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Title:Public librarians: Toward a typology of professional identity
Author(s):Pierson, Cameron
Professional identity
Abstract:Librarian professional identity formation can be understood as a process over time influenced by social interaction. Librarianship, therefore, provides a common context for individual identity development. As this service-oriented profession faces persistent change, understanding of practitioner identity is key to understanding the interaction between the librarians who compose the library-as-intuition and those they serve. Therefore, it is ever more relevant to examine how self-perception of professional identity may inform a typology of practitioners, what the distinctions are between these practitioner-types, and why these distinctions exist. The issue of defining the librarian is historic. Previous strands of research have attempted to characterise an archetypical librarian with little success. Efforts thus far, however, have not utilized professional identity as a lens to examine the practicing librarian to address how self-perception influences behaviour and therefore interaction between practitioner, as the institutional embodiment of libraries, and the public. This research utilizes a mixed-methods approach to investigate the professional identity of public librarians in New Zealand. Phase one utilised a questionnaire operationalizing aspect of Pierson’s (2019) model of librarian professional identity. Phase two identified respondents from the questionnaire for interviews to explore responses and individual identity perception as a public librarian in New Zealand. Preliminary results suggest little overt reflection on professional identity and its influence on interpersonal interaction between practitioner and patron. Furthermore, emerging trends also suggest a pattern of arrangement of perception wherein some practitioners view a separation between their professional and personal identities, some practitioners do not, while others perceive a fluctuating separation.
Issue Date:2019-09-24
Series/Report:Sociocultural perspectives
Public libraries
Research methods
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23

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