Why Feral Librarian?


I embraced the label “feral librarian” when I heard a speaker refer to the influx of feral librarians – staff in librarian positions who do not have an MLS or MLIS – as one of the main challenges facing libraries today. Before hearing that talk (James G. Neal of Columbia University Library, at the Readex Digital Institute 2005), I would simply introduce myself by saying “I’m not a librarian, but I play one at work.”
Neal described the challenge as one of needing to “socialize” the “feral librarians” to the culture of libraries. He also noted that libraries could and had benefited from the outsider perspective of us feral librarians.
Since I have been working in librarian jobs for over 10 years now with no background whatsoever in library sciences, no MLS and no intentions of getting one, I definitely qualify as a “feral librarian”. I’m not sure how much I have been socialized over that time, or how much my organization has benefited from my outsider (naive) perspective, but I think it is a catchy label and makes for a nice blog name.

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