Thursday, January 15, 2009

Audience Development Officers ?!?!?!

Librarians to be renamed 'audience development officers'

I have to admit that when one of the ICT guys told me about this I really did think he was putting me on.

I understand about restructuring, changing job descriptions, etc - but we have all laughed at (say) dustmen (as everyone calls them) getting called Refuse Disposal Officers, as though that somehow enobles the job, or raises its respect or status.   Um.

I am already being cheeky calling myself a 'librarian' because in the trade that label is kept for qualified staff - everyone else is a 'library assistant' - however, that's what people I meet think of me as, so I use it.

Even if we are rolling out self-service systems, and changing our roles - I feel quite well prepared, having spent seven years in facilitating use of computers for both staff and public. Very little will change for me.

Still, I don't see the other staff 'freed up by self-service' thinking of themselves as Audience Development Officers!   It takes me back to my show-biz days...  An audience for what exactly?  Books?   Council Internet services?   Are they mistaking us for people working in a Museum or Art Gallery or something?

By most people's definitions, an 'audience' is passive, and the whole approach to libraries that this blog (among others) supports is an interactive model. 

Most bizarre.

Story of Edinburgh Councils redefinition of 'librarians' in The Telegraph

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