Print

Print


Hi.

I responded privately to several comments, and did not intend to float
my opinions to al.  However, here we go:

Althoug there seem to be several discussions running independet of each
other on Medlib, I think that they can be all folded into ONE:
where do we, Health Information Librarians, belong in the overall scheme of
things,
what is our perceive/marketable value, what is our organization doing to
improve our low status, comparative low salries, and how can matters be
improved?

I don't have a simple answer, but refuse to think that one, or two or
three slutions do not exist. I was and am confronted with  many of the
issues,have faced with many of these issues on both a personal and
professional levle, for as long as I have been in that
field.  I have express my opinions and pointed at possible solutions
for a while now.  However, this is either a bottomless pit, out or
quciksand, or, at best, a merry-go-round, and here we go again...

"Information/automation/informatics" vs. a "library" degree is a topic
that is at least 25 years old, and that Library&inforamtion graduate
school have yet to solve.  In the early 70ties, there was not much
"outhere".  OCLC, for instance, was just starting, and contracting with
"Ohio College" to do your cataloging "remote" was the great innovation
at the Univ. of Pittburgh (as an instance).

The demands on the Health Informataion librarians have increased
dramatically over the years, and more and more "exepertiese" is required to
just keep up with demands, to say nothing of move up withing the profession.
These demands piled up, slowly, one on top of the other, but without a
corresponding increase in status or salary.  It started innocently
enough - with requirement for "medline" training as a
starter (when 2 full weeks were required to ocmplete the
training at remote locations, and was already an improvement
over the earlier need for a six month family relocation to Bethersda that
occured in the 60ties).  And the need for a libraray computer at a time
that thses strange gizmos where unhearaed of in most hospitals.  ANd, on
this note of technology - how about getting a library copier, or a direct
telephone line, or a fax machine? or...and the list goes on.
Academe demanded a 2nd degree, for the same low salary, plus
"research" without the free time to attend to its demand.  MLA added
the Certification, then the AHIP, which nobody in hosptials takes
seriously EXCEPT when it is time to hire a new librarian.  ANd let's not
forget Internet, and Interet and e-mail access, and the perception of
many a h osptial administrator that now that "everything is on the net",
what the library for... And SLA telling us about competencies, and how we
have to do this, and be that, and push, push push, market market market,
"sell" the service.  Just DO it. Right?

And then, to add insult to injury, we have "our" organization,
who is still to figure out what it is suppose to do
for us all (another study, no doubt), and wonder why we begrudge them
a little dues increase out of the raises that we did not get, etc etc
etc.

I have been there before, seen it, said it, still saying it, but it does
not help.

So all I can do is become a "futurist", gaze into my crystal ball, where
I seemed to have storred 25 years of observations, and make the following
pronouncements:

The librarians of the futue will have to be computer savvy, forget
the cataloging rules rammed down our throats in Library school, and
become inforation professionals.  Maybe the Public and Schhool
librarians will accept the overflow from the Library Schools.  Special
and Health Libraries will need the new breed.  (Maybe minus the libraray
word...).

Dues will continue to increase, even if  salries do not.

Salaried will not increase until librarians boycot positions with low
salaries.

MLA and NLM "politics" will continue as before.

MLA will not change - it has not in the past 25 years so why now?
Or:
MLA will close its doors for lack of support/membership.

NLM will continue doing what it does, (their mot seems to be : first do,
then ask - you can always apologize later...)

Work and salary of Librarians will continue to lag.

Librarians will continue to grumble but love their jobs so much that they
will do whatever is necessary, etc. etc.  Nothing will change, except for
the players.

I do not expect that any "futurist" is going to dare say such when addressing
us at MLA (I recall a request for feedback for such a speaker).
Neither will he/she be held accountable when prediction do or do not come
to pass.

Dalia Kleinmuntz
847/570-2664 Webster Library                                 FAX: 847/570-2926
Evanston Hospital
2650 Ridge Ave
Evanston IL 60201                                 [log in to unmask]
______________________________________________________________________
"..the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient"
                                                - Francis W. Peabody
                                                     (1881-1927)