Librarianship isn't about just storage, organising and maintenance of books, papers and journals. It's a lot more than that and a modern librarian has to constantly analyse and cater actively to the readers’ needs
Librarianship as a profession is concerned with storage, organising and maintenance of books, papers and journals. But the modern librarian, instead of merely cataloguing books and journals, has become the nerve centre of intellectual development of a nation.
As India moves towards becoming a knowledge-based society with a proliferation of learning and research institutes, the demand and importance of library science is growing rapidly. As a result, job opportunities are on the upswing. With the advent of information technology, the traditional concept is being revised to include new-age tools of information like CDs, Internet, e-libraries etc.
“Today, a good librarian must be IT-savvy, a good manager and should be able to read the mind of every member,” says Dr VK Anand, librarian, Panjab University, Chandigarh, who is currently on a visit to Cambridge University to deliver a talk on radio-frequency identification technology (RFID), a tagging system used in modern libraries.
“Someone wanting to take up library science should have a basic knowledge of all major subjects, a methodical approach and organising ability,” says Bipin Kumar, manager, British Library, Chandigarh.
“The librarian should arrange information (books, journals, CDs) in such a way that everything should be at the reader’s fingertips,” says Gurpreet Singh, chief librarian of CT Group of Institutions, Jalandhar.
A librarian today needs to steer the set-up in a direction where people will want to come and spend their time at the library and leave with a feeling of wanting more.
Accomplishing this requires more than a degree. “The qualification will get you through the door, but when we talk to a candidate, we look for that creative spark, lateral thinking,” says Mike Welch, director, young audiences and future leaders programme/customer experience, British Council, New Delhi.
The modern library now actively caters to people and their needs - the British Council library has classified its books under two broad categories, ‘Be successful’ and ‘Be inspired’, separating material on management, medicine etc from fashion, films, art etc. This is the kind of innovative approach that a librarian is expected to come up with to draw readers in.
Jobs are available in public and government libraries, universities, professional and other academic institutions, news and broadcasting agencies, private libraries and libraries meant for special categories of people. They can also work in museums, galleries, archives, information and documentation centres. Some library technicians are selfemployed as researchers, consultants, cataloguers etc on a contract basis.
What's being a librarian all about?
As information experts, librarians find, collect and organise information, and implement systems that make information easy to access. Librarians have a variety of roles, depending on where they work. A librarian has to ensure that a person gets the relevant information in the minimum time with the least effort. The modern librarian may also devise ways to draw more people into trying out new material, thus becoming a knowledge manager.
- Entry level: Rs 1 lakh-1.5 lakh per annum
- Middle level: Rs 1.8 lakh-Rs 2.4 lakh per annum
- Senior level: Rs 3 lakh or more per annum
- In government organisations, salary will depend on the grade and scale
- Must be a team player
- Command over infotech
- Good managerial skills
- Ability to analyse readers’ needs
- A knack for listening
- Knowledge of major topics
How do I get there?
Graduates from any stream can take a Bachelor’s degree in library science, a one-year course. The Master’s degree course in library science is also of one year. There are also diploma and certificate courses. The courses are Bachelor of Library & Information Science (BLISc), Bachelor of Library Science (BLSc), Certificate Course in Library Science, Diploma in Archives & Documentation, Diploma in Library Science (DLSc), MPhil, Master of Library & Information Science (MLISc), Master of Library Science (MLSc) and PhD.
Institutes & URLs:
- National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resource (NISCAIR), New Delhi www.niscair.res.in
- Indian National Scientific Documentation Centre (INSDOC), New Delhiwww.insdoc.org
- Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi jmi.nic.in/
- Banaras Hindu University www.bhu.ac.in/banaras.html
- Aligarh Muslim University www.amu.ac.in
- Kurukshetra University www.kukinfo.com
- Panjab University www.puchd.ac.in
- Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) www.ignou.ac.in
- Madurai Kamarj University www.mkuniversity.org
- Andhra University www.andhrauniversity.info
Pros & cons:
- Career progression largely depends on one’s performance
- Opportunity to meet people and develop contacts
- Must never lose track of current events
- The hours may be long, depending on the set-up