significant
amount of (justifiable) patron frustration with much of traditional
library jargon (although perhaps not with the terms "library" or
"librarian"). I think that this justifies an overall inquiry into how we
can better communicate to our users, including updating vague jargon if
warranted (i.e., patrons who search a WebPac and find that a book is
"charged" may not necessarily realize that this means checked out).

Our institution chose different titles for library staff in part to assist
in counteracting the perceived image (not mine) of dusty librarians hidden
away in some dark basement office cataloguing books for 30 years and then
collecting a pension. Obviously, the name changes are only part of what we
do to demonstrate the reality of our value to the organization, but
nevertheless an important piece of our commitment to finding new ways to
market the importance of our contributions. Clearly this effort does not
require that names and titles be changed, but if it helps, where's the
harm? I certainly don't believe that the mere suggestion qualifies me as
an "idiot" or "ding-dong".

Paul Burry
Information Services Support Specialist
Information Resources & Digital Library
Technical University of British Columbia

 -----Original Message-----
From: 	Tom Williams [mailto:twilliam@bbl.usouthal.edu]
Sent:	Wednesday, January 23, 2002 5:42 PM
To:	liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject:	Re: What's in a name?

Well, the terms "library" and "librarian" have worked for a very, very
long time.  Information centers and Information professionals just doesn't
cut it in my view nor do any of the alternate names I've heard.  If it
ain't broke, don't fix it!

I just came back from a seminar where an anecdote was passed on by one of
the speakers.  It seems a major library director had a VP to whom he
reported who came from the misinformed and intellectually challenged
segment of the human race.  This person would repeat the lament heard by
many of us from other idiots.  "Why put up buildings and shelves and such
when we all know that libraries will be disappearing, replaced by
electronic information kiosks." This ding-dong was pushing to change the
name of the library to information center or similar.  At a subsequent
meeting of university adminstration some big wig from LC or some such
place was attending.  This VP asked her if it wasn't time to change
library to information center (or whatever).  The big wig replied that
Library and Librarian works just fine, are descriptive and understood
world-wide.  The library director heard no more dumb remarks from that VP,
at least not in reference to name changes for the library.

I don't care if they change my title to King of the Library.  I am and
will always be a librarian and, God willing, a retired librarian.

Tom Williams
University of South Alabama.