For many people, public libraries are a fond remembrance of childhood, somewhere we went to read the latest R.L. Stine book and get our summer reading for middle school done. In these remembrances, we rarely recall who was in charge, save for the disembodied shush that would emanate from behind the main desk where the librarians sat.
As it turns out, these librarians had a job other than shushing rowdy preteens in the summer reading section. Being a librarian in a public library is actually a pretty major responsibility Nickie Kortus, Marketing and PR Manager for the Alachua County Library District, said.
A librarian’s job includes providing information services to patrons, organizing the libraries materials, understanding and implementing the libraries policies and having an immense knowledge of bibliographic, reference and database use, Kortus said. Librarians must also aide in budget preparation, creation of library research, reports, proposals and statistics, Kortus said.
Becoming a librarian isn’t such an easy task either, Kortus said. The absolute minimum requirement to be a librarian in the Alachua County Library District is a master’s degree in Library or Information science from a school accredited by the American Library Association, Kortus said.
But it’s dealing with people that makes the job worth it, Kortus said. Alachua County Libraries host over 300 programs per month, that range from one on one technology tutorials to the upcoming Fandomonium, which will be celebrating its third year in April, Kortus said.
“My personal favorite as a library staff person is watching children get excited selecting their own books after enjoying a story or puppet show,” Kortus laughed.
A big issue with libraries in the past decade or so has been whether or not technology will render them obsolete, Kortus said. However, libraries currently play a major role in bridging the digital divide, by providing internet access to all citizens and teaching them how to use it resourcefully, Kortus said.
“Library spaces are now designed to accommodate more computer workstations and places for people to work on their laptops or mobile devices,” Kortus said.
There are also plans for the near future for the addition of early learning computers, Kortus said. These computers would allow children aged 2-8 to learn computer skills through the use of educational games, Kortus said.
Specially created teen spaces will also be added in the near future, equipped with materials that will encourage teens to hang out, play games, study and read, Kortus said. In the past year the Library district purchased 64 concurrent use Minecraft educational licenses, allowing them to offer the popular building game on their new fiber optic internet service.