Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cut-Throat Librarians.

Last night during my Tech Services class, the professor had us run through a process analysis activity as a group.  It's something I would have expected in my Operations Management class in undergrad, but I don't see how feasible that would have been with 40+ classmates, so it worked out well in this small class setting.  Without getting into a long drawn out explanation, it involves 6 people doing 6 different tasks while being timed.  It starts with one person and works its way down from person to person, it continues until the 20th completed item reaches the end of the line.

We did 6 different runs with different variations in the process to eke out the most efficient process before we hit the point of diminishing returns.  It took a little over an hour and after we were done the professor mentioned that the activity was created by one of her business professor coworkers.  They have run the activity through different academic disciplines and "the librarians" seem to do it differently.  This has been done numerous times with different majors so while this isn't scientific, its results can be taken as quite realistic.

Apparently, you librarians(in-training/ in-theory) want to do as much to help the person that comes before and after you.  Other schools tend to focus on what they, personally, or someone else could do to speed up the process instead of balancing out the workload among their peers.

I can say from my personal experiences as a business school undergrad student that this is true.  It was repeated in all of my classes: Finance, Marketing, Accounting, Economics, Management, and Operations Management that "we", business students, were the number one cheaters in school.  Not much of a shocker when you look at all of the business school predecessors involved in all of the corporate scandals this past decade alone.  It was because of them, that I was constantly drilled about this thing called ethics in every single class I took.  It became so mind numbing that I think the main message was entirely lost on most of my peers.  This was well apparent during finals.  While I love the subject of marketing, I did not see myself happy in that kind of setting.  This is one of the reasons why I chose to pursue my MLIS, I like working in a library environment.

Can one link the on-going debate of  the relevancy of librarianship to the unavoidable librarian stereotype found in libraries and library schools?  Personally I think so, you cannot expect much change within a field when it's filled with a bunch of yes-men.  I wonder what an all-about-business, cut-throat librarian would look like?  Out with the "shhh's" and in with the "STFU."

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