Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wandering Librarians and the MLA

One thing which ran true with me from Abbott’s article was his passage – “But ask any librarian-as an individual-about her history and one hears a tale of wandering”
In fact, nearly every librarian I have talked to in my years in libraries have indicated that librarians come from a wide scope of individuals. I know librarians, for example, which were architects, secretaries, teachers, student teachers, biologists, chemist, small business owners, store managers, and even bowling alley clerks. I myself did my undergrad in science education. Librarianship is a path which demands the knowledge of multiple sects of information – and so I would argue that our collective backgrounds are a great strength for it means that there is a librarian who is an “expert” in something almost anywhere – and through our professional organizations (ALA, ILA, YALSA, RUSA, MLA, etc) we can communicate and tap into each other’s knowledge to become pseudo-experts on many topics ourselves to better serve our population.

For the second half of this blog post I have delved into my roots and chose to present the code of ethics for the Medical Library Association (MLA) - For some reason (probably because I think of medicine as a complicated thing), I thought the MLA code of ethics would be longer; more complex. But, it is short and straightforward. The “Code of Ethics Defined” link provides a deeper insight to the terminology used within the MLA ethical code – I found this extremely useful as I am not very familiar with ethical medical terms; it also translates the code into concrete expectations of its members. Frankly, the MLA code of ethics is pretty standard – a nice mix of medical ethical codes and the Library Bill of Rights.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry my blog responses are coming in a little late this week, as I've been out of town but now am back on board. I also looked at the MLA Code of Ethics, and it was interesting to see how concise yet thorough the code really was. I like how you pointed out that it carries a blend of both the LBR as well as medical ethic codes. Probably something that could also use more attention is the emphasis on professional ethics that is visible in the MLA ethical code, which I hadn't really noticed quite as prominently in other ethical codes I'd reviewed. For being in a position with multiple relationships to keep happy (internal employees, external institutional affiliation, the public, patrons from various professional origins and time-based needs, etc.), I thought the code did a nice job of acknowledging the diversity of service without going too much into detail so as to make the code totally un-usable in an actual professional setting, which is oftentimes what wordy and roundabout ethical guidelines can fall victim to.