|Abstract:||In an attempt to find out what children, i.e., patrons, think of librarians,
three different techniques were utilized in the Urbana Free Library to
elicit responses. The first was a brief survey, involving a one-line question
asked of the children in thirty classes visiting the public library last
spring. The second was a 2-page questionnaire filled out by some children
who were regular library users, and the third was a 2-hour discussion with
members of the Junior Critics organization of the library.
The first technique attempted to determine how children describe
librarians. Children were asked to write a brief, even one-word description
of a librarian. Most of the responses defined a personal quality, but
a number of the children chose to list types of work performed by the
librarian. The examples of work cited were almost entirely of a professional
nature, with fewer than 10 percent describing any clerical jobs.
Forty-four different descriptive terms were used, ranging from words
like happy, smart, intelligent, dramatic, interesting, understanding,
cheerful, fun and polite, to mean, unfriendly, grouchy, weird and strict.
Some even thought of librarians as "pretty." The number of positive
words far outweighed the negative, but of the variety of words used, 50
percent of the children described librarians as "nice" and another 20
percent as "helpful."