Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wait a second... where are all the books?

There's a little bit of grumbling going on at the Closed Stacks blog, about the fact that LIS students don't seem to read much fiction. I couldn't agree more :)

When I first started my LIS education, I really had no idea at all about what being a librarian actually means. I had the local public library staff pretty much figured out (I thought) but I had never considered that the private sector or the educational sector needed librarians as well. As a result, the actual content of the LIS education came as quite a surprise to me - but a pleasant one :)

I too had imagined fiction books all over the place, with students literally bumping into each other in the hallways, because their noses were buried in books. The reality was quite different - not least because with a full-time education and sometimes a job or two to help you get three meals a day, homework or mind-numbing tv usually took precedent over fiction. Reading became something you did for school; rarely something you did for pleasure. Except during vacations: that's when you took your revenge on the stacks of fiction books you had accumulated during the previous semester.

There are always exceptions, of course. And I'll tell you one of them; the point in time when I knew exactly that LIS was the field for me, and that library science school was the right place to be: when, during a break outside enjoying the fresh air, I looked over at one of our older student mentors and saw that he had a paperback Discworld novel tucked away in the pocket of his jacket. I had never met another human being who knew the name Terry Pratchett. That little incident was a mind-opening experience in several ways :)


Anne said...

Is it very wrong that I keep bragging that I went through library school without reading any fiction books for class? I like messing with people's heads.

I read plenty of them on the side while studying, just not for class.

Camilla Kyndesen said...

You know, I think that's a very good approach to educating people about what library school is and isn't ;)

I still remember all the jokes about learning the alphabet in library school, so we could shelve books properly, and were we writing theses about the letter Q...