Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The important social role played by Libraries and Librarian

Every human life in this world is become more compleks. Technology are grow tremendously. Similarly, the knowledge and information, various forms and sources of information and knowledge are available and accessible. At one time, web 1.0 is used, but now web 2.0 has become popular and used by most of all levels of society in the world. In the development of web 1.0 and also web 2.0 application, many information source now available in WWW (Ramos, Milla M, 2008). The informations need to be delivered in timely and preferred manner. With all these developments and high demanding of the human needs, the social role of libraries and librarians in providing services to the community is increasing and more challenging. Libraries and librarian now become more and more important, especially in providing or supply the information to people but still, there is a needed to change their role. According to Ramos, Milla M, (2008) traditionnally there are 3 main roles of Librarian. The first one is Custodian. It is means the librarian selects the information, then organize it, and after that they give a print services to their customers and provide use of other media. Second role is, Guide. Their role is to assists user in searching for information and critically evaluate relevant information sources. Third role is librarian as a Public Relations Officers. This role need librarian maintains their good relationship with management, clients, other libraries and also outsider. In addition, Rao and Babu (2001) defines traditionally librarian is known as a person located in the library building carrying out the tasks like acquiring, organizing, preserving the printed documents besides helping the readers in locating the information needed by them.This traditional roles is still needed and important but due to the technologies advanes, libraries and librarian needs to practice a current role.
Finding a literature about current roles played by libraries and librarians especially in the 21st century found a hundred related article in various database such as Emerald, Ebscohost, Springer, Proquest, WorldWide Web, etc. One of the popular article that talk about this issues is from Darnton, Robert (2008) in his article – The Library in a New Age. According to Darnton, libraries should provide research library to thier community. Besides that, the library should use a technology like a google for the searching facilities for  thier database. This would have a positive impact on libraries in the user interest using existing resources and collections, which all know the library has a great collection of diverse resources and valuable information rather than they use a google. Darnton also suggest the new social role that library or librarian can have is by create a blog to spread libraries news, events and also librarian idea and knowledge about the development of information. Today life, people are likely or interested in accessing information or get some news from reading the blog. It is because, this way are the faster way that they can get an information, or news or stories of some issues directly from the individual idea or organization. Another role that can be practice in the library or by librarian is a flexiblility of job description. Job descriptions identify the tasks, duties and responsibilities of jobs and job specifications list the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics needed to perform the job (Mathis and Jackson, 2004). According to Pennel, Kathy (2010) in her article, the role of flexible job descriptions in succession management, flexible job  description can create more dynamic, creativity, and flexible opportunities among the librarian. Based on my experience, i agree with Pennel statement. To be stated, I’m started my librarian career at Catalogiung Department, then after 2 and half year services, my head of library  transfer me to new branch campus and i am handle Reference Department there. With the knowledge that i gain when doing catalog for the library resources and materials, i can easier and creativily use or maniputale a subject heading either when duty at reference desk as per user needed or also when give a user education class. This role is also supported by Cmor, Dianne (2010) as she mention libraries or librarian need to be able to step back and view issues from a perspective beyond their own comfortable areas of specialisation, with cataloguers serving on reference desks, reference librarians serving on electronic access teams, and systems librarians leaming with special collections librarians in digitising treasures.
With increased awareness of research and competition among higher education institutions around the world, as the research assessment exercise that refuse to promote and highlight the quantity and quality of research, a new role in research and development team is needed among academic reference librarian. Librarians who are embedded in research teams are expected to understand needs and provide services that are responsive to the natural workflows of such teams (Bourg et al., 2009; Research Information Network, 2008). This might include providing environmental scans, literature reviews, information management solutions, grant writing and publishing support.
