|"You get a librarian! And you get a librarian!" via Gifsoup.|
"Bu bu but," you stammer, "I don't have 'the degree!'" That's okay. Librarianship is a mindset. You work in a library? You help people, either directly or indirectly? You're a librarian.
You hold a PhD, but no Masters of Library and Information Science, and work in a library? You're a librarian.
Plenty of people with "the degree" consider themselves "alt-ac," too, including the author of this post, who got through comps, defended a prospectus, and took a long, hard look at the job market for political scientists, deciding to go right back into librarianship.
You have the degree? A Masters of Library and Information Science?
And you want to work with information? Even if you are unemployed or under-employed in another field?
You worked with information, but are in another field now?Congrats! Even if you are now a consultant, or work for a vendor. You're also all librarians. (Even if I use that designation reluctantly because you tell me how to run a library even though you haven't worked in one in years.)
You teach librarians, either in MLIS or PhD programs or elsewhere? You are a librarian.
You have the word "librarian" in your job title? You are a librarian.
Even if you are a journalist friend/political connection of/to the Governor of California who appointed you to be the state librarian because he wanted to reward that relationship. So congrats to Greg Lucas, former reporter and political blogger, the next State Librarian of California.
Per the Los Angeles Times, Lucas will be taking LIS classes at San Jose State University, in part because California requires that the person holding this position “shall be a technically trained librarian.”
Let's welcome Lucas into the fold, fellow librarians, as we've done for Dan Cohen at the Digital Public Library of America, as we've done for Daniel Boorstin at the Library of Congress.* He's going to need a lot of help.
Do you have an MLIS, but don't use it? You might not be a librarian. Why? Because while the MLIS is nice, it's neither sufficient nor necessary to be a librarian. But it does help.
It socializes you into the discipline.
It offers you some theory that informs our practices.
It provides a cohort, which might prove useful in many ways.
It helps you get the word "librarian" into your job title.
It signals that you are very interested in librarianship, so interested that you might go into debt for it.And hey, we employers and hiring managers often ask for it as a requirement as opposed to a preferred qualification.
* Why yes, all these people who don't hold MLISs and are in important positions in librarianship are white males. Isn't that "interesting?" Thanks for noticing.
UPDATE: A follow-up post, Credentialing and Devaluation: More on 'Who's a Librarian?'