Changing role of a librarian

  • Aanchal Bedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Apr 30, 2014 10:33 IST

As India moves towards ­becoming a knowledge-based society with a proliferation of learning and research ­institutes, the demand for and ­importance of library science is growing ­rapidly. As a result, job ­opportunities are on the upswing. With the advent of information technology, the traditional concept is being revised to include new-age tools of information like CDs, Internet, e-libraries etc.

“There is a lot of demand for library professionals at all levels in schools, colleges, ­universities, research and development ­institutions, ­government ­departments, ­corporate ­sectors, and above all, in public ­libraries. Since the ­privatisation of ­education and growth of ­industry, ­particularly with the entry of MNCs in India, the job opportunities for librarians have increased manifold. Currently, a large number of senior positions in India are lying vacant for lack of suitable professionals,” says Dr Ramesh C Gaur, university librarian, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

A career as a librarian is not much sought after in India, feels Gaur. “People still think that the job of a librarian is to issue books and other reading ­material. This lack of awareness has made it difficult to attract  better talent in the field. Also, there is no national information policy and umbrella body to deal with issues related to librarians in India,” says Gaur.

The pay scale of ­librarians is at par with that of a ­university ­professor. In some ­organisations, the position of librarians in the hierarchy is up to the level of an ­additional secretary, Government of India. “However, there is ­considerable ­disparity between the pay scales of ­librarians in ­different ­organisations due to the lack of ­a uniform policy,” adds Gaur.

In today’s competitive times, a librarian needs to be a good ­administrator. Excellent ­communication skills are a ­pre-requisite. Nowadays, it is 70% information technology and remaining 30% is ­traditional librarianship. So, one needs to have good IT skills, a strong ­academic aptitude and an ­attitude to serve the people if he/she wants to join the profession.

Resource manager
Librarians must have the ability to analyse readers’ needs, a knack for listening and knowledge of major topics

Rs. I take home
Rs. 1 lakh- Rs. 5 lakh per annum

I love my job because...
I believe that if doctors save lives, then ­librarians create lives of the people. It’s a very noble profession

Expert gyan
Due to privatisation of education and growth of industry, particularly with entry of MNCs in India, the job opportunities for librarians have increased manifold. Currently, a large number of senior positions are lying vacant for lack of suitable professionals

 

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