In addition, based on Sommers (2005), the expanding role of libraries in the twenty-first century will be founded on a vision in which libraries are the first places people go for the information, resources, and services needed for their jobs, educations, and passions. Libraries are the recognized leaders for how content – from any source – is organized and shared in their communities. The libraries must combine the ingenuity of leading libraries with powerful technologies and expertise to mine the great opportunities for the future. It is also mentioned by Sommers, libraries should do  new and exciting things while providing access to everyone being open and responsive to new ideas.
Ramos, Milla M. (2008), has suggested 11 role of the librarian in 21st century that can be applied by librarian. The 11 Role of librarian in 21st century are : Firstly, Information broker for both print and electronic media. This is means the librarian can identifies, retrieves, organize, repackages and provide electronic access to digital information sources. Secondly, Changes agent in Technology application leader. This role need the librarian to collaborates with IT services to design and evaluate systems that would facilitate e-access. Thirdly, the role as a Facilitator. As a facilitator librarian make access easier, for example : provide network access, purchase software and e-journal licences. Fourth role is librarian as Educators. As an Educators, Librarian can easily trains client on Internet use suchs as show the clients/user how to use library tools, search engines, online databases and catalogs, electronic journals. Librarians can also teach them how to use of web based instruction and online tutorial. Fifth role is Librarian as Innovator / Web Designer / Builder / managers. This role can make the librarian contribute in designs the libraries web pages and searches and evaluate information resources to be linked to the site ; create an awareness of library services on the web , in some instances manages the organizational web site. Sixth role Librarian as Database manager. The librarian can develop an online database that can give user easy access,faster and more efficient. Seventh role is Librarian as a Collaborator. This means the librarian can collaborate not just with fellow librarians but also can expanded area of collaboration with IT people, the community, etc. Eight role is Librarian as a Policy maker. Librarians should develops or participates in the development of an information policy for an organization, ensuring total or selective access to all information resources. Nineth role is Librarian as a Business manager. From this role librarians can experience a negotiates skills with publisher and aggregertors for the most advantageous license aggrements for e-journal and databases. Tenth role if Librarian as a Image Makers, They can adds values to the library to gain management support and project a positive image to the outside world. Lastly the librarian should also have Professional Competencies. Professional Competencies means Librarians have a  knowledge in the areas of information resources, information access, technology management, and research plus the ability to apply them in providing library and information services.
In my opinion, i think the most important social role for today's society at the beginning of the 21st century is based on Dianne Cmor idea.  According to Cmor (2010), Academic reference librarians should manage a learning commons on their libraries, partner on research teams, lead Web 2.0 technology initiatives, support e-learning environments, build and support institutional repositories, and also promote new modes of scholarly communication. By combine all this role, the librarian are not only become a more important person in supply the information and library resources, but it is also can help their users to understand the newest information technologies and engaging them in conversations that facilitate the identification of new means of using such technologies in their teaching, learning and research. The application of web 2.0 technologies intiative to the libraries also can make society connected between each others and also enhancing and improving the information and learning experience of the society. This role also can make the library as a place of a co-creatian of knowledge that will have revolutionary effects on the processes of scholarly communication.


Darnton, Robert (2008). The Library in the New Age.  

Hagerlid, J. (2011). The role of the national library as a catalyst for an open access agenda: The experience in sweden. Interlending & Document Supply, 39(2), 115-118.
Ramos, Milla M. (2008). The role of librarian in 21st century. http://www.slideshare.net/plaistrlc/the-role-of-librarians-in-the-21st-century
Rao, K. Nageswara and Babu, KH (2001). Role of Librarian in Internet and World Wide Web Environment.Informing Science, vol 4 No 1, 25-34.
Sommers, P. C. (2005). The role of the library in a wired society – compete or withdraw: A business perspective. Electronic Library, the, 23(2), 157-167.
Thomas, J. (2011). Future-proofing: The academic library's role in e-research support. Library Management, 32(1), 37-47.
Trescases, U. (2008). The role of the library in the first college year: The canadian perspective. Reference Services Review, 36(3), 301-311.
V.K. Thomas, Satpathi, C., & J.N. Satpathi. (2010). Emerging challenges in academic librarianship and role of library associations in professional updating. Library Management, 31(8), 594-609.